Too often, the disabled are invisible to us. We are not ignoring their existence. They’re just not out with us in public. We can’t see what is not there.
But these people do exist — in larger numbers than you might believe. In a 2010 report, the United States Census Bureau estimated that there are 3.3 million people age 15 and older who must use a wheelchair to get around. Another 10 million Americans use a cane, crutches or walker.
This suggests that in 2010, one in every 23 Americans used a mobility aid to walk (or roll). Did you notice that ratio while you were out at a restaurant? At a baseball game? On vacation? Probably not.
Of the disabled people you noticed in public, most were probably not on vacation or far away from home. The world can be a very intimidating place. For the disabled person, a vacation means traveling to a city or country they do not know. For the wheelchair user, the idea of traveling beyond one’s hometown might seem impossible.
After I became confined to a wheelchair, it seemed as though I might never be able to travel again. How could I get a 200-pound wheelchair on a plane? In a taxi? Even down the street in a foreign country? There were so many questions, but so few answers.
I started to take risks, to visit cities and countries with incomplete information about accessibility. This lack of information about accessibility is actually the norm. I had to deal with challenges, setbacks and disappointments. But I learned.
After traveling to 9 countries and flying the equivalent of more than 7 trips around the globe in 2014, I set to work on this website. It is a product of my intense love of travel and a passionate desire to share the world with others. It seeks to answer the “how” questions that I once had. It shows disabled people and wheelchair users that traveling with a disability is far from impossible.
I hope you’ll help me to reach my vision of opening the world to disabled people. Help make it possible for one in every 23 vacations to be taken by a mobility challenged person.
Your contribution to WheelchairTravel.org will be used to expand this website’s coverage, placing the information needed to plan an accessible journey at the fingertips of disabled travelers.
If you own a business and are interested in sponsorship or advertising on this website, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Together, we can work toward opening the world to a group of people who are too often forgotten.