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Before you give in to the temptation to reach for adjectives like "inspiration" or "brave" let me plead "No contest." Erik Weihenmayer has used up all the superlatives available for disabled travelers to Nepal. He as he fist blind man to climb Everest. My idea of "base camp" is the room with  roll-in shower at Kathmandu's Hyatt Regency overlooking the spire of Boudhanath Stupa.

I traveled Nepal from May 14 to the 24th, 2014. It was all arranged by Four Season Travel and Tours and I cannot imagine doing it without them. Nepal is not an easy trek even in the most developed parts.

Getting off the plane was a circus. First they claimed that that had no aisle chair. Then they wanted to charge me $75 for the lift-bed truck that they schlep you off in. There were tiedown slot in the floor but not straps or seatbelts! Nepal needs training by the experts at Open Doors Organization.

Stopover Singapore > Kathmandu



SFO > Singapore (with a surprise stop)

Well, it wasn't a surprise to the crew or to those who planned to get off at Incheon Airport in Seoul, Sputh Korea. And I guess there was something of a clues in the fact that the flight announcements at SFO we being made in English and Korean. Anyway, nothing on my ticket said, "Thirteen hours to South Korean, hang our, get patted down by security, then 6 more hours to Singapore.

Fortunately, I was in the very last seat of the very last row (56 K). The downside being that the seat back was upright aginst the wall so could not recline. Th upside was that apparrently nnoboddy ele wanted to sit there either  so I quickly got horizontal annd slept off as many hours as possible!

Impressions s I looked around the cabin. There were three of us who were identifiably non-Asian. All three were grey-haired males bout double the median age of 30-something among the rest of thhe passengers. On the descent into Singapore I overheard some cute snippets of conversation from the young family, "Dada, I can't hear my ears anymore!" and a little later as the angle of descent increased, "Mommie, we're sinking!"

Service on Singapore airlines was very attentive. Clearly the cabin crew that I interacted with were well-trained in working with passengers in wheelchairs. The aisle chair for deboarding here in Singapore was substandard. New but too small,lacking legs straps and adequate brakes. I made the transfer with no injuries but not everyone will.

Safely on the ground the first person I saw waiting at the gate was wearing the yellow and green of team Brazil. Nod and a wink. Now I have 7 hours to pass in a Special Services lounge that has a fun-looking indoor playground for kids with plenty of comfy chairs and internet access for the adults. That opens onto a food court. Beyond that is Miracle Mile of the typical chic and duty free shops.

But already met  the wonderful young group of Indonesians returning home from a US Department of State exchange program in the picture above.

Nepal tonight for the evening lights at the Buddha stupa.

Playing in the background as Musak with fst ukelele (cavaquinho): "E pao, e pedra, e o fim do caminho... Aguas de Marco."

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In 2011 my friend, Brazilian psychologist Marta Alencar, visited Nepal.
She has a project that introduces people to mobility impairments in a unique way. Marta created an imaginary character named Tina Descolada who is a doll in a wheelchair. ( 
Sh also created a heartfelt slideshow for me to include in some of my presentations next week. You will find it here:


I am about to travel to one of the world's lower income countries - Nepal - which hovers near war-ravaged Afghanistan in most international rankings. So why promote international tourism for those with disabilities?

Because accessibility and attitudes of social inclusion benefit everyone.

Sure, we could cite the "Curb Cut Effect" where parents with strollers, kids on bikes, and workers with handcarts benefit from ramps up to the sidewalk. We could observe how often the general public prefers inclusive design like the absence of stairs or larger parking places (after all, they will only "be there for a minute.')

Today I wanted to highlight the comprehensive yet compact guide to Inclusive Tourism created by Scott and Sarah Pruett at Universal Design Partners. 

Have a look at "Universal Design Guide for Inclusive Tourism."


14 May   Arrival in Kathmandu on Buddha's Birthday (Buddha Jayanti)

Arrival at KTM ( MI 0412 / 1205 hrs). Meet, assist and transfer to hotel.
Kathmandu is unique and fascinating capital of Nepal, a spiritual land isolated by
the high Himalayas.

