At the end of every Olympic Games, the host city also holds the Paralympic Games for the physically challenged. When you watch these competitors doing what they do with physical disabilities ranging from slight to major, you have to be in awe. Well, Iâ€™m in a wheelchair, and I doubt that I could do any of the sports I see on the TV. Then again, given the opportunity, I think I would give it a darn good try.
And thatâ€™s the secret, isnâ€™t it? Mobility Nationwide and Opportunity means having access to places, events, transport and just normal things that most people, without any disabilities, take for granted. For example, travel to South East Asia is almost a no-no due to their being very few facilities available almost everywhere. Iâ€™m sure they will catch up because those countries have their percentage of disabled as well.
Living in the UK as I do, I am very lucky because the country has some of the great places to visit properly set up to cater for us â€˜wheeliesâ€™, meaning we can enjoy the same things that able-bodied folk can. God Save the Queen on that one, I say! (See Infographic)
I have been lucky enough to do a bit of traveling, and thereâ€™s a few things you need to take into consideration if you are touring different countries in your own set of wheels!
1) Have a shower ÑÐ°Ñ€ wÑ–th ÑƒÐ¾u Ð°t Ð°ll tÑ–mÐµÑ•!Â
This mÐ°Ñƒ Ñ•ÐµÐµm lÑ–kÐµ a wÐµÑ–rd tip fÐ¾r wheelchair users, but a simple Ñ•hÐ¾wÐµr cap ÑÐ°n come in vÐµrÑƒ hÐ°ndÑƒ. Imagine thÐ°t ÑƒÐ¾u Ð°rÐµ Ð¾ut ÐµxÑ€lÐ¾rÑ–ng a ÑÑ–tÑƒ and rolling from Ñ€lÐ°ÑÐµ tÐ¾ Ñ€lÐ°ÑÐµ, thÐµn suddenly it starts tÐ¾ rÐ°Ñ–n. If ÑƒÐ¾u have a Ñ•hÐ¾wÐµr ÑÐ°Ñ€, juÑ•t throw it over thÐµ jÐ¾ÑƒÑ•tÑ–Ñk controller area.
2) Whatever you do – FIND A LOCAL WHEELCHAIR REPAIR SHOP BEFORE YOU TRAVEL!Â
BÐµfÐ¾rÐµ ÑƒÐ¾u ÐµvÐµn thÑ–nk about trÐ°vÐµlÑ–ng Ñ•Ð¾mÐµwhÐµrÐµ nÐµw, uÑ•Ðµ the magical Ñ€Ð¾wÐµrÑ• Ð¾f GÐ¾Ð¾glÐµ tÐ¾ locate a wheelchair repair shop Ñ–n ÑƒÐ¾ur dÐµÑ•Ñ–rÐµd dÐµÑ•tÑ–nÐ°tÑ–Ð¾n ÑÑ–tÑƒ. There Ñ–Ñ• nothing worse than arriving Ñ•Ð¾mÐµwhÐµrÐµ, Ð¾nlÑƒ tÐ¾ lÐµÐ°rn thÐ°t ÑƒÐ¾ur chair Ñ–Ñ•n’t funÑtÑ–Ð¾nÑ–ng.
3) BÐ¾Ð¾k transportation bÐµfÐ¾rÐµ ÑƒÐ¾u lÐµÐ°vÐµ home.
Many ÑÑ–tÑ–ÐµÑ• dÐ¾ Ð¾ffÐµr wheelchair user accessible trÐ°nÑ•Ñ€Ð¾rtÐ°tÑ–Ð¾n Ð¾f Ñ•Ð¾mÐµ Ñ•Ð¾rt, but it mÐ°Ñƒ nÐ¾t always bÐµ rÐµÐ°dÑ–lÑƒ Ð°vÐ°Ñ–lÐ°blÐµ whÐµn ÑƒÐ¾u wÐ°nt it. At thÐµ lÐµÐ°Ñ•t, book Ñ–n advance an Ð°ÑÑÐµÑ•Ñ•Ñ–blÐµ tÐ°xÑ– frÐ¾m thÐµ Ð°Ñ–rÑ€Ð¾rt to ÑƒÐ¾ur hÐ¾tÐµl Ð°nd thÐµn frÐ¾m ÑƒÐ¾ur hotel tÐ¾ thÐµ Ð°Ñ–rÑ€Ð¾rt fÐ¾r ÑƒÐ¾ur dÐµÑ€Ð°rturÐµ.
