Tsolife:Intro

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This is a restored version of the old wiki.tsolife.org website. Information on this page is several years old and outdated.
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The Travelling school of live was a skillsharing network for moneyless travelling and learning. The website tsolife.org hosted a multi-lingual wiki where hosts and travellers could register themselves and publish skillsharing events. Before those workshops participants mutually agreed on the conditions of their endeavor on which base they want to share knowledge and at which cost guests are hosted. The basic principle was to keep costs as low as possible by means of recycling, swapping, free giving and fundraising. No one should be excluded from learning because of money.


About

"The Travelling School of Life" global learning network

The Travelling School of Life is a global education network connecting people who want to share their knowledge and resources. It supports people in interacting with each other and creating their own ways of learning and teaching, developing approaches which are often different from those used in universities, schools and vocational courses. Even if you are involved in formal education you can still use Tsolife to complement and expand upon your studies.

The network is a tool that can be used to spread information through direct social interaction, making it accessible to people all around the world. You yourself decide which subjects, at which time, in which place, with which people, using which methods and for which reason you want to learn with and from each other.

Global and regional

At www.tsolife.org you can find people with similar interests to yours all over the world and publish your own ideas and offers in your profile. The learning experience is voluntary - there are no obligations. There are two levels to the network: the global, which operates via the internet, and the regional, which is not internet dependent, thus providing a solid basis for the global network. This global network works best when you create regional networks with your friends, peer group, family, or join groups which already exist. Together, you can then work out the learning opportunities you can offer at the global level. In these regional groups you can take part in self-directed learning and support one another with advice – useful, since this approach to learning is a new experience for almost everyone. The network's organisational tasks are taken on by voluntary groups worldwide, such as a website group or an advertisement group.

Learning while travelling – travelling while learning

When travelling you encounter new situations, meet new people and discover different lifestyles and perspectives on life. In this context "travelling" does not mean "tourism", but rather respectful interaction with your surroundings. The travelers organise themselves in the growing "virtual community" and get to know each other over time at meetings and on the website.

Places for learning could be with individuals, friendship groups, families, action groups, communities, ecovillages, squats, farms, as well as commercial enterprises. Together, these offer a great deal of space, material, skills, knowledge, workshops and much more, that you need for your learning path. Learning is no longer separated from life but completely integrated with it, and knowledge and life experiences are thus accorded worth independently of their economic value. We can discover new interests and inspire ourselves.

Free education for all!

All those taking part have to make agreements about the conditions under which they want to share knowledge. Of course you sometimes need money for materials, but first of all it is important to keep costs as low as possible. Therefore recyling, sharing, swapping and giving are explored as well as fundraising. Nobody should be excluded from learning by lack of money.


The education in Travelling School of Life

Philosophy of learning

The first question when talking about education is: What is the goal of ‘education’? The Travelling School of Life has found an answer in the following quote:

“Think about the kind of world you want to live and work in.

What do you need to know to build that world?”...

(Kropotkin)

... and then go and look for the teachers who can teach you that,

or the places and the conditions that support you to learn that.“

(Tsolife)

The people involved in Travelling School of Life want to contribute to building a more peaceful and sustainable world, where people treat each other and the planet in a more respectful and conscious way. Basic qualities are cooperation, solidarity, trust, etc.; see also statutes.
Many of the things needed to build such a world are not taught in traditional educational programs, nor are they sufficiently considered in "alternative" education programs. Far too often people are being "filled up" with knowledge that has no relation with them and does not serve them for anything. "Someone" decides what they should learn, instead of the learners themselves. This cannot be an effective and useful knowledge transfer. In contrast, the Travelling School of Life aims to be a supportive framework for people to develop - self-motivated and actively - the skills and knowledge they need to build up our world. One's individual curriculum can include both usual and still unusual subject areas. The way of learning is self-organised and self-accountable.

Everything in TSoLife is based on trust, responsibility, visibility. We emphasize sharing, clear and non-violent communication, co-operation, awareness of emotions, ability to deal with conflicts. Learners are also teachers; teachers are also students. 'Learner' and 'teacher' are flexible and dynamic roles.

Contents - what can you learn?

In TSoLife you can develop practical, social and mental skills, covering common and maybe uncommon subject areas. "Uncommon", because the world we want to build may be different from the one we are living in now, so there are things we have not been used to teach, learn and live.

Subjects can be things like:

  • All kinds of crafts, practical work and art
  • Bioregions, Resisting Globalisation, Permaculture, Local Organic Food, Biodiversity
  • Ecological Building, Ecovillage Design,
  • Consumption and Recirculation
  • Creativity, Personal Unfolding, Spirituality, Finding Divinity within,
  • Uniting with Nature, Celebrating Life, Honoring Cultures
  • Worldviews (holistic, integral), Science and Philosophy
  • Natural Cycles, Localization, Wilderness, Earth Restoration,
  • Lifecycle Analyses, Localizing Economics, Complementary Currencies,
  • Building Community, Emanzipate Sexuality
  • Decision-Making, Conflict Resolution, Living and Learning, Education and Communication
  • Relationship of children and elderly, Integration of Handicapped,
  • Healthy Lifestyle, Preventive Healthcare, Complementary Medicine, Modernizing Welfare
  • Theatre and music
  • Gender issues
  • Political activism techniques, direct action, making campaigns,
  • Technical and electrical things
  • Working with computers
  • and so on...

