Boomerangst: Turning Dilemmas Into Discoveries – Travelling with Disabilities
The opportunities are endless. Here, travelling the world with disabilities
Q. I’d like to take a trip with my sister but I need some help. We are both in our late 70s. I am a recent widower and she has been alone for years. I’ve always been the more adventurous one. She uses a walker at home and a wheelchair for outings. I realize we can’t go exploring ancient Rome or anything like that, but surely there must be other options and ways to see parts of the world. Getting her to overcome her timidity will be one of my challenges, but if I could assure her there are options that would accommodate her physical limitations I think I might have a fighting chance. I know we could have a wonderful time together and a trip would do us both a world of good. Life goes by all too quickly and I want to seize this opportunity with my sister.
Joyce, Niagara Falls
“Cruising is definitely the number-one choice for people with disabilities,” she told me, pointing out that most cruise lines now have fully-accessible accommodations in a wide variety of options and many of them are expanding their destinations with accessible shore excursions. But that doesn’t mean you would have to go the cruise route, although if your sister is timid about travelling that might be your best bet.
Your sister is also in a great position to travel because she has you to help her. That makes a trip a whole lot easier – and a lot more enjoyable. The biggest obstacle to travelling for a person with a mobility issue is in their head, not their body. Debra encounters this all the time. “It’s a very typical reaction to be afraid of the unknown,” she says, “and people can be embarrassed about their disabilities. They shouldn’t be, but it is what it is.”
Debra has seen paraplegics snorkel, people with electric carts travel to Europe and she has just organized a sold-out cruise for young adults with Spina Bifida. Travelling with a disability takes courage, planning and patience, she acknowledges. Knowing what questions to ask also helps. She suggests you approach your sister gently and assure her people her age with similar mobility issues are travelling the world every day in every way. Here’s hoping she seizes the opportunity and you both have a fabulous time.