Anticipating departure, Homeward Bound co-founder Fabian Dattner captures a moment in time that speaks to the spirit of what this project is all about

76 women with a science background? Off to Antarctica? What the hell are we doing?

It’s 9.45pm, Sunday night, 9 sleeps to go. These questions are rolling through my mind.

I get a text message from Jules [Julia May – part of the HB Faculty] – it includes a photo of her little baby, fast asleep, bottom high.

“What the hell am I doing? This is what I am leaving? Someone tell me it’s the right thing to do?”

I look across at my husband, who’s given up trying to get me off my mobile. He’s now deeply asleep. In 32 years of incredible marriage, the most we’ve been apart is eight days at a time and it was so awful I made him promise to never ever let me do something so silly again.

In nine sleeps, I will leave him for 26 days.

“Yes,” I mumble, “what the hell am I doing?”

My little Burmese cat, Bang Bang, blinks at me with her sleepy yellow eyes. Why do I always think cats know what’s going on?

I look back at Jules’ texts and just as I go to answer, she answers herself… “I’m going away for her, this is about her future. Someone promise to hug me on the ship so I remember this.”

I go to type “I will”, but as I do a flurry of text messages come through – from Justine, Mary-Anne, Kit, all saying the same thing, about loving each other, and knowing we are doing this for a globally significant cause.

I smile.

How do you explain this to the world? How do you help people understand that at some level, when women lead at their best, there is a profound sense of care and belonging and legacy that transcends task, time and ego?

I’m not saying men don’t or can’t do this.

I’m just saying that at some level, women can’t help themselves.

That’s why the world needs our leadership. Right now more than ever.

(Featured image by Songqiao Yao)

Fabian Dattner is the co-founder of Homeward Bound. Read more about Fabian on the ‘Faculty’ page.

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