Hello and Happy New Year!
It’s time to turn the page to 2024 — or, in my case, set-up a new page-a-day travel calendar on my desk. Regardless of how we mark the transition, the dawn of a new year offers hope for the opportunities that lie ahead, and a burst of energy to pursue goals and achieve personal growth.
Last week, I reflected on my Top 10 Wheelchair Accessible Trips of 2023, contemplating the meaning, purpose and importance of the adventures that stood out during a busy year of travel. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, the article is full of inspiration for your future travels.
Now, for a bit of exciting news…
A much less exciting Person of the Year not named Taylor Swift
When the editor of New Mobility reached out late last year to share news of my selection as the magazine’s 2023 Person of the Year, I was left speechless, surprised and humbled by the recognition.
I was profiled in the magazine’s January issue, and opened up in ways that I have not done before. In the interview, I described the difficulty in keeping this website alive during the pandemic, my decision to go back to graduate school, and a gut punch that upended a planned return to corporate America. Amidst all the chaos and uncertainty of the past few years, I realized that this is where I actually belong — on the front lines advocating for Equal Access Everywhere and working to Open Your World through accessible travel.
Though I am certainly humbled to appear on this magazine cover, the real story isn’t about me, but the persistent problem of inadequate accessibility that impacts us all. I’m grateful to the editorial board at New Mobility Magazine for using their platform to highlight the importance of accessibility in travel. Many incredible people are working to make a difference, and our goals will not be realized without continued teamwork from the countless advocates who also deserve to have their contributions recognized.
As for me, I hope to use this honor as jet fuel in the cause for improved accessibility. Your continued readership and support is what makes that work possible.
Would you like to join the team? Please consider upgrading to a paid subscription to support my mission of opening the world to disabled people.
Celebrating 10 Years of Accessible Travel
On January 5, 2014, I set off on my first trip as a wheelchair user, flying from Orlando, Florida to Los Angeles, California. At the time, I had no visions of becoming a disability advocate or travel blogger — I just wanted to break out of my bedridden state, get back up in the air, and watch a football game in-person.
I found purpose in difficulty — the difficulty of that first trip and those that would follow. My thought was, things must get better… they have to! I wrote a little bit about that earlier this year, when I reflected on my car accident in the article I wrote for premium subscribers, 11 Years and 11 Days Before Now.
The ten year anniversary or “Flightversary” of that first trip is on Friday, and I’ve decided to mark the occasion with, you guessed it… a trip! Yesterday, I set out to pick a destination for this impromptu getaway using three simple criteria:
- Schedule: Depart on Friday and spend one night in a hotel, allowing at least 24 hours to explore the city.
- Destination: Travel as far as you can to a destination you have never visited before
- Budget: Book the cheapest flight available (with airline miles)
While I might have found myself traveling to a far-flung international destination, the third criteria limited me to cities within the United States. The cheapest flights I found are 9,000 frequent flyer miles each way, and the farthest those miles will take me on Friday is to Spokane, Washington.
Having performed some cursory research, it looks like Spokane will make for a really great time, and I look forward to sharing what I eat, drink, see and experience with a little more than 24 hours on the ground. I hope you’ll follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where I will actually share photos of my trip (reengaging with social media is one of my resolutions for the New Year).
A few last words
As we embark on this new year of advocacy and adventure, I wish you good health and happiness, confidence to push boundaries and achieve all that is possible, and the courage to face the unknown and unexpected.
Let’s make 2024 a year to remember!
Cheerfully and with gratitude,