It's fair to say when I signed up for this trip, I did so without knowing it would require shitting in a bucket.
My own fault for agreeing to three days of Outward Bound adventure followed by precisely zero further research about what it was I'd actually have to do.
My early-morning flight to Blenheim was cancelled and the ensuing last-minute rush figuring out how I'd get myself to Picton on time felt in keeping with the nature of what lay ahead.
"Oh look, adventure number one and I haven't even arrived yet," I thought to myself smugly while hooning along SH6 from Nelson, over the Pelorus Bridge, marvelling at the gorgeous South Island scenery from the comfort of my air-conditioned rental car.
What logistical crisis can't be solved with a cell phone and a credit card?
I did not realise every kilometre was drawing me nearer to deciding whether I would in fact be able to empty my bowels on a boat in front of nine strangers on the Queen Charlotte Sound.
"Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it."
Outward Bound abides by sayings, and there is a quote for every occasion within the pages of the Challenge of Words, a booklet of compiled words of wisdom from named and unnamed thinkers throughout history.
I can't remember the last time I had to do something I really didn't want to do.
Sure, I never really want to do the dishes, the task which perhaps most regularly reminds me life is just an endless cycle of chores and work followed by death, but I also accept they are a rather ordinary fact of life and must be done.
I can choose to put them off until later ("the pan needs to soak") or I can get them out of the way early; crucially, the person who gets to decide that is me.
At Outward Bound, an outdoor education school nestled in the remote and stunning small town of Anakiwa, near Picton, I relinquished control of my own decision-making for perhaps the first time in my adult life.
Control is something we come to possess late in life, but it's easy to forget you ever once lacked it.
Climbing aboard a small sailboat — called a cutter — in the Picton harbour, I leave my real life at the ferry terminal to become an Outward Bound student for the next two-and-a-half days.
Once on board the cutter I quickly realise I don't get to just lounge around on it, I actually have to work as part of a team to make it go.
This brings out a resistance in me so primal and long forgotten it catches me off guard.
I'm talking about teenage brattishness, an obstinance at being told what to do in a situation where you don't have the choice to ignore the order.
I can't opt out, we're already at sea, but I don't care about ropes and pulleys and sails and tacking and catching the wind just right.
It's like being back at school, and as I would often do in class, I start calculating how long I might have to endure this before I'm allowed to leave.
This turns out to be impossible, because our instructor, Paula, is tight-lipped on what the rest of the day will involve.
It's a deliberate tactic, one Outward Bound instructors employ because it helps keep students in the moment. Being unable to plan ahead means no worrying about something you find scary coming up and no counting down until the thing you're doing now is over and something more enjoyable will take its place.
The strategy works. I listen carefully as Paula explains how you need to tilt the ship's rudder to keep it 45 degrees to the wind, how to figure out when we need to change direction and what everyone needs to do to make that happen.
Sailing becomes a challenge we're working out together, and another familiar feeling from childhood returns: the pleasure of learning something totally new.
"We are all better than we know. If only we came to discover this, we may never again settle for anything less."
Outward Bound was started in 1941 when British shipping magnate Lawrence Holt noticed how many young Navy men were dying at sea during World War I.
When British ships were sunk by the Germans, older sailors were able to hold on in their lifeboats for days while their younger companions perished.
Sensing these young men lacked the resilience those who had survived the Depression era had managed to acquire, Holt approached teacher and keen outdoorsman Kurt Hahn with the idea of creating a school to foster inner strength through physical education and community service.
Hahn, who had previously established several outdoor education schools of a similar nature, was sure most of us were better than we knew if only we could be given the chance to prove it.
His attitude is summed up succinctly in Outward Bound's motto: there is more in you.
"A ship in harbour is safe, but that's not what ships are built for."
Our second day starts at dawn, where we wake up not in a bed but on the cutter, where we slept while anchored in the Sounds.
Nine fully grown women playing Tetris with our sleeping mats and bags to fit wherever we can, along the sides and underneath the seats with a tarp strung up in case it rains.
The many hours in between waking and sleep are filled with activities and the methodical planning required to make sure those activities run smoothly.
Despite the initial, forceful "no" I feel emanating from the core of my being every time I'm told we're doing something new and complicated, I do it.
If the experience makes me feel like a large adult child, then the Outward Bound instructors are my surrogate mum and dad, always gently cajoling and promising I'll like it if I just give it a go.
And most of the time I do.
"It's when you're safe at home that you wish you were having an adventure. When you're having an adventure, you wish you were safe at home."
Kevin, a nice young Irish instructor who I like even though he doesn't laugh when I joke about not being able to have Uber Eats delivered to our remote camp, explains there are two different kinds of fun.
Type One fun is fun at the time and Type Two is not fun while you're doing it but becomes fun after it's over.
Everything we do except eat during our three days is Type Two fun. Sleeping on the boat, tramping in the dark, the high ropes course: none of these I would do again in a hurry.
But going to sleep underneath the stars, waking up to see the sun rise over the Sounds, feeling the thrill of descending a flying fox after clambouring over wires 12m high: these all produce a feeling of satisfaction in me that lingers even now.
"If you have to eat a frog, best not stare at it too long."
In the end, none of us can bear to use the bucket.
Being the first to use it seems impossible but equally dreadful is the thought of using it after everyone else.
The white plastic cylinder, whose tightly fitted lid indicates it was once for house paint rather than human waste, is still empty when we bring it ashore, along with every other piece of equipment on board our cutter, several hours later.
This is the thing about Outward Bound, and it reminds me of school as well.
Just like you can't leave class until your desk is tidy and chairs have been stacked, you don't get to just jump off the boat and head in search of a shower.
Everything needs to come ashore, life jackets have to be hung in their proper place, the sail must be folded and the last of the food needs to be sorted and its packaging disposed of according to a strict recycling system.
It has to be this way so the instructors can take care of the gear, know when it's missing or needs replacing.
Finding yourself on a boat with a team of students and realising only then all the life jacket zips are broken isn't an option.
The orderliness needed for this world is in stark contrast with the haphazard way I plan my own.
It's astounding how little planning is needed with a cellphone, a supermarket, a car and the means to pay to keep all those things at your convenience.
As someone who has spent a lot of time feeling anxious about when the climate change apocalypse will arrive, it's disconcerting to get a glimpse just how ill-prepared I would be for its reckoning.
Even going to the toilet is an activity I now must carefully plan, given I never know how long we will be near camp and indoor plumbing.
All the clenching on that first morning has the unfortunate effect of making most of us constipated and it's not until the final afternoon I finally manage to poo.
It's a fact I announce delightedly, like a proud toddler, after returning to the cabin where everyone is packing up to go home.
"That can't be it though, like that was not three days' worth of food," I say.
A woman in my group turns around and looks me dead in the eye.
"There is more in you."