Traveling Blind

However or wherever you travel the important thing is to travel!

I know there may be obstacles that can cause you concern or make traveling harder. I understand and have been there myself. I am legally Blind and have been since birth. My vision can not be corrected and is getting worse as I age. At its's best my vision is 20/200. This means what you can be 200 feet and see clearly I have to be less than 20 feet from to see as clearly. And that is my good eye. I have had a few instances where I have become very aware of my limitations traveling while blind. I wanted to share them with you.

First was a business trip I was on to Charlotte. I was attending a regional meeting and had flown down without incident and was flying home. It was a direct flight from Charlotte to Charlottesville. I got my ticket, past security and boarded the shuttle to my gate. My ticket showed Gate E-20 and a take off time 9:15pm. I got a seat right in front of the gate so I could see the desk and gate. I had about 2 hours to spare. I sat there waiting. As time went by I was joined in the area by a few people talking about Charlottesville, so I figured they were on the same flight. As it got closer I never saw anyone come upto the gate desk and when it was 9 and no one had come upto the gate I got up and looked and there was no plane at the gate. I looked down at my ticket to verify the time, and it was correct. I then looked at the gate and it looked right. I looked out at the empty gate where the plane was suppose to be, at the desk where an agent was suppose to be, I looked again at my ticket, squinted, put the ticket right upto my face almost touching it, and it was gate E50 not gate E20. I stood in shock for a moment and then I took off at full run, knowing I would miss my flight and have to spend the night in an airport again. Somehow I made it, totally out of breathe and so mad, frustrated and embarrassed.  But I made the flight.

The second time my vision was a real issue was while my wife and I were traveling in the Caribbean. We were in the airport and we got sent to different lines to clear customs. I got cleared and was told to follow the signs. I could not see the signs they were pointing to and I asked if I could wait on my wife. They said I had to move and follow the signs and keep moving. I tried to tell them I could not see the signs, but was still told to keep going, that no one could stop. I tried again to explain I had to wait, but was told I could not. Finally very frustrated, upset, shaking, and confused I said a little louder than I meant to I am blind and I need my wife to help me. That got a little attention and next thing I knew Tania was next to me and we were moving. I was again very embarrassed and hated I had to say something.

To help address some of these issues as well as many more, this week I ordered a cane to help people identify me as being blind. The purpose is to alert those around me so that they can understand. I will continue to travel, the great adventures outweigh the momentary frustrations.

Lastly I wanted to share a great story about how someone noticed my vision did not make a big deal about it, but helped out in a very big way. This was at Hugo's Cellar, a wonderful restaurant in Las Vegas. It is very romantic and the lighting is very dim. I love the food, but I usually can not see the menu. Tania is always great and we order with no problem. When our waiter brought us our food he set my plate down and calmly told me where everything on the plate was in reference to a clock face. As he did this he very calmly cut up my chicken for me. The people at the next table would not have been able to hear him or tell what he was doing, but we did and it was so amazing. Again we did not say anything about my vision, he just picked up on it and politely helped.

I have not nor will I allow my vision to limit my travel and you should not allow obstacles, visual or physical, to effect yours. I will continue to travel while blind!

Travel on my friends and remember we can help 😎

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