The great thing about how global Homeward Bound is, is that you have new friends from all around the world. The bad thing is that your new friends don't just live around the corner, and you spend most of the time in a 'virtual' relationship.
In June, a few of the HB19 ladies (and one from HB18) arranged a meet-up in Barcelona - for us to get to know each other and chat about all things HB (and non HB!)
This weekend was really important for us all to connect. The majority of participants in HB19 are from Australia, and most have already been able to meet up with fellow participants to start getting to know them before we meet again in Ushuaia, Argentina, before we depart for 3 weeks on the expedition to Antarctica.
In Europe - we don't have that luxury - most of the European participants are the only representative from their countries! So meeting in person is more of a logistical and financial challenge. But still, really important for us to form a supportive network that will only strengthen with time.
During our catch up there was 7 of us -
Anne Charmantier - France
Daisy Hessenberger - Switzerland
Stephanie Langerock - Belgium
Lorna Slater - Scotland
Madeleine Hann - United Kingdom
Steph Gardner - Spain
Ana Chang (HB18) - United States
We were also lucky enough Ana (HB18) had just flown into Barcelona for a conference - and as jet-lagged as she was, she came to hang out with us. She gave us some amazing advice about the trip, shared her experiences/feelings and made all of us so much more excited for our own journeys. I think most of us started feeling Homeward Bound was real this weekend.
Throughout the 12-month HB program, we have what's called 'Learning Groups' which is a small group of participants assigned together for 3 months, and this changes multiple times throughout the year. In these groups we are free to talk as much (or as little) as we like (either over email, Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype/Zoom, meet in person), about HB or not, discuss challenges, fundraising efforts, feelings, achievements and what to pack for the expedition. The bonus is getting to know other participants before the expedition at the end of the year - otherwise meeting 80 new people for the first time as you board the 3-week voyage to Antarctica would be rather scary....!
My first Learning Group was these ladies from Europe - there was 5 of us, and for me this group is really special because it was our first triad at the start of the program, and even more special that we were able to connect and meet-up while I'm living in Barcelona - because afterwards I will most likely be back in Sydney, and would probably not have had the chance to meet my EU HB friends until Ushuaia in December!
Read about all of the HB19 Participants here:
- Steph XO