Ways of learning - How does “learning” happen?

The first principle of teaching is that nothing can be taught
(Sri Aurobindo)

According to our interpretation of this quote, there are various reasons why “nothing can be taught”:

  • Learning is an action of the learner.

People want to learn, if you let them....
Nobody can put something into someone's brain and fill it up like an empty book. You can offer skills and knowledge, but the learner takes it in actively and voluntarily.

  • “Life-Learning” happens often without schedule and planning.

People ‘learn’ (i.e. understand, experience) things when it’s the right moment for them. And that is different for each individual person.

  • First when you use what you have learned, you really assimilate it!

By applying what you have learned, you deepen your understanding of it and memorize it more easily. And in order to pass on knowledge to someone else, you have to think through it again carefully in order to be able to communicate it. You get a new perspective and a deeper insight.


Considering these statements, there are three levels of learning in the Travelling School of Life: You...

  • ...learn what you choose to learn

You choose, consciously, what you want to learn. The framework of the Travelling School of Life supports you to realize your learning plan. (Curriculum, mentor, learning partners, modules, meetings, etc.)

  • ...learn additional, unplanned things in daily life

This learning happens often unconsciously, in daily life, and especially in the daily interaction with people. By making it conscious, we can make it more effective, more visible and more useful. The framework of TsoLife creates an environment that catalyzes this unconscious learning and animates to make it more conscious by reflecting alone and with others. (Opening Course, students' community, reflecting meetings, diary, etc.)

  • ...learn by using and passing on what you are learning.

In Travelling School of Life you have a lot of possibilities to directly use what you have learned in your own projects, and to pass on your knowledge to others and so deepen your own understanding of it. Naturally, there is a continuous exchange of skills and experiences among the students community, and you are encouraged to create your own workshops for other students.

These three ways of learning are a basic categorisation of how learning happens in Travelling School of Life. For further classification look at the different types of modules.
In a way, using these different ways of learning are a learning experience themselves, independently from the subject areas we are dealing with... Some skills for building up this kind of world mentioned earlier are cooperation, solidarity, self responsibility and others that are enhanced by the structure and ways of learning in TSoLife.

Resources – where does learning happen?

The Travelling School of Life wants to make existing resources accessible - through networking, collecting data, coordinating, supporting low cost activities.
Ideal places for learning "things we need in order to build the world we want" are places where people are living according to this aim. In many projects like ecovillages and intentional communities, people have come together in order to create a lifestyle according to their ideals - more ecological, more social, more cooperative and solidary, more creative, more conscious, more responsible, etc.
The idea to use these places as 'learning centers' is not new and does not come from the Travelling School of Life. Many people have discovered these places for themselves as colourful resources for learning useful things in a creative way. TSoLife starts from there, adding some more ideas and improvements, connecting the people who up to now are doing this individually and alone, and creating an online portal for exchanging information and experiences.
Although TSoLife has started from the idea to visit ecovillages, communities and eco-farms, the network is open and future hosts can be all kinds of different places that we may not have thought about yet.

Who could join? target group

"Students": a wide range of people who

  • are looking for their own way and their contribution to the world
  • are motivated to learn by living/doing/working
  • want to get to know new ways of living
  • are searching an alternative to the alienated lifestyle of the current western society (alienated from nature and from each other)
  • want to learn what is meaningful to them instead of taking an educational program where others decide what they should know
  • etc.

"Hosts": existing or starting individuals, groups and projects who

  • want to share their knowledge and experience in order to spread them in our society
  • would like to see some young, youthful energy in their place
  • like the idea of “volunteering” but see the need for improvement (save resources by hosting well prepared people and facilitating small groups rather than individuals)
  • want to improve their educational skills by teamworking with other hosts

Statutes

This document has been created during the Zajezka meeting Feb06.

TSoLife basic principles:
How we want to work with each other when creating the TSoLife education.

Trust
Instead of controlling each other and inventing control mechanisms, we trust in each other’s good will and that they will give their best to act in a way that is good for the whole TSoLife. We trust that every member of TSoLife protects the reputation of the name ‘TSoLife’ when acting for TsoLife. We are aware that we are never able to decide and speak in the name of all Tsol-members - I can only represent myself.

Responsibility
The basics of the education and of the communication among members is self-responsibility. We are aware of our responsibility for the impact of our actions upon our environment.

Solidarity
We want to support each other, in promoting our projects and our personal development. We are aware of differences and respect them, but in cases of disadvantages we want to help to overcome them.

Sharing
We believe that sharing of skills and knowledge contributes to our personal growth. Additionally its an important step to deconstruct formal hierarchies.

Self-organisation / self-sufficiency
We embrace self organisation instead of consumption. This allows us to be more autonomous and stimulates our creativity.

