Where do you live and what do you do?
I have just moved to live in the UK, in the outskirts of London and I am going to be working as a Water Engineer for an Engineering firm called Stantec.
When did you go to Outward Bound?
I did the 21 day Classic course in July 2016.
How was your experience?
It was a fantastic experience, I met many incredible people and learnt many things from everyone. It's quite beautiful how close you can get to a group of strangers in 21 days! I also enjoyed challenging myself, pushing myself harder, and keeping myself driven. The hardest part has been maintaining it in everyday life.
What learnings did you take away from your OB course?
I learnt a lot about myself and my emotions, and how to stay on top of things. At Outward Bound you are pushed to extremes, tiredness, homesickness, fear, happiness. Being reflective of the subtleties of what these moods and feelings are is very empowering!
What were your main challenges?
At the end of the solo I had an expectation of being picked up in the morning of our last day, and in reality it was the afternoon. It was this expectation vs. reality that I struggled with the most and is also something I have always struggled with in life as well. It's learning to deal with it effectively that is important! Expectation vs. reality is something that occurs in everyday life and something I also faced while in Madagascar.
You may want to help these people, but it is never that simple or easy. You will always face some disappointment, many humanitarian projects can face these issues, you have to be forever conscious and working hard to prevent this disappointment.
Did the time at Outward Bound influence your decision to go to Madagascar?
At Outward Bound, my instructors were always inspiring us all to follow our passions and help people, and applying my skills to a helpful situation, such as in a developing country is something I have always wanted to do!
What's the update on the water project?
We have designed the pipeline and got quotes for local contractors. We are looking for more funding and an NGO to partner with to help finish the project!
What's next for you?
I am going to be working near London for a few years and hopefully after I've got some more experience I'll look into work opportunities in the humanitarian engineering realm again. I am continuing to stay involved with the Madagascar project, as these projects are long term, and the amount of knowledge and understanding you have from working on the ground is invaluable and must be communicated, passed on and shared.
Read more about Florence's time in Madagascar here: www.cactusoutdoor.co.nz/blog