Out There Interviews

Those interesting people you meet...

When you talk with people who have done extended travels they all typically say when asked what was one of the highlights of their trip, they will respond with the “Interesting people we met”

Being out there on the road for me will most certainly be about the people I get to meet. I have always enjoyed chatting with people and trying to find out what makes them tick. For me it is not the famous people that are the most interesting but the everyday people just like us and how they have faced their personal journeys in life that have brought them to today. Albeit that might be people living in a caravan park or making the streets their home or maybe couch surfing living a nomadic life from place to place. Either way Out There Interviews is my commitment to bring you real stories with everyday Aussies, people we can relate to, learn from and enjoy their company.

With my key commitment to Streetsmart the charity taking localised action against homelessness, I will where ever possible bring you the very real and local stories of who homelessness is affecting in the communities I will be travelling through. Also, the Charity organisations being supported by Streetsmart and what they do to make a difference. It is not a popular storey and most people probably choose to walk past homeless with an attitude of “Why Don’t they just get a job like I had to”. But if we can scratch the surface of this growing epidemic you may be surprised who is being affected and some of the reasons why they have got to be in that situation.

My turning point was whilst living in North Melbourne I felt compelled to stop and chat with a homeless man sitting on a park bench. Never forget his name, it was Shaun. We chatted, and he unfolded his story to me. Shaun was an alcoholic and through his addiction had forced away all his family. He wanted to get better but didn’t have the ways to do so. I bought Sean dinner from the nearby Subway for him and several other homeless that had gathered. It was a very minor gesture and I felt I hadn’t said or done anywhere nearly enough.

That was over 4 years ago and to this day I wonder how Shaun is going or even if he is still alive. I wrote the following poem about that encounter which stuck with me and is a big reason why I chose Streetsmart as the Charity I wanted to try to help promote and raise donations for. Many of these homeless people can be saved and together with the help of Streetsmart we can make a difference. So please help support by donating through the link provided and be assured your donation will get channelled back to as close to your community as possible.

Poem for homeless man I met named Shaun…called it…OK to Stop & Talk
by Chapee 2014

OK to Stop & Talk

I shook a man’s hand today
Names Shaun I’m an alcoholic
He did say

Seemed like an ok guy
Then he broke down started to cry
He’s not ok

Been drinking since 12 now 47
How longs that been he asked
35 years I said

Math didn’t quite work right in his head
Seemed God didn’t want Shaun gone
Booze Too Powerful he said

Tried to Stop but it pulls you back
Shaun seemed way too thin
As he cried again

10 months I didn’t have a drink
I congratulated him on such a feat
Wine bottle in his bag I think

But too powerful it talks to me
Drags me back makes me start
Shaun feel apart

God bless you’re a good man I said
Shook hands walked on with bowed head
He sat silhouetted in the dark

A few steps more I stopped at the subway store
Dropped in bought beef rolls for all
Dinner’s on me

Here Shaun have some tucker mate
Small steps & god bless your fate
It’s OK to stop and talk

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Chappee - Old Man's Gap Year

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