This is Y Magazine 2020

Page 33


SENSES AT I O N A L When it comes to embracing new experiences, there’s very little off-limits for the Yorkshire-based adventure seeker Amar Latif and even more astounding is, that at the age of 18, Amar lost his sight. P I C T U R E S DA N P R I N C E


Left: The excitement and anticipation of driving off-road. Above: Amar at The Coniston Hotel and Spa.

s a youngster in Glasgow, I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder of the eyes that causes loss of vision. At school I would crash into things, I’d hit the hurdles or miss the rugby ball in sport. I struggled in lessons and my desk had to be moved to the front of the classroom. In my late teens, as the doctors had predicted, I lost 95 per cent of my sight. Waking up and not being able to see the Madonna poster at the end of my bed or the faces of my parents and siblings, I realised that the day had come. I was blind! Losing my sight seemed like it was the end of my world. A downward spiral of feeling depressed ensued as I was surrounded by friends enjoying their teenage years, learning to drive and gaining independence. After several months it dawned on me that I had to switch my mindset and look at things in a positive way. I graduated with a mathematics, statistics and finance degree, spending my third year studying in Canada and sparking my love of travel. Everyone around me was completely shocked at what I’d achieved. Many had said that a blind person couldn’t study to be an accountant, but I went on to be Head of Commercial Finance for British Telecom. Not bad for a bloke who can’t see! Blindness gave me my love for adventure and travel. Lack of sight has heightened my curiosity. Some travel companies rejected me when they realised I was a blind person travelling independently, so I set up Traveleyes, my own company taking groups of sighted and blind people on holiday, offering trips to over 70 destinations across the world. The BBC were looking for people with disabilities to take part in Beyond Boundaries, a TV documentary throwing together strangers with different physical challenges and sending them on a big adventure.