I was a white girl living in an aboriginal society, isolated by my own heritage. I lived with my mother, stepfather and younger brother in a rural area; they were a typical aboriginal family. My parents were alcoholics and smokers and my brother was a thief. There was no way I wanted to end up like them and I knew my only way out was to find my biological father. My biological father loved to travel so he left me when I was really young so he could live the life that he always dreamed of living. The last I heard he was living somewhere in Sydney.
In my head that sounded perfect, I was old enough that he wouldn’t have to do much to care for me so he could still travel and almost anything was better than living with a family that couldn’t care less about me. So I left. I know it was somewhat selfish to abandon my family out of the blue but I was fed up with living a disadvantaged life when I knew I could accomplish so much more. To make matters worse I missed my bus to Sydney because I was busy retching in the bathroom since I ate some revolting food.
I was pretty much stranded in the middle of nowhere with no options except to wait for the next bus. To my surprise one of the most unusual things happened, a young boy roughly around my age hopped out of the back of a milk truck. I was almost certain that Dairy Farmers milk didn’t produce young boys, so naturally I assumed there was something dubious about him especially since he reeked of immorality. However he did say something that set off a light bulb in my head. He asked ‘which way is it to Sydney? ’ and he just started walking.
Then I thought why the heck was I sitting on my butt when I could be on my way to Sydney, so I set off on foot as well. Eventually I learnt the boy’s name was Vaughn, I tried to remain distant from him though because his whole essence was exactly what I was trying to escape from; the stereotypical life of an Aboriginal. He was on the run because he escaped from a detention centre. Don’t get me wrong, he did have some morals; the only reason he even escaped was to see his Mother because she was on her death bed.
However Vaughn was in the detention centre for a reason and some facts are just hard to overlook. Vaughn was actually a relatively nice guy once you got to know him. I remember we both hitch-hiked a ride from a bunch of Aboriginals and the driver slapped a girl in the face. I found his behaviour so repulsive that I told him to stop the car; I would’ve rather walked than stayed in the car with the likes of him. Vaughn had the opportunity to stay with his buddies that he so kindly referred to as ‘cuz’ but he didn’t, instead he got out of the car and walked with me.
I have a very tough exterior so the fact that Vaughn was able to break through that and make me feel touched was extraordinary. I think that was the first time that I actually started to trust Vaughn, unfortunately our relationship ran very hot and cold so that never lasted for long. By the end of our journey I believe Vaughn and I made lasting impressions on each other; he taught me the importance of embracing my heritage and I would like to think that some of my morals brushed off on him.
Vaughn was such major part of my journey, without him I wouldn’t be who I am today. So when it came time to part ways it was very emotional; we barely spoke and our goodbye was a simple hug, then I was on a train to Sydney. It wasn’t until after the train pulled away that the true reality of the situation hit me, I was never going to see him again that’s when the tears started to roll freely down my face. I’m sure by now many of you are wondering ‘did she ever find her father? Unfortunately I didn’t. When I finally arrived in Sydney I discovered that my father had passed away several years ago which is why he hadn’t remained in contact. I guess it would be kind of difficult to remain in contact when you are on the other side. However my journey wasn’t entirely pointless, I am now living out my dream of being a writer and Sydney gave me all the opportunities that I always thought I deserved. I believe that this entire journey helped me discover my personal identity.
It made me realise that no matter what, you should always stand by your beliefs and persevere. There is a saying ‘the grass is greener on the other side’ but I don’t believe that’s true, I believe ‘the grass is greener where you water it’. So if you put in the effort you can achieve anything. I think that is one of the rules I now live my life by and it was highly influenced by my journey. I would like to thank you all for listening to my speech and I hope I didn’t take up too much of your time.