When I filled out my YMCA application for an Outward Bound course and sent it off after much pushing and shoving, I was thrilled to receive the phone call from YMCA's Peter Ferguson, saying I had been successful.
I’m not sure if it was to give the YMCA some peace and quiet or if Outward Bound had done something wrong!
The days leading up to leaving were quite surreal. We all have opinions on what Outward Bound is, and the more you talk to people who have been to Anakiwa the less they will tell you. Now I know why.
Over 120 people turned up at the ferry terminal in Picton for our roll call. Young, old, middle-aged, parents and teens. You name it, they were there. Only one person turned up with two suitcases which was me!
We found our group who were to become “the tight turteen” over the ensuing days. We didn’t get put on a bus like the others. We had to strip into thermals and shorts on the wharf and board the Outward Bound Cutter where our OB experience started immediately.
Everyone who goes on Outward Bound under goes their own unique experience, and I was no different.
I started to write about each and every day, but that can’t explain what happened to me personally during the most extreme 192 hours of my life.
Here are some of the quotes I wrote in my journal:
“I never thought I would say a plastic covered slab of foam is comfortable”
“I now love my thermals”
“So many bits hurt I can’t figure out which one hurts most”
“Climbed a rock face today, 40 odd meters high blindfolded, what an absolute buzz”
“Friggen alarm went at 5.25am…….and we’re on a boat………wicked day ahead”
“What a view from the top of the hills, this place is serene and beautiful”
“Slept with 9 glow worms last night, they don’t answer to much”
“Saw some Hectors Dolphins, some Dusky Dolphins and then a pod of about 120 dolphins, then seals and penguins, wow wow wow”
So what did I discover at Outward Bound?
I think I discovered myself, mentally, physically and spiritually and was challenged in every one of these elements to its maximum. Perhaps even beyond what I thought I was capable of.
It was an opportunity to push myself into a new territory of resilience, stretch myself to new heights, drive myself above old horizons and find new pinnacles of achievement and success.
I have also found friends with whom I shared an experience of a lifetime. We developed a bond that will be very hard to break. For me, that is what Outward Bound is all about.
Graeme Mead - Discovery Masters 596