Infrastructure Analyst, Edinburgh
"I’d always been fascinated by Peru since seeing pictures of Machu Picchu in my early twenties, so the Adventure Challenge was an experience of a lifetime. However, this was more than just a sightseeing trip, it was our growth mindset in action, striving to do things better or never tried before – even if it takes you out of your comfort zone.
With white-water rafting, hiking and cycling up mountains, I knew I’d have to work on my personal fitness in advance and lost two stone, getting in the best shape I’ve been in for 10 years. Once in Peru, the challenges of the altitude meant even a simple task like having a shower left you breathless. But, I’ll never forget the final day of hiking, turning the corner at the Sungate and seeing the Machu Picchu citadel. No photograph could do it justice.
Many of us worked in different departments, or different offices, in Edinburgh, Melbourne and Singapore, and had maybe only had passing conversations, but we all quickly gelled as a team and became good friends.
The day spent at the school was a humbling experience. The girls stole our hearts, always smiling and happy – even though they came from backgrounds of extreme poverty and, in some cases, abuse. Near the end of our visit, we handed out little gifts. One little girl was given a plastic recorder, and it was as if she’d been given the moon, the look of sheer joy on her face was something to behold.
The main goal of the challenge was raising money for charities, some of them personal to members of the team. I nominated the British Heart Foundation (Scotland) and British Lung Foundation (Scotland) as my Dad has suffered heart attacks, eventually resulting in a triple bypass, and pulmonary fibrosis. The £81,000 we raised, from tandem skydiving, a 24-hour cycle, bingo nights, bake sales and more, greatly exceeded our expectations.
The challenge was hard work and sometimes very emotional, but all I have are amazing memories and I thank Martin Currie for giving me the opportunity."