Hello Everyone ! I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the Christmas season as it quickly approaches. We have been very busy getting shopping and baking done and all of the things that come with the christmas season. In that busy time I have lots of events and things to attend and need a way to get there myself. I have my Guide Dog Rick who helps me navigate of course but a lot of people don’t realize that Rick does not know where we are going, I do. So when I don’t know where I am going or it is a new place I need to use other tools to get where I am going and not have to rely on others. I love my independence and work very hard to have it. So I thought today I would tell you a little bit about the tools that I use to find and navigate new places.
The first thing I am going to talk about it an app called Blind Square for the iPhone. It costs $35 but is well worth it. With this app you are able to search for places nearby like restaurants, shopping, outdoors and recreation ect. It will give you directions using google maps or iMaps which ever you chose, and will tell you how far and in what direction the place you are looking for is. The nice thing about this app is that it gives you the ability to be more independent when travelling and gives you the ability to explore. With apps like this it makes it much less stressful to go out in public and find new places alone.
One of the other things that I use is a personal GPS
called a Trekker Breeze, this device is designed for the blind. You are able to put in addresses and build your own routes, as well as explore places around you similar to the Blind Square app. The thing that I like about the GPS is that I don’t have to hold it like a compass in front of me when I am walking like I do with the app. I also really like the “Where am I ” feature which is really helpful if you feel like you have gotten turned around or taken a wrong turn.
People sometimes assume that I can just say Starbucks to Rick no matter where I am and he will take me there. This is not the case I need to know where I am going and be able to get there he only follows my commands that I give him to help me get there safely. It is just the same with crossing streets he is not able to tell me if the light is red or green I need to be able to listen to the traffic and decide if it is safe for us to cross.
Travelling as a blind person is a necessity if you want to have your independence and live your life your way, but it is not always as simple as I want to go check out that new restaurant that just opened. There has to be some planning involved in that, however the feeling of accomplishment and pride can be great when you know you have all the tools to travel and live your life your way. I love to travel alone to see my sister and my mom who live quite far from me, I also love to travel to different events and doing it alone is very empowering.
Living my life the way I want to live it is one of the most important things to me, and having the tools to do so makes this so much safer and easier.