Real Talk

Contiki traveller Kyle on short term memory loss and travelling

Kyle was born in Durban, South Africa. He was the Deputy Head Boy at his School in Amanzimtoti; he loved sports and started studying B.Com at university. But in 2003 on his way back from a soccer match, Kyle was in a car accident. He died twice, but the paramedics thankfully managed to resuscitate him.

Kyle went on to spend 2 months in intensive card and many more in high care and rehabilitation centres. He sustained a frontal brain injury and his short-term memory was non-existent, yet despite these sudden life changing circumstances, Kyle’s parents promised they would send him on a trip once he was ready, and after 14 years of recovering Kyle set off on Contiki’s European Whirl. This is his story…

What made you choose to travel with Contiki?

During my recovery I lost a large chunk of my life. Friends disappeared and I had to have a lot of therapy to learn to walk, talk and eat again. My parents always promised me when I was ready they would send me on a trip. Needless to say I spent years showing my parents different tour destinations and tour companies and finally after 14 years they decided I would cope. We chose Contiki as we had spoken to many people who had recommended it and knew it was a company where young people have a lot of fun, led by a tour leader to assist and guide me should I need help. A friend met me in London and took me to meet Megan, the Trip Manger, and I told her a little of my short-term memory problem.

Tell us about your travel experience with Contiki

I was a little nervous to travel on Contiki as it was a new experience for me, but attending the orientation talk with Megan massively helped to appease my fear. I also made lots of friends on my Contiki who were friendly and ready to interact. It is hard to break old habits and I reverted to being a loner again but Megan quickly picked up on this, took me aside and suggested I go out with different groups and enjoy the various activities which I did, and I had a ball!

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What’s the most positive thing you’ve taken away from your travels?

That I have the ability to travel and make new friends even with a short-term memory problem and that organised tours with tour leaders offer you the opportunity to travel.

Is there any advice you’d give to people in a similar position to you? 

Take the plunge… If you are not uncomfortable, you’re not growing. New experiences bring renewed confidence. Having an organised tour and tour leader are the baby steps you need to take greater steps later on.

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