Villach to Budapest
1st of June until the 3rd of August 2016
Classroom Alive aims to explore new ways of learning, reconnect to nature and create a thriving community together.
We envision this happening through sharing a daily rhythm of four hours of walking and studying each. Engaging in self-directed studies; each of us will bring our own subjects to dive into as well as choose how we want to learn.
Making our way through the changing landscapes of Austria, Slovenia and Hungary we'll practice living in community together; supporting each other through mentor groups for our studies and community check-ins to hold our group process with. We also want to give space for people to host workshops around their studies with feedback rounds from the group.
Traveling by foot with a community of learners through raw and beautiful landscapes, we hope to come closer to the beauty of nature, enliven our thinking and walk with a feeling of curiosity that will reach over the horizon.
How it all began...
In 2013, three alumni of the Youth Initiative Program in Sweden initiated the first Classroom Alive! During six months a changing collective of students undertook a self-directed walking studies, making their way from Sweden to Greece.
For more info have a look at classroomalive.com!
"Raise your words, not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder." - Rumi
Classroom alive is about trying out a new format of education. With nature as our classroom and a daily rhythm of studying and walking we aim to bring aliveness and movement into our thinking. We all decide what to study ourselves and will create our own ways of studying, in this way reconnecting strongly to the natural joy of learning.
Most days we hope to study for about 4 hours. Of course this can be done in a variety of ways. Alongside individual studies we imagine things as peer-instruction sessions, having workshops for each other and especially study check-ins (mentor groups you could say): at least once a week we will create a space where we can share what we are learning, ask each other questions about our studies and help each other overcome obstacles we might face.
All of this of course brings along the need for some preparation. Although what you will study is totally up to you; we do encourage everyone to design a curriculum or study plan for their subject(s). We feel that by doing so we take an important step committing to realize our intentions. We'll also have to answer questions such as: ‘’what study material to bring on a two month walking journey through nature?’’ For that we find that bringing an e-reader along is excellent, it has long battery life (ca. 3 weeks) and you can load it up with all your favorite books, texts and instructions. Of course we're also curious to be surprised by your own creative solutions!
Going along with the fast pace of modern society, we often find ourselves caught up in the rush of every day life and exposed to a constant overflow of information.
With Classroom Alive we want to slow down, only moving by our own strength.
Walking with its rhythmic and reflective qualities helps us to clear our minds and in doing so brings us closer to the beauty of the landscape around us.
Walking in a rhythm of four hours a day we will be activating our bodies and bringing movement into our thoughts. This also offers us the opportunity for conversation and exchange with a more natural flow. Natural, in the sense of being surrounded by nature, but also regarding building up ideas, cross pollinating with others, and slowly weaving together the different threads, as we will find ourselves with varying walking partners. This, combined with space for one’s own thinking, facilitates a more in depth and holistic study process.
This journey aims to foster the ability to live in healthy relationships with ourselves, others and nature as a whole.
Therefore we see Classroom Alive as a laboratory to explore what it means to create a healthy and sustainable culture together.
To do this we will work with community building-, decision making- and communication tools. With mentor groups for our studies and community check-ins to hold our group process we’ll create an intentional way of living together, supporting each other from the understanding that we’re all each other’s teachers.
In this process, each person will be encouraged to step up for what they want to see and take initiative to create it. In this way empowering ourselves towards becoming more active co-creators of our world.
Classroom Alive is a co-created journey. To facilitate a smooth experience of the daily routine we will divide tasks among ourselves such as: camp building, cooking, route- and budget planning. In this way everyone will gain experience of carrying responsibility in a group.
With Classroom Alive we want to invite a conversation about a healthy relationship to nature. To bring awareness to our inherent interdependence with her. Rather than having an experience of living next to nature, common to modern life, we want to experience living as a part of her…
Being out hiking and camping with whatever weather, we'll come closer to the elements of nature and experience her moods as our own rhythm. On our journey we will be walking, studying, cooking and sleeping outdoors. The only thing we will have above our heads at night will be the thin layer of fabric of our tents and the starry sky.
