Tag Archives: Outward Bound

sleeping through a storm

4 Nov

There’s a story we sometimes tell on Outward Bound courses about sleeping through a storm.  It’s a story about a farmer and how this farmer is able to sleep through a storm because she does everything right the first time, she prepares for the oncoming storm by being ready.  And it is a good story for teenagers — to help them to think about planning ahead and not being reactive.

But, in the wake of Sandy’s destruction on the East Coast and this new place I call home, I could not help but think of this story. And how false it was.

Because it didn’t really matter how much prep you did.  It didn’t matter if you evacuated or not.  Because the storm still came and if your house was in her path, it did not matter.

And at this point, I am sure you have read all about the destruction and seen pictures (and if you haven’t, you probably aren’t reading this since your access to the interweb must be fairly limited).  And it would also be silly for me to reflect on it because I was not impacted.  At all.

Funny how I could be so close and yet – so far – from the impacted sites.  Coney Island, a mere mile away (maybe?), has been horribly impacted.  But here?  Sure, there were trees down in the park.

one of the over 7,000 trees that the city lost

But the night of the hurricane?  I hung out on the porch of a neighbor and had wine and whiskey and beer (well, not all of that, but it was available).  And later that night, my lights flickered.  But I never lost power, never even lost connection to the world wide web.

And so, like I have done so many times in this past year, I reflected on just how lucky I am.  Just how blessed I am.

Because there were trees that came down in my neighborhood.  And there  as a couple who was out walking and a tree fell on them and killed them.  And there are people who lost their homes.  And people who are still without power.

And I don’t mean that to sound as obnoxious as it might.  Because now I realize, it is not just about being prepared for the storm.  Instead, it is about being ready to accept what comes your way, to be ready to do the hard work that your situation asks for.

And it is remembering, always, to feel blessed.  and lucky.


Outward Bound

15 Dec

Outward Bound seems to be such a bit influence in my life this year.  From Katherine, my dearest friend from when I first trained for Outward Bound, joining me in Nepal to Mike and Beth meeting me for climbing and trekking in South America — OB seems to keep playing a big role in my adventures.  But — my latest connection has been pretty inspiring!

I am in Gurgaon, a city outside of Delhi, visiting The Heritage School, a pre-K-12 school that focuses on expeditionary learning and has a strong OB connection. The school draws from a variety of progressive educational philosophies, but most importantly, they all connect and make sense. For instance, they draw from the Gandhi idea [paraphrased here, hopefully correctly] that students can/should learn from working in their communities — for example, that if you study with a master carpenter in your village and learn that trade, then you have learned all that content (which sounds a lot like Ron Berger’s classroom, to me). They also use EL practices in their classroom — today I met with 20-25 teachers and talked about how we use expeditions a Renaissance and how we organize our curriculum. We laughed over shared frustrations and challenges of being an EL teacher and shared some good ideas. It was fun to feel so connected to teachers half way around the world.

And, as if that wasn’t cool enough, the SUPER cool thing about the school is that they have a very strong outward bound program. From grade 4 up (to 12) the students go out on an expedition — it might be bird watching or going to the desert — or trekking in the mountains or a river expedition. Each expedition has a case study — so not only are they learning the really cool things like team work and importance of persevering, but they are also learning science and social studies and math and language arts while out there. SO COOL!!!! it is like my dream job — right there! 🙂

They have rolled out the red carpet for me — organizing three days of visits to classrooms, sitting in on meetings, meeting with directors, taking me out for fancy dinners — it is amazing. I feel so blessed. I am staying at the home of one of the coordinators – she is AWESOME! She has two teenage kids — one 18 year old, senior who does open school — meaning she studies on her own. And one 15 year old who goes to the heritage school. They are both so fun and warm and friendly. It is great to get a glimpse of Indian culture this way. The first night I got here — Meenu and I sat around eating snacks and have some drinks until 9 when she realized that we should go eat — and off to a restaurant we went — and did not go to sleep until mid-night! It was so fun! And i cannot believe the hospitality and generosity they are showing me… i told them they have to come the US and visit Renaissance.

Tomorrow my schedule is full, as is Saturday. And then Meenu is going to take me shopping! 🙂 Love it.

I will have more to write and say — I am just so excited and inspired about the work they are doing here. My brain is full — lots of good thoughts! I am off to sleep now, as tomorrow will be busy.

Take care friends — much love — aurora

Outward Bound

24 Aug

I just finished instructing an awesome outward bound course with 9 awesome young adults and a great co-instructor.  I had 22 days to hike and paddle the mountains and lakes of Maine and while I felt really present in my time out there, I did spend some time thinking about my next expedition.

We spent some time talking about the history of Outward Bound – and how Kurt Hahn wanted to created a school that helped people realize their potential through challenge, both physically and mentally.  He believed that through adversity we learn what we were made of.

The name Outward Bound comes from the term used for ships heading out of the safety of their harbor into unknown waters.

I think that I am outward bound.