Enabling Travel Resolutions For A Happy 2018!
Film-maker and our travel expert Rustom Irani shares his enthralling journey as part of the Enable Travel family. Here’s a round up his eventful year; read on!
4 countries, 3 Indian states, 7 world cities, an ocean swim, a river cruise, my first football match in an international arena, a global world travel market and innumerable work-related conferences, forums and media interviews; all in a span of 9 months. As a wheelchair user, my average travel spike in this extremely short span of time far surpasses my average of trips in the past three decades. From being apprehensive about every flight, I’ve started approaching each with a problem-solving point-of-view. From seeking solitude and being limited by barriers, I’ve now coerced, cajoled, collaborated and, most importantly, successfully attempted entry into crowded places, hostile terrain and vehicles too tiny to instil confidence.
In the nine months since Enable Travel launched, I have lived rather than experienced. So, when it comes to talking about my reflections on the past year, new goals, achievements…I find myself a bit bogged down. Sure, I could elaborate on all those things mentioned above and leave it at that, but each of those experiences merits its own write-up and I’ve never believed in declaring future prospects. Like every challenge faced by a person with disability, our future too is adapted and shaped by circumstances and our own strengths at that point of time. How can I regale you with goals of forest adventures, mountain treks, deep-sea adventure, when I too am not aware of the challenges or my solutions for the same?
For team Enable, resolutions and acting on them is a constant process. At present, all of us who help nurture and grow this #CanDo baby of ours is doing it so well and in so many ways, across mediums and activities. This can only be born out of a need to clear a path for someone to follow, rather than doing our own thing and listing our achievements.
When a Rustom took a swim in Goa, he had half a dozen follow. Alim took the lead in getting over a hundred deaf individuals white-water rafting, Virali has thousands taking up the cudgels for getting the most basic of rights to ensure our presence in the mainstream. Shama single-handedly explored two entire states over a month and has a fully fleshed-out travel experience for others to emulate, Preeti’s voice and presence is unmatched at large conferences and events, while Deepa constantly conquers insurmountable challenges and wins admirers across the globe. None of these were individual goals or resolutions, none planned a year in advance, none intended as just one-off experiences. They were all intended to open the floodgates for others in the disability community to emulate, to stop thinking and act on suppressed impulses. To prove to oneself more than anyone else, that given a chance and the right guidelines with a little bit of assistance, obstacles are just botherations and not debilitating limitations.
And believe me dear reader, there is some truth to miraculous seeming surprises and instances of karma working in mysterious ways. How else could we map out more than 50 itineraries across India? Or have large groups of wheelchair users visit us from Europe and, even more astonishingly, continue to travel together as a group in India, where seeing even one wheelchair user on holiday is a rarity? Athletes with disabilities were given the option to fly and they made us proud. Entrepreneurs and local restaurants acknowledge our presence on various social platforms and even invited us to meet others within the community in the real world, creating a living, drinking, merrymaking tale-swapping society of sorts.
I’ve lived a year that equals five in terms of emotions and activities, and not just because I set out to do so on my own. It’s realising that while resolutions can be set, enabling them for someone who never saw it go beyond words or thoughts, is where the real sense of achievement exists. So on behalf of the entire Enable Travel family, here’s wishing you a very Happy New Year, filled with loads of travel opportunities.
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