Discovering the world in a wheel chair
Laying in the hospital right after the accident, I had plenty of time, to think about all things that will be different or even impossible in my future. One of my biggest preoccupations was that I could no longer pursue my urge to discover the world. I felt very, very sad...
You probably can't even imagine what meant to me, when a travel catalogue for disabled people suddenly came into my hands: Weekends in the mountains, beach vacations, roundtrips in several countries – all this should really be possible, even for me as wheelchair user?!? This catalogue became a kind of survival guide for me, which helped me, to recover as quickly as possible and at the very end, I knew it by heart. I had no doubt that soon I would participate in one of their organized travels! It took me longer than expected, but finally I not only booked holidays with them, I also had the chance to integrate the company as travel specialist and hotel tester. For me this job means that I can combine my personal experience as wheel chair user with one of the greatest hobbies you can imagine and even help other disabled persons to spend great holidays!
Many aspects relative to organizing holidays and travelling around the world are different since I am in the wheelchair. This is by no means meant to sound negative, because you experience certain adventures precisely because you are in a wheelchair. However, you have to be prepared for everything and therefore be extremely flexible and spontaneous – by the way, this also applies to your escorts! Obstacles of many kinds: Steep stairs as the only way to take, too much snow at narrow cottage entrances…
Regarding hotels, I don’t know, how often it happens, that there are stairs on the way going to the hotel room or not enough space between wall and bed to pass through or an extremely narrow bathroom, which makes it impossible to go to the toilet... And this is why my record as hotel tester is so important: On the one hand to talk to the hotel responsible so that they have the chance to change it, on the other hand to fill all these details in the agency’s database to avoid troubles to future guests.
Concerning the luggage, you can probably imagine, that with all the medical stuff you need to take with you, it’s essential to prepare the suitcase very smart. I am very happy, that B. Braun developed the “Actreen® Mini”- range, a very cool and especially small catheter, top for limited space in the luggage!
Through my international sports competitions, as well as other normal holiday trips, I have already visited 33 countries, 22 of them in wheelchairs. My favourite country is Sweden, which in my opinion is extremely handicap friendly. One of the biggest highlights on other continents were Machu Picchu in Peru, the mountain scenery in Colorado and Guatemala as well as several places in the south of Australia. In each country I could learn plenty of things. I guess that travelling around and seeing other cultures is one of the best education you can get. And all these experiences will last for ever and it doesn’t matter, weather you do it on your own feet or in a wheelchair. Just do it and never forget that “Don’t go – doesn’t exist”! Have a good trip! Happy holidays!