Helen Stevens is a Johnny H Tour Manager who has led groups on West Coast USA Express, Taste of Asia, European Express, and New Zealand Southern Explorer (February 2019).
Based in the Blue Mountains, Helen is a special needs teacher who has travelled the world and rates Alaska amongst the highlights. She loves travelling with the Johnny H crew to witness the life skills that travellers develop on tour.
Read on to learn more about Helen...
How did you come to be touring with Johnny H?
I’ve been a Special Needs Teacher for 40 years. I’ve got a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education, specialising in Autism. Most of my teaching was done in schools, and I’ve taught in shelter workshops and large residential facilities.I also do support work for the NDIS. I support people with travel training, social skills such as group participation, money management, and practical skills such as using a Travel Card to get around on public transport. I teach a cooking class and coach an Athletes with Disability indoor soccer team. That all keeps me out of mischief!
Where have you been with Johnny H?
I’ve done three tours now with Johnny H Adventures. We did the West Coast of USA first, then Asia, and earlier this year we did Europe. I’m headed to New Zealand with Johnny H in February (2019).
What were the highlights for you?
Watching the growth of the participants with their everyday life skills. They become more independent with things like getting themselves ready for the day, their confidence grows in terms of going up themselves to buy something from a shop, and the get an appreciation of a social group that accepts them for who they are. I like to see people who didn’t know each other before a tour become good friends and really look forward to seeing each other once the trip is finished.
It almost sounds like the travel is incidental?!
Yes, definitely, but I think another big thing that participants get out of the tours is that they can travel in the same way that they see other people travelling. A lot of times these guys have to sit back and say, ‘So and so is going to America’ but they can’t. So they’re getting to model the mainstream. They are way out of their comfort zone but they really step up and embrace it all.
What are you most looking forward to about the New Zealand Southern Explorer tour?
I’ll be driving the bus on that tour. I’ve been to New Zealand four times now, but I do look forward to whale watching and the Shotover River Jet Boat ride. I’m not a huge fan of jet boats myself, but the excitement from our guys going on it is just fantastic.
How did you come to join Johnny H team?
Lyn (Hirst) and I started teaching together 32 years ago. We were in different faculties but it was just one of those cases where you meet someone and you become friends for life. I’ve travelled extensively all over the world with Lyn and Bruce, and I travelled with Scott, his younger brother Craig and their families to Disney World last January (2018).
Has travel been a lifelong passion for you?
Yes! I’ve been all over the British Isles, I’ve done most of Western Europe, Africa, North America, Canada, and down into Mexico a couple of times. I’ve also done the sub-continents – India and Asia. So I’ve been to most places. One experience that really stood out was cruising up the inside passage to Alaska and being inside the glacia when the ice broke off. I would love to get to the North Pole one day.
When you’re not globe-trotting, what do you do to relax?
I do a lot of handicraft. I enjoy fine needle work and leatherwork.
To find out more or to book your next adventure, call 1300 053 001 or see what’s coming up here: https://johnnyh.com.au/event-location/sydney/