Wheelchair users require the train to have the enough carriages
V/Line, which runs Victoria's regional train services, has removed some of its carriages from service. This has hit wheelchair users hard in four Victorian cities as it means train services in these areas are no longer wheelchair accessible. The carriages were removed due to safety concerns. V/Line is still supporting these passengers by providing travel in taxis. It could now take as long as two years for these accessible carriages to return.
Two deck chairs under an umbrella on a beach on a sunny day
Many people are fast becoming their own travel agent
With the availability of the internet and online booking sites, many people are fast becoming their own travel agents. Kelly has a 'do it yourself' attitude. After a bad experience, she decided to book her own holidays. She became her own travel agent. Her first time was a wonderful adventure. There are lots of available websites to help you make good choices when making your own bookings. And it is all quite exciting when your travel plans come together.
My recent trip to Spain was enormously challenging. Suffering from acute OCD , it took a lot for me to make the decision to go. However the OCD was a lot more manageable than I thought it would be. By distracting myself and thinking of the positive aspects of my travel, such as being upgraded to first class, I was able to relax and enjoy myself. The joy also of spending time with family and friends who I hadn't seen for ages made me keep pushing forwards, whilst at the same time trying to beat the OCD .
Tuk-tuks a great way to get around and see all there is to see
I've always been into unusual ways of travel. I've flown on a Gooney Bird to King Island, clattered and clopped on a horse and cart in Bali, and bustled and bounced along in the local buses in many countries. But on a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam, we got around in tuk-tuks, cyclos and rickshaws.
I went to Canada to look at the autumn leaves and to try out new or different approaches to accessibility. In Vancouver, there was an accessible SkyTrain, Seawall Walk and Float Plane Terminal. Even in the old city of Quebec, the footpaths were easy to use. Montreal had an interesting underground city, but the 33km underground pedestrian walkway had very few lifts for access. On my travels I was given a brochure for tourists with disabilities called The Accessible Road. I also learned that Canada is to host an international meeting on accessibility in 2013.
I've always wanted to swim with dolphins. Lovina in Bali is famous for dolphins and I visited it recently. When I got to the dolphin pool, I became anxious. It all seemed very complicated for someone with limited vision. But then they took me to another pool. This pool belongs to a dolphin called Gombloh. Gombloh has been specially trained to be with people with disabilities. He is very gentle and we played for nearly an hour. I learnt later that to swim with a dolphin is considered very good luck.
I'm a bit of an adventurer. I'm in Amed Bali on a holiday. There's a black sandy beach with rocks. There are also lots of outriggers. Outriggers are canoes with big wooden frames on both sides. I'm going fishing in one. My feet slide on the beach rocks but I get to the boat. The fishermen lift the outrigger up and push it into the waves. The sail catches the wind. We fish with handlines and a bit of cloth. We fill the bottom of the boat with fish. The view on the way back is breathtaking.
I have just come back from a wonderful holiday in Germany. I went on a driving tour with two people I met when travelling last year. These new friends understood I use a scooter so made sure our daily trips were to places I could access. We went to some castles and churches. My new friends even booked the most accessible hotel room of our trip. For the first time, I had a height adjustable clothes hanger. Their hospitality and thoughtfulness was wonderful. I hope I can one day be as generous to them.
A beach cove with palm trees scattered along the shore.
I miss our favourite beach.
Southern California is a wonderfully exotic place. I loved swimming in its beautiful beaches and hiking along its desert tracks. As a person who is blind I had some fantastic travel experiences in the United States. I visited many different places including Hawaii and Boston. In California I used Braille menus in restaurants and the Dial-A-Ride bus service for people with disabilities. I made great friends there. Best of all I met my life partner. And I was welcomed by his wonderful and loving family. We now live in Victoria. But I miss California.
I recently went to Paris by myself and hired a mobility scooter. While visiting the Notre Dame church my scooter battery suddenly went low. But I wasn't worried. On my way back to the hotel though, the scooter stopped. I had no phone, speak no French and it was cold. I could see a police station across a very busy road. Finally a man came by and asked if I needed help. He organised a police officer to take me to the police station. Four hot chocolates later, I was given another scooter and a taxi to my hotel.