When you drive your life with passion and dedication to any cause it seems like you achieved certain level of satisfaction and happiness that we all strive for. And still the life itself confronts you always with challenges that you accept or other way – discard. People around us, no matter if in daily life or in social media, trying to be inspirational or smart they always quote to get out of the comfort zone in order to do something for yourself as a spiritual and intellectual being. Looking back now at my life in the past years I can tell that I don`t even have a comfort zone. Through the prism of the Erasmus+ program my life has been focused on mobility to gain knowledge, experience, bring it back wrap it up in the local frames and again take it out there to show it to the people I met on that journey. Some call it global citizenship as well.
Our Portuguese story started the day I accepted the call from my Volunteers Centre Skopje for a training course on youth empowerment, both global and local level, entitled Glocal youth for social transformation. Together onboard with me I had Ema, Despina and Kristijan as our national representatives. The venue, Cascais near Lisbon was awarded as Youth Capital 2018 and the opening ceremony was planned to start during our stay there on the training. Our Portuguese partner Rota Jovem association also included youth workers from Finland, Slovenia, Italy, Denmark, Spain and UK to exchange their experience and point of view.
So after many hours of constant exchange of minivan, planes and metro we finally sat in the train that runs from Lisbon all the way to Cascais besides the ocean – the downtown train. Our stop was Sao Pedro, accommodation and base training facilities. What a lovely scene is when you get up in the morning and through your room window see and hear the ocean waves spreading continuously across the sandy beach. Youngsters in surfer suits on their boards trying the keep the balance and get as far as possible from the shore. Is that what life is all about? Catching the right wave, standing up on your feet and zigzagging, riding your way to the desired aim? Yes but the balance is also crucial. You may fall and get wet taken by the waves in direction you don`t want to go.
Considering ourselves as Global educational agents we were getting deeper and deeper every day in the subject by discussing and debating global education and citizenship asking ourselves: Do I have what it takes? Of course we do. We exploited all the methods of non-formal education: group work, team building, debates, roll play in the comfort of our training room of the facility Seculo, we spent two days working in Congress Center in Estoril, then in the Youth Center of Cascais. The downtown train took us everywhere in no time. Right on time for the opening ceremony of Cascais-European Youth capital 2018 in Estoril Congress Center, this city surely earned the title and every single one of us was proud to say: Eu sou Cascais. Yes, we were all a part of that, we are Cascais.
Of course, we all had our moments together with the group during our cultural visit of Lisbon, Cascais surrounding sights and Estoril. We spent time on informal gatherings, exchanging impressions and networking, enjoying January sun on the beach and the sunset in Lisbon, so beautiful, so impressive. We walked along the streets, climbed the hills and then all the way down to Lisbon, this experience was like resuming life itself.
As the magic of this journey was counting down its final hours so we said each other what we had to say, promises, snapshots, hugs and future plans for gathering and collaboration until late in the night. The morning downtown train spread global educational agents all over the continent to spread the seeds of knowledge, competences and friendship. We were aware that a change happened to all of us back there in Portugal. And even a small change in the hearts of a group of people can cause a multiplying effect, wherever they go.
As to me, I got used to that change. I`ll be still wandering around, here and there, continuing the life-long journey. No, I don`t have a comfort zone. It just the strange feeling I had in Portugal. For the first time I felt like I’ve finally come back home after many years spent somewhere else.