Check In to hotel. Rest for about 2 hrs.

Late afternoon : visit Boudhanath Stupa, to be part of the Lord Buddha's Birthday
celebrations. Boudhanath is one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world.
Boudhanath has all seeing eyes of Buddha and an UNESCO Heritage site.

See a spectacular copyrighted photo by Yadavop also taken on Buddha Jayanti (Buddha's Birthday):

Overnight: at hotel Himalaya or similar in Kathmandu .


Travel arranged by Four Season Travel and Tours, Kathmandu --

Nepal - Fear the Dust!


As I prepare or my first trip to Nepal it's the small stuff I'm sweating. The really small stuff.

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Stuff like stomach bugs and dust!

I've got the Cipro and know all the best practices for avoiding stomach problems. Apparently seeing to it that wheelchair bearings survive the dust can be something of an issue however. It is so fine that it enters everywhere. Then, if it gets wet, it cakes like clay.

I'm packing a toolkit and extra bearings!

The clear eye behind this story of crossing cultures with a disability as a woman stopped me in my tracks yesterday. I am in awe of the equanimity and insight that Megan Smith brings to an experience that I am certain I would have reacted o much differently. I m so glad to have stumbled across this gem. Read it!

The cow walks beside my wheelchair as we both travel down the potholed, monsoon-drenched road towards the freshwater creek, both his hooves and my wheels making sucking noises as we walk. I have a basket of laundry tied to the front of me and the plastic water tank hooked to the back of my push handles. I have stuffed the soap and shampoo between my legs with the intention of washing my hair along with the laundry. I join a crowd of squatting women who chatter about the ineptitude of their husbands and lazy daughters.

For the complete article see:

Nepal - Day 0 of 10



From May 12 to 27, 2014 I will be traveling primarily in Nepal. My host for this professional familiarization tour will be Four Season Travel & Tours owned by Pankaj Pradhananga of Kathmandu.


Posts along the way will appear here on days when Internet access is available:


The itinerary you see below will evolve on the ground as I continue to connect with Pankaj's Inclusive Tourism supply chain in government, business and the civil sector. Arranged by Four Season Travel and Tours, Kathmandu --

There are many people who find that fishing is more than just a hobby. It is a way of relaxing and enjoying what life is all about. The feeling of being outdoors is nothing short of perfect and should be enjoyed by everyone.  It has been proven that fishing increases attention span, offers social inclusion, a sense of achievement & motor skills development. 

There are some wonderful global fishing destinations and the Caribbean is a favourite.  Aruba, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, Bermuda  and Barbados all have the perfect setting for fishing itineraries.  Barbados, however, is the island taking the lead with it's "Fully Accessible Barbados" initiative. "Fishing is a fact of life" in Barbados so what better time to introduce "adaptive fishing" than now.  

Here are some options which support the fact that fishing can, indeed, be enjoyed by everyone:

Blind Fishing:  Lawrence Euteneier

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For those who are blind or have vision impairment, meet Lawrence Euteneier, - a gentleman who has been registered as blind since the age of 8 years old.  Lawrence   specializes in arranging guided fishing adventures for persons with limited or no sight.
Lawrence says blind fishing is all about "feeling the bite".    He has spent his life researching and trialing gear and techniques proven effective for fishers with vision disabilities.  His guides are trained in sighted-guide techniques and blind etiquette.  Adventures can be arranged from one day to two weeks in length and can include equipment rental, sighted guide assistance, transportation, meals and accommodation.

Wheelchair Users: Larry Cooper

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For those who are wheelchair users, here's a different kind of fishing experience -  nothing stood in Larry Cooper's way after he was paralyzed  in a car accident in 1992
Six years later, after designing a wheelchair-accessible boat (Sport fisher) and adaptive fishing equipment,  Larry was back fishing on the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.  

