Welcome back again to this second edition of Disability Horizons! Since our launch last month, the response we have received can only be described as overwhelming and frankly, beyond our wildest expectations! We are just two very ordinary and normal guys in our mid-twenties living in London who just happen to have a disability that cobbled together a very makeshift / DIY website on a zero budget. So with minimal publicity costing absolutely nothing apart from a little bit of time spent updating Twitter and Facebook, you can imagine our surprise when we found out that there had been nearly 7,000 visits to the site.
To us it demonstrated two things; 1) the need for a publication that is informative but also paints a picture of disability in a positive and constructive light; and 2) the power of social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook to disseminate a message to a global audience in a speed and manner that would have been unthinkable to previous generations (pro-democracy protesters in the Arab world would probably back us on this point!).
We also received many kind messages and offers from people from across the world to write or be part of articles. In this edition, five of those incredibly generous offers to write for the magazine have been taken up. This very much underlines our vision for the magazine being the voice of everyday individuals who just happen to have a disability.
When reading this edition you will note that broadly speaking there is an overarching theme related to travel and leisure.
In our view, travel and leisure for people with disabilities is still very much “frontier territory” in terms of inclusiveness. Accessing travel and leisure opportunities, whether at home or abroad is often beyond the reach of many people with disabilities. This is a real shame since the travel opportunities that we both have been fortunate enough to experience have played a key role in amongst other things broadening our outlook on the world but also improving our confidence and morale in ourselves on a day to day basis.
One might hypothesise that the main reasons for this can be attributed to factors such as increased costs of travelling with a disability, additional care requirements, complex equipment needs, and logistical difficulties in terms of accommodation and transport. One of the key problems that appears to link these difficulties together is the lack of information that is easily available. It is a lack of information that makes it difficult to find out about hotels or transport providers in existence that offer good value for money, or equipment providers that may actually exist in the unlikeliest of destinations.
To this end, to help bridge the information gap, here at Disability Horizons we are trying to create a database of traveller reviews on destinations around the world, and this is where We Need You!!
We have created a simple questionnaire that can be accessed via this link. Once completed, we will upload the information you provide into our database of destination reviews. These reviews will hopefully then assist anyone with a disability looking to travel to a particular destination with a basic but useful guide of accessible travel resources in that location. Alternatively, please contact us if you would like to write a complete article on a recent travel experience.
In the same way that publications such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guide have opened up the opportunities for affordable travel for those who are able bodied, we hope that Disability Horizons may one day achieve the same for people with disabilities.
Coming back to this second edition though and putting the big picture and our gratitude for your support aside for a short while, this edition features the following articles:
• Disability Horizons co-editor, Martyn “stars” in a video feature about attending the recent ‘Hardest Hit’ march in central London to protest against the impending government cutbacks and the challenges faced by wheelchair user in joining a protest
• Disability Horizons interviews Rick Goldstein from Tucson, Arizona on a new portable commode chair he invented specifically designed for travel and his experiences on starting his own business as a disabled person
• Disability Horizons co-editor Srin, writes about a recent business trip / weekend break to Edinburgh and the kindness offered by two strangers when he got a bit stuck on a very steep (and in hindsight a little dangerous) hill walk.
We hope you enjoy reading this second edition, and as always, please do contact us if you would like to write an article or have any thoughts or views that you would like to share with us.
Srin and Martyn