Blog 1: Finding the power of outdoors

By Zerin Anzum Karim

Growing up with trauma from an early age, I had always felt the need to have access to a form of expression that was outside of conventional dialogue, one that would not punish me in knowing my weaknesses. Finding a safe harbour to share my inner thoughts and process them without any eyes on me was in my knowledge an impossible expectation for most part of my life. This notion got turned on its head during my early twenties when I started to wander in the woods and hills around me, without a map trying to get lost but somehow at the same time knowing that I will always find my way out.  

If not by chance, I would not have ever thought that losing yourself in nature is one of the most effective mediums for self learning or therapy. Having discovered and experienced the benefits of engaging with the outdoors left me with the need to share this form of expression to other young girls and women who are yet to be made aware of it within their communities. So, when the opportunity to advocate alternative education through the first and only foundation pushing boundaries for women in the outdoors from Bangladesh came about, I was thankful that among the several other young women and girls who were being considered for this program, Wasfia allowed me to be her first mentee.

Although committing to do this trek would be immensely challenging not only financially, but physically and emotionally, I strongly believed that the more we think about doing things that require courage and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, the more likely we will talk ourselves out of it, so I signed up almost instantly, reassuring myself that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and missing it was not an option. What also helped with this decision was Wasfia’s belief in me and her acknowledgment of my challenges being similar to that of her own during the early days of her journey as an explorer, it helped me to see past the extrinsic difficulties of the mammoth task ahead of me and allowed for a once unthinkable dream to materialize itself gracefully.