From Ballymacash to Japan will be like going from home to home for Ballymacash lad Rhys Waterworth.
The local scout jets off on Friday morning to spend 19 days at the other side of the globe for the World Scout Jamboree.
A once in a life-time trip will include sight-seeing in Tokyo, a camp along with 33,000 scouts from all over the world and a final stint sampling real-life Japan as he shares a local family’s home and joins in their way of life.
“I can’t wait to get going,” Rhys told the ‘STAR’ before embarking on a day’s worth of travelling to reach Japan.
“We start by going to see Tokyo, the fish-markets, the Tokyo SkyTree and different temples as well.
“After that, we go to camp for about 11 days and then we go in twos to stay with a Japanese family. They will show us how they live on a day-to-day basis, what they eat and will take us out to see some Japanese culture.”
Rhys is Lisburn’s only representative at the 23rd World Scout Jamboree. At the camp, he will have the opportunity to try water-sports, learn more about nature, science and the Japanese culture.
As it is the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima this year, the scouts will also have the opportunity to visit the city.
With so much on offer, Rhys has a huge trip ahead, but does have one concern.
He explained: “We’ve had some training camps over the past two years, learning to cook sushi and other Japanese food and learning a bit of the language.
“I really hate the sushi, so I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with it over there!
“I’m really excited to meet other people from all over the world though and to see other cultures as well as the temples that we’ll visit.”
The First Ballymacash scout is one of 36 scouts from Northern Ireland making the trip, along with four leaders.
“To get selected, I had to go to a trial camp, where none of us knew each other,” he said. “We had to cook food together and make fires and tie knots so I managed to get chosen after that.”
Rhys had to raise £3,000 to fund the trip and did it by organising a golf day while he also abseiled down the Europa with his unit.
With a one off trip ahead, all the hard work will surely pay off and who knows, he may even develop a taste for sushi. He might have to.