From traveller to volunteer to a whole new career

A tentative trip away has become a journey of a whole new magnitude for traveller Becca, thanks to UnitingCares Beyond Borders Travel program for people living with disability.

Speaking at the Beyond Borders Travel Expo in Brisbane, Becca shared how her experiences with the accessible travel program have brought connection with new friends and a wider community, and enriched her life in ways she never imagined.

“On these trips Ive been given independence and that has built my confidence,” she says. “It has opened my eyes up to see places I have not been able to explore before. I really love doing these holidays.”

On her first trip Becca felt a little shy — until Nathan, a fellow participant, helped bring her out of her shell. They have since taken multiple trips together, and continue to be great friends.

Among other highlights with the program, Becca names trips to Taronga Zoo and the Opera House in Sydney, the Jacaranda Festival in Grafton, and a Tilt Train trip to Rockhampton.

“When we visited Sydney, I thought the city was beautiful, and the old area called The Rocks was so cool,” Becca says. “I really liked checking out the markets and bartering for pretty jewellery.”

Becca says these adventures have been so rewarding, theyve inspired her to volunteer with the program, and pursue a career in the sector. She has now taken 11 trips — nine as a client, and two as a volunteer.

“Its when youre saying goodbye to a person, who now has a smile on their face — when maybe they didnt before,” Becca says. “Or when someone says youve turned their day around. Those moments mean everything.”

Beyond Borders Travel service co-ordinator Nickola Zeeuwen says Beccas experience reflects UnitingCares mission in action — helping others live life in all its fullness.

“Taking a supported holiday can help people of all abilities build independence and form new friendships,” Nickola says.

“Through this program, were striving for a barrier-free world for the people we support,” she says.

“Since meeting Becca last year and working with her throughout the transition from traveller to volunteer, I have been inspired. Bec is now an asset to the team because she is a natural at supporting people with disability. Bec comes up with ideas on the go to help us adapt to the unique needs to every individual participant – and that is the type of dynamic, hands-on approach that will take the holiday program to the next level.”

View our upcoming holidays or find out more about volunteering with Beyond Borders Travel.