I started this blog early on in 2010 because I had made the big decision to travel toNew Yorkon my own. It was a big decision because I had never travelled independently before, unless you count four days in Yamba, NSW. I documented the experience from the day I decided to take it on until the day I returned home. Some people don’t need to make a big deal about things, but I on the other hand like to and I also wanted able bodied people to learn about the hurdles people with a disability face when wanting to achieve their dreams.
That was about a year and a half ago and boy, has a lot changed since that first entry. Yet, I feel like I am coming back full circle. In May this year I will be flying on my own to meet my family in Israel for two weeks and then NYC for ten days, ending it all off with two days in LA.
It may only be the second week of the year and there is still quite a few months until I go away, but things have already started to happen and my choices have been affected because of my disability and chronic illness. If others can learn from my experiences, then I think it’s important that I keep a record of them.
Some of you may not know that I have travelled toIsraelquite a few times. Each time has been with my parents because we’ve always gone to see family. Most of the trips have been filled with family events, doing the tourist thing, etc. My last trip toIsraelI attended a support group for people with Familial Dysautonomia. This was my first time being in a room filled with others who had my condition.
Really there are no words to describe how it made me feel. I attended two sessions and I remember during one session the group facilitator made me sit on a chair in the middle of a circle. Each member of the group yelled out different words, describing how I believed people perceived me and let me tell you, it wasn’t positive. It crushed me even though I think the aim of it was for me to build a thicker skin. Who likes being called names?
That was the trip where the reality of my disability hit me and I had to acknowledge that it was time to get a walking frame. That trip changed my life. Not in a bad way, because if that never happened I may never have been able to take the next step of travelling independently. If I hadn’t of gotten the walking frame, no way would I have been able to get around the streets of NYC.
Anyway, I digress. I am writing about my previous trips toIsraelbecause when I flew there we had to fly with one particular airline – El Al. Not many airlines fly directly toIsrael, so we had to fly with Qantas toHong Kongand transfer to El Al. Usually changing airlines isn’t that big a deal and it’s quite manageable. However, because I need to use an oxygen tank when flying it impacts the choice of airline. El Al uses the old fashioned tanks which are too big to put under a seat. So, El Al needs to put it in the seat next to me and makes the passenger pay for that seat!
I don’t think it’s fair that I have to pay for two seats. And so with this in mind, I am looking into different airlines.
Get ready for a load of information and a bumpy ride!