My Outward Bound story.

My Outward Bound story.

Finding direction to what’s next.

By Emma Middleton.


Emma Middleton.

Outward Bound Classic 693     |     Hillary Watch     |     30-Aug – 19-Sep 2022.

My goal for Outward Bound was to be purposeful with the time. It’s a rare opportunity to allocate 3 weeks to self-development. I wanted to make the experience worthwhile.

Before attending the course, I was in limbo on whether to change my career path and apply for Police College. I was looking forward to Outward Bound and hoped some time away in nature learning more about me, would help me make an important life decision.


“The course is a huge contrast to daily life. Each day provided new situations to learn something about yourself.”

For 21 days your agenda is organised by Outward Bound. For someone like me who prefers order, routine and likes to know what’s next, this was really unsettling to begin with. For the first week or so of the course, I’d ask the instructor a lot of questions to help outline my expectations. By the end I was able to find comfort in letting that go. It simply didn’t matter that I didn’t know the plan. I became more present and focused on the now rather than focusing on what was planned next.

And by being more present, I found I was relying more on my instincts and trusting the process. When I couldn’t anticipate the future, I become grounded in the here and now. Back in the real world, I’ve tried to apply the technique of not anticipating, being more present and going with the flow. It’s not easy but it’s something I’m making a conscious effort of.

Emma's Watch

“A time to concentrate on who I am and what I want.”

Being on the course with a new bunch of people I’d never met was a little daunting. I hadn’t realised how much of an introvert I am and how closed off I can be around others. I take a while to warm up to people and trust others, in a new group dynamic.

I quickly realised that we were reliant on each other for the experience to be a success. There was no room for the fronts or reservations you may put up in real life. I had to be confident in what I could contribute, as my true self, and accept that in others as well. The course exercises pushed me to develop trusting relationships sooner than I would in daily life.

“The special thing about Outward Bound is that the shared experience allows everyone to take away something different.”


The solo exhibition was incredibly useful for me. As an introvert, I was craving the time to myself to recharge, after weeks of hecticness. The purposeful alone time gave me time to harness what I had learned earlier in the course, into making clear decisions for the next venture of my life. The solo time was beautiful and extremely reflective. Alone in nature, I was able to own who I am and find calmness.

“The days that felt the hardest at the time, turned out to be the best – they were the days I achieved the most.”


My time on Outward Bound taught me a lot about how to apply myself going forward. I’ve carried the practice of gratitude and reflection on highs, lows and hurdles, into my daily life. I learned to give attention to the beauty of everyday life, instead of focusing on the negative thoughts. I accessed my capacity to let people in, share who I am and trust the importance of teamwork. We shared stories and laughs and became more comfortable with who we are.

Outward Bound led me to become centred in my surroundings and myself, it helped make a big decision for my life and set me of to find direction to what’s next.