After spending the past three weeks exploring Sequoia National Park for my next book, Barrier-Free Travel; Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks for Wheelers and Slow Walkers (www.barrierfreeyosemite.com) I’ve come away with some observations about access in this often overlooked national treasure. Of course, as with any research trip there was good and bad, but on the plus side I have to say that the good far outweighed the bad on this Sequoia visit. With that in mind here are my top three “access plusses” – access features that totally wowed me – in the land of the giant sequoias. Continue reading
Believe it or not accessible travel is becoming a very popular topic on the internet these days. That’s both good and bad news. The good news of course is that there’s more information out there. The bad news is, that a good chunk of that informaton is inaccurate.
And unfortunately the latter is happening all to often these days. It stems from a combination of lazy writers, and website owners who want down-and-dirty accessible travel articles, but who aren’t willing to fork over the bucks it takes to do the real research. And in the end it’s the consumer who really loses.
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you separate the wheat from the chaff as far as accessible travel information is concerned.
Every now and then I read something that just can’t go without comment. Today it was an article on Penn Live by David Jones. Apparently Mr. Jones is vehemently against private development in Pennsylvania’s state parks, but he tries to make his case by saying that if the parks were developed then “people who don’t belong there” (aka disabled people) would flock to these parks. He also uses some very derogatory language to describe the habits and abilities of wheelchair- and scooter-users. Continue reading
Late last week Uber rolled out their much anticipated accessible ride program in Washington DC. As their press release touts, this new option enables riders to request a wheelchair-accessible vehicle on-demand. And you can use the Uber app to order one in a matter of seconds. What could be better — an affordable wheelchair-accessible ride dispatched to you with a few swipes and a tap? Continue reading
I get a lot of feedback from my readers, and although most times it’s from travelers, this week I’ve had a interesting exchange with two different caregivers. Which prompted me to ask the hypothetical question, “Does a caregiver’s attitude play a large role in influencing the perceived abilities of the person in their care?” And furthermore, “Does that perception directly affect the behavior and attitude of that person?” Continue reading
As I was checking the final edits in my next book, Resting Easy in the US; Unique Lodging Options for Wheelers and Slow Walkers, I encountered an unexpected ethical dilemma. Let’s just chalk it all up to bad timing, as Indiana’s governor had also just signed the controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. Continue reading
I get a lot of feedback from my readers, and a good chunk of it pertains to what I call “access shortfalls”. In most cases the incident usually involves a hotel or other travel related business that failed to provide appropriate access. And although the degree of severity varies from case to case, my advice is usually the same; “File a complaint with the Depart of Justice (DOJ) for a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.”
Unfortunately that sage advice is usually met with a deafening silence. Continue reading
My year of giving all started with a random drawing. I don’t enter these things often, but this one really appealed to me. In addition to receiving a Tiffany’s gift certificate, the winners also got to designate a $100 donation to the charity of their choice. Jewelry and charity — it sounded like a winning combination to me!
And lo and behold I won. I bought a beautiful silver heart necklace, and the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative received a $100 donation on my behalf. I chose that charity because my friend Echo supports it. It’s a great organization — they help kids who are homeless, in foster care, or who are living in high poverty prepare for college.
And then the little wheels in my head began to turn. I reasoned that since I easily waste $100 a month, that money could be put to much better use if I donated it to a worthy cause. But how do I find these causes? And then it hit me — I’ll let my friends choose them. And that’s exactly what I did. Over the course of 2014, I donated $100 every month to an organization or cause that one of my friends supported or benefited from. In the end I think it worked out great.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing this to toot my own horn. Instead I’m sharing my story in hopes that some of my friends will do the same thing next year. Granted it doesn’t have to be $100 — give whatever you can afford. Or if you can’t afford to give cash, give of your time — everybody needs volunteers. And if you can’t give, then simply share my story, so others will be encouraged to give.
In any case, here’s how my donations played out on a month-by-month basis. I’m going to do the same thing in 2015, and I invite everyone to join me. We can make a difference — one person at a time. Continue reading