Four winners of a National Youth Commission-sponsored travel program gathered in Taipei on Friday and shared stories about their travel experiences in Taiwan.
The program, named “The Youth Trekker Wanted,” was designed to encourage young people (15 to 30 years of age) from other countries to get to know Taiwan and help promote the nation by sharing their travel experiences.
By proposing their ideal Taiwan itinerary of at least 10 days, 20 winners received US$2,000 to US$3,000 to fund their creative journey. The third annual program began in March.
“I am sure that Taiwan has the friendliest people in the world,” said Keir Schone, a 30-year-old elementary school teacher from Canada.
Having traveled in many -countries, he said Taiwan is by far the friendliest that he had visited.
“Every time I meet a problem, people are always willing to help” he added, saying that isn’t the case in every country.
His journey in Taiwan began in Kenting on the southern coast, where he went diving and found himself face to face with a clown fish. He sang karaoke and drank beer with Taiwanese all night long, got sea sick on a small boat to Green Island and even learned martial arts in Taipei
Schone said he would definitely return to Taitung County on his next trip because the waves near Sansiantai (三仙台) were great for surfing, even better than the ones he saw in Bali, Indonesia.
Yoshikawa Yukari, a nearly 30-year-old white-collar worker from Japan, recounted how she visited Taiwan for the eighth time this year. The theme of her journey on this occasion mainly focused on learning more about Aboriginal culture.
She held out a handmade traditional necklace, a gift from an elderly woman of the Paiwan tribe. She visited Wulai District (烏來) in New Taipei City (新北市), where she saw people wearing brimmed straw hats while bathing in natural hot springs in the rain and was invited to sit inside the captain’s cabin on a boat trip from Orchid Island to Green Island.
When asked if she was interested in Taiwan’s entertainment scene, Yukari said she had watched the movie Cape No. 7 (海角七號), a romance that generated the highest box office returns in the history of Taiwanese cinema, and would like to visit some of the places in the movie on her next visit.
Yukari said she liked -traveling in Taiwan because people are very kind, the food is delicious and it is cheaper than traveling at home in Japan.
She also said she would definitely encourage friends to visit the many interesting places outside Taipei City.
Meanwhile, participants from another NYC-sponsored program titled “Youth Travel in Taiwan” designed to encourage the young people of Taiwan to rediscover their homeland, were also present at the event to share their own travel stories, including visiting fishing villages by bicycle, visiting elderly people trained in traditional arts and crafts, and participating in a voluntary group to help remodel rundown homes.
More stories can be found at the Web sites youthtravel.tw/youthtrekker and youthtravel.tw/taiwantrekker.