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Travelling with a disability - mindset is the key to accessing our World!

European Adventure? Complete ✅

I arrived home and I’m not gonna lie - it is sooooooo nice to be home. I had the best time, ate the most amazing food, kinda sorta fell in love with this beautiful Italian guy who came in and out of my life in 30 minutes, and had so many adventures (not all planned), but I was so pumped to be coming home I was rolling through Singapore Airport singing “I still call Australia home” in my angelic, Adele-like voice.

As our plane touched down on the runway in Brisbane, I let out huge sigh of relief! There is so much to explore and see in this world but there is no place like home, we are so blessed to be living in this part of the world.

It’s 4:05am on Saturday morning and my body clock is so out of sync. I am going through something at the moment, some sort of weird re-adjustment, jet lag, internal struggle kind of thing. If I had to link an emotion or label to how I am feeling right now, I guess I am feeling lonely and unimportant. This sounds so stupid when I read it out loud to myself because I know that I am loved and valued by so many people but it is the best description that I can give of the way that I am feeling right now.

One of the biggest things that hit me whilst being in Europe was how big our world is and how insignificant we are.

Insignificant is not the ideal word to use here because I don’t want to imply that any of us are unimportant or don’t matter, but, being one amongst the 8.1 billion odd people in this world I guess it really dawned on me that my life is all me and for everyone else, my 8,072,086,144 fellow humans out there, they are just doing their own thing and looking after themselves the best way they can. We are doin it for ourselves, and not in a selfish way but in a survival way.

The other thing that hit me smack in the face - or call it a reminder from past experiences - is that travelling is hard and tiring - and add a disability into the mix and it is fucking hard and fucking tiring (sorry about the language but it just puts such an emphasis on things).

I struggled when writing this and have really had to give myself permission to say this because I don’t want to give the impression that it was not enjoyable or the most epic adventure I have had yet, and I don’t want anyone to ever think that travel goes in the ‘too hard basket’, disability or no disability - but for me, being open to travel requires a mindset which will be challenged.

It is confronting at times I think because it is a reminder that, outside of the life that we have created for ourselves, and the security and ease of knowing where to go and who to call on if you need help suddenly is just not there. It is a reminder of how our lives are impacted on by our circumstances and how 'simple or easy' things would be if we didn't have them.

As a fiercely independent (ok some say stubborn) person, there are times that I have to be totally vulnerable and fully trust that I will be taken care of by people I don’t know. It is almost impossible to explain what I mean here, and I know that those of you who really get it have been through it - it is such a horrible, scary, kiss your dignity goodbye feeling.

When you feel like someone’s job (which I mean, I guess you are when you need to get into a plane or onto a boat etc.) you can feel pretty unseen. I hate this feeling, I hate not knowing what is happening and therefore not being in control of my safety.

It is so scary and frustrating not being able to tell people the impacts that not having my wheelchair meet me at the aircraft door will have on my body and my function.

And dignity - ha, kiss that goodbye because the understanding of ‘privacy’ doesn’t seem to be a thing when your travelling. And sure, you can speak up and insist - but after a 15 hour flight the ‘too much effort’ factor kicks in, and when you are in a country that doesn’t speak your language, it becomes the ‘way to much effort’ factor. This is when our resilient suit of armour needs to kick in.

Shit, this sounds so depressing. Please know that travel and adventure is my most favourite thing to do in the whole world and I hope no one ever feels that it is out of reach if it is what they want to do. I do think the world is becoming more accessible, and there are so many people and services becoming available to help and assist - I mean there is still a long long way to go when we talk accessing the world, buuuuttttt steps are being made and I think we really need to acknowledge that.

What I am trying to say is that travel is one of those things where our mindset will be put to the test. Challenges will be flung our way, and insecurities will surface. This is just a given in this crazy, unpredictable, not always fair world we live in. It is our coping strategies that build into our resilient ‘suit of armour’ that will for sure be called upon when we set out on any type of adventure.

This resilient suit of armour I talk of - we have all got everything we need for our suit, we may just need to put it together and give it a bit of a spit and polish. The way we think about the things that we enjoy, and the experiences that we want to have can be influenced by what it ‘should’ be like, or how it ‘should’ happen.

A very wise, special person once told me that the word ‘should’ needed to be removed from the goals we set for ourselves and the dreams we pursue. We are all impacted by something in our life, for me it's living with a disability. We need to do life our way, experience what we want to experience in the best ways we can, and stay true to ourselves and the people who support and love us.

Sure, how you experience something may not be the ‘same’ as you neighbour or your bestie, but what you get out of an experience is dependent on your mindset, and they only person who control that is you.

Life is what it is and we can’t change that but at the end of the day our lives are about us and what makes us happy. My suit of armour is a bit dinted and banged up, but it is strong as ever.

It has definitely been put to the test, many times and suiting up is just like an automatic thing now. I’m always here if you need help putting your suit together or polishing it up, and I am always, always, always here as your motivational cheerleader to encourage you to believe in yourself and to no matter what live the life you want in the way that works for you.



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