We will also be dependent on what the places we are at provide us with. Sometimes that will mean having the luxury of a drinkable river we can wash ourselves in, but other times… we'll just be smelly.
This Journey invites us to deeply and truly meet ourselves, to hear our own inner calling – which might be the first step towards answering this call.
For two whole months we will be in a space of intensive confrontation with ourselves; by living and walking in nature, by our study processes and by being mirrored by our community.
This journey will teach us a lot about who we are and what we individually bring to this world. Besides that it allows for ongoing reflection on our way of being in the world and gaining more clarity about our personality.
Through committing ourselves to this time of walking for several hours through nature each day, we will also reconnect to ourselves and give space to get aware of what is going on deeply within ourselves. Furthermore it invites us to become conscious of how we live our life and we can ask ourselves how we want to live and who we want to become.
Subsequently we will strengthen the relationship with ourselves, which will support us to live a more self-determined life and therefore a life of more freedom.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
The starting point of our journey will be the town of Villach, situated in the Alpes in the south of Austria. From there we will walk in southern direction into Slovenia. Shortly thereafter we will enter the beautiful Triglav National Park from where we will continue our way to Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. Making our way to Hungary through Slovenia, we'll have the option to follow the European long distance walking path, the E7.
The google maps image above gives a general picture of our route. As we enter new areas we will buy more detailed maps. These we'll use to decide together on the specific routes we'll follow for the days to come.
We will plan the route as such that every three or four days we'll come by a town or village where we can shop for food. The food will then be divided over all our backpacks so everybody will carry some extra kilos every few days.
"Be boring and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work" - Flaubert
We'll have a walking and study rhythm of about four hours a day each. Here is the schedule that has been shown to be great by previous Classroom Alive experience. We propose to stick to this for the first week and then open it up for conversation to see if we would like to make any changes.
6h - 7h Morning practice (optional)
7h – 7h45 Packing
7h45 – 8h30 Breakfast
8h30 – 10h30 Walking
10h30 – 12h30 Study
12h30 – 13h30 lunch
13h30 – 15h30 Study
15h30 – 17h30 Walking
17h30 – 18h30 Setting camp
18h30 – 20h Dinner
And of course we'll end the day with a campfire!
About once a week we will have a study check-in. Here everyone will be given the chance to share what they have been learning, how their study process is going and ask each other questions.
We also invite to a personal check-in where we can share about our personal experiences and our experiences of being on this journey together.
If people are interested in hosting a workshop around their studies, we also want to give space for that.
One day a week will be a rest day.
Who We Are
"Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” - Rumi
23 years old. Cologne, Germany
Since a very young age, I knew I would work as a world changer.
I was not agreeing with the way we are doing many things and with many of the structures humans have created.
In my life, I have focused a lot on collecting diverse experiences.
On that journey I was always searching for deeper meaning, understanding and the feeling of aliveness.
After High school I went travelling the world and worked in very many different fields.
Then I found the education program YIP, where my drive to create change got a more profound and mature ground.
Since I graduated from YIP I am working as a freelance project initiator. My main field in that work is creating alternative education programs.
Soon I will continue my lifejourney with learning to be an organic- vegetable gardener on a small farm in southern Germany.
My current mission is Classroom Alive.
With this project I want to create a space where young people can foster empowerment in themselves
and learn how to live in healthy relationships with themselves, others and nature.
I see these as the major capacities we need for creating a liveable future for humanity on this planet.
Tim Collin Kuyvenhoven
25 years old. Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
In the spirit of self-directed learning, on the non-compulsory level I sought out both formal and informal education. First, in contrast to traditional classroom education I explored working-class life, mainly in the service industry, working in various positions in a restaurant and in retail with inside sales. Afterwards I went to a progressive ear-based pop music college in Sweden to explore my artistic ambitions as a singer & songwriter. Then in the social entrepreneur and leadership training of the YIP program also in Sweden an empowering step for me towards project initiation & management was made. After that I worked in home healthcare where I initiated and managed a health foods project for the improved general well-being of both the patient and the employees. The last couple of years I have mainly pursued music and my intellectual interests, travelling around as a street artist and studying philosophy and the history of science at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, where I’ve also mentored first-term students.
