Outward Bound is an opportunity to change your life. Set in some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world, our expeditions are for those who seek something big, different and perhaps unexplainable. Saying yes to this experience will help you leap into the unknown, where the only thing certain is that you’ll learn something.
Are you ready? To help you decide, I’ve compiled a list of five signs that could mean it’s time for a change.
1. You Can’t Remember Your Last Adventure
Do you ever catch yourself staring out a window, dreaming up your next adventure? How long has it been since you’ve explored a new place? Stepping out of your normal, comfortable routine can be overwhelming and so easily met with excuses like, “maybe next year,” or “that’s not for me.” These excuses can last a lifetime.
My advice is to embrace the unknown and go on an expedition that you know the least about. Imagine yourself getting pulled by a pack of dogs through snowy meadows in Northern Minnesota, rafting down a swift whitewater river in Utah, or summiting a peak just in time to see the sunrise over the endless Sierra Nevada. These options are all accessible to you and have the potential to change the course of your life.
2. Life is Too Predictable
Sometimes you can take too much comfort in knowing exactly what will happen next. You may need a big change if you’re used to having everything figured out. In certain times in life, when we least expect it, situations call for you to be resilient and flexible—and the best way to be prepared for these times is to practice.
On an expedition, factors like weather conditions, physical challenges and group dynamics are unique and the least bit predictable. Ask any Outward Bound Instructor and they’ll tell you that no two courses are the same. For instance, you could make a mistake on your crew’s hike while practicing your map and navigation skills. Experiences like these are the best teacher in patience, flexibility, teamwork and compassion. Whether it’s hiking seemingly forever to get to your next campsite or laughing so hard at dinner that your belly hurts, there’s never a dull moment.
3. It’s Been Awhile Since You’ve Done Something That Scared You
Taking risks is a tremendous leap into the unknown and takes a great deal of trust in yourself and those around you. Being afraid isn’t always bad and is a learning experience that will serve you well beyond that moment. Facing our fears gives us a look at our internal strength.
Outward Bound students often report that the highlight of their expedition was when they faced their fears and realized they’re stronger than they think they are. Pushing students out of their comfort zones to catalyze personal growth is one of our greatest goals. Plus, everyone in your crew has your back and is experiencing everything alongside you.
4. You’re Lacking Connection
Imagine living and traveling with 10 other people for two weeks. You cook your meals together, hike long distances together, laugh together and reflect together. It goes without saying that spending 24/7 as a group, free of social media and the distractions of daily life, set you up for meaningful relationships and lifelong friendships.
Our ultimate goal is to promote self discovery through challenge and connection. The goals of an expedition, such as reaching a certain destination or successfully cooking a backcountry meal, are merely the ways in which we can foster kind and compassionate leaders. No matter the goal, the success of the group hinges on teamwork, communication and reflection. Many students report that they never expected to make such strong and impactful connections with their peers and Instructors.
5. You Want to Make an Impact, But Don’t Know How
No matter what stage you’re at in life, the question of how to make an impact can always be asked. The good news is that the lessons you’ll learn on a course will get you closer to understanding your potential and learning what types of service projects you’re passionate about.
Service is a word used often on a course, describing what it means to hold your weight as a group member. Each student is responsible for taking care of themselves and taking care of the group. Everyone cooks, carries their share of the group’s gear and steps up to lead when it’s their turn—all so that the expedition runs smoothly. The feeling of being a vital member of the group cultivates a sense of purpose in each individual.
The value of service is carried on through our dedication to serving local communities. This means that most groups spend a day volunteering at a local organization to give back to the people and land that contributed to making their course possible. With this, students get the opportunity to witness how service to themselves, their group and the greater community results in an incredible sense of empowerment.
So, is it time for a change?
Taking a leap into the unknown is easier said than done. The reward? Trying something you never thought you would and discovering new parts of yourself along the way. If any of these five signs ring true for you, it might be time to make a change. We can help you get started!
About the Author
Eva Johnson has worked at the Colorado Outward Bound School as a Field Intern and Logistics Coordinator. She’s a Colorado native and if she’s not in Leadville working for Outward Bound, she’s probably adventuring in South America, surfing on the rugged Oregon coast or teaching kids to climb rocks.
OTHER POSTS YOU MAY LIKE