Stanley, a tetraplegic from Singapore, never thought traveling was possible for him when he was new to his disability, but he quickly learned that his wheelchair didn’t have to stop him from seeing the world.
Doing a dry run before going too far
Before going on his first trip to Langkawi, Stanley made sure he knew what it felt like leaving the comfort of his home by having a staycation. “I was thinking how am I supposed to survive in a hotel first,” he shares. He had two staycations in different hotels in different areas of his home country of Singapore for one night each. This was the training he wanted to prep himself for overseas travel.
First successful trip with trial and error
His experience in Langkawi also helped him find new ways to make his traveling more convenient. “[When] I didn’t have a toilet chair, I had two persons [his friend and a caregiver]…transfer me to the toilet bowl,” he explains. “I found it very troublesome, so I needed to get a travel toilet chair.” Now, he only has to travel with one caregiver and the equipment.
On the island itself, he found ways to enjoy the sites. “There’s this place where you can take a boat, the boat isn’t very big,” he explains. “They’ll bring you to see mangroves or to see eagle feedings.” Stanley was interested, but “at that time I was like ‘how do I get down because they have steps down to the boat’,” he explains. After a chat with the boat driver, they decided to get some people to carry him. “They literally carried me and my chair up,” he shares. “It took 4 men to put me on the boat. It was quite fun.”
With his successful first trip to Langkawi, Stanley travels at least twice a year and has expanded his horizons even further to China, Taiwan, Batam, Bali, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Hong Kong and even Canada. Each trip is memorable for Stanley and each time he experiences something new.
“It enables me to explore a lot of things that I thought I couldn’t do.”
He’s learned quite a few lessons from his travels, anything from managing the bathroom on the plane to packing a carry on bag. Don’t miss his 9 tips for a traveling tetraplegic.
Even though traveling in a wheelchair can be daunting, there are ways to make it happen. Don’t be afraid to build up your confidence with small trips and explore what will make you happy. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you really want to do something. I’m sure people around will help you out,” Stanley shares.
Know someone who is hesitant to travel? Share Stanley’s experiences for a little travel inspiration!