The program on board

Adventure trips for personal development, how does that work?
The experience on Atyla is beautiful and memorable, but also hard and full of challenges.

Some of these challenges come from navigating the ship, others come from living on board, and others are proposed by the crew as a way to help you engage more, enjoy more, and get to know yourself better.

With the right mindset and proper guidance, the whole experience can help you develop a set of skills that are essential for everyone’s life.

The 8 skills of our program

Intercultural communication

The ship (like the world) is a multicultural context where collaboration is required. We explore tools like self-awareness, active listening and assertiveness, and attitudes like embracing and appreciating the differences and similarities between cultures and identities.

Emotional intelligence

Understanding, processing, and expressing your feelings. Paying attention, empathising and understanding other people’s feelings. These are all key to building balanced, healthy and satisfying relationships with others and with ourselves.

Critical thinking

Listening to, understanding and being able to question viewpoints. Articulating, testing, and clarifying our values and beliefs and engaging directly with those of others. Being open to admit we are wrong about something, and being able to explain why we might be right.


The experience on board is perfect for being part of the creation and the fast development of a team. Commitment, trust, acceptance, warmth, confidence and the development of roles will affect how a team performs both in the day-to-day and in extreme situations.


Part of the team dynamics are the leadership dynamics and the leadership styles taking place. Voice, participation, engagement, decision making and empowerment are all part of this. What kind of leadership is more natural for you? What kind inspires you most?
Responsibility Atyla Life Skill Soft Skills Training Practicing


Everything we do affects our environment. Everything other people do might affect us. A reduced environment like Atyla, where the consequences of our acts get magnified, is the perfect setting to learn about responsibility. Training mindfulness helps in this process.


Fear can be your worst enemy or a very useful friend. We start this process by cultivating humility and vulnerability, in order to acknowledge fear. Then we try to learn how and when to face it. The goal is to tame it and use it to your advantage.


The ship (like the world) is an ever-changing environment where plans get altered constantly. So we learn to embrace uncertainty, to cope with changes and to adapt to them. Luckily, Atyla is also a controlled environment with a prepared crew, where we can safely enter the learning zone.
Soft Skills Life Skills Adventure Experience Sailing Sail Training Atyla Ship

These skills affect all aspects of your life. Some of them even affect your relationship with yourself. That’s why this is called personal development: because it helps you become a better person in general.

Of course, personal development also means professional development. Many of the skills you will develop during your adventure will also help you become a better employee, a better boss and a better entrepreneur.

And let’s not forget about social development. These life skills make you also a more conscious, more responsible and more constructive member of society.

Learning about sailing
(a.k.a. sail training)

Many of the people that join Atyla do it also because they love the idea of sailing a Tall Ship, and learning the basics of how to sail.

Of course, the challenges related to manning and navigating the ship are an opportunity to learn about sailing. You can do this in as much detail as you want because most in the permanent crew are expert sailors.

Challenges and reflections

During each trip, the members of the crew propose challenges according to their role on board, their interests and their expertise. The coach on board also keeps an overview of the challenges and makes sure that there is enough variety.

Most times, the person proposing the challenge doesn’t say “learn from me”. They say “let’s learn from each other” or “let’s learn by doing”.

Some challenges are competitive, but in most of them (just as in life) you’re mostly competing with yourself. The result of the challenge is not as important as what you learn while facing it.

Atyla Ship Participants Challenge Reflexion Post Group Activity Relaxed

Some of the challenges require a moment of reflection, either in a group or individually (or both).

This reflection tries to answer all or some of the following questions:

What did I learn during this challenge…

  • from my attitude when it was proposed?
  • from how easy/hard was for me to face it?
  • from the final result?
  • through my interaction with others?
  • in relation to one or more life skills?

Who will sail with you?

Types of challenges

There are many challenges that can be part of our trips.
A good way to imagine them better is by grouping them according to specific attributes:

According to the reason for the challenge:
  • Operative: Because the ship needs to be sailed to its destination safely and in good shape.
  • Communal: Because we are a group of people that might not know each other, and that needs to share a small space moving in the middle of the sea.
  • Engaging/Playful: Because we came to Atyla to be adventurous, to interact with others, to learn and do new things.
According to how the challenge is developed:
  • Collaborative: Trying to achieve synergies.
  • Competitive: To fuel motivation and creativity (of course it’s a playful competition).
  • All of the above: You can be part of a group that is competing with another group.
  • None of the above: Individual challenges in which you don’t need to engage with other people.
According to how the challenge engages you:
  • Mental: Putting your concentration or your memory to the test.
  • Physical: Might be tiring or even exhausting.
  • Emotional: Exploring your emotions and your connection to them.
  • Communicative: Expressing yourself and trying to understand others better.
According to who the challenge is for:
  • To everyone who’s up for it.
  • To all the participants.
  • To the members of a watch.
  • To someone specifically.
According to how the post-reflection is done:
  • In a group: A moment is arranged so that everyone can share their experiences, conclusions and thoughts.
  • One-to-one: Either with the person that proposed the challenge, with the coach or with a fellow shipmate.
  • Internally: With yourself.
According to the “deadline” of the challenge:
  • Instant: They happen right after they are proposed.
  • With a deadline during the trip: for example, by tomorrow at lunch, or by the time we arrive at a port.
  • With a deadline after the trip: It can be fixed (e.g. in a year from now), or open (e.g. next time you visit a relative).
  • Lifelong: Some challenges have no real deadline, they stay with you for as long as you want.

Sounds like a good plan?

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