  • Open organisation is the easiest and most direct way to work effectively and in a big community. (more)
  • Open and direct communication. We strive towards a life enhancing communication as a part of organisation.

Deep democracy
We are aware of hierarchies, discover them and discuss them. We create an organisation without hierarchies. Common decisions only have the task to give a frame in which a variety of ways to decide, to learn and to build communities are free to take place.

Visibility
Visibility lays the ground for trust and equal cooperation. We call it 'visibility' rather than 'transparency', because transparent things are invisible and we want to be visible!

Low budget
TSoLife is non-commercial. Knowledge and skills (including food and accomodation) are given for free, for work or for little money. Its an dynamic and complex process of giving and taking.

Sustainability/ecology
In all our actions we also take the responsibility for future generations on the planet. We manage our work and meetings with an ecological awareness. For example in using organic, fairtrade and regional products.

Beauty and joy
If it ain’t fun it ain’t sustainable. Fun gives a deep inner motivation to follow one subject and spread the view towards new horizons. Its the key to your natural curiosity which is the source of all science.


How to make decisions in the TSoLife

The basic principle of the TSoLife community is trust (that the others do the best for all; and that they involve me when it really concerns me) and responsibility. All members try their best to work as a community. Basic decisions are made by consensus.
Things in the concept and implementation of TSoLife should only be changed by people who have an idea about it, who have tried out what they are going to change!
Meetings about discussing and developing TSoLife further shall be announced clearly in advance, so that everyone who wants to be there gets the chance to plan to be there or to give input.

Pinciple of open organisation

  • Whoever does something, does it (compare to open source software)
  • Transparency
  • Wiki (a kind of web-forum, where everybody can design)

Core group

  • An open group of “active” people meet and design TSoLife
  • Especially for CIC, publicity and financial stuff?
  • Don’t do everything, but know everything (info point)

Working in groups

  • Small groups for special tasks
  • Consensus at all meetings

Time schedule of the year

  • One meeting in January
  • One at the summer gathering



Info about consensus: www.iifac.org and www.zhaba.cz , introduction of “Eurotopia” (ISBN: 00000000000, www.eurotopia.de),
Info about open organization: www.openorganisations.org

Framework

Questions answered in this document:
How does the network TsoLife look like and function?
How does the education in TsoLife look like and function?

1. Framework for organizing tsolife (formal structure): meetings, website, communication. decision making. Finanzing. Documentation (making it visible, funding, accreditation): history book etc.

2. Framework for learning (in general): action learning path, curriculum, mentor, study group, reflection meetings, diary / folder (making it visible and conscious individually), students' community, Opening Course, accreditation

3. Framework for the modules (details of learning): types of modules, daily schedule, exchange, sharing circles,...


1. structure and organisation

Network for exchanging skills and experiences.
From hosts to students, from students to students, from hosts to hosts, and from students to hosts. creating trust in the network.

In order to create community and trust and a functioning network:
how to get in? Always through personal contact! Essential! Only so you can pass on the spirit. Not just by writing. -> before you can come in and start changing things in the structure, you have to have had personal contact with someone who's in. Then you have to join the next possible meeting (Opening Course for students; host meeting or TSoLife orga-meeting for hosts).

Students:
Opening Course

hosts:
host meeting (orga meetings) or students visiting their place, telling them about tsolife.

Furthermore:
getting to know each other. Personal presentation on internet. Take part in meetings.

For communication and sharing:

  • what's going on (visibility): history book and website.
  • Toolbox passed on from students to students
  • meetings (tsolife design meetings, host meetings, students meetings, big meetings,...)
  • TsoLife is a living network, with real personal contact! Therefor we come together whenever possible.
  • hostmeetings
  • Website/wiki
  • modules offered; also a tool for communication and creating trust (-> openness, personal presentations,..); tool for creating and designing tsolife, organising meetings, working on texts, etc.
  • fundraising

evaluation:
evaluating and documenting what happens is important for the development of tsolife. documentation is important for the development of TsoLife and possible future accreditation. Both students and hosts please keep track of what's happening, type it into the wiki.


2. the individual learning process

Opening Course:
Students get into thinking about 'community and ecovillages', what do I want to learn, how can a gorup organize itself, what does it mean to be a student of tsolife, ...

curriculum / action learning path:
make your own curriculum. the curriculum is like a contract between you, your mentor and your learning group. you do some modules and your final project, make a documentation and out of them your folder.

mentor:
Each student has a mentor who helps to get on with the curriculum. They are in regular contact, and the student reports back how he is proceeding.

Reflection / learning group:
Each student chooses some partners (1-4) to be in regular contact in order to reflect about the learning progress and exchange ideas. this learning group helps you to focus your aim.

modules:
A module is a building blocks in the personal curriculum. Some offered by hosts, some just made by students. How long such a module is, depends on the offerings of the hosts and from the needs of the travellers. Tsolife education consits of what hosts offer, but also what students learn outside the hosts, in the group, or by themselves. There can be offered a variety of different types of modules within one learning module. Content, methods (module-type) and timetables depends on what the host can offer and what fits to their needs. see Types of modules.

