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Rites of Passage

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Rites of Passage

10 Jul - 14 Aug 2015

3A Jovian Y Cheung
I remember dreading it at first. I worried that I would deeply miss my family and my iPhone. However, the vast meadows of Australia soon grasped my heart…

We faced challenges, and in them we learnt to be brave, to be committed. But what I have learnt the most, was the art of being able to hold on and let go at the right times. Trekking was a strenuous activity, and often we wanted to give up, but we kept walking. That’s the art of perseverance, the art of holding on. The thought of having to leap down from a wobbly tower made my stomach do flip-flops, but I still jumped, for that was the art of living in the moment, the art of letting go. And you'd think that jumping was hard enough, but yet the worst part of letting go was actually at the end, when we had to say goodbye.

3A Pergrin Hui
“Just 3 more kilometers to go!” the navigator shouted from ahead. I lifted my head and looked – endless trail uphill. My rigid, sore shoulders blazed with pain under the monstrous backpack as I struggled to drag my stubborn right leg along. Under the enervating heat, sweat came pouring down. All my muscles, bones, and nerves were burning, and my mind kept screaming at me to halt. Contrary to my body and mind, my mates encouraged and challenged me by singing and cheering. Almost magically, the drive buried deep down in me was triggered: Push harder, go further.

We kept going and finally arrived at the top of the mountain, stunned by the magnificent, boundless view of Kenilworth. I realised that we can’t have a rainbow without rain, and sometimes, what matters is walking through the rain with your friends.

In RoP, we performed kitchen duties, cleaned our cabins and learnt to take better care of ourselves. The value in our experience allows us to be more responsible individuals, and equips us to contribute to the society in our adulthood.

Water is scarce in Australia. I come to understand that our collective efforts in saving the environment will benefit the future for all. No matter how seemingly small our efforts in environmental preservation, pebbles thrown on the pond will send out ripples. I hope our efforts will influence others towards saving the environment.

3A Nicholas Tsang Man To
Time flew, there came the much-anticipated Expedition 3.  This 5-day trip was about canoeing 26.5 km to a remote campsite, hiking 12 km to a scintillating sandpatch, hiking 7 km through a forest where one could get easily lost. I was satisfied. I was elated. I was walking on air. The physical difficulties didn't stop me. Now I seemed to comprehend what John F Kennedy said, “Do not pray for easy times, pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your tasks.”

I faced challenges, such as the Hoyt Challenge, abseiling, rock climbing, Leap of Faith, every day in Tuchekoi Outdoor Centre. These were both emotionally and physically stressful – but I know, they were meant to make us stronger, force us to aim higher and set goals for ourselves, make us learn to work in a group. Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” True and genuine happiness comes from the process of attaining a goal or responding to a challenge.

Leaving our secure environment, staying away from parents for a month without electronic devices, facing new challenges with peers everyday... we learnt to throw away our old selves in Australia and grab the valuable things that can aid our personal growth, and bring them back to Hong Kong. We spent time to ponder in solitude, to relax in a comfortable environment, to enjoy the scenic view.

RoP. A platform for us to apply what we’ve learnt. An opportunity to show our strengths. A chance to mend the holes of our weaknesses. We overcame various challenges, be it physical challenges or emotional upheavals; we completed expeditions, no matter how hard they were.

Life is a journey, and our new journey has just started.

3G Wong Sum Yi Nikki
I had canoed over rivers filled with bull sharks, I had lived through goanna attacks, I had hiked up Mount Allen with my hands and feet, I had endured 20 km a day with my 15-kg pack on…

Yet, one piece of memory seemed to stand out, even in the sea of gems I had collected over the 28 days.

It is the visit to Cooloola Sand Patch.

After another 4km hike from the campsite – on an empty stomach – we continued to hike up yet another mountain…. When we finally reached the Sand Patch, we were blown away by its sheer beauty and elegance – it was not just a “patch” of sand, instead, it stretched far and resembled a mini desert. The sand was smooth as silk and white as snow. The urge to lie down on the ground and roll in the sand blossomed in all of us. It was a truly marvellous sight. When you stand in the centre of the Sand Patch, you can see far into the distant land, even catching a glimpse of the ocean. While waiting for the sunset, our group engaged in makeshift sand boarding, sand fights, and races to the top of the sand dunes. It was truly sensational.

I watched, dazed, as my feet sank into the smooth whiteness of the sand. The delicate white dust of sand were stars under our feet. Then, not long after the footprints stamped itself onto the canvas, the wind started to blow them off. All traces of my short visit gone, wiped off clean from the surface of the earth, like my visit to Australia.  No doubt that we may one day be forgotten by the Australian land, which students from a far-off place called Hong Kong visited. But our footprints had once been all over the land. And most importantly, these footprints have already sunken into our hearts. And they will stay there forever.