Accessibility June 22, 2020
Happiness – Travel with colleagues & experience the strength in numbers! – By Alfiya Memon
How can visually impaired people go on a holiday without a sighted person? That’s a question people with visual impairments get asked all the time. Our guest columnist this week Alfiya Memon tells us its possible and how!.
When you think of happiness, what is the first thought that comes to your mind?
According to me, happiness is something we experience when we spend time with our near and dear ones. For example, going to a picnic with office colleagues, meeting friends and family, travelling and experiencing different parts of India
But often the assumption is that people with disabilities can’t enjoy these things independently. I have a visual impairment. Till now, I have mainly travelled with my family.
Well, after joining BarrierBreak, as an Accessibility Tester, I finally realised that even I can enjoy these things and yes with colleagues who have become friends. I have felt a new sense of confidence that I can manage on my own, I can go out on my own.
Experience of Strength in Numbers
As one of my colleagues Kamran said, when we go out to a restaurant as a single visually impaired person, we are often dismissed by the management. But when we go out as a group, we can’t be ignored and above all since we all have varied levels of vision, we all have our strengths and overcome the obstacles with amazing hacks!
So, I would like to share some travel experience, that some of us colleagues enjoyed in the last one year. So you would be wondering, no major feat! But for all of us, it opened the world of travel. So here it is.
We are a group of colleagues and almost all of us are visually impaired.
For sure a question might come to your mind that “How can visually impaired plan a trip without any sighted person and enjoy themselves?”
Yes, it is possible and doable. What it needs is nothing but proper use of technology, intelligence and diligence.
Where did we travel to?
In last one year, we planned three such trips. Would you like to know the destinations? Here it goes:
- Assangoan: A farm house.
- Goa: A state of beaches.
- Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar: Place filled with natural beauty.
How to Plan?
Within our group some of our colleagues have hand on experience on technology, few are good planners, some have great communication skills and others are great entertainers like, singing, playing instruments and many more.
We distribute the work between us and plan to make the trip successful. Which happens every time!
Did we do some activities?
Oh yes, we did. Our visual impairment didn’t stop of from having any of the fun! We didn’t even think about how can we do this, what will be the challenges, nothing!
Everyone has talent like singing, being humorous, writing/telling poetry, etc. But you would be shocked to know that:
- In Assangoan, we enjoyed ourselves with swimming, dancing, playing games and spent memorable time together.
- In Goa, we did water sports, shopping and much more.
- And the last, but not least is Panchgani, it was very exciting trip that we had. We did horse riding, boat ride, laughing competition, and many more. We even enjoyed an accessible museum.
From this trip we strengthened our bond and have made friends for life.
From my own side, I can tell you, that with each trip, I became more confident, more adventurous and ready to try new things in life.
So to everyone out there with or without a disability, plan a trip not only with friends, family, but also with colleagues. Build bonds, overcome mindsets, do things that you haven’t done before and experience life and happiness!
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