This January, I had the opportunity to talk with Marcela. What a way to start the New Year! Marcela is full of passion and has had experiences most of us have only dreamed of.
Marcela hails from Medellín, Colombia but has lived in Canada, Spain, France, Italy, and the United States. Her favorite place to live? Obviously, Italy! She lived in Palermo, Sicily for a year. Part of what inspired her to start ON BOARD was the work she did there.
“I was doing a volunteer year with a catholic movement called Regnum Christi and my role was to develop a program called ‘Angelo per un Giorno’ (angel for a day). The way locals engaged with the program was a mind blowing experience and a beautiful reward. The people I met are still my family today. They teach me how to discover who I really am and going back to visit them is always a reminder of the person I want to be.”
ON BOARD, just four months old, is a “mobile outdoor classroom." Basically, the philosophy behind ON BOARD is that you can’t learn by staying put; the world is a classroom, and travel is the most authentic way of learning.
Marcela emphasizes that ON BOARD is not a travel agency: “We are a community of travelers, of people wanting to become life-long learners, willing to cross the threshold of their respective comfort zones to become their best selves. We don't sell packages; we create unforgettable experiences. We are not guides; we are facilitators of an inner journey that will be translated into an incredible life changing experience.”
Marcela and her co-founder, Camilo Russi, created ON BOARD because they couldn’t find a program like it. Marcela left her conventional educational path and “wanted to learn while traveling and at the same time be able to create a sustainable impact.” When she discovered that the experience she was looking for wasn’t out there, she didn’t give up. Instead, ON BOARD was born!
Marcela has learned a lot from starting ON BOARD, but most importantly, she’s discovered the importance of collaboration. “We have received lots of support from the traveling and education world that could be seen as ‘competitors.’ However, many of them have become mentors, always giving us a thumbs up, supporting us the way they can, spreading the word or giving advice.”
Marcela and Camilo have high hopes for the future of ON BOARD. They hope to expand to other countries. “Ideally,” Marcela says, “they [will] invite us to create the ON BOARD experience in and around their countries.”
Samantha is a junior at Columbia University studying Art History & Visual Arts. She is the Content Editor at MISSION.tv.