An unexpected journey

An unexpected journey

21 June 2021 – Day 1

Early this morning, we all gathered with too little sleep at the harbour in Harlingen. After some organisational tasks were completed, we started our day all together with a quick ‘check-in’, exchanging expectations and gathering things we would leave behind during this journey. Most of us couldn’t believe this trip was now actually taking place. Noticeable was that nearly everybody of us experienced a relieve of stress when stepping on board. Many of us expressed their belief that this week on the sailing ship, the “Aldebaran”, would offer a welcoming source of energy and inspiration. 

Being now present on this boat, in this community, in this “micro-cosmos”, seems right and surreal at the same time. After all, some of us have been preparing this trip for more than a year. One could say that we deserved this journey, after so many setbacks. On the other hand, who of us is still used to such an experience after 16 months of the ‘new normal’? 

Following the opening, Frank and Natalja, the Aldebaran’s skipper and mate, welcomed us on the ship. After a brief introduction and some safety instructions we finally set sail. And, even though the weather was against us, the winds were with us so we reached Texel within less than four hours. During the crossing the wind blew coldly, but it did not keep us from animated conversations and delightful impressions of the Wadden sea around us.

Once in the harbour of Oudeschild, some of us explored the village while others stayed on the boat changing wet clothes. As the cooking team prepared the first warm dish of the trip,  others watched the Dutch soccer team win their third match in the EK, lighting up our spirits even more. 

The day passed in a whistle and a flash, seemingly without effort. The group gathered and had a small reflective moment sharing what we were already experiencing individually: the effortless and natural exchange of perspectives. This laid a good basis for our community of inquiry. In the coming week, we will foster a rich exchange about our research projects. Our partners and supervisors will come on board to participate as well. We’re eager to learn from each other and to sustain the project jointly.