Cory Lee is likely one of the most intrepid vacationers that I’ve had the pleasure to fulfill. His journeys to locations like India, Morocco and Antarctica are simply the beginning. Prior to now eight years, he has visited 39 international locations and all seven continents. What makes this much more outstanding is that every one of his travels had been accomplished in a powered wheelchair.
Recognized at age two with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (sort 2), he acquired his first powered wheelchair at age 4 and went to Walt Disney World on his first journey. Now he paperwork his travels on his web site CurbFree with Cory Lee: Sharing the World from a Wheelchair User’s Perspective. That is rather more than a journey weblog. Vacation spot by vacation spot, he particulars his days in a given vacation spot, noting how accessible a vacation spot is and the challenges confronted by touring in a wheelchair. Current protection contains wheelchair journey guides to locations as various as Sarasota, Lake Tahoe and the Adirondacks. To not point out Santiago, Chile and Montevideo, Uruguay.
“I started my web site in 2013 once I was researching a visit to Australia and looking for incapacity data,” Lee mentioned. “It was exhausting to search out which locations had been accessible. There was an absence of accessible journey data to locations around the globe. So I made a decision to develop into a useful resource and share that data.”
So which international locations or cities are doing an excellent job?
“I believe numerous locations are,” he says. “Scandinavia is likely one of the most accessible locations. In Helsinki alone, there are 300 wheelchair-accessible taxis. As a rule, the USA additionally does an excellent job. We’re fortunate to have the Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, if a rustic doesn’t have an ADA designation, that doesn’t imply it’s utterly inaccessible. Spain is doing an outstanding job and in Barcelona, the seashores are essentially the most accessible on the planet. They even have workers available to switch you out of your wheelchair to a seashore wheelchair. I’ve by no means seen that wherever else around the globe.”
That mentioned, many locations stay difficult. On a go to to New York Metropolis in 2005, he discovered solely 15 accessible taxis, which required 48-hour advance discover. He provides that the town has improved loads up to now 5 years and has develop into one of many best cities to get round in.
“My hardest journey was to Paris in 2011,” he remembers. “Again then, there was a extreme lack of accessible transportation. There was just one van to name and it value 800 Euros per day. I hear it has gotten higher and I might like to revisit.”
General, Lee says that the world is changing into extra accessible. 4 years in the past “I went to India. I had at all times wished to go to and I discovered a tour firm that focuses on accessible journey. They used an tailored van they usually scouted accessible lodges and points of interest. I had an outstanding expertise.
One fixed, says Lee, is that the toughest a part of journey for wheelchair customers is flying, particularly on lengthy flights.
“They should roll you onto the airplane and switch you to an aisle chair. I can’t self-transfer and generally the crew is educated, generally not, and there could be language boundaries. Utilizing the lavatory could be a difficulty and I’m at all times frightened about whether or not my checked wheelchair will probably be broken through the flight as a result of it continuously has been broken. However I wouldn’t commerce journey for something.”
Lee is in demand as a convention speaker and clocked greater than 100 nights on the street in 2021. His favourite journey?
“Morocco in 2018,” he says. “I had such a outstanding expertise. I went to Fez, Marrakech and into the Sahara. The corporate I labored with, Morocco Accessible Journey Consultants, had an adaptive camel seat with a full backrest. It allowed me to have one in every of my most memorable experiences ever, driving a camel over the dunes.”
Lee has additionally simply launched the CurbFree Basis, a non-profit that gives journey grants to wheelchair customers.
“I obtain messages virtually day by day by people who find themselves impressed to journey due to my web site,” he says. “It jogs my memory of why I’m doing this.”
Go to CurbFree with Cory Lee.