World Challenge – 'A parent’s perspective' by John & Sarah Cavannagh parent of Laura
"We attended the launch and were blown away! What an opportunity! We signed up, paid up and bought into the whole experience.
It seemed, for a long time, to be an exciting event some time in the future. It came round alarmingly quickly. There was a huge amount of personal planning and organisation to do, particularly in the weeks running up to the expedition.
In truth we didn’t realise the extent of the commitment involved. The fundraising was a huge challenge and took a great deal of time and energy at a time when Laura perhaps should have had all of her focus on academic matters, but we never lost sight of the goal!
What became clear over time was that we could have complete confidence in the World Challenge organisation. We had regular input mostly via email, regarding fundraising ideas, planning the trip and the itinerary. The lines of communication were always open and we were very impressed by the attention to detail. The safety procedures and support whilst the expeditioners were away were quite simply incredible. It is clearly the safest way to travel!!!
It was an amazing trip; how many ways are there to say amazing?! The journey from Mexico to Panama was full of excitement, some drama and unforgettable experiences and opportunities. We followed the blog avidly which was full of detail and anecdotes with just enough information to give us reassurance that all was well. Even if it wasn’t, we knew that all situations were being dealt with by caring, experienced leaders, who knew our children well, with the back up of an internationally renowned organisation.
Six weeks seemed a long time; the reality was that mostly it flew by. A highlight for families was following the itinerary, Googling all the destinations, with images along side the blog.
It was an emotional reunion at Heathrow airport very early on a Friday morning in August. The travellers were exhausted but exhilarated by all that they had seen, done and experienced. The stories and memories tumbled out over the next few days and weeks, coming thick and fast with tales of laughs and challenges.
Laura is more confident. She has had to dig deep and step out of her comfort zone. She experienced the different, vibrant and varied cultures of Central America She has haggled and bartered, in Spanish and English, scuba dived and climbed volcanoes. She has learnt more than ever to be part of a team. She has dodged bulls and has learnt to keep herself safe when travelling, whilst having a thoroughly good time.
The team spirit and togetherness is a tribute to both the challengers and the leaders. They developed an astonishing bond over the 6 weeks.
It’s a huge commitment! Was it worth it? Knowing all that we know now would we do it again? It’s a big ask. The answer is a resounding "Yes!"
John and Sarah Cavannagh, parents, Mexico to Panama expedition