Emily Rushbrooke was bound for the United States and a second season with Camp America when the pandemic brought a halt to plans for her big OE.
“I was so looking forward to seeing the kids again”, says Emily.
The OE, (Overseas Experience), has been a Kiwi tradition since the 1970’s, a mission of discovery and chance to fill a backpack with lessons and experience.
For Emily, it was a chance to share her skills and love of horses by working with kids at a Camp America site in Pennsylvania.
Last year was her first overseas trip on her own and, having been bitten by the travel bug, she couldn’t wait to do it again.
She was looking forward to seeing the same children again and to build on the skills she’d passed onto them during the first year.
It was also a chance to reconnect with the other councillors who came from all over the world.
Emily’s role as Barn Councillor involved teaching the youngsters riding skills and how to look after horses. It usually runs from May until August, but the camp has been closed since the beginnings of the Coronavirus.
“I’m keeping in contact with the people who own the camp so I don’t lose the chance to do it again next year”, says Emily.
Post last year’s camp Emily went off on a Contiki tour through America.
She planned to do the same kind of tour, but this year Europe was to be her destination. Thirteen countries in 23 days. Emily booked the tour in November last year because it was financially the best time to book.
By the time the pandemic arrived earlier this year, Emily had already found a job and saved up enough to have paid for the tour and her flights in full.
However, she isn’t completely out of pocket.
“Contiki and the travel agents have been really good about it”, says Emily.
Contiki has given Emily a credit to use for any destination of her choice within the next year. Emily’s flights, a separate expense, was organised through House of Travel. For these, too, she’s received a credit of the same value and valid for a year.
The kiwi tradition will continue, at some unknown time down the track.