I’ve known the Classroom Alive concept since its inception in 2012. It has been an incredibly inspiring journey to follow. Seeing how great the impact has been on those who have participated and imagining the potential of this project together with them; I'm super excited to become part of the movement.
On our journey I will be working with designing a workshop about the book ‘’Philosophy of Freedom’’ by Dr. R Steiner as well as with social philosophy and questions pertaining to man's relation to nature. On our journey I hope we'll find a deeper spiritual breathing with our questions as we walk together with them in nature.
21 years old. Liège, Belgium.
I went to 4 differents highschools before ending up at « Pédagogie Nomade », an alternative school that advocates "the right of wandering", the importance of responsiblizing young people in their education and to practice autonomy, self-discipline and critical sense.
When it closed and after a failed try to go back in conventional education, I decided to stop school and started travelling.
Then I attended the Youth Initiative Program where I learned, amongst many things, facilition skills and about community living. There we also had a one week course of Storytelling and I loved it so much that after YIP I attended a 3 month course at the International School of Storytelling.
Since then, I am highly interested in alternative education. And this is not about diabolizing the conventional education system. It is about questioning it, giving people a space to experiment with new ways of learning and have more choice in how they want to learn.
As it said "Do not limit yourself by thinking you know how to do it".
Jannis van der Perk
20 years old. Leiden, the Netherlands.
Although I have never done hiking-trips of several months, I am a big fan of hiking and have been doing it on vacations almost every year since my father decided my legs were strong enough to carry myself up a mountain. I've always cherished a big love for nature and experienced it to calm me down, nature just is and in doing so allows me to also just be.
During my time at school, I saw that the educational system isn't triggering the student's source of inspiration enough. Students are given a predesigned study program and aren't given the opportunity to find their own way of learning, nor to bring in their own interests. Therefore, students often times aren’t motivated to learn.
Directly after high school I did the YIP program in Sweden, where I got a different experience. YIP gave me new perspectives on myself and the world around me. I felt encouraged to step into my freedom and explore the many possibilities life has to offer; to find what it is I want to do and start doing it.
For the last months I have been travelling with the intention to find my next steps and through this journey I got involved in Classroom Alive. What motivates me to work on Classroom Alive is its intention to explore new ways of learning. Doing this while hiking through nature sounds like the perfect way to spend my summer.
"What you seek, is seeking you" - Rumi
Sorry! Unfortunately this edition of Classroom Alive has reached its max capacity of participants for the whole journey.
Sorry, we are now also full for the Open week !
The open week is for people who cannot join for the whole two months but still want to join for a shorter period of time to get a taste of what Classroom Alive is about.
The open week will begin on the 28th of June in Ljubljana. From there we will make our way to Ptuj, where we will arrive on the 10th of July.
Since we will be hiking and mostly will be wild camping, our main costs will be in food and materials, for instance every so often we'll have to buy a new map. Based on the countries we will walk in and the experience from previous Classroom Alive's we estimate the costs at 6 euros per person per day. So in total the Classroom Alive trip will cost about 384 euros for the two months.
Of course we'll also need some gear like a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, proper rain clothes and so on. If you are not hitchhiking, another thing to consider are of course the travel costs of getting there and back
For food and materials we will have a common pot. Everyone contributes to that pot and we will buy food for everyone so we all stay healthy and happy.
For those little luxuries like coffee or icecream, everyone pays for himself.
We will also be using an emergency fund for when something breaks or someone gets sick. In this way we'll cover the costs for broken shoes, bags, train tickets, and so on. We have a sugested contribution of 50 euro to this pot. At the end of our trip we'll of course distribute the money that didn't get spent equally.
The Youth Initiative Program
The International Youth Initiative Program (YIP) is a holistic educational program that strengthens young people’s capacity to take initiative in the face of current global challenges.