This Article is About
south east asia
rear end
couple days
pervert
wards
whole time
girlfriend
honolulu
stroke
Traveling While Disabled
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Traveling While Disabled

I was like many of you and was asking myself, " now that I am disabled, how do I enjoy doing the things I used to enjoy?" Through my experiences, I'll show you that traveling while disabled is not impossible. In fact, it does have it's advantages too.

Since my stroke a little over 2 years ago, I have been on 3 trips which required me to get on a plane. On my first post stroke trip, my girlfriend and I were headed to South East Asia for a vacation. This would be my first time on a plane since my stroke. When I reached the check-in gate I was asked if I wanted a wheelchair. My pride kicked in, because I can walk and I refused. My girlfriend persuaded me to accept. I'm glad I did, because the airport was much larger and more crowded than I remembered when I was healthy. Also, we got to board first, which saved me from navigating and blocking the aisles which would take me longer than before, and we could put our carry-ons in the overhead bins next to our seat instead of a few rows away if we had waited for general boarding.

Our flight from Honolulu to Manila would take around 14 hours. I stayed in my seat the whole time because walking in the narrow isles on a rocking plane may have been a bad thing. This also reminded me of a funny/embarrassing incident which occurred soon after my stroke. I was at the movies trying to get to my seat. I had to shuffle side wards. As I was doing this my hanging arm and hand slid over the head and face of the girl sitting in the row in front. You can only imagine, she gave me a look like I was some sort of pervert or something. Oops! I could only apologize

I survived the flight, ending up with a sore rear end and stiff back. We stayed in Manila for a couple days. I did a lot of walking, because my girlfriend loved to shop and we did some sightseeing. I was rewarded by having a nice massage at one of the spas there. Manila was dirty and depressing because I saw lots of young street kids begging for money, even late at night.

After 2 days in Manila, We flew into Singapore to meet our cruise ship. I immediately accepted the wheelchair this time. They push you straight through to their TSA, immigration and customs. It's not only easier for me, but also for my traveling companion because I can carry my own stuff and help with hers, since I'm being pushed around.

I would recommend visiting Singapore to anyone, It is so clean and feels so safe. Their public transportation is excellent. I could go on and on. Again, I walked a lot because of the shopping and sightseeing. When touring their Chinatown, I noticed a sign for acupuncture ( I've been doing acupuncture here), so I went in to have it done. This guy claimed to be a Chi-master. He only used 3 long needles, and when he'd put his hand over my toes or fingers, they would twitch! Maybe he was a master after all. I just wish he wasn't so far away, in Singapore.

. After enjoying our stay in Singapore, We boarded our Holland America cruise ship, the Ms. Zaandam. It was my first time a cruise ship, and it was massive! I have to admit, this way of travel was something I never considered because I just pictured it as a boat full of old people. For the most part, it's true, which made it perfect for a person in my condition. They are equipped to cater for the older crowd and most things are modified to the needs of the physically challenged. They have elevators(this beast had 14 floors!) , room service, although the dining room was buffet style, they'll carry your tray to you table, and you can choose your land tour that fits you best. There were many people worse off than me, and I didn't see anybody having problems getting around and enjoying themselves.

A trip of a lifetime. Our cruise ship would take us to ports in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Hong Kong. Although these countries were very beautiful, seeing some the poverty and living conditions made me realize that even though I was now disabled, I was still very fortunate. The disabled in these countries have it rough. They don't get the kind of care, benefits, respect, etc. that we get in our country.

Earlier this year, I took another trip abroad. This time, it was an Australia/New Zealand cruise and it was booked through a travel agency which took care of everything from the cruise to the land tours. It was nice to do it this way because once we got to the airport, everything was taken care of. Our tour leader led the group of 24 tourists with perfection. I didn't even need wheelchair service on this trip.

Like Singapore, I would recommend traveling to New Zealand/Australia to anyone. They were beautiful, clean, and safe countries. This time we were on a Princess Cruise Ship. If I were to compare the Holland America cruise with the Princess cruise, I give Holland the edge. The ships were both huge and luxurious, equipped with casinos, bars, nightclubs, swimming pools, etc.and they both are used to servicing to the elderly with physical limitations I just liked the food, layout, and service a little more on the Holland.

With the tour group, we only had to show up at designated places at designated times. We didn't have to worry about researching and booking land tours and we saw familiar faces everyday and made several lifelong friends because of it. If I can afford another trip like this, I would definitely book a tour with a travel group like this again and leave the stressful planning to the professionals.

Just because I'm disabled, I'm not going to sit and watch life pass me by. There's a whole world out there to see!


Street Talk

Hello Harvey. This is such a nice article. Yes, only when we see what other people have to put up with, we realise how fortunate we are despite our circumstances. Congratulations for having this article published. I wish you continued success.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks for your positive comments, Margaret. You've been doing quite well yourself!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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