Dis­abled trav­ellers will en­rich all trips

With Nepal ban­ning dis­abled trav­ellers from climb­ing Ever­est, we look at how trav­el­ling in a mixed dis­abled and non-dis­abled group can be good – for us all...

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - 360˚ Need To Know -

Just imag­ine be­ing a blind trav­eller, pre­par­ing for your first as­cent of the mighty Mount Ever­est. At Base Camp, you can hear the flut­ter­ing of prayer flags and wind-blasted snow whistling off the moun­tain­top. Now, from the Nepalese side, those with im­paired sight – and dou­ble am­putees – will no longer be able to climb the world’s lofti­est peak, in a bid ‘to make the moun­tain safer,’ ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Cul­ture, Tourism and Civil Avi­a­tion.

Un­der­stand­ably, dis­abled trav­ellers have re­acted with dis­dain. “This ban does lit­tle to en­sure the safety of peo­ple on the moun­tain,” says El­speth Knight of En­com­pass dis­abil­ity travel con­sul­tancy. “There are in­di­vid­u­als with those im­pair­ments who can and have al­ready made this climb.”

But while this news has high­lighted places where dis­abled travel is be­ing re­stricted, it still doesn’t recog­nise the ben­e­fits that both the dis­abled and non-dis­abled gain from trav­el­ling to­gether as a group.

Trav­eleyes, a com­pany that pairs blind or vis­ually im­paired trav­ellers with sighted ones, say that do­ing so is not only in­clu­sive but also “helps bring des­ti­na­tions to life for our blind trav­ellers, while our sighted clients can ex­plore the world in a dif­fer­ent way.”

But it’s not just vis­ually im­paired trav­ellers who can help us all to open our eyes. El­speth is quick to point out that trav­el­ling in mixed groups with peo­ple of a range of dis­abil­i­ties shouldn’t – if done prop­erly – slow any­one down. It can make ev­ery­one ap­pre­ci­ate travel from a new per­spec­tive and be­gin to break down the bar­ri­ers and taboos around dis­abil­ity.

“We may need adap­ta­tions but we don’t want spe­cial treat­ment,” she adds. While El­speth will con­tinue to fight for tour op­er­a­tors to of­fer ad­ven­ture travel trips for mixed groups (cur­rently it’s mainly just fly ’n’ flop beach hol­i­days who do), per­haps it’s time that every sin­gle one of us also pushed for more in­clu­sion on the types of ex­pe­ri­ences and trips that we reg­u­larly take.

Af­ter all, surely we should all want to open up the world of travel and the life-al­ter­ing af­fir­ma­tions it gives to ev­ery­one?

‘This ban does lit­tle to en­sure the safety of peo­ple on Mount Ever­est’

All to­gether now Mixed dis­abled and non-dis­abled trips can give a new out­look for both sets of trav­ellers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.