September 06, 2004

Getting the Story Right: Adventure Travel Without the Pity Factor

I applaud Jeremy Schmidt, Universal Press Syndicate, and the Houston Chronicle.

This story told in Dangling Wheelchair is interesting in itself. It contains useful information. But it could have simply been another piece in what I've called the "Disabled Hero's Welcome" genre.

It wasn't.

It surpasses that limitation an succeeds as a good human interest story with these lines:

"Families and friends like to travel together," says Sarah Milligan-Toffler, of Wilderness Inquiry.

Yes, just as Simon Darcy showed in his groudbreaking study, "From Anxiety to Access."

"People think, how great for the people with disabilities, they get to do things with everyone else. In fact, it's the people without disabilities who are having the revelations."

As I tell my travel writer colleagues. The story is that:

  • We are doing adventure sports in large numbers

  • We are doing it with tools we have designed ourselves

  • We are doing it in organizations that we have built ourselves
  • And, most importantly:

  • We are teaching temporarily abled-bodied (AKA "non-disabled") people not only about the sports we take part in but about what it means to be fully alive.
  • Life is tough. Roll with it!

    This is what overcoming disability is about - removing those socially constructed handicaps that equate difference in ability with exclusion from social participation.

    That is what Disability Pride is all about -- personal excellence.

    Read this article. Then come join me in two weeks with Justin Lunn out in Western Australia. We'll climb a rock, mate!

    Or, if you can't get the time off for the whole trip. Follow along with the travelogue at Rolling Rains Report and do some background reading at Suite - "Defining the Market of Travelers with Disabilities"

    Posted by rollingrains at September 6, 2004 11:35 PM | TrackBack