Wheelchair travel is something we became familiar with when Tim broke his leg in Laos in June of 2018. The hospital sent us over to Udon Thani, Thailand, for surgical treatment. We spent about four months in Thailand while he recovered. We came up with some creative ways to get him out and about in a place with bad sidewalks, stairs everywhere and no concept of how steep ramps should be for wheelchair use.
When we moved on to Barcelona, then Morocco and Mauritania, Tim was still between wheelchair, walker and canes. As of December 2018 we’re in Benin, and we still have the wheelchair. It was easier and faster to get him through the airport, but he’s not currently using it to get around. In fact, he’s mostly using a cane and his leg is almost healed.
While Tim was not utterly bound to the wheelchair, just the attempt to use it in certain places was eye-opening. We broke the wheelchair three times in Morocco. The last time was because someone that was ‘trying to help’ wouldn’t listen. Fortunately, we were able to fix it, but those were adventures unto themselves.
And don’t even get us started on how airports deal with wheelchairs, walkers and their users.
We know we’re not experts in this area, but we figure we can share our experiences and maybe it will be help someone who’s thinking about travel. We also invite anyone who has more experience to comment and make suggestions on our posts. Our goal is to be helpful.
As with Tim’s blindness, we hope people with any disability will still be able to enjoy travel. But some places certainly aren’t well suited to wheelchair travel. We’ll let you know what we’ve encountered and how we solved the problem, or didn’t. We hope sharing our wheelchair experiences will help others in making their travel plans.