The McMasterdonian Travel Blog
I thought this would be fun :-)
I'll share stories about the places I've been and maybe some photos as well. You may find it interesting and hopefully it'll encourage everyone to go on long holidays and see as much of the world as they can.
I've started out with a few of the obvious places, I'll add more in later. Feel free to add some of your own if you like
I'll start with the obvious one, Australia. Unfortunately, I have't seen a lot of Australia. My parents did all their road trips and working holidays before I was five and honestly all I can remember is hating the car rides
Perth is the capital of Western Australia and it is where I am lucky to call home.
Perth is a beautiful city, very clean, beautiful beaches, nice weather and friendly people. It has heaps of trees and parks which is great for a capital city. There are so many things for tourists to do when visiting Perth.
Kings Park is a must for those visiting Perth. It has beautiful sprawling parkland, botantical gardens, a tree top walk and the Anzac memorial. Kings Park hosts a dawn service every year to honour the fallen ANZAC soldiers.
The South West
The South West of Western Australia is where I grew up. If you have time to head down that way you certainly won't regret it. You will find even more beautiful beaches, privately owned breweries, thousands of wineries, fantastic restaurants and world class scenery.
One of the many beautiful beaches of Western Australia, this one is located in Esperance
When I was in Year 12, I was part of a group of volunteers who went to Cambodia to work with various charities and organizations. There were 10 of us in the group and together we were able to fundraise $26,000 for those charities and people we were supporting. We funded our own trip and none of money that was donated to us went towards our own expenses.
We worked with the organisation Hagar with their program House of Smiles which involved working with disabled children. Those supported by this group had disabilities of varying levels of seriousness. We would work with them, teach them English as much as possible and most of all have fun. Some of these children had been abandoned by their parents or sold into the sex or circus industry. Disabilities are not well understood in Cambodia and many parents are unwilling to support their disabled children.
We took them on a beach trip to Sihanoukville. These children were very trusting and would literally put their life in your hands when you would take them out for a swim. They would keep insisting that we take them out deeper and deeper. It was quite an experience.
The organisation also ran a program to get work for the individuals they support. They own restaurants and other facilities that give these previously abandoned children an opportunity to achieve independence and to work to support themselves.
We also worked with an American-run organisation called New Hope for Cambodian Children. This organisation worked specifically with children infected by HIV aids. In Cambodia it is well-known that the women are the hard working members of the family. Husbands would sometimes go off and have intercourse with a prostitute and become HIV positive. They then return home and spread the disease to their wife, who then passes it on to their children. When the wife and child are diagnosed, the husband leaves them. Hew Hope for Cambodian Children works to provide adequate medication to these children and their mothers and to help them receive a proper education and support. The Mothers are also given opportunities to better themselves and support is given for them to open their own businesses. Kathy Tucker (one of the founders of this organisation) said that it was common for the men to return to their wives once their wife was in a strong position financially.
Lastly we also visited Lavalla which is a marist brother school that helps physically disabled children to receive appropriate education. They don't allow their disabilities to bother them and they whooped our asses at a game of volleyball.
A classic example of massive rich-poor divide. On the one street you will have government buildings dripping in gold as a clear sign of excessive wealth and waste and then you will see the truly poor and destitute. There are thousands of beggars in Phnom Penh, some maim themselves in an attempt to gain more sympathy and money from tourists.
You can see some of the remaining damage from the terrible communist regime led by Pol Pot. One such thing is the S21 or Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. It was a convenant, turned school, turned torture centre and prison. I also visited the killing fields (not too far out of Phnom Penh) where children and babies were bashed against trees in order to "save" bullets. There is also a tower that is filled with skulls from those who perished there. An eye-opening experience that's for sure.