My Travels and Thoughts for the Future
I have seen a fair bit of the world. Some of it for long periods of time and some for just a few weeks holiday. This included Australia, a country I have been to several times, 2001, 2002, 2003 – 2004. Upon my second trip to Australia I spent a large part of my time in Cairns, Queensland – Australia.
During my time there, a young English woman/girl was killed in Bundaberg. A subsequent Police enquiry revealed this to be Murder. If I had been at home and heard about this tragedy I may have only given it a brief moment’s thought. However, I too was travelling in a strange land as far away as possible from England and those who love and care for me.
Furthermore I had come over to England to meet my girlfriend who up until my arrival had been traveling the Australian east coast and Queensland by herself. My time was brief on this trip to Australia and my girlfriend and I returned to England to continue our lives.
In 2003 I returned to Australia alone. Although you will always find numerous backpackers wherever you go in Australia, you are still initially alone. Australia is a Commonwealth country and its first language is English, it can still be a very scary experience establishing yourself. Finding out your rights and entitlements, by this I mean how the laws affects us. Employment law, tax laws and health laws etc…
Eventually from word of mouth I got myself a ‘Medicare’ card. I also found a job agency especially designed for ‘Backpackers’ who unfortunately charged me 100 Dollars just to join.
The best part of traveling to me is meeting different people who have made the beautiful country part of their lives and off course other travellers from all over the world.
The best part of traveling to me is meeting different people who have made the beautiful country part of their lives and off course other travellers from all over the world. It is actually my belief that travelling is very educational not just on an anthropological or historical level, but socially too.
There are very few people who have travelled displaying characteristics of racism and xenophobia. I believe in current times, to experience other cultures is a key to developing not only a good sense of self, but awareness of those around us. However not all young people are in a position to travel foreign lands, some barely have food enough to feed themselves or their loved ones. Unfortunately it is usually these people at the lower end of the socially affluent ladder who experience and exhibit the wrongs of prejudice. (This I will discuss further shortly).
I met two guys from my Youth Hostel, who were both from England, however, they were from the North. Those of us from England are fully aware of the difference in life styles, education and upbringing. We did what all good backpackers do, went to the pub and got chatting.
One of the lads I noticed was wearing a serious looking wrist watch. In contrast to this he was also wearing a woven bracelet which represented as I later found out the colours of the Rainbow. Being an inquisitive person, schooled in the social sciences. I had to point out the contrast and establish reasons why. It was then that I was made aware of the magnitude of Richard Stuttle’s (Founder of Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation) trip to Australia.
As we continued to drink and talk I was made aware of the forthcoming dates on Richard’s calendar, the hopes and aspirations of Caroline’s Rainbow Foundation. I also spoke to Richard about my own location during the tragedy in Bundaberg and of the work I had made a career out of in England. That I had studied Psychology and Sociology in England, that I had worked with young people at a number of levels, i.e Care homes, Youth clubs, schools and registered charities.
As the conversation continued I began to value the objectives of the Foundation. I began to wonder what I could do for the Foundation. Richard suggested I write something for him and the Foundation in an attempt to identify problems facing those who are travelling. I also hope to draw some attention to those young people in the UK who may never have the opportunities to visit foreign countries.
So I hope that I have not bored you all so far, by laying the background down, I have in some way helped to convey why I am writing this piece.
I shall start by mentioning a few of the negative experiences that can happen to travellers.
- Abuse, physical (assault) and Emotional (racism and prejudice). On numerous occasions in Australia and other parts of the world, I have been exposed to or faced the threat of both these forms of abuse.
- Lost documents, Passports, tickets and cash/credit cards.
- Robbery, loss of financial security, being ditched by employers or not paid.
The list of negative experiences could go on and on, and they are usually relative to the strengths of those experiencing them. However, it is important to realise that as humans we are all individuals, and what is easy to cope with for one is not so easy for the other.
I would now like to mention the types of support, I feel the Foundation could offer;
- Web-site offering pre-arranged jobs, or charity friendly employers and contacts.
- Access to web-site in and away from country of origin (home country). Ready access all over the world.
- Free health advice lists of doctors in your area, free condoms, contraceptive pills and advice on STI’s (Sexually Transmitted Infections).
- Safe houses with people to talk too. Counselors and trained advisors in major cities and registered hostels. Translators and people who speak travellers native tongue.
- Chat room and ongoing advice room on the web-site for tips hints and contacts.
- Charity registered hostels, free access for emergency calls to family or embassy.
- A database of information from people who have already travelled, experienced advisors.
- Starter pack (which could have a minimal donation attached to aid charity) containing various offers, information maybe discounts. The scope here can be as wide as the imagination allows it. Health, jobs, hostels, tour packages.
- Black or danger spots and personal security risk assessments. Traveller friendly spots, safe places. Could be included in Starter pack.
- Free phone number accessible all over the world.
- Financial support for those truly in need facing extreme emergencies.
I would like to spend a little more time at this point talking about Young People in the UK, who will never have the opportunity to travel and experience foreign lands. I have worked with various types of young people from various backgrounds. Those from inner cities and those from more affluent backgrounds. At some point all these young people need support.
Yet, it’s those who lack opportunity to experience and better themselves that truly miss out. Usually because their parents are unable to provide financial support, or were themselves ignorant to to the opportunities and wonders on offer. So perhaps the Foundation could work to highlight opportunities of travel and work abroad. Visit Youth clubs schools, especially in the inner city areas. Informing them of whats available. Exchanges,working holidays, provide them with contacts, ideas and plans to enable them to enjoy our world. Providing positive experience the opportunity for integration and self improvement.
I hope this has been of some use, if only to tell you that the Foundation is already reaching others. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you feel I could help further. It may be worth mentioning that I am currently working in South Korea and have been away from England for almost two years, and plan to go to China for a year next then may be Southeast Asia. I my experiences here are of interest let me know.
Written by Peter Muffett