Before I explain the headline, I want to share an e-mail that I received last week from Edward, a WheelchairTravel.org reader from the Kansas City, Missouri area:
My wife and I just got back from a trip to Paris and we had a great time. The guide on your website helped us a lot and we almost felt like locals! Thank you for sharing your knowledge! We hope to plan another trip with your info. Are you planning to visit Italy anytime soon? My wife really wants to go but we have read that it is unfriendly to wheelchairs? We thought that about Paris too until seeing your guide. Thanks again!
We’ve exchanged a few e-mails since, and I am ecstatic that Edward and his wife were able to use the info here to successfully plan a wheelchair accessible vacation. The phrase that got me was this: “…we almost felt like locals!”
That is exactly how I want my readers to feel! When I visit a city, I approach it with the goal of creating a guide that can eliminate surprises and prepare my readers for any accessibility challenges that await. To have a reader feel like a “local” by using one of the guides on this site tells me that I have accomplished that goal.
In that e-mail, Edward asked about wheelchair access in Rome. I have been there, but before my car accident and as an able-bodied person. I told him that I couldn’t comment on the city’s accessibility, because I haven’t visited in a wheelchair. I do hope to get back to The Eternal City soon!
I have made a commitment to write only about places I have traveled to in my wheelchair. There are many websites with “guides” to cities that the writer has never visited! There are also people writing about accessibility who have never sat in a wheelchair. With each click, websites like that mislead and misinform. For wheelchair users like you and me, false information can cause serious problems and disruptions to a trip. That is why I only publish guides if I can speak with authority and certainty about accessibility in the city. If I can’t be sure of what you’ll face, I refuse to write about it and make you a victim of bad information.
I want the e-mails I receive to be like the one from Edward. Wheelchair users who have been well prepared should feel like a local when they arrive at the destination. So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, commenting on the accessibility of cities that I visit, based on my own personal and real-life experiences. I dream of an open world for both you and me – people of all abilities. If you’d like to show your support for my efforts, share my website with your friends and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.