Meet the Outbounders: the people of Homeward Bound.
Outbounders is a close-up on the many human stories that contribute to our collective journey of Homeward Bound. It provides a glimpse into the lives, dreams, fears, ideas and hopes of people who have been part of this groundbreaking project. Yes, this means the participants and the faculty and those at the centre of each voyage. But it’s also all the people around them and all the supporters who want to share a story of how Homeward Bound has touched their lives. It pays tribute to the thousands of humans who make it possible for the projected 1000 women to get to Antarctica and become champions for great leadership, for science and for our planet.
Over the 10 years of Homeward Bound, we hope the Outbounders becomes a shared history of the millions of tiny moments that make a movement. We’d love you to share a story of your own, or one of someone else you know, where Homeward Bound inspired, touched or changed someone or something in your lives, or simply made the world a little better. Post your story on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using #HBOutbounders and tagging Homeward Bound. OX
Meet Ghislaine Platell
“While exploring Antarctica, I felt like I landed on a different planet. A beautiful remote icy planet devoid of most plant life and inhabited by animals that walk funny. Then I remembered that this is not some distant planet. This is part of our home and it’s our job to protect it.
“The scale of the task seems too big at times but I’m hopeful. It’s not a task that any single person needs to take on. Together, we can work towards big outcomes while each playing a small part, be it at home or at work. I look forward to playing my part and collaborating with others to make it count.”
Ghislaine is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant and a PhD student and honours supervisor at The University of Western Australia (originally from France). Read more about Ghislaine on our Participants page.
Meet Deborah Pardo
“I am a super positive person but I have to admit I am quite scared for the future of our planet, the materialism, selfishness and short-termism arising with a huge impact on our own happiness levels and biodiversity/ecosystems. But when you think about it, our generation – with its growing skills, awareness, ambition and motivation – is living in one of the most stimulating periods of human history.
“We are at a crossroads: either we destroy ourselves by destroying our planet, or we reinvent everything (our dependence on money, our leadership model, our food, our behaviour towards each other…). It is super challenging but we are running out of time and don’t really have a choice.
“Homeward Bound allowed us to find other people with the same purpose, and our exposure to the world and our openness to collaborate constructively is the most powerful tool there can be. This is just the beginning.”
Deborah is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant and population modeller with the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, England (originally from France). Read her brainstorm and reflections from Antarctica on her blog and her video blogs on her YouTube channel. Read more about Deborah on our Participants page.
Meet Merryn McKinnon
“I feel hopeful for the future of our planet when I see the community working together to achieve something. When people unite for a common cause, anything is possible. What scares me is when there isn’t action but apathy – from the community, from political leaders – and nothing happens to address the issues we are facing. I am terrified that in the future my daughter will live in a world where the fundamentals needed for life are hard to come by. Where conflicts will be created due to lack of food and fresh water. We cannot continue to use natural resources thoughtlessly and expect them to always be there. As a global society we need to create a change, together. “I want little girls like my daughter to be whatever they dream they can. To be free from oppression and violence and not have their worth determined by their gender. I want them to know the beauty of the planet and to be able to look back at my generation and know we did everything possible to preserve it for them, just as they will for their children.”
Merryn is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant and a lecturer at the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, Australian National University. Read more about Merryn on our Participants page.
Meet Jessica Reeves
“The last time I cried was the day before I departed for this great adventure. I went to visit my grandmother, who I am very close to, as my mother said she wasn’t well. I found her house closed down, blinds shut and after 10 minutes of knocking, a shadow opened the door. This woman who had been such a powerful figure in my life stood like an empty shell – sunken eyes not wanting to meet my gaze – and then shuffled off slowly to the kitchen. The house, like her mind, once meticulous, was in disarray. She was only just with us – her spark merely a dull ember. As I made her tea and listened to her try to piece together the last few days, my mind raced as to how to make her comfortable. Against protest I took her foot, bathed and dressed her ulcers and begged her that she let someone care for her. The woman who had taught me intestinal fortitude was now a victim of her own stubbornness – so reluctant to accept help and care. “I said goodbye and with my family, drove away, crying from the core of my soul both not knowing if she would be there when I got home and feeling so powerless to help her as she had helped me so many times before. She went to hospital that night and is now receiving the care she needs. I sincerely wish she has the courage to let go – and that I do too.”
