When I heard about the cultural routes trip, my initial thoughts were all about the amazing places we’d see in Europe. While I heard about the group dynamics and conflicts, I seemed to focus on the future times of adventure rather than the teamwork and group dynamics. A week into CR, my perception has changed. I’ve come to appreciate how much CR requires true collaboration.
The importance of cooperation became apparent to me when we boarded the night train. We jumped on the train, some more injured than others, and made it with just seconds to spare. If we hadn’t worked together as a team, we would’ve spent the night in Berlin. Whether it was Josh leading the pack with his stellar speed walking or Andrea literally taking one for the team and stopping the train with her body, we all helped in making that moment happen. While it would’ve been nice if we made it on the train with more time, I’m proud of the way each member of our group reacted to stress and adversity.
Another moment of collaboration came at dinner on Tuesday night. We went to a local, family run Mexican restaurant. It was absolutely scrumptious. After our delicious entree, the owner brought out drinks to celebrate the “birthdays” on the trip. The restaurant simultaneously turned into a massive dance party. During the dance party, we all embraced our own moves and supported each other in each and every way. Whether it was Will breaking it down and “twerking” it, Riley getting freaky with the textbook sprinkler move or some of us just watching the two restaurant employees getting all close and personal, we each added a piece of our personalities to make the night thrive. No one was trying to impress anyone else, and our team dynamic has never been better.
As we move through Munich, I’m excited to see how I can further collaborate with my fellow group members and help them learn and grow. Going into the trip, I hoped that I would take on the role as the encourager. I also hoped that I would step back from a vocal leadership role and work to help my group members feel heard, appreciated, and valued. Through this week I’ve seen glimpses of how I can thrive as a member and teammate to all of these stellar people. We all have our own clashing leadership styles but when we can come together, be ourselves, and seek to understand all of our differences, we can make something special happen. Can’t wait for what’s to come.