It’s been a year since our first Homeward Bound cohort of female scientists departed for Antarctica. Between the anniversary of the first voyage and the departure of the second on 18 February 2018, we’ll be sharing the stories of our inaugural participants and their journeys, in their own words, one year on. Their stories put faces to the facts about women in leadership, women in STEMM and what’s happening to our planet. Follow the stories on social media using #HBStories.


At this time last year, I was sitting at my desk, listening to a trove of audio captured by Carol Devine as research material on the first Homeward Bound expedition which she shared with me. Most of these hours were consumed by trying to understand the voyage and meet the people. But something happened as I dug into this tape: It gave me a magical feeling that I was virtually participating in this experience. This feeling stayed with me, and gave me the grist to turn what was meant to be a 20 minute story, into an almost four-hour serialized storytelling podcast.

I first learned of the expedition over coffee with participant Carol Devine early in the fall of 2016. She admitted that she and others were still figuring out what the expedition was going to be…and then I suggested that I should start at the beginning and interview co-founder Fabian Dattner.

From that point, rather quickly, I was connected one by one, to this small, random collection of incredible women. And then, something ignited in me as I was transported inside the experiences and conversations of these women. Immediately, I knew I had a collection of wonderful stories.

But finding how to turn these stories of many women, many voices, into a cohesive narrative, was a massive challenge. I knew my goal was to connect directly and intimately with the listeners, to make them feel “there.” And most importantly, for them to experience the material in a way that let them discover something about themselves.

As this process drove forward, I started to hit the rumble strips on the side of the road. I faced great challenges creatively, emotionally and practically. And at one point I almost quit.

As I stewarded stories from other people and faraway places I began to understand more of my own leadership journey and I found my way back onto the road. I talk about this in the second episode – about how knowing yourself is the first stop on a leadership journey. And how those parts where I knew myself, even when everything around me was wobbly, were golden.

And now, one year on, I sit at my desk writing packing lists and double checking my audio kit, so honoured and excited to be joining the second Homeward Bound expedition as Podcaster-in-Residence.

The task of how this happens and what will emerge at the other end is a fascinating alchemy I’m very excited to explore. Last year, I was able to use my imagination to create what I thought a virtual journey would be, and now it’s a bit like putting it under the microscope and working out howto pull the focal length back and share it with others.

I go there with an exciting range of themes and archetypes I will be looking to explore: From the one choice she made to land here; From the self-doubt that led her to decision; From the disbelievers to the ending moment. And to face the emotions of the reality of climate change in this rapidly changing environment. All of this following a classic adventure narrative.

I take my muses with me: Rebecca Solnit, Margaret Atwood, Jill Soloway and Alice Munro.

Working in the medium of podcasting, and studying the arenas that it occupies, I have come to a conclusion: Our collective voice seems to crave raw honesty. It’s like a collective voice rose up and said “Put your cards on your table. It’s time to get back down to just plain old talking. And listening.”

Something about podcasts has changed me: I’m drawn to its new format of discussion, to its new level of honesty and engagement. I think it gets back to something our collective psyche craves: Something that’s real, something that feels.

Subscribe to the 8-part podcast series here: 

Watch a 2-minute overview here:

You can read more of the #HBStories from the inaugural cohort on the HB Blog.