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Photo by Chris Risbridger

Spirit of Adventure

Chris Risbridger —

On February 3rd, I was lucky enough to embark on the Spirit of Adventure for the most exciting and enthralling adventure of my life.

 I knew that going into the experience I would have the opportunity to work on trust and teamwork skills to help me become more confident in myself and my ability to trust others. Looking at my interactions with other people I can notice a clear change in how I trust and work alongside those around me in a positive way. My experience on the Spirit of Adventure was thoroughly enjoyable and beneficial to my character and personal journey. Ultimately it is an experience that I will never forget. However, there is no way I would have had the opportunity to go on this adventure without the financial aid from my sponsors. I am immensely grateful for Di Barrett (Riccarton Waimairi Lions Club) and Christchurch Casino Charitable Trust who saw potential in me to benefit from this experience. I am also very thankful to Mr. Risbridger who first gave me an opportunity to embark on this adventure as well as his encouragement throughout the long process.

My voyage was particularly challenging and different from others as we had a crew of 12 trainees, compared to the usual 40. We boarded the ship in Nelson Harbour at 4pm on February 3rd, and spent time getting to know each other before we got ready to set sail the next day. Our first day was quite rough with half of our trainees being seasick in the pouring rain. Although that first day of sailing was hard getting ready to anchor the boat with only six people, It was definitely one of the most memorable moments of the trip. Throughout the 10-day journey we sailed around the beautiful Tasman region going to places like Port Hardy, Ships Cove, Awaroa, Tonga Island, Abel Tasman and many more little coves. There were so many opportunities to bond with each other and make lasting friendships, such as raft making, night watch, and climbing the rigging.

One of the biggest lessons I learnt on this trip was gratitude. I learnt that there were so many experiences and materialistic things that we take for granted, thinking of them as our right rather than an opportunity. I think the one that hit home the most was a nice warm shower with soap. Although the 6:30 am wake up swims in the freezing water and the short warm shower afterwards was fun and exciting, they were not comparable to the warm shower we had on the last night of our trip. It made me realise how much I took even the simplest of things (showers) for granted and it made me think more consciously about them when I returned home from the journey.

An advantage of having such a small crew was that I got to know each and every one of them on a personal level, both on the boat and back in their own lives. We’re still close now and talk almost everyday, with promises to someday catch up again, although it’s hard considering there were only two of us in the south island. Overall this will be an experience that I will always remember and give credit to for the positive changes that I have made in my life after the trip. I hope the spirit of Adventure and financial support to go on the trip will continue long enough so that my children can also share this experience. I also hope one day to go back on a trip as a volunteer to give back to this amazing experience.