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I'm going to Iceland!!!

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My fieldwork travel grant was approved this week and the money should be in my account early next week (of course there would have to be a public holiday on Monday), and then I'll buy my tickets!

I'M GOING TO ICELAND!!!

I haven't been there for thirty years and to say my Icelandic is rusty would be a massive understatement, so now I'm desperately trying to 'get back into it', because, quite frankly, I would be horribly disappointed in myself if I went over there and spoke English the whole time.

I have to talk to Centrelink. This Federal Government has decided that disability pensioners and students cannot leave Australia for longer than 4 weeks in any 12 month period or they will lose their payments. I guess the theory is that if we government payment types can afford to travel overseas, we shouldn't need money from the Government.

The thing is, I can't afford to travel overseas, the University is paying for me to go, because this fieldwork is essential research for completing my thesis and graduating. Having the four week restriction (keeping in mind I spent 5 days in Wellington in November at a conference, which is also all about my degree), is going to reduce the amount of time I have to do research, and with my vision impairment, everything takes longer. The degree is all about improving my chances of becoming gainfully employed, which would reduce my support from the Government, but hey, let's just slap an arbitrary travel restriction on people with a disability or who are studying.

I worry about how this will impact my future employment. In a world which is becoming ever more global, international travel for work is becoming more and more common. You may be thinking that if I'm on a pension and get work, I'll no longer be on the pension anyway. Well, you see the blind pension is not means tested because our adaptive technologies are so expensive, so it continues even once we are employed to ensure we can continue to purchase adaptive technologies (a braille digital diary costs $5000, for example).

How am I going to work in a field which requires international travel if the Government restricts the amount of time I can travel in a 12 month period?

Frustrating. However...

I'M GOING TO ICELAND!!!

I'll do it on a shoestring, but I'm still enormously excited!

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