Traveling or going on a journey?

We are traveling next week, traveling further than we do on a weekly basis where, because of living in a remote area we travel regularly, we travel to the shops in the bigger town for more variety and better prices, we travel for our weekly Tai Chi class and to get really good coffee, freshly roasted in Co Leitrim. Sometimes we travel for about 3hours, nearly 100miles to see family, to walk by the sea and to visit my mum, who due to Alzheimers disease, does a lot of traveling herself, often time traveling decades in minutes.

Next week we are going to Portugal, Lisbon to be exact. We are going to teach a Build Your Own Wind Turbine workshop to a group of teenagers or young adults. We teach these workshops every now and then, it is all very hands on, people will get dirty, learn new skills and will handle tools, people sometimes discover that they can do things they had never considered to be within their grasp or skill-set. Usually we teach adults, people who have decided for whatever reason to come along to learn something new. The workshop lasts 6 days so it is quite a time commitment. This time we are teaching a group of young adults who are involved in a program designed to keep them in school until they have finished 4 or 5 years of high school. We are unsure whether they have volunteered to come along or whether someone else has made that decision for them.

There are always worries before such a workshop, especially when we are not directly involved in setting up the physical space for working in or making sure that all the necessary tools and equipment are in place which is always the case when we teach abroad. We often wonder about who will take part, what the workshop will feel like, how the turbine will turn out, where it’s to be mounted etc and whether everything is prepared. We chatted about our concerns this morning and realised that the most important outcome of this particular workshop is not to do with anything technical, it is to ensure that no young person leaves feeling less confident than when they started.

It’s a whole new ball game for us working with young adults, defenses may be high, shyness or youthful arrogance may make it difficult to read what’s going on. They may not have the full range of life skills (such as patience) for coping with new or challenging situations that we take for granted with adults, especially as we often have a wide range of age-groups on the workshops. They may not even want to be there. So this will be a journey for us too. A journey in being patient, of staying in the moment, of trying to observe the undercurrents, remembering the importance of encouragement. We want to ensure that this workshop can lead to new horizons, to discoveries, to awakening possibilities. If we also manage to build a working wind turbine that will be an added bonus this time.

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