I had been thinking about this day since I found out Christiana Figueres was going to be on board with us. What was I going to say to my role model? What would our first conversation be like? The women who was the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC and was the driving force behind the 2014 Paris Agreement? A women who has dedicated her life to bringing awareness to and protecting the most vulnerable from the effects of climate change? With credentials and experience that knocks you off your feet?
It definitely didn't go to plan.
Our first interaction went like this:
Christiana - "Do you want some diarrhoea medication? I can get it for you if you'd like, it will help."
Me - "No thank you, I'm ok."
Yeah, good one Steph.
I was absolutely mortified. I had been thinking about this moment for months on end, planning our conversation and how I would approach it. But no. One of the lessons I was going to learn on Homeward Bound is that of uncertainty and change, and that I had to be flexible with my plans. This was the first of many instances to come.
There was a case of gastro going around within the group and I was one of the lucky ones who got it the night before we were to board the ship. I got no sleep since 2am that night and spent the morning lying on the floor in the conference room, practically dying, listening (and trying to take in) the leadership content that Fabian was teaching us about.
Christiana gracefully and calming came up to me and offered me the medication, but in embarrassment and shock I declined. Another lesson I was to learn - it is ok to ask for help.
I was so horrified at my first interaction with Christiana, I spent so long thinking about how I could redeem myself. This was definitely not what I planned, and I felt like it was the worst case scenario.
But it was my story. My first interaction (of many) and looking back, I now see the lessons and what I would have done differently (if it happened at the end of HB!).
It wasn't the most pleasant and perfect story, but it most definitely was memorable. And now I can finally laugh about it.
Christiana came in to save the day then, and ended up saving me in other ways on the ship - challenging and changing my thoughts and practice on self care, self appreciation and inner peace which is something I promised her to take forward into my life after our HB journey. And if Christiana says something, you listen.
- Steph OX