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W_UP Tour in Croatia: participants experience


Before leaving, I expected to come back home with a new story about nature, upcycling, art and youth. But after two weeks, I arrived home with a story about friendship, human values, community, hope.

W_up project during the two weeks I spent in the amazing location of Tunarica camping, was not only about learning how to upcycle plastic bags, how to prepare homemade toothpaste and deodorant, it was not only about cleaning beaches or playing games. The project regarded people knowing, contact with nature, exchange and mutual help with the local community and culture, and connection with the territory.

Upcycling workshops and activities organized by Alfa Albona association enriched my knowledge and gave me motivation and curiosity to continue discovering this world. They provided some practical tools for improving my daily lifestyle and raise awareness. Often, facing global issues, such as climate change, we feel little and sometimes useless part of a huge system. But through learning practical useful tools, through collaborating with others and observing the energy of the young participants of the workcamp, I felt that a big change is possible, that every little part of that system has a fundamental role in change-making. Moreover, during the camp we lived surrounded by nature, perceiving it as a friend, a travel and life partner. We were not separated from nature, instead, we could live her, communicate to her, learn from her, use her gifts, help her through apparently little actions. It is important to remember that we are all part of the same system and that nature’s pain is our pain. Living in the middle of a natural environment can surely help to remember how close we are to her.

What turned W_Up project into a great life experience has been people. Every person involved in the workcamp had a different background, came from different country, made different experiences. The project offered the opportunity to share parts of our own lives, interests, abilities, knowledge. Thus, every difference became a perfect piece of a big multicultural and inclusive puzzle. We had the opportunity to experience the value of diversity. Within this stimulating environment, people created a space in which to feel safe, protected, free. I felt free to dig into myself, free to be weak and to face my fears, without being judged or estranged. I felt free to be myself, and this was the best part of the camp.

Sometimes, leaving for a new experience may not be easy. When you leave your home, you also leave your habits, routine, comfort zone. But don’t be scared to be scared, facing fears ans difficulties make us grow. In fact, when you travel, you find everyday something new, something wonderful. It may be far from what you are used to, it may be challenging, it may ask you to change your point of view. But passing through this, you will learn how to listen and understand others, for real. Looking into a stranger’s eyes and feel him close to you. Every person has something to teach, a story to tell, and learning to share, if we only are able to accept it.
Be curious, be open to diversity, listen to people’s live stories, observe everything, and ask questions. Travel, as much as you can.

Lodovica Giacomin