Traveling with a Disability is Possible... and Amazing!
Author: Kieran Jones
Published: 2013-03-28 : (Rev. 2014-04-17)
Kieran Jones has a disability called Metatophic Dwarfism this is his tale of travel to Hong Kong and Australia.
Main DigestI suffer from a disability called Metatophic Dwarfism, which most obviously mean I am short but also have other problems including only be able to walk short distances, so sometimes use a wheelchair to help me get around. I have always wanted to travel, but everyone doubted I would be able to on my own, especially with my wheelchair.
When someone doubts me it makes me even more determined to prove them wrong and it has always been my dream to travel to Australia, which I successfully managed and have amazing memories from.
I am now moving onto my new big adventure and have entered a competition to travel around the world. I don't like my disability to stop me doing anything, and this would really prove myself to people and allow me to share my experiences, as I visit every single continent on an amazing 6 months experience. It would really be an opportunity of a life time and a dream to win. I think being disabled and winning the competition would be an even greater achievement. For my entry I have done a video tour of London, my current home, and also a blog sharing my experience of traveling Australia. You can view my entry here and any support, including voting for me which takes two seconds, would be most appreciated - www.mydestination.com/users/kieran/bbb#tab
I remember my worried excitement when I booked my flights to Australia; I had to carefully plan the trip to make sure I would manage. Before I knew it I was off, with my chair in tow, on my very first adventure, I remember having Mum in tears on the phone at the airport, worrying as Mums do! Firstly a quick three days in Hong-Kong, this was a real culture shock; I had never been out of Europe before or flown on my own! I did find it slightly daunting but quickly my sense of adventure took over. It didn't help they managed to lose my wheelchair and it took several hours for them to find it. There was off course other challenges, such as the tour company not wanting to take me on trips as I was unaccompanied, despite me not needing assistance. I quickly made friends with someone who was booking on to the same trip who thought it was ridiculous, so we got around it. I crammed a lot in, from visiting the giant Buddha to eating food I didn't have a clue what was.
Finally achieving my dreams I touched down in Sydney, after a quick search by the sniffer dogs and declaring the Pringles in my bag I was landed! In Sydney I had family, so got shown around all the best bits including the breathtaking Blue Mountains and down the coast in a caravan. I also kept them entertained with my preconceived ideas, such as about the spiders and snakes!
Kieran Jones holding Koala at Australia Zoo
I then carried on with my travels, visiting Uluru. All the sand was interesting but I coped and because I was unable to walk around the rock I compromised, forking out for an amazing helicopter ride over it delivering breathtaking views. The most challenging and scary thing I did was driving the barrier reef, I had traveled around the world so sure as hell was going to dive it! I got on the boat, which was very choppy to say the least; I could have done with a seatbelt to stop me flying out my seat as the boat crashed around. I was determined not to get sea sick as I knew I wouldn't be able to dive. I got to the pontoon and was squeezed into a little black wet suit. I don't know what I expected but it wasn't this, sea as far as I could see, it was choppy and freezing. Now is probably a good time to mention I can't swim and would probably go as far as saying I am scared of water. The instructors were very supportive, not pushing me as I tried not to panic. I was diving on an underwater bike and eventually built up the courage, knowing I would regret it if I didn't. Wow wasn't it worth it, from stunning corals, to amazing colorful fish nearly as big as me and friendly reef sharks. I was on edge throughout the dive, but it's one of the most memorable and although it may sound stupid most scary experiences of my life.
Australia zoo, rainforests, feeding dolphins, whales, Sydney Tower the list of things I did in this incredible country goes on. After a stopover in Singapore, I was well and truly bitten by the travel bug! Writing this has reminded me how many amazing things I did and life long memories I made.
I would advise any disabled person considering traveling go for it and you will make some amazing memories. With a little planning and maybe a few compromises you can make sure you have a great trip. I hope you have enjoyed reading just a few my memories from and will support me by voting in the competition so I can share many more experiences.
Editors Note: Kieran Jones is an actor, presenter and broadcaster with a range of experience and skills. His passion for performing is constantly growing and he will be appearing in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 as a goblin. He has also appeared in various stage production including most recently playing Blusher in Snow White and the Seven the Seven Dwarfs at the Richmond Theatre and Grouchy in Snow White at the Swansea Grand. You can visit his personal website at www.kierandjones.co.uk
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