Ecoventure – My first Erasmus+ project

The “Ecoventure” project wasn’t something I was able to explain in a sentence when I met for a coffee with my friends after coming back. It was an adventure, it was something new and exciting that came to me out of nowhere and without even having the time to process it fully…until a few days after it was over.

I have heard about Erasmus+ projects before but never really looked for one until that random Wednesday when I was on Facebook and I saw this post about camping, connecting to nature, driving from country to country and discovering the beauty of traveling with nothing more than a tent and a sleeping bag (and some clothes, of course). It was a long shot, I was supposed to do something else that time, but when I saw it, it felt like it was meant to be.

The time has come! I started packing and in a moment a found myself on a camp, putting tents together with 30 other people from Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. People I’ve just met. People that after a few days felt like they were my friends for years. Crazy, right? To put so many “randoms” in the middle of nowhere and make them spend 24/7 together: cooking, eating, cleaning, sleeping and doing everything else as one.

When I told them this is my first project they laughed. What was I thinking to start with a project like that? It would have been impossible to find something more atypical than that. Well, maybe I don’t know yet how a normal project looks like but if the organizers and the participants are this amazing all the time, I’m not thinking twice about signing up for a next project.

We dried in the sun of Romania and froze a bit in the wind of Bulgaria, we learned how to cook and eat the Romanian “bulz” (polenta with a specific cheese in the middle), we swam among the Greek shores and rowed canoes in Bulgaria’s most beautiful lake. We cooled down in a Romanian river when the heat was over our heads and pedalled dozens of kilometres by bike in the most beautiful landscapes of Bulgaria. We admired shooting stars on the rocks near the Greek sea and learned about each culture in an unique and inspired way. Every experience felt like a scene taken out of a movie: touching to the bone but surreal from time to time.

We used our last day to discuss about our impressions on the project. Indeed, not everything went as planned or as wished but in my opinion that only made the project more authentic and fun in some ways. Overall, when we were all sitting in a circle looking at each other and talking about the period that was behind us, the thing we all agreed on the most was that it didn’t feel forced or planned, dragged or unnatural, not even for a second. It felt like an amazing time with a bunch of friends I hope I will see again someday.

The content for this post is part of our online blog called “Ecoventure” which aims to share our experience in the Erasmus+ Youth Exchange ”Ecotourism Ventures for Youth Environmental Education”. The project was financed with the support of the European Commission through Erasmus+ Programme. This blog reflects only the author’s views, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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