At 6 AM on the 24th of January 2022, 16 students from DP1 and MYP5 embarked on our Week Without Walls Venture North trip which consisted of travelling to Sigiriya and then cycling around the surrounding areas. At around 11 AM we all got off the bus to do our first ever official stretch of cycling. It was a short 14km ride into camp but personally I was blown away at the beautiful view and the complete silence of the roads which were rarely populated with people let alone cars and other vehicles. The final stretch into Back Of Beyond was on potentially the most bumpy road in the world however after scaling that obstacle, we arrived at camp just in time for lunch.
After unpacking, settling into BOB and having lunch, we set out on our 2nd cycle ride at 3.30PM which was a 17KM loop around the BOB surroundings. The ride lasted just over an hour and during that hour not only did we have the chance to admire the wondrous landscape but also for the group to bond during the short breaks which we had along the way. After completing the loop we returned to camp and some of us decided to cool off by dipping in the stream at BOB which proved to be a bit of a struggle due to the shallowness of the stream and the swarms of fish who kept nibbling our feet. Following that slightly traumatic experience, we washed, had dinner and went to bed tired following the days events.
The next day we woke up at 6.30 AM and were ready for it all over again. After getting ready for the day ahead of us by getting dressed, eating food and performing ABC (air, brakes, chain) checks on our bikes we departed BOB at 8 AM for the longest cycling trip which we would do for the entire trip. The 43 KM ride consisted of us cycling to the majestic Kandalama lake; where we had a picnic lunch and took the opportunity to refresh ourselves in the water, and then to Dambulla town where group 1 (my group) took the opportunity to do some grocery shopping as we were to prepare dinner for everyone that night.
After completing the grocery shopping, we headed back to BOB for a bike workshop which was to conducted by Mr. Peter, the head of the cycling aspect of the trip. After being given a full briefing on different parts of a bicycle we were challenged as a group to assemble a deassembled bike and we overcame it by personally reassembling one part each. I had to assemble the rear deraillieur which to be honest I personally didn’t even know existed prior to the workshop. After successfully reassembling the bike with the help of Mr. Peter my group and I proceeded to the kitchen to prepare our meal. In the 2 hours which we were assigned we managed to prepare some slightly overcooked “stirfry” noodles along with some amazing teriyaki chicken. The cooking was an experience as none of us had ever prepared a meal for so many people before and while majority of the two hours was spent in chaos we all managed to bond and collectively achieved a sense of pride after accomplishing our goal. After the meal we had a quick game of musical chairs (the form of entertainment provided by group 3) and then headed to bed.
Identify your own strengths and develop areas for personal growth: One major area where I identified my own strengths and developed areas for personal growth was my cycling. I identified that I was strong at maintaining a steady pace while cycling in order to stay within the group. One skill within cycling which I developed was the use of gears as I had never really used gears while cycling before and the trip thought me much about how I could improve.
Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process: The main challenge that I undertook during the trip and which I managed to develop a skill through was cooking. Prior to the trip I had never really done much in the kitchen apart from occasionally follow recipes to cook for myself but during the WWW trip I managed to overcome the challenge of cooking and develop many new skills in the process.
Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively: Being split into small groups for activities such as cooking helped me recognize the benefits of working collaboratively as a small group whereas working together with the rest of the students to help reassemble the bicycle and to stay in formation while we were cycling helped me recognize the benefits of working collaboratively in a large group.