Techie Travis on outdoors experience

Ashburton Trust Event Centre junior technician Travis Stringer works on a lighting set- up shortly before his departure to Anakiwa and the three-week Outward Bound experience.

Ashburton Trust Event Centre junior technician Travis Stringer is stepping outside of his comfort zone and is swapping the backstage environment for the outdoors of the Marlborough Sounds on a three-week adventure and reflection course.

The 21-year-old began his Outward Bound experience at Anakiwa yesterday and hopes to return home with useful life skills and renewed self confidence.

His time away will include a daily 3km run that he is expected to complete in under 25 minutes, a solo camping experience where he will spend three days alone and be checked on daily, and a number of outdoor activities.

The course fee of close to $4500 has been met through a scholarship from the Jaycee Outward Bound fund administered by Advance Ashburton.

Travis said he was very grateful for the scholarship and was both nervous and very excited about the opportunity.

He would report back to his funders on his experiences.

Travis said his boss Roger Farr had first mentioned Outward Bound and after reading more about it he had decided to take the plunge.

“I am a naturally quiet and shy sort of guy, so I’m hoping the course will help build my confidence and help me achieve my full potential.”

He hoped to improve his decision-making, ability to work more efficiently and social skills.

“This is the biggest experience in my life so far, so I’m determined to enjoy it to the full.”

The first step to get on Outward Bound for Travis was to apply for funding, which was approved before Christmas by Advance Ashburton following an application and interview process.

More forms and checks followed and Outward Bound found a slot for him on the February course.

Over 21 days he will experience bush expeditions, water challenges, sea voyages and height activities with 13 other course participants and two instructors.

“It’s all going to be new for me and activities like abseiling and climbing will be quite confronting because I’m terrified of heights,” Travis said.

He had never ventured too far from home and was looking forward to the challenges, which would create life-long memories for him.

Reflection sessions are an important component of Outward Bound and Travis will keep a journal to consider the importance of his experiences and new situations and relate the lessons back to everyday life.

There will be little contact with the outside world and smoking, alcohol and cell phones are strictly not allowed.

-By Mick Jensen