Jessica is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant and a lecturer at Federation University. Read more about Jessica on our Participants page.
Meet Ruth Luscombe
“You know what I’m interested in for the young women of the future? I’m not interested in how excited, impressed or affronted we are by the first female prime minister or president or CEO. I’m interested in a time when we no longer notice how many leaders are women. That time in the future when every second leader is a woman and we don’t notice because it’s the norm.
“The exhausting thing is that it’s the women of our generation and the next generation who are still going to have to be leaders in a female minority, but that’s OK, let’s just get on with it.”
Ruth is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant and an Operations Research Analyst, Queensland Health. Read more about Ruth on our Participants page. (Photo credit: Sam Clifford)
“The ‘me’ of today has been built on a lifetime of moments in nature. Growing up on a small farm with fields, a pond, and forests nearby; later connecting with the Rocky Mountains and the ocean habitats of the East Coast, the prairies and wetlands of the Midwest, and lands of unparalleled beauty from north to south, east to west and around the world…it’s all combined to provide a connectedness to nature and a desire to teach about it and to protect it. Much later (age 42, 1998) when I stepped off a plane onto the ice runway in Antarctica for the first time, tears filled my eyes and the pristine beauty of the frozen continent captured my heart forever. Visiting both polar regions multiple times has impressed upon me the urgency with which we need to teach others about this place we call home…planet Earth.
“I’ve chosen to spend my time in nature…hiking, photographing, kayaking, wandering trails, mountains, rivers, and coastal areas…and most of all imprinting their beauty on my mind and storing away these precious moments to recall them in times of stress and challenge in my life. They soothe me and bolster my spirit. Sharing the natural world with others brings me great joy, and teaching about science and nature is always a highlight for me as an educator…both inside a classroom and outdoors, always bringing the world to my students of all ages.
“I surround myself with photographs, inspirational quotes from others who have a deep relationship with the natural world, and moments of extreme joy in nature fill my heart and mind each day. They are a constant reminder of how I must protect this amazing planet and remind others to do the same.
“I’ve passed this adventurous and caring spirit of nature down to my children and now my grandchildren. I feel it is our responsibility to share our connectedness to nature with future generations…so that others will continue to protect this planet long after I’m gone.”
Betty is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant and a teacher, education outreach specialist and owner of The Science Roadshow. Read more about Betty on our Participants page.
Meet Nicole Hellessey
“I was watching David Attenborough’s Planet Earth and there was the fantastic shot of Australia from the International Space Station. I was watching it on the TV and I said out loud, “I can see my house from here”. I laughed and so did everyone else. I then had a sudden jolt of awareness that it was not just Australia, not just my patch of dirt but all of it. All of that ball of dirt and water and rain forests and glaciers, the whole damn thing was my home. It made me feel like I was so small but what we had to do was so large. To protect it, all of it, was impossible. But slowly and surely over the years more people started getting solar, driving electric cars, stopped using plastic bags. I’m more hopeful than ever that we can save this planet we call home. There is no Planet B.
“It’s not too late. We are so close to a tipping point where we can stop the large scale destruction of our planet. If everyone does something small from recycling, to stopping using plastic bags, to getting solar panels, we CAN save the world!”
Nicole is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant, a krill expert and a PhD candidate at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Hobart, Tasmania. Read more about Nicole on our Participants page.
Meet Alison Davies
“I want to inspire little girls of the future to dream of exploring. I hope they will dream of reaching new heights, delving into the unknown and pushing the boundaries of exploration. The majority of famous explorers, particularly in the fields of polar exploration and mountaineering are men but more and more female role models are emerging and I hope they will inspire further generations of little girls.”