TSOLife diary:
In the diary, the students keep track of their learning progress. Writing down things also requires some reflecting and helps to deepen the learning. website


3. Modules

For types of modules & daily schedule of a TSoLife activity see Types of modules. Basic ingredients of each module (=each TSoLife activity) are:

Evaluation/feedback of hosts:
After a stay at a host, there is an evaluation talk with the people that have been working with the student in order to give feedback on how they see his/her learning progress.

Feedback/critizism of other students:
Others can tell you things about yourself that you may not see yourself. It can be feedback on skills or the learning progress, or on how other perceive you. In TSoLife students are trained to give direct feedback during the day, in evening circles or during group time activities dedicated to giving feedback.

Open and honest communication/direct feedback:
some exampels??

use TsoLife history book:
There is one in every host place. It’s for letting others (who come after you) see what was going on here with TsoLife before… Someone, maybe the reporter of the day, takes care of it.

Summary

Students take part in Opening Course where they get introduced to what the Travelling School of Life is and how it works. They become part of the learning community and get prepared for their travel and for visiting ecovillages, community projects or other kinds of hosts. Then they start travelling as 'student without learning plan' or 'student with learning plan'.

'Students without learning plan' take time to look around, get some idea of possibilities and get more integrated in the 'community' of travelling students of life.

'Students with learning plan' have a clear idea of what they want to learn. They find a mentor and a learning partner, make their curriculum and choose their modules. Then they start their 'action learning path', travelling alone or in groups, doing different modules in different places, meeting other students from time to time at hosts doing the same module. They arrange regular 'students reflecting meetings' for sharing experiences. They will notice that they do not only learn things they had planned, but also things they hadn't expected. And they will immediately use their knowledge in own practical projects and pass on what they learned to other students, in order to deepen their understanding.


Interaction of students and hosts

The 'students' of Travelling School of Life are people who are interested in creating their personal education, learning what and how they choose to learn. The contents cover a broad range of topics, many of them you cannot learn in 'traditional' educational paths (formations, university, ...). In Travelling School of Life, you learn in and from real life – learning is not seperated from the rest of life! Rather, you make yourself more and more aware of what you are actually learning all day long... things you planned to learn and things you didn't plan to learn...
The students are part of a growing 'community', which is the community of TsoLife students, spread over Europe, getting to know one another better and better, even though not everyone knows everyone personally. They meet and do things together, travel sometimes in small groups, sometimes alone, and help spreading the idea of TsoLife and passing on experiences to the always 'next generation' of newcoming students. They are developing 'traditions' and a growing box of tools for working with groups/organizing oneself as a group that they pass on to one another.

The 'hosts' of the Travelling School of Life are people and places that offer the space and conditions for students to learn- be it resources like books and internet, people with specific skills and knowledge, workshops or work places where it is possible to learn by doing.
These resources can be used by the students in exchange of 'energy' in different forms, involving as little financial costs as possible. TSoLife is about low budget learning in order to make it possible for many young people to take part. Therefore, we hope to deal with as little exchange of money as possible – before using money, we try to exchange different kinds of energy (work, help, time, skills, ...). The detailed conditions for students visiting and learning at hosts have to be agreed on between host and student(s) in each case individually. Some hosts may offer modules with a specific date, topic and group size for people to come; other may just offer the possibility for one student to come and stay for a while, taking part in the daily life of the host and learning from there. Sometimes students will have to pay for food and accomodation, and help with work in exchange for receiving workshops, or learn by helping with a specific kind of work; sometimes they may live there in exchange for work; sometimes they may pay a small amount for using material; etc. A special opportunity for a host of TSoLife is the possibility to get a lot of work done with fun by a group of TSoLife students and benefit in several ways: They can get groups of people who are relatively self-organized and can manage to do quite some work, compared to single visitors or to groups who need a lot of 'taking care of them'. The hope is (we are still trying.. with some first, good results!) that a group of students of TSoLife can visit a host, and the host only needs to take care of organizing and explaining the work. The group can take care about all their social processes themselves, solve their conflicts, make their free-time program, etc.

A student, or group of student, can visit a host that is already part of the network; or find new places through their own initiative and get them involved. Some students may prefer to travel around without a concrete plan, joining different modules organized by hosts; others may have a very clear plan of what they want to learn and explicitly look for places where they can learn exactly this.

Network

On this site:
Projects and people with similar or same ideas as TSoLife
projects and people that definately should know about each other, get connected among one another and with TSoLife!
If you have any contacts, please add them here.
See Links also.

hospitalityclub.org

first host sharing platform. controversial because it's not open. criticising people get deleted without any warning or discussion.

(It's hard to stay neutral in this debate. Please take these links only as information, instead of a judgement.)

couchsurfing

more open host sharing network.

bewelcome.org

A fork of HC. read why

mensch.coop

a blog with articles and webpages about cooperational economy. they are developing a new software. a meeting is set for oct 15th in Berlin at the Brueckenschlaeger office.

others

Meetings/gatherings/events to connect

events where TSoLife will be present or where you want to invite TSoLife:
  • Ecotopia 2006 (Zajezova, Slovakia, August 5 - August 15)
  • Ecotopia 2007 (Portugal, August)
  • one of our own projects: Tsolife Tour 2008/2009

How to be a host for TSoLife

Note: this text is an outcome of the Zajezka meeting in February 06 and is not quite up-to-date anymore.

