There’s something about an Olympic year, or should I say a Paralympic year to get a country going. Parlympics GB seems to go from strength to strength and returned last week from Rio with a medal haul larger than London 2012. The sense of national pride, happiness, well-being and endless possibility is palpable. These heroes, for that is exactly what they are, have at some point in their lives been told that simply, ‘they cannot’ but after a fortnight’s competition on the world stage, they very definitely ‘can’.
For a period of two weeks every four years, which I hope will last far longer, the shackles of disability seem to fall off magically before our very eyes and the Paralympian athletes compete on a playing field level with their able-bodied counterparts.
How can we all benefit and capitalise from this legacy, especially from a travel perspective? One of the deciding factors which led me to joining the partnership at Seventy Ten Travel was to have the opportunity to launch and promote an assisted city and short breaks programme designed to give clients who need it, an extra pair of hands (or legs!) to make their travel experience an enjoyable and stress-free one. If the sea change in attitude surrounding disability that has come about as a result of the super-human achievements in London four years ago and in Rio this year can do one thing, then it is my hope that it will empower more disabled people to travel. Travel by air and by train is getting easier and the quality of transport arrangements and hotel bedrooms on the ground is better than it has ever been. It is true to say that some European cities are better equipped in terms of infrastructure than others (wheelchair access, drop curbs, cobbled streets and the like) but for me, this is all part of the fun! Go on, give it a go – I’m here to help you every step of the way.
So for those of us who cannot ride this crest of the wave, let’s hope we can wheelchair push along it…!