The human condition is frail and precarious.
On the 5th of August Horatio Chapple, aged 17, was killed by a Polar Bear on an Arctic expedition in Norway. Four others sustained serious injuries in defending Horatio.
I have always loved the outdoors. For me looking as mountain vista is a spiritual experience. The most becalmed and centred I have ever felt was during an 8 week stay in New Zealand. It is blessed an abundance of natural beauty. Every turn of every road in the countryside reveals a view that makes you say ‘wow’ more than the previous view.
I spent weeks ‘tramping’ between different huts in the countryside. For $5 a night you could stay in a hut which had no power or water supply, that contained simple bunk beds for your sleeping bag. These huts are strategically placed a good days walk apart.
Every day you never knew who would turn up. Every day you would meet another bunch of strangers, who during a game of cards under fading light and a cup of soup in your hand became fast friends.
We live our lives sheltered from many things. We hide behind 9 to 5 jobs, mobile phones, the internet, and as whole load of stuff that is just clutter.
Life in the wilderness strips you bare. You wake when the sun gets up, you eat when you are hungry and sleep when there is no light to see by. In the wilderness you see, hear and smell nature, and the abundance of life our planet has.
You hear the quiet voice inside of you. This voice is the true voice of your soul, mostly crowded out by modern life.
You also learn about yourself as you cope away from the trinkets you have left behind.
This act of leaving your safe life, and discovering your true self is something we should all do.
Outdoor education is based on this, and very often people discover something new and good about themselves and others in the process. Natural leadership comes to the fore.
I am very sorry about what happened in Norway.
However, the spirit of exploration and self-discovery should not be diminished.
Horatio lived to this fine principle.
We must never lose this.