Navigating my spirit!

Alesha Arrowsmith spends a day on the Spirit of Adventure.

There’s something about being out on the Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour with a team of enthusiastic individuals that will make you step out of your comfort zone.

I was strapped in and ready to go. The safety harness provided me with enough security for my nerves to settle. I grabbed the carabiner and clipped it onto the first red rope and started to embark on my journey upwards towards the mainsail. My eagerness and adrenaline conquered my fear as I climbed, carefully taking one step at a time and placing my foot on the rope beneath me.

I made the mistake of looking down, the realisation kicked in that I was a long way up and there was a long fall down. I felt a sudden drop in my stomach but I was determined to be the first to reach the ledge. Finally! I made it to the halfway point and I was greeted by a friendly smile from one of the volunteers.

Here I had a choice to continue to climb to the topsail or go down. After a little pep talk and many deep breaths I decided I was not going to let this opportunity pass, it is not every day that you get invited on board The Spirit of Adventure. The birds-eye view from the top ledge was absolutely breathtaking. Looking out at the harbour with Auckland City in the distance and Rangitoto behind the boat was a surreal experience.

The Spirit of Adventure is a programme that empowers young New Zealanders to reach their full potential, through a unique 10-day sailing experience. CEO Bruce Pilbrow from The Spirit of Adventure Trust explained in the morning briefing that the rangatahi who come on board are from all different walks of life.

We spent the day out on the water learning about the organisation and getting a taste of what the crew experience. Right from when we first stepped on board we were learning the ropes, literally! We were stationed on designated ropes pulling up the sails, it was a hands-on task working together as a team to keep the boat sailing smoothly. We also had the opportunity to steer the boat and talk to the captain who was extremely knowledgeable and supportive.

The few hours I spent on board were a transformative and rewarding time.

An important part of the day was letting go of your ego and stepping out of your comfort zone. Nothing says ‘stepping out of your comfort zone’ more than shamelessly wearing a safety harness in front of a group of strangers.

As we sailed under the harbour bridge we finished the voyage writing a letter to our future selves, which wrapped up the day perfectly. The crew holds onto the letters for 6 weeks then sends them out. The letter asks, what’s going on for you right now? In 6 weeks what do you want to achieve/be feeling? The courage I felt on the boat was remarkable, I did not expect my confidence to be lifted in such a short space of time and I’m looking forward to receiving my letter so I can relive the emotions all over again.

The Spirit of Adventure is one of ten charities featured on Vodafone’s One Good Kiwi app. One Good Kiwi was created to give back to the communities in Aotearoa who need it most. Each month One NZ gives New Zealanders $100,000 to decide which Good Kiwi they want it to go to. The app gives each user tokens to vote on which charity they want to donate to.

If you would like to get involved and donate head to the One Good Kiwi app from the app store or visit onegoodkiwi.nz

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