How do we explain the journey?

So after twelve days travelling across the UK, we’ve all taken our last journey home. Our lovely “Drivers for Change bubble” has been burst and we’ve all gone back into our normal lives.

I feel so fortunate to have been able to take part in this incredible journey, travelling to some amazing places in the UK, meeting inspiring people and seeing social enterprises in action along the way. But unfortunately we had to say goodbye at some point; all good things have to come to an end. It was an emotional twelve days, with massive highs but also a few lows. We shared so many emotions along the way, especially on Saturday afternoon at the Southbank Centre when everyone shared their personal journeys – I don’t think there was one dry eye in the room! For me, that afternoon showed how open and safe we were all able to feel with each other which meant we bonded in a way that usually takes years! It truly felt like one massive, crazy family.

Abi with her social enterprise team on Drivers for Change
Abi with her Drivers for Change project team

Drivers for Change took over our whole lives for 12 days and became our new reality so coming home to ‘normal’ life has been strange. Not having a massive group of people around me all day from all over the UK (and the world) has been quite lonely at times. Despite all that we learnt, it is all too easy to fall back into old routines and go back to old habits, because even though I’ve changed an awful lot, home is still the same, except our perceptions of it have not. We learnt on this journey that our home community is a place that we should be proud of, and is where change can really happen.

Now that I’ve got home, my friends and family are asking me lots of questions about my journey. I’ve heard “What were you actually doing?” asked many times, as well as the favourite “What was Gordon Brown like in real life?” (One of my friends even called Drivers for Change the ‘Gordon Brown Journey’).

How do we explain such a life-changing journey to people who don’t have hours to listen to us ramble on about our experience? I haven’t found a way to answer their questions in a way that does the programme justice. I could talk to them for days about everything I learnt about social enterprise, the U.K. and myself, but no one has the time for that. Maybe I should take the advice we were given by Red Bull in our pitching session, and tell the story of our journey as a movie trailer!

I know that this journey is going to have a massive impact on all of our lives, through changed perceptions of where we’re from and the world around us, as well as new connections and more exciting opportunities. I know that every single person on the journey has the capability of changing the world for the better, and will do so, in their own communities and across the world. I hope that in conversations about Drivers for Change, this shows through and I can convey the passion for change that the journey has brought out in me. I hope that as we talk to people, they will see the huge significance Drivers for Change has had in our lives, not only in what we say but how we act and our plans for the future.

Abi enjoys the sun set at the beach in Porthcawl, South Wales
A moment of reflection: watching the sunset at the beach in Porthcawl, South Wales

 

And friends and family, if you’re reading this – please take the time to not only ask the questions but also to listen to the answers, this journey may only have been 12 days long but it is definitely an important milestone in so many people’s lives.

We’ve all changed over this journey so it’s completely understandable that it’s hard to go back to our lives, and even though most of us have been in the country we call home, we may have been suffering from something similar to reverse culture shock. It’s now the time to go back into the real world and go back to studying, working or whatever else we’re doing but we must not forget all the lessons we’ve learnt, about social enterprise but more importantly about our communities and ourselves. Please stay in contact with the people we met, because the most important lesson I learnt on the journey is the importance of making connections with people and having people around to support you.

We need to remember that now is when the real journey begins! We can’t make a change if we’re in our comfort zone and our vulnerabilities enable us to make a difference, so let’s embrace the next journey and see where it takes us! I can’t wait to see what happens next, there are so many future world leaders within the group – so watch this space!


Thank you to Abi for writing this blog post.

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