How to put it all in practice? - Instruction for using the framework and filling it with life.

Contents:
1. What it means to be a host of TsoLife
2. Offering a module
3. Using the website
4. Organizing an Opening Course
5. Organizing a host meeting


What it means to be a host of TSoLife

  • Who can be a host?

ecovillages, intentional communities, social projects, organic farms, youth organisations, etc.

  • What preconditions does a host need to fulfill? - Is TsoLife for me?

TsoLife is for you if you...

  • Agree to the statutes. Want to work with (young) people who want to travel and learn on a low budget (often learn and maybe get food and accomodation in exchange for work).
  • Are aware that in the Travelling School of Life, hosts can also be 'students' – have an interested in reflection, self-development and want to take difficult situations and criticism as an opportunity to grow rather than as a problem.
  • Are ready to take active part in the network - that means being in touch with other members (host meetings, communication via internet) and contribute to the development of TsoLife (with ideas, documentation of TsoL events at your place, etc.).
  • How can a host join the network?

A host can join the network after being invited by someone from the network, be it a group of students visiting them during their travel, or another host. He puts a self description on the website and publishes information about the modules he can offer. He should join a TsoL meeting (host meeting, big meeting) as soon as possible after joining the network in order to deepen the connections within the network.


Offering a Module

What do I need, what can I give?
You offer a module according to your needs and possibilities/capacities.
First get clear: Why do I want to offer a module? What do I want to give? What do I wish to get out of it? Maybe you just want to spread your idea of an ecological lifestyle to young people because of pure idealism; maybe you hope to get some work done with a group of strong people; maybe you like youthful energy and cultural exchange for some days; etc.
When thinking about your needs, you may consider the following points:

types of students

Students are people with different kinds of skills and experiences, and who have been travelling with TsoLife for more or less time. Some students have just participated in an Opening Course and started travelling, others have been travelling for quite a while.
There are students without a learning plan. They are in their 'orientation phase', looking around in order to get an idea of what possibilities there are and find out what they want to get into more deeply.
Students with a learning plan have a clear idea of their goals and want to get into depths with some specific topics. They have designed their personal curriculum and are doing their action learning path. They may have a clearer idea of what they are doing and why compared to the others, as they have already passed the orientation phase, and may have gained some skills in their topics already.
However, the length of time someone has been with TsoLife is not necessarily an indicator of how much he knows – as there is such a huge variety of topics e.g. he may know a lot about accounting, but nothing yet about tree pruning. If you really need students with specific skills, make sure to make it clear in the description of the module.

group size

self organized group: students able to function as self organized group quickly, even if they do not know each other before; as learning about self organisation is part of tsolife, especially of Opening Course. However, if the group has been travelling together for a while already, you can expect it to function quite well. If it is a new group, you may need to give some extra time in the beginning of their stay in order to get together and get organized. (also a group that knows each other will need some time for themselves in the beginning, in order to get adapted as a group to the new place; but this is less than if it is a new group).
big group can do a lot of work; needs more infrastructure and supervising
small group can function more easily together
big group for a big project, or splitting up in smaller groups for the work

type of module

see types of modules.
The first three types can be offered by hosts, the other three lies in the responsibility of the travellers themselves and you can only support them with an access to helpful infrastructure.
Some modules require more input (students benefit, hosts give), some are more useful for hosts (more work gets done). This depends on the type of module, on the group size, type of group (self organized?), and on the individuals of course (how much experience they have, etc.)


For example: one host-person who knows pottery can imagine to teach a few hours a day to a student who stays for two months. In exchange, the student helps with pottery, cleaning, cooking, or whatever (be creative about conditions/deals)
Or: We invite a group of 10 people for one week to help with a specific work project
Or: we invite a group of 15 people for two weeks to help with different kinds of work (for small groups of 3-4 people)


When thinking about your capacities, you may consider the following things:

  • who can teach something - everyone in the community has something! Use resources, also around!
  • Sleeping places
  • careperson (not so important, tsolifers are quite indpendent)

Overall, there should be a good balance between the integration of TSOLife students into the community, and cultivating their own community. Likely, the bigger the group of students, the more they will take care of their own group and be less dependent on the community they visit. In the case of fewer individuals (less than 5?) visiting a place, they will more quickly and easily integrate into the community and do without TSOLife traditions such as ‘king of the day’ or a big sharing circle. They will need more care of the community and the possibility to take part in community life more intensively.

  • Food / cooking facilities


Details for planning the module:

Details:

  • When can you host students?

(all year round, whole March, august 6th till august 20th, ...)

  • What are the conditions?

Financial issues. Recommendation: Be clear about where the money goes and how it is calculated. It is essential to have transparency about the economy related to hosting TSoLife students (how much does the food cost, how much the room, or if everything is for free etc.)

  • How long before arriving should students apply

(call 1 week before, write one month before, etc.)

