Updated: Sep 29, 2018
I am passionate about travel because I feel like that's all I have sometimes. The places I go, the people I meet, and the things I get to experience shape me and help me forget all the sadnesses of yesterday. After awhile, I almost forget that I was once abandoned by my family, that I once lived in an orphanage for a decade, that I once endured corporal punishment, that I am all alone in this world.
Travel allows me to create a new identity. Travel gives me the opportunity to not be a victim. Travel opens my mind to a world I never knew. Having lived in the confines of an orphanage for nearly a decade of my life, I have held a deep hunger to see the outside world.
And having a disability doesn't help with my hunger to explore every nook and cranny of this beautiful planet. Well intentioned people are overly cautious and attentive, afraid that I will break into a thousand pieces should I make a wrong turn. I love my parents, but growing up, even they were more protective of me than my brothers. My brothers both got their licenses and/or started driving in their teens. I, however, did not get my license until a few years ago when I was in my mid-twenties. My parents always told me driving is dangerous and that my younger brother didn't even want to drive because of how dangerous it is.
But, what I always try to tell them is, at least he had the choice to drive at fifteen if he really wanted to. Whereas for me, a lot of choices were not available to me. My whole family are all able-bodied people, who try so hard to understand me. But there are just certain things they will never understand about losing your whole biological family in matters of hours, about being confined within the four walls of a building for nearly a decade of your life, about not having the options that others have just because you are unable to stand up, about love, caution and kindness that suffocates.
It's taken me nearly three decades, but I think I finally know what I want to do with my life. I want to make individuals with disabilities feel free. I want them to feel that just because they have a disability doesn't mean they have to sit still and have others make choices for them. Just because they have a disability doesn't mean they don't deserve to see as much of the world as everyone else. Just because they have a disability doesn't mean their choices should be limited.
I hope when I am done living my life in spectacular fashion, the individuals with disabilities coming after me will not have to experience being told that the flight will leave without them because the airline personnel couldn't arrange an aisle chair in time to help them get to their seat; will not have to get anxious every time they go through security check because they are afraid that TSA personnel will revoke crucial tools from their wheelchair repair kit; will not have to be told by flight attendance that in case of an emergency, they will be the last one to exit an airplane.
This is why I am starting TGOW, and these series of YouTube videos and blogs. Individuals with disabilities will no longer tolerate being second class citizens in any aspect of society!