Travelling with Disabilities: Profiles of Adventure Travelers – Innovation on the Edge
As so many times before,this website continues to create contacts with so many interesting individuals.This morning I received an email from a person in Santa Cruz,California,who had come across my website and wanted to contribute some of his own articles.
Scott Rains is an expert on disabled travel and runs a blog about this very topic at www.rollingrains.com where he provides valuable articles and links to various disabled travel resources on the net.Scott even provides some extremely timely articles about Hurricane Katrina and accessibility issues for disabled evacuees.
Scott has given me permission to share some of his writings with you,starting with an article featuring a variety of disabled athletes and travellers who have truly pushed the envelope and accomplished things that most able-bodied people would only dream of.
So many of us,including myself,don’t realize how good we have it.Disastrous events like the hurricane disaster in New Orleans highlight how incredibly fortunate most of us are.Here are some stories of heroic individuals who have managed to overcome the limitations of their disabilities and ventured forth into endeavours that will astound you.
Profiles of Adventure Travelers – Innovation on the Edge
By Scott Rains
The hazy sunset light over the Indian Ocean and the beer in my glass had reached the same shade-–gold with hints of crimson.They were both,I imagined,about the same temperature.All around me the buzz of conversation was picking up as the gathered travelers spun out their stories and the atmosphere became buoyant with large grins and almost-believable hyperbole.
I had already played my best hand in the game of travel adventure one-upmanship-–getting trapped on a cross-Canada rail trip; scooting out of a Guatemalan caldera as the volcano erupted jets of steam; back-paddling frantically when I found myself between a towering moose and her calf.
I burrowed further into the overstuffed hotel sofa for a night of Aussie storytelling and sat back satisfied just to be along for the ride.
To my right,Tony was telling the story of his hitchhiking walkabout across the entire continent.
One of his adventures included being dropped off at a waystation in a particularly lonely stretch of Australian desert only to discover that it was closed and abandoned.He was still carrying his walking stick.It was almost as willowy as fly fishing rod and fitted with a shock absorbing spring.Tony used it to punctuate his sentences. He wielded it with all the familiarity of a shepherd and his sheleighleigh. He said he preferred it to the usual white cane that stigmatized him as blind.
To my left,almost dancing his wheelchair with pent-up energy, Justin recounted his adventures along the northern coast of Western Australia.
Justin was developing a spit of land as an eco-camp.Getting there was the challenge–over sand,across a tidal flat with treacherous mud,fording a stream.His solution was a six-wheeled amphibious vehicle that sounded more like it required an aircraft pilot’s license in his hands.
The beer got warmer and the stories wilder but the tall tale telling went on for hours.
That night I resolved to look into others who were pushing the limits of their disabilities through adventure travel.Here are links to a few stories that only scratch the surface of what some people are doing:
Erik Weihenmeyer: Blind mountain climber summiting Everest
Mark Theobald: Kayaking with Disabilities,http://www.disabledadventurers.com/:
Hilary Lister,a quadriplegic sailor .
Dave Player of “Wheeling around the Algarve”
Caroline Walsh,diving with disabilities
Gerrard Gosens: the quest to become the second blind man to summit Everest
Danny Winters: fishing for mobility challenged people
Jesse Owens marketing off-road wheelchairs
Matt King ,a world-class blind tandem cyclist
Dana Bowman,an elite army amputee parachutist
Theron Wright, a flying school for children with disabilities
Michael Miller,disabled paraglider
Casey Pieretti,amputee skater
John de Frayssinet, disabled couple breaks the absolute World Air Speed record
So,pioneer a new sport.Go climb a mountain.Uncover a new frontier.
And add your name to this list!