  • Which kind of contact before? A letter? meeting before? or a telephone call?
  • Do you have one special contact person?
  • What should students bring along?

(e.g sleeping bag, tent, etc.)

  • Recommendations about working hours per day/week

The deal between host and student(s) depends on the needs of the specific host and student(s). There are some recommendations on working hours per day: Consider the fact that these people are studying. They need time for studying (reading, reflecting,...).
Especially: when they come in a group, they need time for the group. This then allows them to function as a group, which is also beneficial to the work to be done. The daily work however should not exceed 5-6 hours. There should be 1 free day and one free afternoon per week.


Financial aspects

(chaotic collection of copied/pasted text; needs organizing!)

There should be a fair exchange of energy – in form of work and/or money. Whether the students’ work really compensates their costs for food and lodging and personal input from hosts depends on the circumstances, i.e. the type of work, the type of ecovillage, the type of students,… If a well functioning group of students comes to help with a big working task, and the group is able to take care of itself so that instructors are only needed to supervise the practical work, the host may find that the group is compensating their real expenses. Important is, that the participated people are satisfied. Fairness is sometimes very subjective. Perhaps somebody want to give hosts for getting knowledge and skills for free and perhaps sometimes somebody likes to donate more than wanted amount of work or money for a good experiences that he/she made. Exploitation of travellers as “cheap working slaves” is one thing that rules itself latest with the evaluation and discussions in the internet. In such a case, nobody else will come back except masochistic people, who want to make this special experience...

Old (from action plan):
Students will have to pay for their personal expenses such as travelling, food and accommodation, based on the eco-rate system. In some cases hosts may be able to offer food and lodging in exchange for the student’s help with work (like in volunteering programbs). Students should not have to pay for the costs of the education itself; the aim is rather to find other sources for funding. Its also important to acknowledge things that are for free. People, who don't have the financial possibilities to pay for their hosts should get help with fundraising and a solidarity-foundation. It helps to break social borders caused by financial situation and social environment. If there is a decision-structure to decide who is getting money and who is not getting support is an open question.


Publishing the information

Publish the info about the module with all details on the website:
Write the title in the calendar and create a new page where you explain more.
An example!
Publish information as in the examples above. Important: clear clear clearest description of conditions. specify everything as clear as possible: living conditions, vegetarian/meat eating, location, integration in the local culture, distance to next shop, animals/no animals, how many people live there, more details (from host questionaire)


Examples for a possible module (titles): The topic of the course can be any of the ones mentioned under pedagogic. A few imaginary examples for possible TSOLife modules:

  • Module (I) „strawbale building: plastering with hay and clay�. Permalot, May 3rd – 9th, 10 people.
  • Module (I) „organic gardening: planting and säen�. Sieben Linden, April 7th *15th, 6 people
  • Module (I) �vegetarian cooking for 60-200 people�. ZeGG, all year, 1-2 people
  • Module (II) „woodcarving: making wooden bowls and spoons�, Zajezova, June 5th – 9th, 7 people
  • Module (II) „basics of arabian language�, The international community, February – August, 1-2 people.One inhabitant teaches a few hours of his native language a day, just for fun / exchange. Conditions for staying: bla bla bla.
  • Module (II) „traditional crafts: woodcarving, pottery and working with wool�, Zajezova, 1-3 people, May-September.
  • Module (III) �We offer a good library about holistic worldview and you can talk to people about it�, Acht Eichen, 1-3 people, whole year. Call before, pay 8 Euro per day, if you stay longer than for 1 week: work a few hours a day, etc.

Dealing with the students:

  • Groups: when inviting a group (who do not know each other everyone, but have same culture and can organize themselves quickly): give them the first afternoon/day free, for themselves to get organized as a group!
  • Individuals: integrate them into the community (as much as acceptable and if they want). Let them take part in the community life! They may be very interested and have some idea about community life.
  • Individuals: have their personal curriculum, want to learn specific things, want low-budget learning: learning by living and working instead of paying for expensive courses. -> agree with them on conditions: all for free, pay for food and lodging, work for education; work for everything; …. Do not use the students as an income, for example by giving them an expensive room and luxurious food and charge them a lot of money for that.
  • Respect TSoLife culture: especially if they come as a group, they need time for cultivating and organising their group: morning circles, evening circles, group sharing, games, free afternoon, etc. When coming as an individual: need time for writing, reflecting, reading.
  • TSoLife may be very interested in learning about community and sharing experiences and would appreciate getting a closer insight into how your community works.


During and after the module taking place

  • history book
  • documentation/evaluation for TSoLife
  • feedback to the students, certification for module

Using the Website

Its very important to actualise all changes and offers in the internet. You can also use the internet to see what people are discussing about the website, the concept of TsoLife, and also about your host and you are invited to join in the discussion! If you are new with using internet and Wikis, please don't be ashamed to say if something is too much for you. If it seems really necessary, you can ask people to take a role as “internet-tool”. Its a special kind of working together, you say or write what you would like to change and a person you trust and who is willing and able to do this, makes all the changes for you. Its important to involve also the people who don't have all these technical possibilities and all this knowledge for using internet perfectly. For this reason it would be helpful to make a magazine if something really new changes at the website and if a lot of new members were joining, so, that all people are actually involved.

