Written by Candy Yan

Don’t live the same year 60 times and call it life.

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

Autumn is particularly lovely for catching up with old friends. Instead of the traditional routine - Morning Tea (Yum Cha) with old buddies, a group of mature participants gave up their delicious dim sum and embarked on a 6-day “The Journey Of Life Programme”, discovering part of the Hong Kong they never dreamt they would even set foot in.  

“The Journey Of Life” is a nature-based Outward Bound kayaking expedition in the most secluded area of Hong Kong. Mature participants had the opportunity to reflect on their self-concept, relationship with others and their purpose during the 6-day expedition from 27 Nov to 2 Dec,2017.  

Most mature adults never develop much of a wanderlust and is rather satisfied living in a cozy home with their gorgeous children and grandchildren. It was heartwarming to witness 21 mature participants look spry and active well into their fifties and sixties. 

Into the WILD!

Prior to departure, participants were divided into two groups, each facilitated by two experienced Outward Bound instructors. Both groups of 21 were from different walks of life, from retired engineers, doctors to accountants and homemakers. 

The participants were fortunate to begin their expedition in our Wong Wan Chau (Double Island) base, located in the North-Eastern corner of Hong Kong. It is an idyllic arcadia embraced by uplands and carries a celestial tranquil setting to the surrounding hills. The area astonishes every first-time visitor with her stunning beauty. That unique serenity is simply unimaginable within the bustling Hong Kong scene.

A renewed spirit of teamwork and positive encouragement washed over group, participants were busy on planning their routes, writing grocery lists, and packing backpacks for the next few days of their kayaking journey. Before setting off, they praised each other for their efforts and pointed out a few things that could have done better. 

Groups then left in the early morning for their wilderness excursions within the Wong Wan Chau area. They later paddled through the narrow Hung Shek Mun (Red Stone Gate) gap between Wong Wan Chau and the mainland, emerging into a whole different seascape. 

The programme nourished my love for the outdoors and introduced less experienced people to outdoor recreation. It made me feel confident enough to challenge myself outdoors as well as in a group setting. I have built leadership skills and an invaluable trust among my teammates.


More than just an expedition

Besides the opportunity to see microhabitats and the abundant marine life of various remote islands, they discovered historic villages amid an intricate maze of islands and coves. 

They paddled to another island Ap Chau on the third day. The groups' spirits were buoyed by meeting a group of upbeats villagers and their tiredness from kayaking was soon forgotten. Sooner after they greeted to the village chief they were educated of the village’s history.   

The culture of Ap Chau is rich. Back to 1960s, the village was set up by American preachers from the then Taiwan-based True Jesus Church in order to shelter fishermen and their families who converted to Christianity. There used to be over 1,000 inhabitants called the Tanka, an originally non-Chinese ethnic minority who were mostly fishermen but most have moved over to cities in the United Kingdom.  

Outward Bound is an incredible experience that changed my life, especially rafting and kayaking in the backyard of Hong Kong. It has increased my endurance.