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Swimming in the clearest water you have ever seen

Swimming in the clearest water you have ever seen Swimming in the clearest water you have ever seen

Ralph Stassar (21), a Dutch medical student and vice chairman of student association Tragos, has seen 9 per cent of the world

 

Ralph Stassar can talk for hours about his trip around Australia. “I experienced so many wonderful things.” When he was eighteen – having failed to get a place for Medicine in the lottery system – Stassar took off to down under for five months. He started in Melbourne and ended in Cairns. The latter was planned before he left; his mother insisted that he booked a return ticket. “She was afraid that I wouldn’t come back otherwise. And if I hadn’t had that ticket, I would indeed have stayed. I met two really relaxed guys in Cairns and they asked me if I wanted to go with them to Asia, I would have loved to have done that.”

One of his most beautiful experiences was swimming in a mountain lake in Tasmania. “It was the freshest water you have ever seen. After that you are really clean.” Without a doubt Stassar was impressed with the island off the Australian coast. “Gigantic expansive beaches, the mountains: phenomenal.”

The boat trip he took with two friends was also memorable. “They were travelling separately through Australia, we had agreed to travel together for a while from Brisbane onwards. We wanted to take a boat trip along a number of beaches. In the end we were given a fifty per cent discount on a trip in a super luxurious boat that even had a Jacuzzi. We dived among the coral reefs. Then this enormous tortoise floated above our heads, later on a dolphin swam beside me.”

He refers to it as the most important journey of his life. “Even if I go on other long trips, nothing will be so determining as this trip. When you are alone abroad you have to be social, if you want to enjoy your time there. I approach people much more easily. I learned that when new people come into the sleeping quarters in a hostel, you have to immediately go and meet them, otherwise the second time that you see them is awkward. I now know that things turn out fine in the end, that you shouldn’t worry.”

Stassar hopes to be able to take a long journey again soon. But first he is leaving for a one-and-a-half week trip to Curaçao with the Tragos board members, next Thursday. “We chose Curaçao because it is not too big, so that you can relax. Hire a little car to drive to the small beaches. That’s what we fancied.”

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