Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation anniversary 2021
19 years chasing rainbows
2002 now seems like a lifetime ago. Another life when we were all completely different people. This year I feel is more significant in some way, as my sister Caroline lost her life at 19 and we have now had 19 years without her. I asked the question, what have I done with that time? Losing Caroline was by far the worst thing that ever happened in my life and to our family, we still remember her daily and want her to inspire others through Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation. Personally, I feel a responsibility to work hard and make her proud. We push to help other young people better understand the risks and stay safe when travelling.
Travel has always been in our family’s blood; we all felt the urge to travel. My father packed up and left for the U.S in his mid-20’s and my mother went to work in Italy. It was only natural for Caroline and I to want to travel. I left for my own backpacking experience to Australia back in 2003, and at the time it was my biggest adventure to date. I decided to keep a daily diary which I have written in every day since. I spent nearly two years away visiting Australia, New Zealand and Thailand, it was an amazing experience, but filled with many ups and downs. I had the most magical experiences, from diving on the Great Barrier Reef to watching the sunrise over Ayers Rock. As well as some of the most heart-breaking moments: I attended the trial for my sister’s murder, I stood in the same spot where she lost her life and visited many places she never got to see.
Chasing Rainbows – The Stolen Future of Caroline Ann Stuttle
In 2019, I made the decision to look back through my diaries, read through many of my ramblings and started to pull together what we had learnt about travel safety in the years since Caroline has gone. It was a leap of faith, when I casually mentioned I am going to write a book I didn’t fully understand what I was about to undertake. I didn’t really consider if anyone would be interested in reading it (to be honest, at this point I still don’t know) but I wanted to do it for me, for Caroline and to share our charity’s mindset when it came to travel and keeping people safe. It was also for the very same reason why we all work so hard for our charity, if we can make a difference to just one person, stop another family going through the same tragedy as us, then it’s all been worthwhile. If through writing a book I can help just one reader better understand their grief, think deeper about their safety or inspire them to go out and explore the world, then it would all be worth it.
I dedicated time and wrote daily, pulling together over 120,000 words into some kind of coherent narrative. The process was incredibly cathartic. I opened and closed my boxes of emotion, grief and heartbreak within myself. My hope was that people would see what we had been through as a family and the work we did through Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation and Safer Travel. Travel safety is an incredibly important issue and should be taken seriously, but equally travel and exploring our wonderful planet is one of the most amazing things we can do. There are many issues we face every day but adding travel to your life can make everything you do overwhelmingly positive – and we are unbelievably privileged to have the opportunity to explore.
Starting a book made me feel like I was back in 2002 and starting our charity, with no idea about the travel industry or travel safety. I had no idea how the publishing business worked. After many rejections saying that the book was not quite what they were looking for, one wonderful publisher said yes! I was overwhelmed. It was incredible, but then the work really started. To date, my book, Chasing Rainbows – the Stolen Future of Caroline Ann Stuttle, is going through its final tweaks and is due to be published in May 2021, 19 years after we lost my 19-year-old sister in Australia. The book details my journey through this time, the work we have done to promote travel safety and important safety messages and information to better understand the risks to personal safety.
We are currently working on some exciting projects with Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation and York St John University, defining new ways to help young travellers better understand the risk mindset when it comes to travel. As the world opens up again after COVID-19 and our next generation are able to fly to their dream destinations, we will be here to provide important travel safety advice to help them better prepare for their amazing adventures.
For more information, please follow us on social media – Facebook & Instagram for posts about our latest projects and you can pre-order Chasing Rainbows – the Stolen Future of Caroline Ann Stuttle here.
Thank you, and wishing you safer travels.
Written by Richard Stuttle.