Last week was pretty intense in terms of trying new things, getting outside of my comfort zone and pushing myself physically. I went on a trip with the local cadets to supervise them and act as pastoral care for the girls who were going. That is how it was advertised to me anyway. When I got there I found that not only was I looking after teenagers, not something I had ever done before, but also expected to join in with most of the activities, including rock climbing, and to join them on their 2 day expedition.
This expedition was amazing but also rather challenging, including canoeing for a morning, then hiking across country to climb a mountain, camp there overnight in the clouds, then hike all the next day along the mountain ridge and down to the coast again to get the train back to base. I was so glad I had been going to the gym, because scrabbling up a mountain with a massive rucksack on my back would have been really hard otherwise. I mean it was really hard, but I would have found it impossible if I had not been working on my fitness level.
I always felt that I should keep myself relatively strong just in case I was ever put in a position where I would have to survive using my current level of fitness. I had been picturing disaster scenarios but this was my first real life test, having someone turn around and say ‘okay tomorrow we are going to hike up a mountain, here are your boots.’ It just goes to show that it’s not so rare to have that fitness called upon and it’s important to keep it up.
It was actually a brilliant experience. The kids were great on the whole and did the orienteering for us, I got to see some beautiful scenery on the hike, and I’d never paddled a canoe before. We came up the estuary with the tide and it was gorgeous! It has definitely given me more confidence in myself and my abilities, both with speaking to teenagers and my personal fitness, and I’m determined to keep it up now. It’s been great motivation to try new things like this and not be afraid to rough it. The camping was not something I was used to, but again great fun, and a lesson for me. Speaking to my sister afterwards, we decided it was something we should do more of, not having camped much as children.
Watch this space….