Travel

Ulysseys Mast

See the categories and tags on the left for posts about travel.
Most posts have wheelchair access information.
They are mostly based on personal experience or at least research.

Oh I love to travel. as a teenager I would catch the train back and forth from Mildura to Melbourne to boarding school, 500 km. Later, with my car and tent, I roamed up and down the east coast from Melbourne to Cairns and elsewhere. In 1998, I took a plane trip with five friends from Melbourne to Thursday Island and back, using a manual wheelchair. Since then, I have travelled to dozens of countries, some of them many times. I favour Europe, especially Italy. I almost always stay in the centre of any city I visit. I have many amusing tales of the difficulty I found getting home on “accessible” transport when I stayed outside of walking distance. For me, “walking distance” means within a maximum of about 5 kilometres, or half an hour in my power wheelchair. Those with manual chairs may find this distance beyond them, although I know often they can get themselves into a standard cab. Many cities have improving public transport, especially accessible buses, but try to get on one at peak hour in London and you will learn the meaning of patience.

Travelling in a wheelchair obviously has its difficulties, but it also has rewards: many art galleries, museums and such allow free access for a wheelie and their companion, including no queueing. Care to pop into the Louvre for an hour or so? Sometimes, you can’t even get into a place; sometimes you get a place in the front row.

Travel for me is exciting, rewarding, mind expanding, addictive. I try and pick up a bit of the language, especially Italian, which I also studied at university. I took four years of French at school which helps a bit. I love staying in the centre of old European cities, and I love staying outside of the cities in small towns or even the countryside. I especially love travelling by train. I have used aeroplanes large and small, of course, as well as accessible hire cars (vans) with and without hand controls. I have taken ferries across the North Sea and the Mediterranean and from Hong Kong to Macau. In 2003, I bought a wheelchair accessible motorhome and travel for over a year throughout Europe, visiting 28 countries.

These days, as I get a bit older, I have slowed down a bit, and I prefer comfortable hotels in the city centre or accessible accommodation within walking distance of a town or village. I constantly have to deal with problems of health but we get by, with perseverance, patience and planning.

Finally and most importantly, I rely on the wonderful people who help me out, including my relatives, sisters and brother, personal carers, friends and girlfriends, and people I run into on the road (please excuse the pun). Finally and especially, I want to thank my wonderful partner Jill who has been with me through these past many years, as we experienced unforgettable highs and tremendous difficulties. We do it all together. Paris Eiffel Grant Jill-1

What a journey it has been so far. Where next?

 

Below are some photos of me and my wheelchair as we travel along.

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