Posts Tagged ‘Independence’

This is Not A Drill

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

Just when I thought everything was going great, the blaring sound of a fire alarm screeches through my hotel room. Fortunately, it was late enough in the morning when I was dressed. Even more important, it was a false alarm. On the positive side, I now know how I would react during a fire; I’d get the hell outta there!

I’m even more certain now that nothing really beats experience. I can talk to others about how to manage various situations, but the best thing is to know and trust in my own ability and instinct. Arriving at a solution to for example, quickly navigate out of a burning building; well that’s probably instinct and remaining calm under pressure. If I am going to trust in my abilities then I think I need to practice   more often. Here’s to more experiences!

 

Ups and Downs

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Three words used to describe life, relationships and especially my air travel experience.

Up:

All in all no complaints regarding my interactions both with airport staff and almost every individual that assisted me during this process. From my drivers to the airport “Meet & Greet” staff and the very friendly staff in the hotel. My lesson is to really focus on having conversations with the people. It’s not only an opportunity to interact, but as today reminded me it’s another opportunity to be an advocate for those with vision loss. Not only showing others what people with vision loss are capable of doing, but even teaching the ways to assist. Instructing airport staff how to perform sighted guide or showing the hotel clerk how to use tape to help a person with vision loss properly orient themselves to the hotel key card.

Downs:

When your pilot announces that the flight will be bumpy due to turbulence:

  • Believe him, he wouldn’t lie
  • Take it seriously
  • Grab the barf bag, just in case

My first leg of this trip was the worst plane ride in my life – a small commuter express flight in very high winds. My mother will be happy to know I haven’t forgotten how to say the rosary…in both English and Spanish!

Here’s hoping the flights home are just as good as my inter-personal experiences were today. Power to the people!

Better Be About It

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

This year I have had several opportunities to travel both with my family and without. Another opportunity has recently presented itself and it occurred to me that I have yet to travel alone via air. That’s right; in the just about 11 years since I have been blind I have not traveled by plane alone.

Some may think this is not a big deal. However, as an advocate and someone who truly believes that people with vision loss can accomplish anything with the proper training and preparation, how can I promote this without having these experiences for myself?

Well, tomorrow will be my first flight alone. In fact, we’re not really talking about long flights, but I do have connections to make. As taught by my O&M instructor years ago, I have made all of the necessary preparations and I have all of the contact information at my fingertips. It’s a quick trip so I can get away with only one carry on; a back pack. As often the case, the inter-personal skills are so important in traveling for a person with vision loss. Asking for directions in a way that will produce usable results is a skill. When you’re someone like myself who is less accustomed to asking for directions, this can be a challenge. Probably even more of an issue for me is dealing with my less than friendly fellow travelers or those who think they can drag me or maneuver me as though I am an object. Picture someone placing their hands on a grown man’s shoulder and trying to turn him in the direction of the restroom. Now picture this grown man mentally running through a list of Jujitsu locks and throws, searching for just the right one for the occasion. Ok, so now you see where I need to focus my energy during my trip.

Alright, maybe that is a slight exaggeration. Maybe? We’ll find out