Navigaia Journeys


The name Navigaia Journeys’

With ‘Navigaia Journeys’ we want to create something new, which we also wanted to show with our name. ‘Navi’ comes from the latin word ‘navigare’, which means ‘sailing’. ‘gaia’ has two wonderful meanings:

  • The syllable ‘gai’ ist part of the Japanese word ‘igigai’, which can be translated into ‘the purpose of life’.
  • ‘Gaia’ comes from Greek mythology and symbolizes ‘mother earth’.

The name ‘Navigaia Journeys’ stands for our journey through life, where we are searching for our purpose while having the responsibility for our mother earth.

The sailing boat symbolizes ourselves, the ocean representing our life, which is sometimes stormy and wavy and sometimes it is very calm.  There are times where we can’t see the stars because of the fog and we lack orientation. Nevertheless we always reach land at some point, to discover and to take rest.

How everything started…

The way Veronika often experienced education, did not give her what she longed for: profound learning experiences.

For two years she worked at a school with children and adolescents and lived her passion for creating learning and experiential spaces. After this fulfilling but also exhausting time, she heard the calling to embark on a long journey, without a goal, without a plan. She wanted to feel, experience, let herself drift and get to know herself better. She crossed the African continent with the backpack for months and spent some time in India. When she returned after 8.5 months of adventures, learning, challenges, and wonderful encounters, she wanted to integrate her learning and her dreams of learning and experiencing through travelling into her familiar world: the idea for Navigaia Journeys was born. Gradually, travel companions arrived to make the vision of Navigaia Journeys a reality. They went on board and bravely embarked on an adventurous journey. They all combine the passion for travelling, for personal development, holistic learning through experience, curiosity for the unknown, new ideas and the will to actively shape our society. And the journey continues…


Regarding travelling

Travelling has always fascinated us humans. The longing for new worlds, for adventures, new encounters and perspectives, casts a spell over many and lets us take the step into the unknown.

More and more people use travelling as a way of self-discovery especially in transition phases of their lives (right after school, during their studies, right after their education before starting a job etc.) Organizations that prepare and support young people regarding their school exchanges or international volunteer services already exist. They offer seminars before, during and after the experience in a foreign country. However, those organisations don’t offer the same service and support to individual travellers.

Consequently, we observe that structures are missing, which could otherwise support and prepare young individual travellers for their journeys and which could enable a deeper learning process and personal development through guided reflection. The potential of individual travelling for the personal development of young people and the positive impacts for our society hasn’t been addressed yet.

Unconscious journeys

Therefore,  this can also lead to unconscious and irresponsible travelling among individual travellers regarding dangers, sensitivity towards local cultures and nature. Individual travelling has become a mass-phenomenon, which often isn’t anymore about individual discoveries and walking off the beaten tracks to get to know the authenticity of other cultures or hidden (natural) places.

Difficulties in reintegrating

Another important challenge is the re-adaptation after long term traveling: Many travellers have difficulties re-integrating and sharing their experiences as well as integrating their learnings and new perspectives into their life back home. They feel often misunderstood by family and friends back home (who might not have travelled themselves), they lack orientation for their next steps in life, they feel alienated and have difficulties to re-adapt into their home culture and their ‘daily lives’.

Possible negative consequences:

  • Diverse resistances stop people from embarking on a journey
  • The chosen trip does not ultimately match the actual needs of the traveler in the situation of departure
  • Endangering international understanding due to the lack of intercultural competence of travelers
  • Disorientation on the journey (the journey becomes an escape)
  • Irresponsible travel with regard to one’s own person (for example concerning dangers), nature and other cultures
  • problems with reintegration after the journey (disorientation, reverse culture shock, etc.)
  • Difficulties in continuing the “travel attitude” in everyday life and the belief that only when traveling certain longings (for new, encounters, adventures, etc.) can be satisfied.

Regarding the education system

Many young people feel disoriented when it comes to their own path after their graduation. The pressure to perform and the focus on transferring knowledge often prevent real experiences, through which young people can get to know and understand themselves better and unleash their potential. There is a lack of sufficient holistic experiential spaces in the school and educational context that prepare young people for the complexity and diversity of life. Transitions from adolescence to adulthood are inadequately accompanied, which is very important for the development of young people. Moreover, travelling and overseas experiences are often only accessible to a specific group of the population and many young people are unable to travel because of their socio-economic situation.

Regarding the society

The societal, family-related and self-doubting voices and beliefs prevent many people from going their own way self-confidently. The fear of ‘the unknown’ or change prevents the discovery of new things, new passions and the fulfillment of one’s own potential.

Regarding transition phases

Breakthrough and transition phases are perceived by many people as unpleasant. Often, one’s own self-esteem suffers in these phases: we feel alone, incapable and disoriented and can not really use the potential of this actually fruitful time.


Unleashing the potential of travelling and creation of transitions
Our vision is to accompany, inspire and empower people on their inner and outer journeys. Especially for people in periods of upheaval and transition, the topic of travelling has an enormous transformational force. We are committed to unleashing the potential of travelling for personal development and international understanding.
Leaving positive traces
We want people to become responsible travelers: Especially regarding other cultures and the environment. We dream of a world in which travellers go their life path authentically as well as self-confident and that they shape society in a positive way.
Encouragement and broadening of horizons
In our work, we want to help people overcome travel-related resistances and barriers. ‘Navigaia Journeys’, supports individuals to overcome the uncertainties and challenges of life, to open doors to something new, to take courageous actions for themselves and to increase the curiosity to the unknown.
Travel as a way of looking at life
Our vision is to inspire people to experience and see everyday life and life in general as a journey, because for us travelling is a mindset. We also want to create a community of travellers who travel mindfully and responsibly, inspiring and supporting each other.
Holistic learning
We are committed to a world in which people learn holistically through experience: with their heads, hearts and bodies. We wish that many more people dare to go their own way of life. Travel means informal learning for us. Especially young people (disadvantaged youth at risk of social exclusion) are important for us: We want to actively help to shape school and education and support young people in their transition to adulthood on their way besides formal learning. We want to encourage more young people to have access to overseas and travel experiences, regardless of their (educational) background.


We invite people to learn holistically. That’s why we involve the levels of mind, heart and body in our workshops, trainings and events.
We use different methods and approaches from various fields, such as dance and body work, mindfulness research, theater education, Gestaltwork, nature coaching etc … It is important to us, to enable self-experience in a playful, profound, challenging and secure way.

We want to create safe spaces for people in which they can discover something new and open up.


Our “travel elements” are treasures that we believe we can learn while travelling, or that we learn from. We have grouped them into so-called “experience spaces”. They are now an essential foundation for Navigaia Journeys.

You will find the various “experience spaces” and their “travel elements” in our workshops, trainings, events and inspirations. We believe that these issues are essential not just in physical travel but in our lives in general. After all, life itself is an adventurous journey.

Navigaia Journeys wants to raise awareness and stimulate reflection on the different “spaces of experience” in the context of physical travel.

Also, the spaces are reflected in our offers (on and offline) of Navigaia Inspiration.

With Navigaia Journeys we open up the “experience spaces” in our workshops, trainings, at our events as well as within the Navigaia Compass.

Navigaia experience


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Navigaia experience

Culture and new perspectives

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Navigaia experience


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Navigaia experience


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Navigaia experience


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Navigaia experience

Leaving traces

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Veronika Mercks Navigaia




Navigaia Education


Navigaia Travel

Veronika Mercks Navigaia


Navigaia Travel

Veronika Mercks Navigaia


Navigaia Travel