with , totally blind and Tony Giles partially deaf world solo traveler
The 39-year-old British-born global traveler and author, who has shared a series of ebooks documenting his adventures, has a unique and inspiring perspective on seeing and experiencing the world.
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Going from my home to school by taxi every day when I was 5. It was an hour-long journey of some 20 miles and I used to get carsick in the beginning.
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New Zealand is my favorite country out of
127 nations visited thus far. I’d like to live there, probably on South Island. The weather reminds me of England, often wet and cold and windy. The people are so friendly and relaxed . . . and the country’s nature is fantastic. You don’t have to see it to enjoy it: open spaces, long isolated beaches with no one on them apart from crying seabirds, the smell of the salt air and, sometimes, stinking seal colonies, towering mountains and huge glistening lakes. What more could a traveler ask for?
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Myanmar, India, Galápagos Islands and more of Ecuador.
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I have learnt several skills to enable me to travel successfully and largely independently.
For example, I had to learn to be organized, have copies of my travel documents with braille labels to identify each document, and carry a spare long cane which folds into four pieces. I carry spare hearing aids and batteries, because in many countries this equipment is almost nonexistent. I had to learn how to trust people – to help me cross roads, get good and exact directions to my location, and to get correct bus/ train/subway information. I learnt to judge a person’s character by listening to their voice, what they said or didn’t say, their mannerisms, how they acted around me and reacted to me and my blindness. I learnt to sense people’s energy: positive or negative. I had to develop a system for handling different currencies and recognizing the various denominations of a particular currency.
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That I travel cheaply and that I don’t or, very rarely, stay in hotels. I like to stay in youth hostels, where a room is shared between four, six, eight or more complete strangers! This is how I find companions to help me get to places of interest and also how I often make friends. I now couch surf via an online network of mainly local hosts who offer a couch or bed for free to like-minded travelers with the aim of the project to encourage people to share travel ideas and culture and create friendships and openness.
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That they are, in general, no different from anybody else. Disabled people may require a little more assistance on occasions, especially with accessing some buildings and public transportation. Some adaptations to buildings, transport, roads, sidewalks, etc. are needed, but many of these adaptations would benefit nondisabled travelers and the public alike.
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Setting foot on the Antarctic continent and feeling the crisp, cold air on my hands and face and the crunch of shingled beach and icy snow under my boots was remarkable. Also hearing a humpback whale breach very close to the ship’s side on that same trip was beautiful and amazing.