Larry also saw an opportunity to provide others with disabilities the chance to enjoy fishing.   Whether it is the excitement of big game fishing, twilight/night fishing for Grouper, Pargo, & Swordfish, diving with the seals or exploring the National Marine Sanctuary after a day of fishing, Larry can provide it all.  As well, Larry can also top off an excellent vacation by providing a wheelchair accessible condo Villa Tranquilllo  and a wheelchair accessible rental van. 

Jim Hargaden

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Jim Hargaden founded Armchair Anglers,  a non-profit organization enabling persons with disabilities to participate in light tackle angling in South Florida.   Jim is building a custom, fully accessible fibreglass catamaran and his primary goals are to provide safe and comfortable day fishing; education in smart "catch & release" techniques promoting conservation of valuable resources and assist  other programs in providing  adaptive fishing opportunities across the country 

Terry Moseley

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In the UK, 54,000 disabled people hold a fishing license, of whom 1,000 fish competitively and the majority for pleasure. One such disability fishing group, The British Disabled Angling Association (BDAA), was founded in 1996 by Terry Moseley to help develop opportunities for people with disabilities to access the activity of fishing in the UK. The BDAA  works with its partner organizations to develop new and exciting opportunities in angling participation, from grass roots to competition levels.

Deaf Fishing

People who are deaf and who like to fish have started clubs all over the world so they can socialize, plan fishing trips, share experiences and teach others their sport. 

The National Bass Association of the Deaf  has affiliations all over the United States.  As well, there is the Ontario Fishing Club of the Deaf in Canada,   the Brisbane Deaf Angler's Club in Australia  and the   Portsmouth Deaf Sea Angling Club in the United Kingdom. 

Having brought awareness of the possibilities and opportunities for persons with disabilities to enjoy fishing, Barbados might want to take note of the potential in creating  programs/itineraries such as these offered by Jim Hargaden,  Larry Cooper,  Terry Moseley and  Lawrence Euteneier,

The warm waters off the coast of Barbados offer ideal fishing for Barracuda, Tuna, Wahoo, Dolphin (Dorado), and the Marlin species. Spin fishing from the many beaches and inshore fishing from open boats is a popular pastime for Barbadians   With this in mind, it would make sense to offer itineraries to accommodate the significant disabled Barbadian population as well as attract disabled fishing fans globally with the lure of appealing, adaptive fishing packages and tournaments.   


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"Sailing for everyone regardless of ability"

There is no more straightforward way to present the "Sailing for Everyone" philosophy emanating from Victoria's Dockland Yacht Club than to give it to you verbatim below.

It has taken root in China Ai Hung Hai (I Love Sailing) on one side of the globe and France's La Voile Ensemble (Sailing for Everyone) on the other. 

"Sailability Victoria - Sailing for Everyone" grew out of the need to the re-think entry level sailing, to simplify everything, to return to the basics. In today's world of seemingly unlimited choice, we have to encourage people into a new activity, not threaten them with confusing rules and jargon and reward them with a dunking.

The philosophy of "Sailing for Everyone" has found expression in an organisation known as "Sailability" which itself began as sailing for the disabled, then grew into facilitating sailing for people with disabilities, and finally blossomed into sailing for everyone, regardless of ability.

We have now amalgamated with Sailability for a cohesive front to promote sailing for everyone, including the disabled, worldwide.

Access Sailing Incorporated

Access Sailing Club Inc is a member of the Victorian Disabled Sports Advisory Committee and the charity of the Victorian Boating Industry Association's melbourne Boat Show. As an incorporated entity it facilitates its branches to own their own property, primarily sailing dinghies and safety craft purchased through sponsorships from local businesses and service clubs, and maintains the organisation's insurance policies. Currently we have branches at Docklands, Bennala, Ballarat, Warnambool and Portland with more evolving all the time.

Club established at Docklands, Melbourne merging with the Docklands Yacht Club.

For any feedback or requests, please e-mail Web Manager, Colin Johanson.


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