Ready, Set, Take off to Patagonia

Sonja Weaver-Madsen ‘17

CBS students are currently in transit from all over the globe toward Chile to begin our Global Immersion Patagonia expedition. Thirty students will be spending the next ten days working in teams to scale glaciers and explore the wilds of Patagonia. With well-worn hiking boots, cameras, and fingers crossed we are taking to the skies.

Knowing that I’m going to be away from phones and all technology for the next 10 days I have been catching up with family and friends before takeoff. In those conversations I find myself answering the same main question – “Are you ready?” This triggers my internal checklist: Do I have my waterproof jacket? Did I bring the coffee? Can I carry my hiking poles aboard the plane? Is my flight delayed by the recent storms? However while all of these considerations are relevant for my physical arrival in Chile with my equipment, people are really asking about my readiness as a person and as a leader.

Our host in Patagonia, the Northern Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), emphasizes the wilderness living and leadership skills students will practice amid the expedition. NOLS will require each of us to navigate the terrain safely, serve as the designated leader, take initiative, and balance group and personal goals all while living outside. Thus I’ve come to understand that each time someone asks “Are you ready?” they are really asking about whether our CBS cohort is prepared physically and mentally to spend 10 days together actively honing our skills and forging strong relationships. Based on our teamwork throughout the semester and our combined training miles, the answer is “Yes, CBS is ready for NOLS Patagonia and here we come!

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