Why did you choose to become a volunteer with Beyond Borders Travel?
Travel has always been such an important part of my life, and knowing that my support could allow someone with a disability to experience the joys of travel meant a lot to me.
What was your role on the trip?
I was a volunteer travel support facilitator. It was our job to cater to the specific needs of the people that we support and ensure they were safe and happy throughout the trip. For me, it really just felt like hanging out with a group of new friends and getting to have fun together!
What did you enjoy about the trip?
I am someone that likes to laugh and have fun, so the fact that we were on a Comedy Cruise was a bonus! Going along to the comedy shows and seeing all the participants smiling and happy was very rewarding. Tess, the girl that I supported and shared a room with on the trip was the same age as me so being able to spend time with her was a lot of fun. I enjoyed learning about her interests and hobbies and getting to do some of them together throughout the trip. We got to do our makeup and play dress-up together before heading out to the evening events, which we both enjoyed.
Do you have any standout highlights from the trip?
So many to choose from! We spent our days lounging by the pool together, going down the giant waterslide and enjoying the on-board entertainment. In the evenings we would all enjoy a nice dinner together, have a cocktail in one of the jazz bars and see a comedy show. The second night of the trip was a Gatsby-themed night, so we all got to put on our costumes and dance the night away – it was a lot of fun!
What did you learn or take away?
I have a greater understanding of the preparation that goes on behind the scenes to organise holidays for people of all abilities. It is fantastic that UnitingCare has a program where anyone is able to travel, confident in the fact that their support needs will be met and tailored to them.
What would you say to someone thinking about volunteering on the trip?
What are you waiting for? Beyond Borders is awesome to work with and always ready to welcome new volunteers, and any questions you may have about the program or requirements for volunteering. I am so happy I chose to volunteer and am already excited for the next one! You will leave with the feeling that you have made a positive difference in someone’s life.