Data-Safety in Internet For the open list in the internet you need to give serious thought to how detailed you want to be when listing your contacts (address, names, telephone number, email address, etc...) The minimal description is your “learning-module”-offer and one email-link which must not be the real link but which directs the email stuff to your real email address - this avoids letting everybody know your real email address (personal message system).

Host questionnaire

Brainstorming from Zajezka meeting Feb 06; to be worked over!
Name of Host Organisation:
Address:
Contact person:
Telephone number (including country code):
fax number:
email address:
web address:
(the above info will not be public available; only to graduates of Opening Course and hosts)

Description of Host organisation:
Your founding year:
Are you:
a)a community in planning
b)an ecovillage or ecosettlement (what do you mean by that?)
c)an educational centre
d)other
You are located in:
Total number of members:
Of which number of women: number of men: number of children: Which languages are spoken in the community:
How Many work inside the community?
Who makes important decisions?
How are decisions made?
Type of financing:
Owner of building/land:
Ideological Principles:
Spiritual Principles:
Main area of activities:
New members are/are not welcome:
Admission requirements for new members:
Welcome working guests in exchange for board and lodging:
Do not explicitly offer board and lodging:

ACTIVITIES FOR TSOLIFE STUDENTS Course title:
Description:
Dates:
Amount of TSoLifers desired:
Facilitators:
Accommodation:

  • What kind of accommodation:
  • Maximum number of TSoLifers you can accommodate:

Special things to bring:
Which skills do you require?
Other requirements:
Additional information:
TSoLife Price (in Euros and 'Ecorates'):
Latest registration:


When filling out the form: Please consider the special target group: TSoLifers should require less service than typical volunteers/participants, should have gained a fair level of community/personal awareness. The TSoLife structure is best suited for more in-depth knowledge about one topic, rather than courses with introduction to a wide array of topics. The event may be a workcamp, seminar, course, etc: just make sure it’s clear from the description and mirrored in the price. Some TSoLifers may want to join their experiences towards a longer study; please make sure you know sufficient about the subject, which you offer to facilitate.

We advise that a TSoLife event should contain min. 50% TSoLifers. Participants may vary from 1 to many, and from weekend courses to months.
TSoLifers expect a high degree of local sustainability displayed in the kitchen: Please ensure a high degree of local products and of organic quality. (Offer possibility for vegetarian & vegan food)

How can I organize an Opening Course in my place?

Look at past Opening Courses.
Find some experienced students to take part in organizing it.
Try to get funding - for example EU youth program.

2. Organizing Opening Courses: a group of people comes together for 3 weeks. Enough time to make friends, become a group, and get into 'visiting more interesting places'.. During the Opening Course people can find one another who want to go on travelling together. They can look for interesting places, contact them, arrange a stay for a group and so maybe find a new host for the TSoLife network.

How can I organize a host meeting?

Its possible to make a newsletter or suggest a meeting on the website. If other people also like to meet they answer and discuss about it. Try to involve also students in this preparations and in the meeting. Make it using TSoLife ideas and methods.



Are you a potential host for TSoLife?

What it means to be a host for TSoLife in summer 07

The long-term vision of TSoLife is very big and offers space for a lot of different activities and different ways of how you can participate (see, for example, types of modules for more information.)
However, starting from where we are at the moment, "being a host of Travelling School of Life" basically means "being interested in hosting a group of TSoLife students for one or more weeks" this summer or next summer, for the following reasons and according to the following principles:

  • You have a lot of skills and knowledge that are worth passing on to the youth.
  • You have a lot of work to do of the type that takes you a long time if you do it alone and is quite boring. But if you do it with a group of people having fun with each other, even the work can be fun :-)
  • Therefore, you are interested in hosting a group of 5-10 TSoLife students for a week or more. They have spent time together in an Opening Course and learnt a bit about self organization and group dynamics, so they are somewhat 'easier' to host than other types of volunteers or voluteer groups that you are used to - they simply do not need so much 'taking care of personal issues and group dynamics' as they do it themselves. And they have made their thoughts about ecovillages, communities etc.
  • The group of TSoLife students comes to help you with your work a few hours a day, contributes to food & lodging if necessary, and in exchange you share with them some skills you have and they may want to learn.
  • Contact tsolife and sign up as a host!!

What it means to be a host of the developing (future) TSoLife

You are an eco-village, community, NGO, or any other group which offers courses, hosting possibilities, youth education etc. You focus on your topics, but you see "whole picture" - the need of holistic education. Serve better to our planet - join the network and become "host of TSoLife".

Basically many of the 'hosts' will just continue their usual educational work; but through the network we can share experience with each other, and also help new ones who have no experience with youth work; and we can offer a more coherent, complete life-education for youth than one single place can offer. All information about modules will be accessible in the TSoLife public online database.

