News & Events

There is no place like home for traveller Robyn

November 8, 2021

Little stands in the way of Robyn Chitty and her zest for life, not even lockdown.

A relative newcomer to Rushall Park, she moved into the village in early 2020, her latest venture has been ‘dressing up’ a pole in a variety of costumes to bring a smile to her fellow residents.

“The hose wheel in front of my apartment was ugly and it dawned on me that a way to ‘hide’ the ugliness was to dress it up as a person using my clothes. If you like, the pole equivalent of a scarecrow,” Robyn said.

The dress up captured the imagination of other residents who joined in the fun.

“It was something to do during lockdown, it gave us something to talk about and have a laugh,” Robyn said.

Robyn has always lived and thought outside the box. At 79 years’ old she sees age as nothing more than a date on a calendar. For her, it’s about living the most adventurous and worthwhile life until you drop dead – with no regrets.

Her arrival at Rushall Park coincided with the start of the pandemic and bouts of ill-health. She moved from Box Hill. While still married, her husband is now living as a carer to his brother, leaving Robyn to settle into new surroundings.

“I reckon I have the best of both worlds although I can see why some people may think it unusual,” Robyn said.

Born and raised in Melbourne, Robyn never expected that she would be an experienced world traveller as she entered her seventh decade. She married 53 years ago and lived a life that was expected, having two children and various part-time jobs along the way. But inside a dream lurked.

“From when I was a little girl, I always had a desire to visit China and Russia. But I never thought it was much of a possibility because the cost and logistics of travel were prohibitive.” Robyn confessed.

But like most things, she started off slowly. “My brother moved to Thailand, so I would go visit him. I became very comfortable getting around Bangkok.”  From there she stretched herself to visit Singapore and Malaysia. Then on to Cambodia and Myanmar. This was more than 20 years ago when tourism in these places didn’t exist yet.

Robyn was 44 years old the first time she travelled on her own. Over the course of the past 27 years, Robyn has travelled the world. Russia and China have been checked off her list. She has ridden the Siberian Railway, stayed in yurts in Mongolia, visited Hamams in Turkey, seen the Northern lights in Alaska, sandboarded in Peru, and snorkelled in Brazil.

Her favourite country is Turkey, her idea of utopia.

“The people have a real honour for older people. I was treated so respectfully,” Robyn said.

For Robyn, travel has made her more flexible and more empathetic to foreign visitors to Australia. Instead of judging something that is different from what she’s used to, she just objectively observes it. See sees the beauty in the fact that cultures are different and unique, going so far as to recognize customs from Australia may seem foreign to another culture.

Robyn is already planning a trip with her husband to Bangkok to catch up with her brother and friends. The trip will be in two years’ time, enough time to let the pandemic settle down.

“In the meantime. I can’t wait to get back into village life, link up again with my U3A group and enjoy my new surroundings,” Robyn said.

“Life is never dull. Not even in a pandemic.”

 

Josephine Katite may be a long way from Kenya, where she was born and lived until 2005 but the experience of looking after her elderly grandparents is very much with her every day in her work at Liscombe House.

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