I got an e-mail from Terry Sullivan the other day. Those of you who are regular Emerging Horizons readers might remember Terry from a piece I did on Chicago in the Winter 2004 issue. At that time Terry volunteered for the Chicago Greeter, and he gave me one of the best walking tours I’ve ever had.
And yes, it was very accessible. Maybe that’s because Terry’s daughter uses a wheelchair and he is very familiar with access issues, or maybe it’s just because he pays attention to details and special requests. No matter, it was a great tour.
Fast forward to 2005. The good news is Terry recently opened up his own walking tour business, appropriately named Walk Chicago Tours. And once again my hat is off to Terry, because (of course) he offers accessible tour options. As he states on his website, “If necessary, we will devise combinations of accessible tours and customize an itinerary that satisfies your interests.” Three cheers for Terry!
But this isn’t just about Terry, it’s about inclusive travel. I mean let’s face it, how hard is it to make a walking tour accessible? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not taking away from what Terry has done, but I’m just curious why more walking tour companies haven’t done the same. Yes, it does take some research to find accessible routes, public transportation and attractions, but let’s face it, these tour operators are suppose to be experts on their city.
So the moral of the story is, if you want to find a good tour guide, look for one (like Terry) who knows all the aspects of his destination, including access. Indeed that’s the winning combination.
Once again, thanks to Terry Sullivan for offering this accessible tour option and for putting us one step closer to a fully integrated and accessible society. Look him up next time you are in the windy city (just click on the title of this blog). I guarantee he’ll show you a good time.