Challenged Travelers Break Travel Barriers
It’s a compelling image. A sweet looking seeing-eye dog stands on a mountain ledge, head tipped upwards. He’s concerned and very attentive. We can tell from the ropes dangling from the mountain that his master is climbing the rock face while her dog sits at full alert at the base.
Say the phrase “disabled traveler” and the first thought is likely, “how?” But today’s “disabled travelers” are climbing mountains, skiing, hiking, and even taking safaris to Africa.
For them, travel is a necessity, not a luxury.
The National Sports Center for the Disabled is one of many organizations arranging travel for all sorts of individuals, from the child with cerebral palsy who rides a horse for the first time to the teenager with a quadruple amputation whose goal is to snowboard.
An executive with the organization told me that there should be no barriers at all for the disabled. “If they want to kayak, rock climb or even play soccer, they should be able to,” she said.
If travel is about anything, it’s about overcoming barriers, and Terri Mandell should know.
A professional traveler and travel writer, Mandell had to learn a whole new way of travel when her son Danny became disabled with a degenerative disease at age 9. Before that, “He could swim, run and play. He was my travel companion. But it all changed," she writes on the website Access-Able.
Undaunted, she took her son to Maui in a wheelchair. Getting through airports and seeing the island wasn’t easy, she writes, but because Danny was her number one travel buddy for so many years, and because their travel experiences had been so positive, Mandell says she was determined to keep this part of their lives alive as long as possible.
And she did.
The website is a place for some inspiring stories of success, frustration and challenges, combined with terrific tips and some great trips… proving that the spirit of travel is alive and well among the most challenged of travelers.
Or as the organization says, “There’s no reason to stay on the porch any longer!”