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My National Geographic Adventure

Bennett Goldberg (Lindblad Expeditions)

  • Writer's picturebeyondtheice

Becoming a Grosvenor Fellow: A Journey Unparalleled

“A sense of calm came over me. More and more often I found myself thinking, this is where I belong. This is what I came into this world to do.” ― Jane Goodall

It is incredible to think of a 26 year old Jane Goodall travelling from England to Africa to explore the little-known world of wild chimpanzees in July of 1960. What’s more incredible is how calm she felt about the whole adventure!

When I received the phone call from National Geographic, I was anything but calm! Lunch had just ended in my Calgary classroom when I noticed my phone buzzing. I almost didn’t answer it, but since it was lunchtime I am glad I did!

As soon as I heard I had been selected as a 2018 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, I was stunned! I had butterflies in my stomach, my head was spinning with excitement, and I was flooded with emotions—and speaking of flood, of course I cried! I couldn’t contain myself.

Suddenly I remembered I was standing in the middle of my classroom full of worried looking grade 2 students. They were sure something bad had happened.

“I think maybe someone died?” said a concerned looking student. Other kids were nodding in sympathetic agreement.

I had made such a scene that another colleague came in to see what was going on in my room.

“They’re happy tears, it’s a good thing!” I sputtered, through the tsunami of excitement. “I’m a fellow! I’m a National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow!”

I was so elated by the whole moment that I could hardly hear the lady on the other end telling me about which Lindblad Expedition I would be a part of. All I heard was “You’re going to see penguins!” so naturally I assumed we were headed to Antarctica! Later in the day, I received an email with all the information about my fellowship and upcoming expedition. South Georgia Islands —definitely uncharted territory for me! I poured over the information, soaking up as much as I could. My heart raced faster and faster as I leafed through each page of the Lindblad Expedition itinerary. Images of king penguins, chinstrap penguins, macaroni penguins, and emperor bumbling together by the thousands evoked so many questions. When I regained composure, my teacher mind kicked into high gear! As part of my fellowship, I have been working hard to create an ‘exploration design challenge’ based on my upcoming expedition to see penguins.

With my departure to Buenos Aires just a month away, I find myself falling into a rhythm of inquiry. My eyes are fixed upon the spectacular scale of the South Georgia wildlife. Although I wouldn’t say a ‘sense of calm’ has come over me, like Jane Goodall and her chimpanzees, more and more often I find myself thinking, expeditionary learning is where I belong.

This is what I came into the world to do.


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