Here at Liberare we talk a lot about adaptive clothing: adaptive bras, adaptive shirts, adaptive underwear, you name it and we discuss it. We believe adaptive clothing is of the utmost importance, and Liberare values that. But we also want to make sure we talk about other topics that are important to disabled people and their experiences. One of the discussions that we feel isn't talked about often enough is traveling as a disabled person. Today, we're going to talk about accessible travel, and what it's like to travel with a disability.
Traveling as a disabled person can feel impossible. At home, life is a routine. You know the ins and outs, the way to work, how to get up the stairs of your home, etc. Everything is familiar.
But, when you travel, that routine becomes completely torn apart. There is nothing but the unknown. Although you can do as much research as you can, it still doesn't guarantee that whatever you are doing, wherever you are going, will be accessible for you. There will be obstacles where travel will be inaccessible in ways you never even previously imagined.
For example, you may think, "oh great! I'll do a boat tour of this lake today. All I have to do is get on the boat and ride around and I'll just come right back, this should be easy!"
And then you get on the boat, and the captain tells you that you must get off the boat and get in line at the other side of the lake to get back on. The line consists of steep, sharp turns and rocks that you have to get down in order to make it through it. So instead of experiencing this incredible view of the lake, you tell the captain that you can't get on the boat, and you wheel away trying to find the next excursion that you can possibly participate in.
This is just a tiny example of the ways that obstacles will present themselves in ways you never expected. It happens constantly. And it can feel excruciating to watch the people that you're with go on these incredible adventures without you because of something as silly as a captain deciding he can't spare two extra seats on the way back from the trip. But here's the issue: accessibility should not depend on something as spontaneous as one person's opinion on that particular day at that particular time.
The ADA exists for a reason, and not only should restaurants and public establishments be accessible, but every excursion. Of course, understandably, there are certain situations that cannot be completely accessible. But if it's something as easy as including an extra sentence in the staff handbook, it should be implemented.
Another reason travel is so difficult is because it's so incredibly unpredictable. There is no way of knowing if a place will be ADA-compliant, if a tour will slow their pace for you, if there will be a wheelchair ramp… the list goes on. So many disabled people choose not to travel because of this unknown, because of the embarrassment they may feel if they find themself in a situation that requires people to make accommodations for them.
But everyone deserves the right to travel. Everyone deserves to have new experiences and make new memories in a different place. There is no reason why everyone cannot see new perspectives through the lens of the people that live somewhere else.
We want to hear from you, what is the most accessible place you have visited? What made it accessible? Let us know in the comments of this post!You can join our amazing community here! We're always coming up with new ideas here at Liberare so make sure to stop by our shop page as well to take a well-earned shopping break!