Travel blogging isn’t just about writing descriptions of places. Anyone can write a list of sights to visit or recommend good restaurants. Effective travel blogging is about bringing destinations to life through vivid word imagery, and yes – vivid photography. Being an accessible travel blogger gives me the unique perspective of a wheelchair user, which is one I have tried to convey both in words and in pictures.
I still take photographs like everyone else, but I get to notice things that maybe other people don’t. I’m lower to the ground than most adults who can walk, so I see more things as I’m looking down, from little plaques that others might just unknowingly step over to small wildflowers peeking out of cracks. As a more vulnerable member of the public and a former law enforcement officer, I notice people and their behavior perhaps more frequently than others. While I’m often looking for potential threats, I usually see subtle beauty in everyday actions and movements.
November 29th marks the one-year anniversary of the start of this blog. Of course, my love affair with travel began long before I started writing about it. I love looking through my old scrapbooks with print photos (GASP!) from places like Normandy, Rome, and Hawaii. But when you travel with a mobility device throughout a world that isn’t built for you, you start to notice things other than the Eiffel Tower or the colosseum. Some of my favorite photos include a black and white shot I have of an elderly man playing the accordion for tips in Ljubljana, and another of two young schoolgirls holding hands while walking down an alley in Jerusalem’s Old City. I smile when I see the brightly colored tulips from Keukenhof gardens outside of Amsterdam, and laugh at the great memories I made with my best friend while photographing Dublin.
While The View from Down Here is admittedly something of a yearbook and photographic memoir, it’s a way to support other people with MS. All proceeds from the sale of my book are being donated to The PreJax Foundation, my nonprofit that provides college scholarships to students who have MS or a parent with MS. It is also (hopefully) a vehicle of travel inspiration for wheelchair users everywhere. I want readers to remember that every single photo in this book was taken while I was seated in my electric scooter, meaning that every destination featured is wheelchair accessible to some extent. But more importantly, I want readers to put down my book after they’ve finished reading it and start asking themselves how they can travel to those places, too.