Our blog is now on our main site, here is an excerpt from our latest post. Please go to tripility to read the rest!
Written by Debs; part of the Tripility team.
This week a very useful article was pointed out to me about being a disabled student. It has beenpublishedon the BBC’s disability website OUCH and is full of handy hints for surviving your degree with the added organisation involved when you are a disabled student. Before I began my degree in 2008, I had absolutely no idea how I would manage at university, or what help there was out there to get my through my degree. Being an assisted wheelchair user, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to go to university as I wouldn’t be able to get myself to my lectures. About a year before I was due to go to university, I visited a couple of places to ask about how completing a degree would be feasible and to get an idea of where I wanted to study. In the end, I decided upon the University of Hull as I loved the friendly feel of the campus, it has a brilliant Psychology department and I was very familiar with the city. Read more...
Next year, we are becoming a bit brave here at Tripility, as two of us are off on our travels. To all you nomadic people out there, our trip is pretty tame, but someone has wafted the word hostel about, so I am classing this as travelling! The reason we have decided to do this (apart from the obvious), is that, apart from the odd holiday here and there, we have both never really explored anywhere before. The thought of a full backpacking adventure has Debs quaking in her flip flops, so we are going to do our own version of travelling (one that mainly involves hot showers and proper beds…for the most part). We are both quite nervous about the trip, mainly as we have the added factor of our access needs. However, this is the reason we started Tripility, so people can find out access information about destinations that may have been written off before. So, (luckily for you), we plan on reviewing and blogging our way around our chosen destinations!
The first part of our trip has us landing in Brazil and staying with our extended family in Porto Alegre, after a few days there, our accessible adventure (as it will now be known as) begins! Our first leg has us heading down the coast into Uruguay, so far we don’t know much about access here, a few guides have listed it as being non existent so this could be a challenge! Lucky for us, we will be traveling with family around these parts, so if we find ourselves in inaccessible places, there is someone else to do the piggybacking…! We’ll be passing through into Argentina and heading to Buenos Aires, which again is said to be difficult with a wheelchair, but doable! After starting to plan this trip at the start of the year we decided to visit Iguassu Falls, which borders both Argentina and Brazil. Now, visiting a waterfall in two countries that aren’t world renowned for access may seem a bit of a push, but here a lot of money has been ploughed into making the area as accessible as possible, so much so that this part of the trip should be relatively pain free (compared to the rest of our South American trip). We finish this part of the journey in Rio de Janeiro, where we’ll spend a few days, before flying into the West Coast of America.
Our plans for North America as of yet, havent been fully decided, but we know we would like to visit; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Yosemite’s and Las Vegas. We will most likely hire a car for this part of the trip and stay in hotels, hostels and even airbnb. Debs has requested a stop in Nashville, so the plan is to either hire a camper-van or fly into Nashville and spend a few days there. After this we are heading towards New York with a few other destinations in mind, such as; Chicago, Toronto, Niagra Falls, Maine and a few more in between. We plan on being away for 11 weeks, arriving home just in time to de-sand in time for my sister’s wedding. We are just at the start of organising this trip and the helpful folks at Flight Centre are putting an itinerary together for us. Before we can go, I have to finish my PhD (no pressure) and we both have a bit more saving to do. We’ll keep you posted about the trip, from the organising of it through to when we are actually there. If any of you have done something similar or even have useful information, please share!
Earlier this year, I completed a sponsored walk. Anyone that knows me will know that this was a big deal for me, as when I was 14, I became disabled though an illness. The reason I decided to complete this walk was that in March, it had been 11 years since this happened and instead of feeling upset about everything that has happened, I wanted to celebrate the progress I had made by doing something positive. Now, when someone says sponsored walk, it tends to put ideas in your head of striding great distances, often through tricky conditions. This was not the case for me, nope, my walk was a small jaunt on the seafront in the town where I live; but for me, this minuscule distance, was a massive milestone. In my head, I would pop down to the seafront, struggle through the walk (probably grumbling my way along) with my good friend Sarah and then flop back at home. However, my friends and family had other ideas! I am surrounded by a great bunch of people, who through the last 11 years have always been able to put a smile on my face, give me hand when I have needed it and generally kept me smiling through some tricky times. When they heard about my walk, they were all on board to both generously sponsor me and, be by my side for the event.
Through my excitement of seeing everyone there with me, I almost forgot that I had to actually walk with people watching me, something I am NOT a big fan of. Due to the difficulties I have with walking, I am very self conscious about the way I walk, it often causes strangers to stare or even to directly ask me, “what’s wrong with you then?”. So, the thought of people being there with the purpose of watching me walk…nightmare! What I had appeared to have forgotten is that all of these lovely people are in fact my friends, all there to continue supporting me as they always had. It turned out to be a great afternoon, the walking was not a doddle, but with everyone there it spurred me on (as did the thought of a big fat cake at the end of it!). I was pretty chuffed with my little self.
One of the big reasons I decided to do this walk (apart from the cake), was to raise money for The National Brain Appeal. This is a charity that raises money for The National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery, which is based in Queens Square in London. It is a truly amazing hospital filled with the clever-ist (yes that’s a word) of people. I became a patient at this hospital nearly two years ago and I can not praise them highly enough. This month, the charity are celebrating 30 years of amazing-ness (my words not theirs), by looking back at the fundraising events people have held and where the money has been spent. If you, or anyone you know of, has been affected by a neurological illness, this charity is well worth giving to. If you have had any experience of the incredible work that The National Hospital do, or you have raised money for this charity, then let them know. Throughout August, you can share your stories of both the hospital and The National Brain Appeal on Facebook (search for The National Brain Appeal) #30years30days.
My lovely bunch of friends helped me to raise over £900, seen as though my aim was £100, I was pretty blooming chuffed with that!
Santa Eulalia is the third largest resort in Ibiza, there is plenty to do with lots of bars, restaurants, museums and shops and is perfect for families as well as those looking for good access. There are two beaches, one of these has a disabled platform with a beach boardwalk and the other has a boardwalk without extra facilities. Santa Eulalia is in a great location just down the coast from Ibiza Town and it is only 21 km from the airport.
We visited Santa Eulalia whilst on holiday in Cala Llonga, Ibiza. A lot of effort had been made to make the seafront promenade and beach area incredibly accessible for wheelchairs. Much thought had been put into the access, especially for getting down to and using the beach. There was a special platform just for wheelchair users; this platform included a wheelchair accessible toilet, covered shelter and a beach wheelchair. The whole of the promenade was flat with plenty of cafe’s and restaurants with easy access.
We arrived by bus into Santa Eulalia, not sure what to expect. The bus from in Cala Llonga had a wheelchair lift, although we didn’t need to use it. The bus stop was on a narrow stretch of pavement, ideally this area could be a little bit larger so we could easily move the wheelchair around other visitors.
We waited until the other passengers had dispersed and then ventured onto the beach front in Santa Eulalia. What we found was wide promenades, step free access and fantastic wheelchair provisions right down to the beach, with the beach boardwalk and other accessible facilities. There was a slope down to this area but the gradient was never more than 5 degrees, measured on my handy angle metre app on my phone (what more could one want?).
The resort of Santa Eulalia was fantastically equipped for disabled travelers in terms of wheelchair access. It was very notable when a place is well equipped for disabled travelers when you see numerous other wheelchair users in the same resort.
Our stay in Santa Eulalia was rather short, only a couple of hours to see what it had to offer. We certainly would consider staying here in the future, compared to Cala Llonga there were a lot more restaurants and bars, which may entice people looking for a slightly more lively holiday compared to the quieter resort down the road.
Our visit ended with a return journey back to Cala Llonga on the ferry. Access to the ferry was in the port, this area was flat and had a good selection of restaurants, all which seemed accessible from the pavement.
The only part of the journey not suited to wheelchair users was getting onto the ferry itself, unless you are able to walk short distances and fold up the chair. The access onto the boat was up a narrow walkway and then down a couple of steps once on the boat, help was provided by the staff which made things a little easier.
I hope you enjoyed our rather brief guide to Santa Eulalia.
Do you know of any other resorts that are equally as accessible?
If you are looking for an accessible city destination, New York is definitely the place. Having experienced this city as a wheelchair user, I found it to be incredibly easy to get around. The people I came into contact with were very friendly and helpful, if anyone saw you struggling to navigate a non-automatic door (although this was quite a rare find), they would stop what they were doing in order to help you. Buildings had lifts and automatic doors, even old buildings were made accessible, often by connecting through to the building next to it and using their lifts. Attractions were made easy by staff being on hand to navigate any small steps, or provide access on and off boat tours and there is no need to think about queuing. Every attraction I approached, I was encouraged to the front of the queue to avoid any hanging around, or having to navigate through any difficult barriers. Below is a mini guide to the attractions I visited and an outline of services that can be accessed as a disabled person in New York City. More information about the services can be gained through NYC Go website: http://www.nycgo.com/accessibility Continue reading New York City…what more do I need to say?→
Nestled between Ibiza Town and Santa Eulalia, Cala Llonga is a small and beautiful resort perfect for those wanting to escape the busier parts of Ibiza. Great for families and couples, Cala Llonga is dominated by a large sandy beach enclosed in a pretty bay. Here we will give you an in depth guide to the town in terms of accessibility. Please click on the map for videos of each location – recorded on our wheelchair cam!