Enable Travel Made Me Love Travelling Again
“Just being there for someone can, sometimes, bring hope when all seems hopeless,’ says Renuka Malakar, married to Prabal Malakar, a wheelchair-bound travel enthusiast. As a caregiver, she’s often put herself last and dealt with a lot when it comes to travelling, until she found Enable Travel. Read on to know why she recommends this brand to caregivers everywhere!
Being a caregiver to the person you love the most in the world can be very difficult at times. My husband & I loved to travel and whenever we would get transferred, we would always do a road trip! That meant en route we could do a lot of sightseeing and tasting different kinds of cuisines, with our kids getting their lessons in geography and learning about different states. Buying local handicrafts, travelling and listening to music was a common passion that my husband and I shared and loved.
But in 1998, that began to change in my mind though, why? Well, because my husband was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The only other person I knew who had this debilitating disorder of the central nervous system was wheelchair-bound and confined to her house.
I felt my life spiraling out of control and the thought that we will not be able to travel like we used to doubled the fear and sadness; it became overwhelming.
However, I knew that I had to go on and make the best of what we had for as long as we could. So in 2008, when my husband retired from the Indian Air force due to his medical condition, he decided we should travel to London and Paris to visit his course mates, who were serving as air attaches there. We picked up a swanky manual wheelchair and took a crash course in handling wheelchairs from a dear friend, who also has MS and is a wheelchair champion in tennis. With a lot of apprehension and a lack of confidence about how I will enjoy sightseeing while pushing the wheelchair around, that too in a foreign country, I decided to take the plunge; actually I didn’t have a choice. I was looking for answers on what I needed to do as a caregiver to make the trip most comfortable for the both of us until we touched down.
The trip went well but, of course, later on, our travels started affecting me physically as I would have a terrible ache in my shoulder blades, back, knees and calves from pushing the wheelchair. That’s when I hit the phase where any travel or vacation plans failed to get me excited. Whenever any trips were planned, I would begin to get anxious and aggressive. It didn’t stop there because I would end up having arguments with staff at the airport, airlines and hotels because of the difficulty that my husband was experiencing. Time and again, I would be baffled by the lack for accessibility for wheelchair-bound people to enjoy a trip. In fact, after one such recent trip, I actually started thinking that next time we travel we will need to take an attendant who could help me out a little.
I don’t think anyone knows that when you are a caregiver, you make yourself the last priority. You feel ashamed to think about your own comfort, as ensuring comfort for the disabled person is paramount among other such thoughts.
A few months ago, when I got home from work, my husband said let’s go to Jaipur, Udaipur, and a few other places in Rajasthan. You guessed right, all that I could do was sigh. And then with a smile he said it’s going to be an accessible holiday, you wont need to worry about me. Those words were like balm but I thought it can’t be true. Then he told me about Enable Travel and their plans of making holidays accessible, where EVERYTHING is taken care of and arranged keeping in mind the special needs of a disabled traveller.
Starting from the wheelchair-accessible pickup vehicle to Sukhwinderji who drove us around, the experienced staff to the local tour guides, everything had been carefully thought through so that we could enjoy our trip.
I know we are talking about holidays for the disabled, but caregivers who are the most neglected people are also taken care of; I could finally totally relax and enjoy the trip. This luxury, as I call it for us caregivers, doesn’t come easy and I’m sure all the caregivers out there will agree with this!
I can definitely say that that this unique aspect put Enable Travel head and shoulders above the rest. I am now back to looking forward to holidays all over again. Trust me, caregivers, you don’t want to miss this!
Hesitant about travelling with a disabled friend or family member? Don’t worry, take the first step with us. And we promise, we’ll try to make it as comfortable and fun as possible. Take a look at the special 70 trips we have curated to get you started