It’s hard enough to find good information online about the accessibility of destinations around the world. It’s even harder to find good books about traveling with a wheelchair, mobility device, or disability. However, with some digging you can find some great travel guides and first-person accounts of accessible adventures across the globe. To save you time, here are some books and guides that I think will help inspire you to travel, provide good guidance once you arrive at your accessible destination, or just entertain with with fascinating stories from adventurers on wheels.
I’ll Push You: A Journey of 500 Miles, Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair by Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck.
Friendship takes on new meaning in this true story of Justin and Patrick, born less than two days apart in the same hospital. Best friends their whole lives, they grew up together, went to school together, and were best man in each other’s weddings. When Justin was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease that robbed him of the use of his arms and legs, Patrick was there, helping to feed and care for him in ways he’d never imagined. Determined to live life to the fullest, the friends refused to give into despair or let physical limitations control what was possible for Justin. So when Justin heard about the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile trek through Spain, he wondered aloud to Patrick whether the two of them could ever do it. Patrick’s immediate response was: “I’ll push you.” I’ll Push You is the real-life story of this incredible journey. A travel adventure full of love, humor, and spiritual truth, it exemplifies what every friendship is meant to be and shows what it means to never find yourself alone. You’ll discover how love and faith can push past all limits—and make us the best versions of ourselves
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50 Abilities, Unlimited Possibilities: Wheeling Through 50 States: From Jackson to the Boston Marathon Bombing by Paul Erway
Imagine three wheelchair racers setting and completing a truly audacious goal: Finishing 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks. Travel with Paul Erway and his fellow racers to the first 14 marathons in a journey that’s as life-changing as it is inspiring. While Erway’s story is unique and born from tragedy – suddenly paraplegic at 21 after a car accident – his insights and attitude are instructive to us all, regardless of our abilities or disabilities. Erway finds solutions and positivity in every challenge, and teaches readers to first do three things when adversity strikes: 1) Overcome your fears. 2) Take control of the situation. 3) Then take an unbelievable ride, and experience a journey you never imagined. What to one person might be a handicap is to Paul Erway an avenue to new possibilities. In this debut book, Erway recounts the planning and excitement of the bold mission to complete 50 marathons in 50 states across 50 weeks. He shares the grueling moments, the surprising lessons, the exhilaration of finish line after finish line, and the amazing people he met along the way.
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Barrier-Free Travel; The Grand Canyon for Wheelers and Slow Walkers by Candy Harrington
Wheelchair travelers everywhere know about Ms Harrington and her series of Barrier-Free Travel guides. This one on the Grand Canyon is one of her most popular editions, and she’s always working to keep the information updated. This handy access guide includes detailed access information about trails, sites and attractions in one of America’s most visited national parks. Along with information on accessible sites on the North and South Rim, the book also includes hard-to-find access information about Grand Canyon West, which is located outside of the national park on Hualapai land. Accessible lodging choices in and near the park are also included; and if you’d like to ride the rails to the South Rim, there’s information on how to do that too. A must-read if the Grand Canyon is on your bucket list, Barrier-Free Travel; The Grand Canyon for Wheelers and Slow Walkers is a great resource for seniors, parents with stroller-aged children, Baby Boomers, folks who just like to take things a littler slower and anybody who uses a cane, walker, wheelchair or scooter.
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Travelling by Road, Rail, Sea, Air (And Wheelchair) in North America by Mike Fox
This story is an adventure experienced by Mike and his disabled wife, Sylvia. Sylvia, who has Parkinsons disease, made the journey with the aid of a wheelchair across North America for four weeks in September and October 2016. They reacquainted themselves with old friends and made new ones. They experienced a succession of interesting and, in some cases, amusing encounters, along with one instance that verged on the miraculous. Mike and Sylvia encountered an interesting array of facts, figures, and opinions from a wide stratum of North American society, and Mike comments on a few of his own personal reflections on the people and places he came across. They explored major cities and rural communities, including an Amish community in Indiana, and areas of pristine wilderness. They also took a cruise to Alaska, travelled on the Rocky Mountaineer Express train, and visited the Niagara Falls and the Quebec World Heritage Site.
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Accessibility – Disabled World Travels – Travel Tips for People with Disabilities: Handicapped, Special Needs, Seniors, and Baby Boomers – How to Travel Barrier Free by Tracey Ingram
Are you one of the many active seniors or baby boomers who have some disabilities and wants to travel? Do you have special needs, use a wheelchair and are looking for accessible travel options? Let’s face it, there are over 50 million people in the United States with disabilities and over 180 million worldwide with evidence suggesting that people with disabilities face many barriers in accessing the health and services they need. How would you like to be better informed and have less stress with travel preparations? Wouldn’t it be nice to have a checklist of pertinent questions to ask when you are booking a hotel room, taking a cruise, or flight, then this is written just for you? The author Tracey Ingram is a Clinical Audiologist and Occupational therapist compiled an educational series for people traveling who require accessibility options. Some of the topics discussed in the first volume include; tips for individuals with low vision, critical information for patients diagnosed with diagnosed with diabetes and arthritis, strategies for the hearing impaired, wheelchair accessible solutions, how to travel with mobility aids, traveling with oxygen, and so much more.
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Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of Independence by John Hockenberry.
This book has been in print for over two decades, but that doesn’t take away from this intrepid journalist’s incredible experiences. John Hockenberry’s Moving Violations is a story of obstacles–physical, emotional, and psychic–overcome again, and again, and again. Whether riding a mule up a hillside in Iraq surrounded by mud-stained Kurdish refugees, navigating his wheelchair through intractable stretches of Middle Eastern sand, or auditioning to be the first journalist in space, John Hockenberry, ace reporter, is determined not only to bring back the story, but also to prove that nothing can hold him back from death-defying exploits. However, he will never be a poster boy for a Jerry Lewis telethon. A paraplegic since an auto accident at age nineteen, Hockenberry holds nothing back in this achingly honest, often hilarious chronicle that ranges from the Ayatollah’s funeral (where his wheelchair is pushed by a friendly Iranian chanting “Death to all Americans”), to the problems of crip sex and the inaccessibility of the New York City subway system. In this immensely moving chronicle, Hockenberry finds that the most difficult journey is the one that begins at home, as he confronts the memories of his beloved one-armed grandfather, and finally meets his institutionalized Uncle Peter, whose very existence was long a secret buried in the family history.
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The View From Down Here by Sylvia Longmire
Where do you want to roll today? Accessible travel writer, explorer, and photographer Sylvia Longmire (yes, this is my very own book!) asks herself this question every day as she lives her very active life from the vantage point of a power wheelchair. Despite having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 2005 and being completely unable to walk, she refuses to let that slow her down. With her sense of adventure and camera in hand, she and her electric scooter have set out to see what the world has to offer while her body still lets her. In most cases, it s impossible to truly walk in someone else s shoes. But in The View from Down Here, you can finally see the world through the eyes of a wheelchair user. From the glaciers of Iceland to the ancient ruins of Greece, you’ll be amazed at what a person with a physical disability can observe and experience today, despite all the obstacles that still remain. She has captured all the raw emotion of the Western Wall in Jerusalem, the soothing sounds of crashing waves in Crete, and the patience of an elderly accordion player waiting for tips in Ljubljana. After absorbing Sylvia’s stunning images from across the globe, you’ll want to know how you can get there, too. All of the royalties from the sale of The View From Down Here are donated to my nonprofit The PreJax Foundation, which provides college scholarships to students with MS or a parent with MS.
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Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking through the link. Please understand that I have experienced all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something through my links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.