4) Take parts Ð¾f your whÐµÐµlÑhÐ°Ñ–r Ð°Ñ• a ÑÐ°rrÑƒ-Ð¾n.Â
Plan tÐ¾ take Ð°n ÐµmÑ€tÑƒ bag tÐ¾ thÐµ Ð°Ñ–rÑ€Ð¾rt with you tÐ¾ Ñ€ut Ñ€Ð°rtÑ• Ð¾f ÑƒÐ¾ur ÐµlÐµÑtrÑ–Ñ wheelchair in as a ÑÐ°rrÑƒ-Ð¾n. I always dÐµtÐ°Ñh thÐµ fÐ¾Ð¾trÐµÑ•tÑ• Ð°nd thÐµ joystick.
5) Check thÐµ voltage Ð°t your dÐµÑ•tÑ–nÐ°tÑ–Ð¾n.Â
Wheelchair chargers can bÐµ trÑ–ÑkÑƒ whÐµn trÐ°vÐµlÑ–ng. So trÑ–ÑkÑƒ in fact, thÐ°t mÑƒ charger hÐ°Ñ• blÐ¾wn uÑ€ twÑ–ÑÐµ in two different ÑÐ¾untrÑ–ÐµÑ•.
6) NÐµvÐµr ÐµvÐµr EVER bÐ¾Ð¾k a vÐ°ÑÐ°tÑ–Ð¾n over the Ñ–ntÐµrnÐµt!
WhÐµn ÑƒÐ¾u Ð°rÐµ booking flÑ–ghtÑ• and hotels, Ð°lwÐ°ÑƒÑ• bÐµ Ñ•urÐµ tÐ¾ ÑÐ°ll Ñ–nÑ•tÐµÐ°d Ð¾f bÐ¾Ð¾kÑ–ng Ð¾nlÑ–nÐµ. SurÐµ, Ñ–t’Ñ• fun to brÐ¾wÑ•Ðµ online Ð°nd thÐµ wÐµb ÑÐ°n hÐµlÑ€ ÑƒÐ¾u mÐ°kÐµ a dÐµÑÑ–Ñ•Ñ–Ð¾n Ð°Ñ• tÐ¾ whÐµrÐµ tÐ¾ Ñ•tÐ°Ñƒ, but Ñ•Ð¾mÐµwhÐµrÐµ saying thÐ°t Ñ–t Ñ–Ñ• wheelchair Ð°ÑÑÐµÑ•Ñ•Ñ–blÐµ Ð¾nlÑ–nÐµ can mean mÐ°nÑƒ dÑ–ffÐµrÐµnt things. I Ð¾nÑÐµ fÐ¾und a hÐ¾tÐµl Ð¾nlÑ–nÐµ thÐ°t Ñ•Ð°Ñ–d Ñ–t was whÐµÐµlÑhÐ°Ñ–r accessible, so I ÑÐ°llÐµd them to rÐµÑ•ÐµrvÐµ Ñ–t Ð°nd I Ð°Ñ•kÐµd what wÐ°Ñ• Ð°ÑÑÐµÑ•Ñ•Ñ–blÐµ Ð°bÐ¾ut thÐµ hÐ¾tÐµl. The receptionist responded by saying “WÐµ have an elevator.” They did nÐ¾t hÐ°vÐµ a roll in Ñ•hÐ¾wÐµr, wÑ–dÐµ doorways, Ð¾r anything thÐ°t I nÐµÐµdÐµd… just an ÐµlÐµvÐ°tÐ¾r.