Foundation winners tell of their travels to a Croatia too.
Friday, 25 July 2003
SHERRYN Phelan won the 2003 Bega Valley Rural Youth Travel Foundation last Saturday night at the Bega RSL Club, but while the judges were making their decision, the 2000 winner, Michael Rood, spoke of some of the places he visited and the things he did with his around the world air ticket.
Michael just arrived back in Australia a few days ago.
He left Australia on July 11, 2002, and Vancouver was his first stop then on to Toronto where he had lived a while back so there he helped his friends with a Holstein-Friesian sale.
Michael then went to Prince Edward Island, Halifax and Quebec, before crossing into the United States travelling south to Littleton as a visit to Bega's sister city is a requisite for the Foundation winner.
There he was hospitably entertained.
Michael then flew to London, where he worked for a while, then on to the continent and back to Ireland, where he hitchhiked.
A five week African safari in Kenya was the next part of Michael's around the world.
He bungyjumped at Victoria Falls, then wnet on to Johannesburg and Capetown before coming back to the Valley,
He said the best thing about his trip was the people he met.
Felicity Northcott won the $500 second award at the 2000 conpetition and an following email from her was read by Sharon Spence.
"IT seems both a very long time and also a not so long time since I was standing here in person at the 2000 Travel Foundation Competition.
"I was very honoured to receive the award at that time and it was greatly appreciated in the planning and initial stages of my journey abroad!
"As you are aware I am still on that same journey.
"I left Australia in October 2001 with only the first month planned.
"In that month I visited the USA, spending time with my host family from my Lions Exchange in 1992!
"It was wonderful to see them again after nearly ten years!
"In New York I found myself in the wake of September 11, an experience which was quite emotional and also strange to be part of.
"It is truly an overwhelming city.
"The rest of my time in this part of the world encompassed Boston, and then Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec City and Montreal in Canada.
"Quebec City was a definite favourite.
"I arrived in London at the end of October just as the winter was beginning to take over the city!
"Two Northern Hemisphere winters later I am somehow still here, but most certainly looking forward to some Australian summer heat.
"Teaching in London was a special experience!
"After several weeks supply teaching I took a placement in one school on the outskirts of London.
"It was very challenging, and highly rewarding at times, but after four months I decided to resign and try my hand at a few other things!
"Since then I have been freelancing for theatre companies as a stage manager and front-of-house manager, and also worked for the BBC in a temporary capacity.
"My most interesting position was stage managing a play that toured to schools around London and the UK for two months earlier this year.
"The early mornings weren't very far removed from milking, except it meant dealing with actors sometimes 24 hours a day!
"I also certainly got a good taste of heavy-vehicle driving over here, quite hectic at times.
"Aside from the interesting work I've come across, I've squashed in some side-trips to the continent!
"My favourite was four weeks in Eastern Europe last October-November.
"The beauty of Croatia and Slovenia, the fairytale-like Prague and Czech Republic, the strangeness of Slovakia and the war-torn but forward looking Sarajevo and Bosnia, were all special, and fantastic people and places to have had the privilege to experience.
"Being dressed as a "good little Muslim" by our eccentric hostess in Sarajevo was definitely an amusing highlight and something not quickly forgotten.
"And in keeping with the strength of Rural Youth friendships across the world, I would like to mention that I have spent time with Sandra and Paul Ubly and their family in Cornwall - Sandra was a UK Exchangee we hosted in 1990.
"It has been wonderful to be in contact with them over here after many years of letter writing!
"The past two years have been an incredible time for me, I know I have grown and perhaps changed as a person and I look forward to bringing all that I have learned and experienced home with me to keep building on.
"I've been so lucky to meet so many amazing people and to see and experience so many things.
"Thank you to the Travel Foundation for helping to make that possible, I look forward to seeing you all when I return later in the year!"
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