In January 2017, having been bedridden for just over nine (!) months, I got out of my bed and into my wheelchair and went backpacking across Europe with my daughter Emma. It was necessity, rather than the Grand Adventure calling out to my soul, that lead to our embarking on the impossible journey. Because to all intents and purposes it should have been impossible.
No one thought it was a particularly good idea; but strangely, and unusually, all those little fibres and threads that make up the fabric of my life seemed to fall right into place as if it was meant to happen. I had an old birthday present (a holiday IOU) to cash in, so I could actually afford it. Emma happened to be available to come with me as my carer; and my grandson’s Pappa and Farmor (dad and nan) happened to be available and more than happy to have him for a while. On top of that, John, my partner, said he’d get in the car and come find me no matter where I’d be if something were to go wrong along the way. And so we packed our bags and set off.
I am so incredibly grateful I had this opportunity and the courage to take it. Not only did it remind me, and all of us, that I am possible and that even the impossible can be achieved with a bit of good will, a little planning and equal measures of patience, perseverance and sheer bloody mindedness. We also realised that what we were doing was something that inspired many others. Some, just like I had been, were dreaming of adventures far away from their own bedrooms. Some (even normies!) just liked seeing our pics on insta and they were following our journey with great interest. We even got requests for a book!
The realisation that some people actually found our travel journals funny, informative, inspirational and worth while gave birth to the idea that is WorldWheelers. First of all, we wanted to document our journey in more detail as we had so much more material than what we shared on Instagram whilst travelling. But then we got to thinking maybe we should start documenting all our travels, whether backpacking across Europe, having a staycation in London or just going on a simple field trip. We discovered that whilst there were loads of people out there writing travel books, or blogs, there seemed to be a distinct shortage of people who wrote about travel the way we did. Looking at accessibility from a spoonie perspective, with a pinch of salt and a sense of humour. And that is the niche where we want to stay.
WorldWheelers will hopefully be a mixed media platform where you will be able to read, hear and see me taking on the world outside our doorstep together with various members of my family and some brave friends. In the future, I also hope to collect travel accounts from other differently abled people. I hope our stories and experiences can help those who have yet to take that first leap find courage and inspiration to do so. And I hope together we can work for better representation and accessibility both at home and abroad.
I don’t make any promises as to how much or how often I will write as I am at the mercy of a uncannily unruly body and a frustratingly foggy brain. But I can promise that we have quite a lot of material and stories to share. The site has not been properly decorated yet, and there are a number of gaps here and there waiting for a magic wand to swoop over them. I’m afraid you’re going to have to put up with that for a while. Hopefully, it’ll be worth it… =)