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What Travelling With A Disability Is Really Like

What Travelling With A Disability Is Really Like

It’s a daunting enough for any young person who wants to go out there and explore the world, but having a disability on top of that can make it seem almost impossible – especially the thought of going at it alone.VICTORIA FIORENTINO is proof that travelling with a disability is not only possible, it’s incredible.

I was born with a degenerative walking disability. Growing up, I was self-conscious and struggled to find my identity and self-acceptance. I wanted to travel but I wasn’t sure that I could. I mean, I was “different”. I was disabled, and disabled people don’t go on epic adventures around the world, right? That’s what I used to think, but gone are the days of having to hide disabilities and differences. There is so much out there now that everyone and anyone can experience what the world has to offer, so one day I woke up and decided to do exactly that. For the last four years I have been taking on each corner of the earth and soaking it up in all of its glory.


I was extremely lucky enough to win an amazing Qantas competition where the prize was one million Qantas Points. My stepfather entered me into a contest where they asked how winning would positively affect someone’s life. It’s certainly affected mine in a big way. Because of winning, I’ve been able to continue my personal journey, taking on the world and living out my dream and showing others, with and without disabilities, that travelling on your own is one of the most empowering decisions you will ever make.

Here’s some of my experiences and advice for travelling with a disability.

There’s many benefits


Travelling has changed my whole outlook on life. It ‘s allowed me to love who I am for being differently abled and it’s filled me with so much confidence. And honestly, travelling with a disability isn’t as hard as you might think.

Take for instance long lines. I’m not sure I’ve ever had the experience of waiting in one of those. That’s right, straight to the front almost every time! Not being afraid to ask for help when you need it is key to travelling with a disability because people are there and more than willing to make things easier for you. Plus, your friends will practically beg to be your travelling partner because you are a wandering VIP Express pass.

There’s more support than you think


Contrary to what people think, when leaving your comfort zone and stepping into the unknown there is actually so much support. People want to help and be involved. That’s not to say it’s without its challenges, of course, but that’s the whole reason we travel, isn’t it? To push ourselves and to break boundaries – and you should never, ever underestimate yourself.

When I travel, it’s like I am transformed into a new person with ample confidence. The respect and positive attitudes of the amazing travellers I’ve met along the way is an affection that I can’t explain. When you are travelling alone you’re vulnerable, but it’s often that vulnerability that enables you to connect with people on such a personal level.

I’ve been amazed by the generosity of the locals wherever I have been. They’ve been consistently intrigued by the effort that I’ve made. Once they realised you’ve made such an effort to come to their hometowns, they often spend much more time getting to know you, giving you a daily insight into their lives – an experience that money can’t buy.

On the road


When I travel, I volunteer with young disabled people and meet other disadvantaged children. It really does put things into perspective and shows you that there are people all over the world fighting their own battles and managing to make things work. By giving a little of yourself you can gain more than words can describe.

I have climbed volcanoes and jumped out of planes – things I never thought possible, but with the help of some amazing people that held my hand and pushed me to my limits, I’ve achieved the unthinkable. All things considered, there is honestly no greater triumph to me than hearing someone say that, because of my bravery and courage, I have inspired them to do something outside of their comfort zone.

I’m not here to tell you about how difficult it is to travel with a disability or exactly where to find wheelchairs and accessible accommodation; instead I want to share how amazing the experience can be. At times it’s scary, sometimes it’s lonely, and there are days when you would do anything to come back home; but then you have a day at a music festival where you use your walking stick to push through the crowd to get front-and-centre for Alt-J (plus avoid having to line up for 30 minutes to use the gross port-a-loos) and it can help you remember what a gift you have and how you can use it to your advantage. You get back in the zone and start feeling confident again – from there you are unstoppable!


Don’t let your disability stop you

Here’ my advice to others who aren’t able-bodied: travelling with a disability is a blessing. We get to experience some of the world’s greatest pleasures with an extra sense of achievement, and gain a heightened sense of wellbeing along the way. You learn acceptance and perseverance, and I can also almost guarantee you will inspire someone else to live out their dreams and to push themselves to their limit.

I’m hoping that this can motivate you to get out there and enjoy the brilliant benefits we have like skipping the dreaded customs line and getting free entry to loads of epic sights. I challenge you to push yourself and change society’s views on what we can achieve as young, disabled Australians. Go and see the world and show them what we’re made of.


See you on the road.

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