Mateja Serdar (25) spent 8 days on an Outward Bound course called “Dive into yourself” we organize each summer.
These are her impressions:
“8 days, 76 kilometers, 1 cave discovered, 2 rocks conquered by rock-climbing, 7 new friendships, and 1 emotional breakdown.
The person that came up with the name of this course really hit the mark!
One week after the best adventure of my life so far, whenever I tell someone about it, which I do quite often, I relive every single moment.
I’ll do my best to put at least part of my impressions and feelings on paper, to, hopefully, encourage others to sign up and experience it by themselves!
What kind of people apply for a course like this?
What are their expectations and goals?
What kind of impact can this experience have on you?
To answer these questions, I’ll start by introducing myself.
How I Decided to Apply for the Course
I’m an average 25-year-old, I work 7 hours per day, 5 days a week. I’m very active but have a busy schedule, meaning that I usually like to plan out my days and know what’s going to happen a week ahead.
I love the feeling of safety comes from the belief that I can have everything under control.
I also try to stay in shape, so I often go running, cycling, and hiking on Sljeme on weekends. I live by myself and function quite well in the everyday routine I’ve created for myself.
While I was searching the internet for ideas on where to go on vacation this year, I found an 8-day course on Velebit.
While reading the info-letter for the course, the thought popped in my head that this was exactly what I needed. I’d get out of Zagreb for a while, take a break from my every-day routine, and have a chance to take a look at my life from another perspective.
I decided to see where that would lead me, whether I was comfortable and happy in the stability and safety my routine offered me or whether there was something I was missing out on or something that would make me feel fulfilled.
I felt physically well, I love challenges, and I expected to learn some new skills, try out new activities, and push my limits a little further than during a two-hour-hike to Sljeme.
I would enjoy the fresh air, the beautiful scenery, the view from Velebit, and get to meet new people with whom I would be able to practice my English.
I really don’t know whether that was a moment of craziness or a cry of the adventurous child I had forgotten was still inside me, but I applied.
A Mountain of Experiences
You want to know what I’ve experienced on the course?
8 days, 76 kilometers walked, carrying a backpack of around 15 kilograms, through forests, karst and rocks, steep paths, and unbelievably demanding and scary terrain.
7 nights spent in sleeping bags under the open sky, in the natural habitat of hundreds of different bird and mammal species, among them 3 big beasts:
the bear, the wolf and the lynx (unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to see them).
We ate the food we’ve prepared on the campfire, learned to tie several knots, and showered with water as cold as ice from a natural well. Each day, we managed to find our path through what seemed to be a jungle, only with the help of a compass and map.
We discovered one cave and climbed two rocks, one of which was 105 meters high.
As a comparison:
Zagreb’s cathedral, which is the tallest building in Croatia, is 108m high, so just imagine that!
We enjoyed the view from 1300 meters from the top of Bačić Kuk, chilled at Budakovo brdo taking in the splendid view on Pag and the other Adriatic islands.
I rappelled with the help of a rope, went for a scuba dive, gained 7 new friendships, and survived one emotional breakdown.
Yes, I did all of that.
I Did It!
The feeling of satisfaction and pride on the last night, while I reflected on all the things I tried and accomplished in such a short time, was so immense that it still overwhelms me whenever I try to put it into words.
Each new day was a new challenge, and overcoming those challenges prepared me for what was about to come.
With each new day, I felt that I was ready to do more, to accomplish more.
Indeed, I dived into myself and discovered an unbelievable strength, willpower that I know I had always had inside of me. However, I know now that I had tamed it behind the walls of my own choices, by following the safer paths.
It’s hard to point out one thing from the course that had the most impact on me, but if I had to choose, I’d say that it was the people I met there.
Anything Is Possible When You Find Your Crew
The accomplishment was not just mine:
it was much rather the result of incredible teamwork between complete strangers, who, for several days, shared the same path and the same challenges.
Each of us seemed to be on this course for a reason – to make an impact on each other’s lives.
My group, that mix of beautiful people of diverse characters, lifestyles, and mindsets, was there for me when things got challenging. When I felt like quitting, they provided me with exactly the support I needed.
The laughter, the positive energy, and the serenity among us conquered all the obstacles in our way.
Everything happened just the way it was supposed to. Every group decision allowed us to learn from our experience, and every choice we made was the right one.
These incredible humans are what turned this course into the adventure of a lifetime!
Now I feel that I can succeed in anything I set my mind on.
I’ve found the courage to make decisions, find safety in the unforeseen, undiscovered, and unexpected. I freed myself from the habits that are not useful, and I can see myself joining in on adventures like this one again in the future.”