For my work I tend to travel fairly often. I don’t mind travelling, my husband hates to travel so this is a way that I can do that and not have to worry that he hates travelling.
I also do some travel where I am alone and there is no one else with me. I do not travel with a sighted guide. I have had a lot of questions about how I am able to do this. I am going to tell you how I am able to travel alone as a blind woman and be successful.
I want to start this by saying that it is not easy. There are many times when things do not go great, I get lost, I feel insecure, I have anxiety all of the things. But, I work through those things because working through those feelings and moving forward to accomplish what I want makes me stronger. It is what helps me to grow as a person and what has helped me to be as confident in myself as I am. When you are able to work through the tough stuff it builds your confidence faster than anything else.
Some of the ways that I am able to travel alone is that I plan, plan, plan. I make sure that when I am picking flights, I choose the ones that make the most sense if at all possible. For example I try not to choose flights that have a layover more than 2 hours. This is because air ports can be hard to navigate, they are busy and food and washrooms are not always close to the gate you end up at. Also because I have a guide dog I want to be sure that I don’t have to go through security to take him to go to the bathroom and then go back through security to the gate, it is just a lot of extra stress that I don’t need.
I use a combination of apps that allow me to be as independent as possible, some of my favourites are Blind Square, Seeing AI, Aira, Be My Eyes. I also use a Victor Trek to be able to have many options for GPS and other tools to help me navigate. I like the Victor Trek because it does not rely on data. I use a lot of data when travelling. The other thing I do is call a friend or my husband using face time if I am needing to confirm something. For example I found my way to a mall but wasn’t quite sure if I was right because I had to reroute due to a lack of side walks in some places so I wanted to confirm I was at the right place, so I face timed a good friend and she was able to look around and tell me yes I had in fact made it to the mall.
Another thing that I have to do to travel alone successfully is be ok asking for help and asking questions. I have to stop random people on sidewalks, in air ports, in hotels, and ask for directions or help finding the places that I am looking to go. This was something that I struggled with when I was younger, I felt like if I asked for help, I was admitting that I couldn’t do it on my own. But I soon figured out that if I wanted to live the life that I wanted to I would have to ask for help to be as independent as possible.
There are times when by the end of a day I am exhausted, it is a lot of work to travel alone, I can be mentally done some days when I get to the hotel. But in the end it is worth it all because that is the life that I want to live. And at the end of the day we all want to live a life that we choose, we don’t want to sit back and accept less because it is hard or because we feel like a disability doesn’t allow us too.
Check out the last video I posted about finding some coffee on my latest trip at https://youtu.be/6QROP-MOFF4
Until Next Time !
Ashley and Danson