Authored by Justine Murray
Homeward Bound is a journey of self-discovery as well as an amazing amalgamation of women and non-binary people sharing ideas and aspirations for the future of our planet. As I sit in my warm ship cabin looking out over the snow-covered deck toward the icebergs and mountains beyond, I reflect on my Homeward Bound journey, especially with my experience yesterday, where I was pushed completely out of my comfort zone both physically and emotionally.
It was my turn to give my ‘Symposium at Sea’ presentation. As a person more comfortable with one-on-one and small group presentations, I pulled on my ‘big girl pants’ and shared my vulnerability as I explained my life’s pathway through imposter syndrome and the constant nagging “Am I good enough?” I explained my personal growth as a leader in the catalyst of change into a new direction with the acceptance into the Homeward Bound global women’s leadership initiative. Leadership comes in many forms, and I see this can also be achieved at the grassroots level when inspiring communities to care. Later I was overwhelmed by the outflow of support by the other participants in reaction to my story.
In the afternoon, we were able to land on the Antarctica Peninsula mainland. We were immediately faced with a steep climb up a snowy mountain face to see the views. The day was beautiful, but the wind was howling, causing the path we created to become icy. I am used to scrambling up and down rocky escarpments back in Australia, but the slippery ice underfoot and the steep slope straight down to the polar water made me quite nervous. However, a few amazing women rallied around me and helped me both up and down the slope, creating footholds and keeping my mind off the task. It was another example of how women come together in times of need and support one another: #strongertogether . The view was definitely worth it from the top and the Chinstrap penguins, who call these lofty heights home, seemed to have a good laugh at us fumbling our way back down to the zodiac boats, which took us back to the ship.
Photo: Justine Murray. Credit: Noa Bruhis
The mountain climb also made me reflect on Earnest Shackleton’s journey when they landed on South Georgia and had to climb the mountains and glaciers, without adequate clothing or nutrition after months at sea, to be rescued. It makes you realise this Antarctica continent, with its many moods, is still so wild and challenging and it is so vitally important for us to slow down our impact on this planet so we can maintain these beautiful unspoilt places for future generations as well as to help in stabilising our planet’s climate.