My name is Barrington Scott, and according to the “national foster care statistics” I should be homeless by now, but instead I’m living my best life living here in Australia. It’s still a bit surreal to me, never thought I’d be living here of all places but life has a way of throwing your life upside down. Before I could utter my first words I was tossed into the foster system, an imperfect system which; connects families with children who have been displaced by their parents or guardians. Fortunately, I was blessed to be taken in by some loving families, in the same breath saddened by the families who thought of me not as a child, but a paycheck. What’s that saying? Struggle builds character? Well, the struggle was REAL!
When being placed a home, over time you start to become a product of that environment, so the issues that family is dealing with now becomes your issues which adds to the additional trauma and it accumulates. The mental, physical and emotional trauma it’s all there and I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the help of various mental health professionals….I’ll say it again for the people in the back….MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS! Because of the perception I had of the world and its adversity I’ve grown and matured faster than most my own age.
Among the talents and strengths I have discovered in myself, there is one that I value far more than any other which is my resilience to overcome setbacks and guide myself in the right direction. What initially sparked my interest in travelling was sitting in front of the television for hours watching the Discovery and National Geographic channel, marveling at the wonders of the world. As a young black boy from the Bronx, I could only dream about going to any of those places seen on television. Fast forwarding to 2017, to an impulsive and fearless decision to sell everything I own to book a one-way ticket to Malaysia where I spent over a year backpacking Southeast Asia and Australia. My solo gap-year was life altering and truly an experience that’s difficult to be described in words. From packing your bags to setting out to explore the world while meeting complete strangers has no comparison. Oddly, I realize life kind of prepared me for that journey. Moving from one country to the next, meeting new people, adapting to new cultures and environment were all things I’ve experienced in some capacity growing up.
I’ve been blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Southeast Asia for extended periods and had so many great experiences I would remember for the rest of my life. If I were to choose one of my favorite places in Southeast Asia it’d be Indonesia, due to its size, there’s always something new to discover. With thousands of islands that all has a unique identity, it’s an exciting destination that never ceases to amaze and impress. Speaking of islands, Komodo Island has a special place in my heart. I visited Komodo in search of dragons, but while I was there I decided to visit some dive shops to see what cool dive sites were available. I came across some options and decided sign up for one day diving in the spectacular waters of Komodo National Park.
Even looking from the boat, I could see that it was like no other place I had dived before, and just being in the water for only a few minutes was enough for me to decide I was going to dive more than one day. The water was so clear and so still that I felt I was swimming in a giant aquarium, I found myself swimming past dozens of white tip and black tip reef sharks not to mention almost catching a slight heart attack as a giant manta gracefully hovered over me. I was surrounded by huge growths of hard and soft coral and an abundance of marine life. But what I love most about diving underwater is that nothing else matters you’re just in that moment. Everything moves slowly and all my worries and problems are left behind, on dry land.
I’m proud to say I’m one of the few success stories of the foster care system. Without consistent guardians, I was forced to shape my own morals, personality, image and be a role model to myself. What I’ve learned from my experiences is that taking full responsibility for your life, thoughts and actions is one of the biggest steps in creating a more positive life. We have unlimited potential, when we begin to really internalize this, we discover that no one can make us feel or do anything. I never thought of myself as a victim of my circumstances, there are far too many examples of people doing extraordinary things and overcoming major obstacles…so I’ll just keep pushing and catching these flight deals.
Words and Photos: Barrington Scott
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