Alison is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant and an Operational Meteorologist at the Met Office in the United Kingdom. Read more about Alison on our Participants page.
Meet Samantha Hall
“I lost it about two months ago; everything became so overwhelming. Work, projects, my poor dad diagnosed with cancer (again), Homeward Bound etc. I was no longer thinking clearly, I was stressed and I just broke down. I consider myself extremely ambitious but when a coach sat down and drew me an adaptation of Maslow’s hierarchy for my health – exercise, nutrition, mental health etc. and asked if I was getting enough of these, I reconsidered what ambition is doing to my wellbeing.
“Our health should be at the top of our priorities but there is a passion and drive when you are working in the social and environmental space that I see in myself, the women working in this space around me, and everyone on board this boat. We feel the weight of the world on our shoulders. Time is running out to solve complex issues. You feel the distress from these issues in your bones. I say yes to so many projects because they might be able to make an impact, I work nights and weekends (most often unpaid), I skip exercise to finish reports, I feel forever guilty for not spending enough time with family or friends. I have to admit…I woke up spooning my iPad once.
“I had a cry, and then I called my parents and went to lunch with them for three hours and just talked like we hadn’t for a while. I caught up with friends, I went to yoga. I connected with reality again. I’ve already made some changes, and next year will be less ‘yes’ to projects and more time to replenish. It taught me to reach out and ask for help, something I’m terrible at. I’ve started to notice what gives me energy, and where my energy gets drained. I can’t make any impact when I’m a burnt-out anxious heap. 2017 = a little bit more balance.”
Samantha is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales’ School of Built Environment & Curtin University. Read more about Samantha on our Participants page.
Meet Amanda Davies
“I tell both my pre-school aged children – a son and daughter – “you can be anything you want to be when you grow up”. At the moment they both want to be space rangers (like Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story movie). If technology allows, I want both my son and daughter to be space rangers. I want little children of the future to learn in history class how that back in the ‘olden days’ women were not allowed to work in some jobs because they were female, that many parents didn’t get paid parental leave and that women were not equally represented in leadership roles in society. I want the kids to laugh at these facts of today and think ‘the people of the olden days were so strange’.”
Amanda is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant and a Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University. Read more about Amanda on our Participants page.
Meet Amanda Sinclair
“I think I’ve always recognised that our planet is our home. Perhaps because I’ve always been happiest outside in the wilderness. As a child, I was lucky to always live close to a patch of bushland. Later, I worked in outdoor education and have been so lucky to share many wilderness journeys with school students through bushwalking, skiing, rock climbing and snorkelling adventures. When you spend time with other people in the bush, it quickly becomes apparent that the hierarchies and material wants of our fast-paced society are our own construct, and that to live and be happy all we really need it to work together and treat each other and the environment with kindness and respect. That’s all I want for our planet, our ‘home’: for everyone to treat each other and Mother Nature with kindness and respect.”
Amanda is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant, a Masters Student at the University of Tasmania and an Outdoor Educator at various schools. Read more about Amanda on our Participants page.
Meet Colleen Filippa
(Pictured with Tim Flannery)
“I wish for a future where education is available to all girls. When women are educated they tend to have smaller families and better wages. This gives them freedom to pursue their own passions and live a life with true choices. And isn’t that the true definition of freedom?”
Colleen is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant, a teacher at Ed Earth and the founder and Director of Fifteen Trees. Read more about Colleen on our Participants page.
Meet Christina Schroeder
“A leader to me is someone who brings out the best in people by mentoring and guiding them along the way in order to achieve a common goal. Leadership to me is therefore listening, encouraging and guiding people towards reaching this goal. The best leaders do this without people noticing they are helped along the way. However, the most important thing for a leader is to listen to their staff, students, project members and make sure they effectively communicate the final goal they are trying to achieve together.
