By ALEX SAIFITI.

In February of this year, I was given the opportunity to take part in Aoraki Bound, a 12-day hikoi (journey) from Anakiwa to the base of Mt Aoraki (Cook) after spending eight days at Outward Bound.  It was three weeks of physically, mentally and spiritually demanding activity with a group of once strangers who have now become like family members. The experience was one I will never forget.

There is a sense of trepidation and anticipation as you board the ferry from Picton to Anakiwa.  You may have heard stories from friends or family members about the experience, or you may know nothing at all about what the next few weeks will bring. The one thing you do know for certain is that you are on a boat with complete strangers, and there’s no turning back.

From the get-go, everyone on that boat is pushed to their limits, whether it be physically or mentally. Each has their watch, a team of other individuals who will voyage with them throughout the journey.

You start to open up to those around you. You continually challenge yourself and do things you never imagined yourself doing, pushing yourself through what were once established limits.

Taking a leap of faith and stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a difficult challenge. However, once you’ve done it, there is often a huge sense of fulfilment and achievement. I encourage everyone to take up the opportunity of going on an Outward Bound course. You will not regret it, and you will learn so much!

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Learn more about Outward Bound here.

Student Travel is brought to you by YHA New Zealand. 

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