Stroke won’t stop Rod

Aiming to face adversity and difficulties resulting from a stroke five years ago, Port Lincoln man Rodney Swaffer plans to travel around the world for four months later this year.

Beginning in July, Mr Swaffer will travel through the United States, Europe, Morocco and Japan before returning to Australia in November.

Often unable to express himself verbally and unable to write, Mr Swaffer recently traveled through Alice Springs to Darwin and down the west coast through Broome and Perth to satisfy his love of travelling.

He then decided to travel the world to challenge himself and prove his independence.

“Why not?” Mr Swaffer said.

Mr Swaffer formerly worked as a boilermaker and had enjoyed travelling throughout his life, but since the stroke he has been unemployed except for some part-time work.

His friends Bob Nicholls, Ian Watherston, Kevin Freeth and David Franklin, who played football together at the Boston Tigers, all agreed losing the ability to articulate himself frustrated Mr Swaffer.

Mr Swaffer said he became uncomfortable around people and often felt isolated because of his inability to communicate.

“(After the stroke) Swaff would only hang out with two or three people...it took a long time to get past that point,” Mr Nicholls said.

“He’s had part-time work here and there...it’s hard to find a position (after a stroke).”

The sudden loss of normal communication skills has had a big impact on Mr Swaffer, who had always been very sociable, and the around the world trip is a way to prove he can live and travel just like anyone else.

“He doesn’t really see it as an issue...they don’t really speak English anyway,” Mr Watherston said.

Mr Watherston said being unable to communicate his thoughts through speech made Mr Swaffer frustrated.

Mr Freeth said living in Port Lincoln had helped Mr Swaffer, as many people were aware of his condition and were usually helpful.

Mr Swaffer will leave Australia in July and visit Hawaii, New York, Dublin, London, Paris, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Italy, Poland, Moscow, St Petersburg and Japan before arriving back in Adelaide in November.