I recently joined nine other very anxious Parkinson people and four carers and supporters at Picton to head for Anakiwa, for what was to prove to be a life changing six days for all of us. It was an incredible experience which words cannot really describe, but I’ll do my best.
Up early every morning for exercise and a run, or fast walk for those of us who couldn’t run. A dip in the sea and a cold shower near the beach. Breakfast and then the start of the day’s activities. An Outward Bound day finishes around 8 pm.
I never considered I could keep up with such a routine but like the other participants I realised with the ‘ I CAN ‘ attitude, instilled in us by the instructors, more is always possible. This aspect of the course really made it Life Changing for me.
Exercise stretched us, but we all did remarkably well for a group that had strengths in different areas. Teamwork brought us all together, from the dining room preparation to lots of verbal support for the tricky bits like the high wire walking 10 metres up in the trees!
Every day had an element of surprise, as the instructors had an uncanny knack of delaying telling us what was in store next. However these instructors had a remarkable ability to push us to our limits. At the same time they showed compassion when they saw things were getting a bit tough for some. They more than once told us how impressed they were by our tenacity in coping with our disabilities. There were a few tears of sadness and happiness along the way.
This was a first for me, spending six days with Parkinson’s people. Eight women and 6 men all with a Parkinson’s connection living and laughing in close quarters, sleeping in 14 bunks in the one dorm.
Only two of us were from the South island sadly, but the North Islanders were great and I now have a group of friends around NZ, who are committed to stay in touch with each other.
Yes, I can highly recommend the Upbeat Outward Bound course. ◆
Also in May 2015 issue: