Okay, we fly home tomorrow. As you read this we will be on a plane flying towards Canada. One we land it's about an hours drive home, depending on traffic, and then we sail in to the long weekend. We're tired from the trip but as always grateful to have had the experiences we've had. We found that our past experiences of travelling with the wheelchair led to an error free experience (but we haven't flown yet) in terms of the hotels and venues where we stayed and worked. Planning works.
Being disabled makes things more complex, not more difficult, but more complex. It takes much more thought and much more attention to detail and doing a lot more double checking. This time every hotel we arrived at had an accessible room waiting, every place we went to see, visit or shop at was barrier free. This meant that we had to stay at particular hotels and avoid some touristy stops ... but we used the world that we could both easily move around in.
All of this made the disability become almost irrelevant, it was still there but it didn't mean what it can mean in places and spaces that are determinedly inaccessible. My disability, like my personality, changes in relationship to the environment I'm in and the welcome I get. I have enough, just enough, control to manage that in certain ways.
I choose an airline that I find welcoming to me as a disabled traveler.
I choose a hotel brand that offers specific ADA assistance.
I use Google to help me determine architectural welcome.
This doesn't always work, but this trip, it did. I was able to push myself around everywhere we went, I was able to access all that I wanted to access. Joe and I were able to focus on being together and enjoying the time we had to enjoy. It was a relief.
I know I am cursing our trip tomorrow by writing this now, but I wanted to just say, as we are in our last hotel of 8 that it has been smooth sailing.
So we go into tomorrow and the travel home hopefully. We go into the rest of the lecture season determined to be just as careful and make our experience of travel be one that allows us to enjoy the work, the people and our surroundings.
Tune in tomorrow to see if it ends as it began.