In November 2023, I journeyed to the end of the Earth with an amazing group of ~100 STEM women and non-binary people from Homeward Bound to learn first hand about Antarctica, climate action, the global ocean system, and of course penguins. It was a transformative opportunity for us to challenge ourselves in different ways, and to collectively face the question of what kind of leaders we want to be — for our children, for our society, for our planet.
Then earlier today on this first day in 2024, I was introduced to a poem by the Irish poet John O’Donohue, “For a New Beginning.”
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
This last verse resonated deeply with me. It helped me to see that my own new beginning had not occurred last night with the ringing in of the new calendar year. My new beginning quietly happened back in Antarctica, at the bottom of this world, on the icy continent, without fireworks and champagne. The transformation was as silent and profound as the glacial ice that constantly surrounded us during our voyage. Although, occasionally the ice crackles when you carefully listen— nothing is ever static, everything constantly interacts with its surroundings. There is no holding back, not even for glacial ice that covers an entire continent.
Just like a huge 300 meter long broken off ice sheet that is finding its new existence as a gigantic tabular iceberg, my new rhythm of my life is starting to take shape after being back home for nearly a month now. This follows the many insights I gained onboard with and from my wonderful fellow participants.
The Homeward Bound onboard program was custom-designed to guide us deeply rethink who we are and why, what our purpose is and associated short and long-term actions, and what we want to achieve, both individually and as group — from the small, daily things all the way of how to create a more sustainable future for all on this fragile Earth.
My soul can’t wait to experience this new world full of love, friendship, awareness, appreciation and loads of penguin pictures and stories in 2024.
I’m so excited to share my Antarctic adventure and leadership insights throughout January. I warmly invite you all to join me!