5 Outward Bound programs completed, a lifetime of adventure to be had!

With 5 Outward Bound adventures completed Jemi Huggett is building up quite a CV! Yet to turn 18, Jemi began her first Outward Bound adventure at age 14 and has since completed Navigator – Australian Alps twice! Navigator – Rainforest plus one Outward Bound International adventure. In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemi was offered the Blue Peter pin which she proudly accepted in January. No stranger to challenging herself, Jemi is a young person on a big journey of personal discovery!

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all

-Helen Keller

Leaving My Comfort Zone – A Personal Story 

Looking back and considering what Outward Bound has given me, it is difficult to pinpoint just one thing. From Outward Bound, I have learnt so much about myself, what I am capable of and the person that I want to be. Throughout my journey, I have been lucky enough to have some amazing instructors, meet some awesome people and have several once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that have helped shape me into the person I am today. Here are some of my key lessons I learnt during my Outward Bound experiences.

Lesson One: Compassion is Key

Embarking on my first program, I had never spent more than a night or two away from home. I was full of nerves and unsure of what the adventure would bring. It was only after meeting my group that I realised we were all feeling the same way, and rather than worrying by ourselves we opened up and shared how we were feeling. Being able to make friends so quickly, and learning to voice how I was feeling gave me a big confidence boost. Mother nature also helped us to come together, with a cracking thunderstorm for our first night. I remember huddling under our bivvies and eating our stir-fry dinner in lightning position… definitely a memorable first night of Outward Bound!

Lesson Two: Be confident and Trust Yourself 

After returning home from my first Outward Bound adventure, I was keen to head back out and see what other challenges I could face with Outward Bound. That was when I found their 12-day Navigator adventure, and decided to set it as my next big goal.

On the first day of the Navigator – Australian Alps I met a team full of new people, who after twelve days hiking together become some of my closest friends. I’d say the biggest challenges came from working cohesively as a team even when the going got tough, or we were behind schedule, or no one would own up to carrying the morning tea, or we were lost, but it was also from getting through those challenges that we developed our team bond. It wasn’t about being a strong individual, but about being a strong team.

During the program, I learnt to change my approach depending on the rest of the group and to really consider the best approach to a problem before diving in. Being a leader is complex and a leader’s approach is dependent on the people involved not merely on the situation. I also learnt to trust myself and my own decision-making, particularly through navigating. When I was given the chance to make important decisions as to where the group was headed, I had to trust in my own capabilities. This was a skill I was able to transfer back into life at home and apply at school, work and with family and friends.

Lesson Three: Mindset Matters! 

Adventure number three was overseas and made me appreciate the opportunities I had been lucky enough to experience through Outward Bound Australia. I came home determined to go back and complete further Australian adventures. A few months later, I went on my second Navigator Australian Alps adventure.

In a different season to my last course, I found the expedition entirely different and definitely much colder! I woke up to a frosty bivvy on several mornings, and even one morning the foot of my sleeping bag froze! During this expedition, we got the opportunity to set up our own abseil and navigate our own way entirely. On one night, our navigation left us on top of a mountain in the pouring rain and lacking the light to head down. This gave the team an important lesson in mindset… we could either make it an adventure or complain about it, but either way we had to spend the night on the mountain top. In the rain and darkness, we set up our bivvies and prepared our freeze-dried meals, and, as enthusiasm was beginning to wane, we made a dance circle. By working together and sharing our positivity, the spirit of the whole group was lifted, and I now look back at that night as one of my favourites.

Lesson Four: From Adversity Comes Strength  

If I had to name one adventure that threw me the most curveballs, it would definitely be my most recent course. At the beginning of this year, I embarked on Navigator – Rainforest in Northern NSW. Full of challenges and adventure, we spent our time hiking, mountain biking and canoeing. It was during the course that I saw the first symptoms of a recently diagnosed neurological disorder, which presented many challenges in itself. I had to learn to work around these challenges, and to ensure that I was taking care of myself. It was interesting to learn to step back rather than trying to do everything, and to move into a more organisational role within the team rather than being entirely hands-on.

Throughout all of my adventures, the 24 hour solo experience has been a particularly meaningful component. From nights in the cold, to the pouring rain, from the humid heat, to chilly frost, I’ve always enjoyed having time to myself to consolidate the things I have learnt whilst on course. Usually a prolific writer, most of my solos have revolved around pouring my thoughts into my journal. This time, I was unable to write as much due to a hand injury. This changed my entire solo experience. I had always found solo rewarding, but there was something so profound about not focusing on filling a page, but rather watching my thoughts and letting them take their own course. When I could only write a few words, I spent more time letting my thoughts flow without penning them. I listened to the birds, I watched the ants, I felt the breeze, I dozed beneath the stars. I appreciated nature, and reflected on all of the awesome adventures that I had had over the past few days and how I would take their lessons back home. If anything, it was my most meaningful solo yet because my thoughts and ideas were free to change as often, quickly and drastically as they wanted.

I Chose Adventure 

In summation, Outward Bound has provided me with the tools to build the future I want. Through my Outward Bound adventures, I have learnt what I am capable of, challenged myself, met new people and experienced the greatest adventures I could have imagined. It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone and daring to do something different, even if it scares you just a little. I am the person that I am today because of all the amazing adventures I have been on, the instructors I have had and the teams I have been a part of. I’ve learnt communication, interpersonal skills, problem-solving and leadership skills and have applied them at school, work and home situations. My journey has given me the confidence to pursue the life I want for myself, step out there and make a difference, and for that I will always be grateful!

To anyone considering an Outward Bound adventure, go for it! Step out of your comfort zone, meet new people and challenge yourself! Nature is the best classroom, and Outward Bound is the most rewarding way to explore it.

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