Maybe you dream about youth which is somehow prepared to stay in eco-village or community. All of us would like to welcome people who are interested, active, sharing, able to deal with problems etc. All the young people, who come to you through TSoLife, will be trained during an Opening Course about community values, conflict prevention and resolution, group dynamics,...

Basically, the task of the hosts is to give access to learning resources for students – be it workshops, sharing daily life, teaching practical skills, offering the possibility to learn by helping with work, giving access to the library for students, talking about personal life experience, etc.

This can mean that a host offers specific modules for students of TSoLife, planned and organized by the host. The courses will vary considerably from place to place depending on the needs, capacity and experiences of the place. Maybe some places want to host a group of two to five people for two months, while another one would like to offer a three-week course for 20 people.

It can also mean that the students themselves come and ask for a specific module, and plan it themselves or in cooperation with the host. Or it can mean that an individual student on his/her personal 'learning path' knows exactly what he/she wants to learn and asks whether he/she can come and stay at the host for a while.

The specific conditions for the students staying at a host need to be agreed on in every situation individually; however the basic idea of TSoLife is to make an affordable, low-budget education that is based on sharing and exchanging energy in other forms than money as much as possible (or using external funding, see below).

All hosts should join a 'host meeting' or any other TSoLife meeting at some point, in order to create a living network where people know each other and feel part of it.

The network also searches for funding, as financial support could help this education to improve a lot. Many of the possible courses fit in the EU youth program and can be applied for individually, with other hosts of the network as partners for multinational projects.

But even if we do not get additional financial support, there are many possibilities, how to cooperate - do it together and better!

Homebase

After all this travelling, I find out again and again that what I really need is some kind of homebase. I have talked to several people already and it seems to be a real need for many 'people like me'. It is good to have such a homebase during the time of travelling - and for many people it cannot be the parents' home anymore. For me, it seems becoming my first priorty now, more important than all my travel plans... I personally have been thinking a lot about 'home' the last weeks (or actually months or maybe years... but intensively the past few weeks). What does 'home' mean for me? I found out that for me, what it needs to make me feel 'at home', is not so much a place but mainly a special type of people, or maybe a special type of contact to people or a special way of treating each other. I found that I often have this feeling of 'home' or of 'family', when I'm in groups of TSoLife... And that these groups are never stable in one place. So I can go 'home' during some weeks a year, whenever there is a meeting of TSoLife. But I would like to have a place where I can always have this feeling of 'home'... but at the same time it is not the moment for me yet to become sedentary and join or start a stable community somewhere. Rather, I would like to have a place of TSoLife - a place where I know I can always go and find someone of the 'family'.. and a place where I am really at home, not just a guest... as I am in so many places. An Open House for TSoLifers. Similar to the houses of the travelling craftsmen... that we compare so often when planning TSoLife and that gave us so much inspiration already :-)


So, here I will 'paint my picture' of what I would like to see existing... as a start :-) (Knowing what we want is the first step, I think, ... before answering all the questions of 'but how?' .. 'but where?'... 'but who?'... 'but how do you want to finance this?'...) I want a homebase for TSoLifers. A house that belongs to TSoLife. A place where we feel at home, and where we are at home, whenever we are there and however long we stay there. A place where there is no difference between the 'people who live there' and the guests: Where a lot of community program is going on (evening circles, singing, talks,...) where everyone is welcome and noone excluded. A place where we are not guests - like in many communities (where we are also welcome). It is a difference to be a guest or to be at home :-) A place where we don't have to work for staying there, but have a lot of freedom. Time and space to organize ourselves, to spend time together, to do things for TSoLife. A place close to an Ecovillage or community where we can go and help with work in exchange for food if we want; and find contact to people. A place with internet access and telephone. A place with good public transport connections. A place from where to organize 'society stuff' (paper stuff, phone calls, etc.) A place where we can leave the part of our things that we don't need on our next travel. A place where I know I will always find someone to talk to or to hug. A place where I feel at home, where I feel my family is there. A place where I find people to make an evening circle :-) and to play games and to sing An open place where people can stay for as long as they want - days, months, years, forever. No pressure to 'leave soon again' or to 'have to come back'. A place where there is some kind of 'office' of TSoLife, and maybe someone (or a few people) living there more stable/long term. ... I think it could be in the 'Fläming' (an area in Germany south of Berlin, where the ZeGG community and many others are situated).


You're all welcome to add your visions of it... and to start looking for a place and for ways to make it come true. I don't think it's so unrealistic. It just needs people to put energy into!

Andrea


Today, 18.02.1010 When did you wrote this, Andrea?

Can understand you fairly well, that´s what I want also. Cannot stay at home any longer. My vision would be: To build a few homebases in Germany/Europa. A Open House where people can do what they want... A Place where people can find others for the next Vision/ Dream/ Projekt. And Anybody who live there can create this place... Painting, Gardening, Cooking, Workshops... We could ask people who has a house and would like to make it to an Open House...(I know some guys in Innsbruck) Or we find or build a house... Anne von tsolife möchte in Frankreich ein Wohn-Arbeitsprojekt starten, sowas könnte auch als Open House dienen.... So viel von meiner Seite! Hanna


Keep on reading The history of Tsolife