“I owe a huge part of who I am and my leadership to my parents. They have always been incredibly encouraging all throughout my schooling and professional career. They completely trusted me to make sensible decisions to the point where my dad signed my high school application form before I filled them out. Growing up I was told: “Never be afraid to ask for something; the worst thing that can happen is that you get a ‘no’.” Living according to this has meant that I have seized opportunities that may otherwise have passed me by if I had been too afraid to ask. This has lead to me studying and working overseas, travelling extensively for work and pleasure, and meeting the most incredible and inspiring people along the way, including my husband who did in fact say ‘no’ the first time I asked him for his phone number! We have a corny fridge magnet at home that I love, it says: “The best things in life are; the places we go, the people we meet and the memories along the way.”
Christina is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant and a Senior Research Officer at The University of Queensland. Read more about Christina on our Participants page.
Meet Monika Schillat
“Originally from Germany, I went to live in South America in 1989. For 26 years I lectured at the National University in Tierra del Fuego on Latin American history, specialising in Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and the South Atlantic Islands. Lately I also engage in studies about Antarctic literature and tourism. In fact, I have been involved in the Antarctic cruise industry as Expedition Leader and Historian since 1993. I have been leading a kind of double life, splitting my time in amongst academic activities and leading groups in this unique environment and other remote regions of our wonderful planet, such as North-West Passage, Svalbard, Greenland, Chilean Fjords, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia.
“But it is especially the Antarctic which has a tight grip on my life. It feels as if the continent has claimed me and I try to do the best to help protect it. I have given talks to different audiences about sustainable tourism in Antarctica and also am very proud that I can participate in the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings as part of the IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) delegation of experts in that matter. I believe that tourism enables a visitor to experience the unique beauty of the White Continent and also witness first-hand the challenges the region is facing. The same of course is true for myself.
“Acting on behalf of the continent´s environment made me think globally about climate change and ultimately led me to act locally. Just a year ago, my partner and I moved to Mendoza in the Argentinean Andes, where we bought abandoned farmland. And just before coming on board for this voyage, we have finished planting 2,500 Paulownia trees in a reforestation effort to offset carbon. And we won´t stop there, our goal is to plant thousands of trees more over the next years and thus provide both sustainable sources for wood and neutralise emissions.”
Monika Schillat is the MV Ushuaia’s Assistant Expedition Manager onboard the 2016 Homeward Bound voyage.
Meet Renate Egan
“We already over consume, using up around 1.6 times the Earth’s ability to regenerate each year. And, as living standards improve around the world, the demand on these limited resources is going to create enormous pressures. We need to get a whole lot smarter about how we use resources.”
Renate is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant, a Chair and Co-Founder of Solar Analytics, Associate Professor at the University of New South Wales, leads the UNSW activity in the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics and Chair of the Australian PV Institute. Read more about Renate on our Participants page.
Meet Carol Devine
“Since visiting girls at Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya and meeting the lucky few girls who make it to high school, my wish is that all little girls get to finish school – and beyond. Education has a huge impact on gender equity and on girls and women’s wellbeing. I dream that Esther from South Sudan becomes a neurosurgeon and Christine from the Congo a journalist.”
Carol is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant, a social scientist specialising in global and earth health, a humanitarian, researcher and writer. Read more about Carol on our Participants page.
Meet Sandra Kerbler
“I am hopeful for a world where women are equal to men: where women are valued and respected equally, have the same opportunities to pursue their dreams and receive equal pay for their hard work. I’m scared that in the current global environment, issues of gender equity will be once again pushed to the wayside and that little progress will be made. I believe change is possible; however, change can only happen if people believe in it and are willing to take action. So if you’re reading this and wish to see change, take action and together we can make it happen!”
Sandra is a 2016 Homeward Bound participant, a PhD candidate and a plant molecular biologist. Read more about Sandra on our Participants page.