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Bounder’s Log: Maha Ejaz

Maha Ejaz participated in an Outward Bound Canada expedition in Alberta’s Ya Ha Tinda area last year. She tells us about her experience backpacking for the first time and disconnecting from her daily routine to enjoy nature in the company of her fellow backpackers.

An application to the Canadian Conservation Corps through the Canadian Wildlife Federation led Maha to Outward Bound Canada’s expeditions. She chose a 14-day backpacking expedition, learning the fundamentals of backpacking and how to survive and thrive in nature.

“I love hiking, but it was my first time backpacking. I knew I had a certain level of comfort with hiking, and at the same time, I wanted to learn all about backpacking, surviving in the backcountry and detach from technology to enjoy nature with amazing people.”

During the program, Maha learned to rely on herself first and have faith in her peers. The time in the woods and sleeping under the stars was a reminder that no challenge is impossible if you set your mind to it.

“I learnt that having people who have faith in me is very important, but it is more important to have faith in myself. When I compare myself to the start and end of the expedition, I remember the doubts I had because people around me thought this is not for me. After those 14 days, I got comfortable being in the woods, sleeping without a tent, navigating in the backcountry, not having any social media with me. Feeling prepared made me believe it was definitely for me, and there is nothing that I can’t do if I really want to do it!”

Her peers’ constant support and motivation kept the group pumped up and excited for the next day. “There is a saying by Omar ibn al Khattab, ‘You don’t really know a person until you live with them, travel with them or do business with them,’ and I am so grateful for having the chance to meet such amazing people in my group and the truly amazing instructors, travel with them and experience all the highs and lows together! I look at the photos, and they bring back the memories of constant singing and random dance recitals during our exhausting hikes, our silly games and ending the night with stargazing. It was truly amazing. I definitely want to do it again!”

With a newfound enthusiasm for backpacking, Maha is prepared to take on her next expedition with more gusto and the lessons learned from her Outward Bound Canada course.

“Self-awareness, knowing my strengths and limits, connecting with myself and being mindful were the things I enjoyed the most from my trip.”

For those considering an Outward Bound Canada adventure, Maha’s advice is to dive into what the experience has to offer.

“Take every chance, drop every fear!”

Take a chance on yourself. Choose a course that challenges and excites you. You may be surprised by your ability.

Article by Ananya Sharma