The Active Amputee kicks off the new year with a new service: Hands-on travel advice, making it easier for people with a limb difference to travel far and wide and with confidence.
Looking back over the three and a half years since I set up The Active Amputee, people have often approached me with questions in relation to travel issues. Small questions for short week-end trips early on after an amputation as well as more complex ones in relation to long journeys out in the wild and far away from any power supply, any prosthetist, or other health service.
If you have been following my blog for some time you know that I love traveling. Anything from the small day trip close to home to the month long journey into the unknown in places I have never been to before. I am fortunate enough that my work brings my to a range of amazing locations. In addition I like to be out and about in my spare time. Sometimes alone, sometimes with my family, sometimes with friends. For me setting out on a journey is a thrilling experience and one I always look forward to. I love the excitement. And I feel alive through the uncertainty that comes with it.
But I also know that traveling as a person with a limb difference can be scary. You are leaving an environment you know, an environment which often has been adapted to your needs and your level of mobility, an environment which is accessible. And instead you are heading for the unknown.
What do I have to be aware of before my actual journey? How will I be treated during the security check at the airport? Do I need special permits or papers for my prosthesis and other devices? Or for my medication? Are there special cultural norms, discrimination, or stigma around disability in the country I travel to? How about skin issues in hot, humid, tropical places? Will the climate or the food affect the fit of my socket and thus the way in which I can or cannot use my prosthesis? And what if it break down while I am abroad? Do I need to take simple spare parts like a second valve, a spare liner and the like? These are just some of the questions people with a limb difference are confronted when setting out on a longer journey.
All these questions, all this uncertainty can also be intimidating. But it doesn't have to be. With the right preparation, tested advice, and a trusting mind-set, traveling can be great fun and a rewarding experience, no matter your level of ability. And this new service of The Active Amputee sets out to encourage people with a limb difference to travel. It sets out to assist them with hands-on advice. And it sets out to showcase what is possible.
Throughout my life I have traveled far and wider, all in all to more than 40 countries. All off them after I had been diagnosed with cancer as a teenager back in the 1980s. Some of them I have visited with a weak leg as a result of a massive endoprosthesis that had replaced my tibia. Most of them I experienced as an independent traveler with an above knee amputation using public means and carrying all of my own luggage in a backpack. In six of them spread out over four continents I lived for extended periods of times. So I can draw an a wide range of different experiences.
In addition I teamed up with OttoBock. This will bring in decades of technical experience, additional knowledge, and information from a world-wide network of service providers. On the OttoBock homepage, you will find a treasure trove of information, check lists, contact addresses for health service providers and much more. So make sure you check it out (to be updated once the OttoBock page is live).
If you are looking for inspiration and ideas for your next journey, the following articles might be of interest for you:
If you are looking to learn from other travelers with a disability, the following articles might be of interest for you:
This page is made by amputees. And it is made for amputees and their families. The Active Amputee wants to enable you to make informed decisions by providing unbiased information. The Active Amputee wants to inspire action through the sharing of stories. And the Active Amputee wants to build a community of active amputees by encouraging engagement and mutual support. Nothing more, nothing less. It‘s as easy and simple as that.
The people involved in The Active Amputee love to hear from you. Give us feedback about this page, send in your stories so that we can share them with others, let us know about events that are of interest for amputees, suggest topics you would like to read more about, ask questions. Really, anything that relates to amputee issues is of interest for The Active Amputee and could be featured on this side. Here is the contact form.