Two days until the ship leaves Ushuaia, Argentina, for Antarctica, carrying the 78 women in science who form the second Homeward Bound cohort. Before, during and after the voyage, we’ll bring you the stories of more than 20 of those women, in their words and pictures: our #TeamHB2018 correspondents. You’ll hear from them about how the past 12 months of working together has influenced them. You’ll get a visceral sense of life on the ship as we post stories crafted from some of the most remote and fragile parts of the planet, by some of the most talented women scientists on the planet. And you’ll hear what happens for them when they return.

Our fourth correspondent, Hannah Laeverenz Schlogelhofer, PhD student, University of Cambridge, knows she is a role model for young girls and has discovered the power of using her voice in leadership. 


While standing in front of the assembly hall of my old school, in a very familiar environment but a new context, it dawns on me that I have found myself in the position of ‘role model’. Looking up at me are about 300 girls. I have an inspiring story to share with them.

Becoming part of Homeward Bound has equipped me with a story. A story about women. A story about science, Antarctica, the state of our world and the leadership within it. This story has sparked something in me, and together with the pre-voyage components of the program, I am beginning to discover my voice and the power of using it. Sharing a vision and joining an incredible community is encouraging me to uncover and shape my own story.

We exist within a tapestry of connections. This is something I remember Fabian (co founder of Homeward Bound) once mentioning and it has stuck with me. Doing a PhD can feel quite isolating. Homeward Bound is a community I have been searching for and am now thrilled to be a part of. Even after several months, I feel giddy with excitement, admiration for the other women and anticipation for our shared adventure. This is real. In a few days, I will be in Antarctica with Team HB 2018!

Becoming part of the Homeward Bound community has helped me to reflect on what networks and communities I am already a part of. I am discovering my tapestry of connections, my circle of influence.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my Homeward Bound journey so far has been to reconnect the threads of my tapestry to my old school. I have given talks, run workshops on polar exploration and organised a nature-themed image competition.

As well as being truly rewarding to see the enthusiastic response from the girls and their sparkling curiosity, returning to my old school and to the familiar spaces in which I spent many years has been an opportunity for me to revisit my younger self and start to connect to the core of my passions and values.

Who are we? Who am I? How do I define myself to others? How do I define myself to myself? My experience of LSI [Life Styles Inventory, a leadership diagnostic tool] so far, has shown me that how we decide to answer these questions can have significant implications on how we feel, how we act and how we lead. The beliefs we have about ourselves are just that – beliefs. They can change if we really want them to.

Like many of us, for a long time I have been stuck in a cycle of defining myself by my accomplishments and pushing hard to achieve continued success. I recognised this was an unhealthy place to be, but I couldn’t identify how to change it. I needed to find a way of thinking that could replace this achievement driven approach. Homeward Bound and LSI have shown me an alternative. I have glimpsed the strength that can come from knowing yourself through what you value, and I have started my journey towards that.

To showcase Homeward Bound’s tapestry of connections and its growing global community, I invite you to contribute to a global dance film collaboration project: