The Simpson Prize group has of course departed Istanbul and is probably now arriving home. However, I’m still in Istanbul and in blogging mode, so if you will indulge your correspondent for one last post…….
It is a strange feeling walking round the streets and not having a group of teenagers to keep a lookout for – just two family members. Having spent an intensive 10 days with this group and have them suddenly not around is hard to get used to. I’m sure they were all very sad to say goodbye to each other back in Sydney. Given this was my last Simpson Prize trip, I have been reflecting on the seven years and various groups that I have shared this unique experience with. It’s actually great to have blogs to look back on, for one to help an aging brain remember each group, but also as a record of experience. I noticed that even the 2010 blog has had a few page views over the last week, probably winners from that year reminiscing on their experiences.
Often the things we do and places we see are the same, but each group is unique because of the various personalities that make up each one. My (dad) joke at the end of every trip has been “I say this to all groups each year – you’re the best group I’ve ever had” but in fact it is true. Every group is the best group in its way and provides memorable times. As a travel experience for young people the Simpson Prize trip is pretty unique – you are thrown in with a group of people you don’t know, share an intense experience and a particularly emotional one with all the Anzac focus and then land up back home with no one around who you were on the trip with. In many cases the other people you shared the journey with would not necessarily be ones you would make friends with at school or in other social situations. I think the trip is a good reminder that you should be open to connecting with a range of people – you never know how you might click.
Having done this year’s trip with Stuart, I know the Simpson Prize is in good hands – the second biggest kid on the trip can become the first and continue to share that sense of fun and enjoyment that goes with the trip. Big shout out to all Simpson Prize winners, past and present that I have had the privilege and pleasure of taking on the trip. You are all an extraordinary bunch of people and look forward to keeping in touch over the years, to see what paths you take in life. Cheers A