Things can turn from bad to good with a positive attitude and a sense of perspective.
Take the route less travelled If you’re feeling brave, and you’re with friends, you can ‘plan to be spontaneous’. Be curious in an area that you’re not familiar with and get out of your comfort zone. I once wandered into an area I hadn’t visited for years. Meandering around I discovered a great burger place with a bar at waist height I could roll up to. Perfect! May I suggest… If you come across accessibility issues, let someone know. Many councils use Snap Send Solve, a photo app you can use to report issues. If you’re in a venue with accessibility issues, let the manager know, don’t grin and bear it. Remember if management knows about it, they can fix it. Your polite comments might be met with a solution or a fix for the next person like you who visits. Part of accessibility is an attitude. I’ve been to many places that aren’t accessible on paper, yet we’ve found a way to enjoy it thanks to helpful staff or a helpful passerby. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve been hoicked up a step by a helpful passing stranger.
Tell your story Part of the enjoyment of travel is sharing it with friends, either in the moment or in a story later. Take in the experience. Take a photo, draw a picture or write a note. Thank your hosts if they’ve helped you have a good time. How was your experience? Let people in the disability community know. Share it and post a review, this benefits future visitors and the venue. That’s it! Hopefully you’ve found something to keep in mind next time you’re planning to head out. Remember by getting out, being seen and sharing your experience you could be leading the way for someone just like you. As the Dutch proverb goes: ‘He who is out the door has the hardest part of the trip behind him’. Ryan Smith is a wheelchair user and the creator of Freewheel Weekends, a website focused on accessible travel experiences. He has been to Coburg and Copenhagen, Toorak and Tokyo, New Farm and New York. He’s currently planning an approaching trip to Egypt. www.freewheelweekends.com.au/