Inspiring independence, confidence and connection
When Becca signed up with the Beyond Borders Travel program in 2015, she expected a fun experience and meeting new people. Little did she know how much she was about to expand her horizons — starting a journey from client, to volunteer, to inspiring her own career.
What is the Beyond Borders Travel program all about?
Through our Beyond Borders Travel program, Uniting Care provide supported small-group holidays for people living with a disability. As a client of theirs since 2015, Becca has always been delighted to participate in a variety of trips with the program, funded through her NDIS plan.
On 10 April, Becca was a speaker at our Beyond Borders Travel Expo in Brisbane. She shared how her experiences with the program have brought connection with new friends and a wider community, and enriched her life in ways she never imagined.
“On these trips I’ve been given independence and that has built my confidence. It has opened my eyes up to see places I have not been able to explore before. I really love doing these holidays.”
How the accessible travel program has helped Becca
On her first trip in 2015, Becca felt a little shy — until Nathan, a fellow participant, helped bring her out of her shell. Four years later, and Becca and Nathan have taken multiple trips together and continue to be great friends.
Among other highlights with the Uniting Care program, Becca has been on trips to Taronga Zoo and the Opera House in Sydney, the Jacaranda Festival in Grafton, a tilt train trip to Rockhampton — just to name a few.
“When we visited Sydney, I thought the city was beautiful, and the old area called The Rocks was so cool. I really liked checking out the markets and bartering for pretty jewellery.”
Becca says these adventures have been so rewarding, they’ve inspired her to volunteer with the program, and pursue a career in the sector. Volunteering since 2018, she has now taken 11 trips — 9 as a client, and 2 as a volunteer.
From participant to carer: Becca’s new career
This May, Becca is excited for her next trip to Sydney’s Vivid Festival. She’s also thrilled to be working towards a career she’s truly passionate about. In fact, this July, she will graduate with a Certificate III in Disability.
Motivated by a desire to enrich the lives of others, and inspired by her own lived experience Becca says the work she does is very close to her heart. “It’s when you’re saying goodbye to a person, who now has a smile on their face — when maybe they didn’t before. Or when someone says you’ve turned their day around. Those moments mean everything,” Becca says.
Nickola Zeeuwen, Service Coordinator for Beyond Borders Travel, said Becca’s experience reflects their 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. Through this program, we’re striving for a barrier-free world for the people we support.”
Nickola says she’s been inspired by Becca’s transition from traveller to volunteer. Bec is now an asset to the team because she is a natural at supporting people with disability. She 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.
Over to you
Have you had a good experience on holiday, and wanted to share it with others?
Let us know in the comments below.