Nobel teens endure 100km trail of discovery

Students from the Nobel International School Algarve completed the second Journey of Discovery, a physical and mental challenge taking in more than 100km from Porches to Fóia (Monchique) and back.

The group of 28 young people, aged 14 and 15, departed on Friday, April 27 for seven days, walking an average of 200,000 steps and experiencing one day of reflection and solitude.

This is the second time that the school has led a Journey of Discovery and Head of School Mike Farrer joined the party along with geography teacher and leader Matt Harris, and science teacher Andreia Rodrigues.

The group, mostly inexperienced in outdoor pursuits, learnt to cook on stoves and developed their competence in camp craft skills. They forged rivers, toasted marshmallow and Nutella cookie sandwiches on the barbecue and cooked spaghetti bolognaise in the pouring rain!

Most importantly, many overcame some of their worst fears: a week without their parents, their phone and TV, solitude, walking 100km, pain… During the penultimate day, the entire group had four hours of complete solitude, when they each read a letter written by their parents and had the chance to respond.

Group leader Matt Harris, who has been leading outdoor education expeditions for more than 20 years, said: “It was such a pleasure to watch the dramatic changes in each student throughout the week; to see them develop from being a group of individuals to a super high-functioning team by the last day. They came back determined, motivated, clearer about their future ideas and plans – we saw immediate positive change.

“It never ceases to amaze me how powerful the act of journeying is for young people, particularly for groups. It tests them both physically and mentally, and also really pushes them along the development of independent learning skills and personal and social skills.”