My Outward Bound Adventure

Last month, our first national Outward Bound Scholarship recipient, Lara, embarked on a life changing adventure.

Words by Lara Hawker - YWCA NZ Outward Bound Scholarship recipient

Last month I had the opportunity to spend 21 days at Outward Bound School, which is located at Anakiwa, in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.

To be honest I didn't have much of an idea of what to expect, having purposely not found out too much from friends who had completed the course in the past. I wanted to take the course as it came, and have a few surprises to look forward to along the way too. There were 13 others in my group, and on day one it was overwhelming - there were so many new faces and people to get used to. By the end of 21 days, we had become a tight knit family, and my life had changed for the better.

Every morning at Outward Bound begins at at 6am (or earlier!) with personal training, and a 3.2km run which ends with full submersion in the ocean. This is then followed by a cold, communal freshwater shower, a few moments to get dressed, have breakfast, and then meet with the rest of the groups (or 'watches') for assembly. All of this before 9am, which is when I might normally get up on a weekday! This definitely opened my eyes to how much it is possible to fit into a day as well as just how much better you feel when you exercise daily. Our days were usually jam packed too - with different activities, jobs and tasks to complete before the next day. 

Outward Bound Scholarship

Outward Bound pushed me mentally, physically and emotionally out of my comfort zone on a daily basis. I definitely already had an area that I thought was out of my comfort zone - where I try put myself regularly - but I soon realized that where I draw my lines should perhaps be a little further out. The courses's motto is "There is more in you," which gets drummed into you to the point you almost use it jokingly with others in your watch when you reach the point of complete exhaustion. It is truly incredible just how true that statement is though. I did my first half marathon on the second to last day of the course, something that I would've not thought I was capable of on day one. Don't get me wrong, it was incredibly tiring, but even at the end of that 21km, I could've kept going for longer which I would've never expected. The mind will give up long before the body starts to.

More than anything though, I am so thankful for the amazing bunch of people I was blessed to have alongside me on the course. We encouraged and supported each other, and it was incredibly inspiring to see people really putting themselves out there and being vulnerable in the group. I definitely have some lasting friendships, and incredible memories of my time in Anakiwa, that I know I will treasure for the rest of my life.

From the bottom of my heart - thank you YWCA for giving me this amazing opportunity!