From March 12th to 16th, we went to Niigata for a snow expedition. Even before going to the expedition, I was excited to gain new experience to widen my comfort zones. Also, I wanted to get away from the constant Internet-based, noisy, life that I have right now for a short amount of time.
On the first day that we arrived, we did an exercise to appreciate silence by just sitting in the snow for 20 minutes by ourselves. For me, that experience felt very short and I was able to realize how noisy my everyday life is and how I usually don’t take time to sit back and think because my ears rang with silence. On the second day, we made a snow cave that we would be sleeping in on the next day. This was a new experience for me as and I learned how tiring it is because we were all in our T-shirts when shoveling snow. The next day, we packed our bags for camping and went hiking with snowshoes. During the hike, we collaborated together as a group by caring for each other and matching the walking pace so that everyone feels comfortable walking. That night, we came back to our snow caves and cooked dinner for ourselves. After dinner, I slept inside the snow cave for the first time in my life in an extreme heat-insulated sleeping bag. On the fourth day, we came back to the lodge that we were staying and skied for the rest of the day. It had been about 3 years since the last time I skied, so I was surprised to see how much I remembered how to ski.
Through this experience, I learned the importance of shared leadership and silence. Firstly, I learned how leadership does not need to be just one person leading the whole group. During the hike, we all cared for each other and looked out for each other to collaborate effectively. For example, when a person tripped the person behind them would call out to all the group members to stop and wait for a second until he/she stood up again. It was because of this shared leadership that we managed to complete the hike safely on that day. Secondly, I realized through this expedition how important silence is. Silence gives us time to think, relax and reflect on anything or nothing. In our current everyday lifestyles where there is constant noise – whether it be the cars, the construction sites, the phones, and the people – we usually do not take to just sit back and do nothing and our bodies and minds are restless most of the time. Therefore, from now on, I would like to take some time once in a while to just sit back and relax. Overall, I really enjoyed this meaningful experience because I was able to gain a new perspective on the world and the lifestyle I go through every day.