I recently took to social media to ask if you would like me to do a ‘Ask Me Anything Q&A’ post. I asked you to send me questions that you would like me to answer about anything from travel, disability, health, work etc. So today I have the answers to your great questions. A massive thank you to everyone who took time to send me questions. I hope you enjoy reading my answers and please let me know if you would like me to do another Q&A post in the future.
1. What are you most looking forward to this year?
The past six months haven’t been the greatest for me health-wise, so I’m looking forward to staying healthy from here onwards. I’m also looking forward to travelling some more. I’ve got some exciting trips coming up including Amsterdam, Germany and a few more. This will be my first time in Amsterdam and Germany so I’m really looking forward to that.
2. Fashionable clothes whilst seated?
This is something I’m still trying to master and I think it will always be a struggle until clothing designers/brands etc makes their clothes more accessible to people in wheelchairs. Of course, there are dedicated clothing brands especially for adaptive clothing but these aren’t easily accessible on our high streets and are usually pretty pricey too.
For me, I try to stick to clothes that are made from comfortable material. Sitting all day in tight, rough material is a no-no as it will restrict my limited arm movements and dig into me. Living in Scotland where the weather is mostly cold and wet, I like to be warm. I seem to own a lot of jumpers in soft material like chenille as they are super soft, easy to move in, warm and can look casual or be dressed up.
I look for tops that are short so that they sit properly whilst sitting. Anything that is long just will not sit nicely. I love the look of long coats and cardigans, but unfortunately, these are not practical for wheelchair users. I’m forever trying to find nice practical jackets, but recently I found a great jacket that I love, which I think I might do a review on. However, long skirts can be a good option for some female wheelchair users as they are floaty, non-restrictive, but for me, I haven’t plucked up the courage to try them. I made the exception with this dress which I absolutely loved for my friend’s wedding. I may try experimenting with skirts when the weather is warmer. What do you think? I’d love to hear some of your fashion trips too. After watching The True Cost documentary I’ve been making more of a conscious effort to buy ethical products, so that may change the style of clothing I start to wear. Watch this space!
3. How did u get into blogging and what’s has it brought to your life?
I’ve always loved travelling and going to gigs. As a wheelchair user, both of these things were never always easy and sometimes things would go wrong. I had been thinking of sharing my experience of travelling and general life for such a long time. So one day I decided to just go for it and start a blog where I could write about having a disability, all the things I enjoy doing and raising awareness of disability and accessibility.
Since starting my blog I’ve loved the friendships I’ve made with other disabled bloggers and the different opportunities I’ve had. I particularly love being able to share my experiences and helping someone in a similar situation. It makes my day when readers reach out to me to let me know that something I wrote helped them. I also love connecting with my readers and learning about their experiences too.
Jason, Mandi & Holly asked:
4. What’s been the most wheelchair access place/country you’ve travelled to?
Oh this is a tricky one to answer. Last year I visited a few different places that were amazing for accessibility. If I had to pick one then it would have to be Barcelona. I loved everything about Barcelona. We stayed at the incredibly accessible MICs Sant Jordi which had profiling beds, wet room showers, hydrotherapy pool, 24 hrs care, hoists and equipment and more. I also loved how accessible and easy the metro was to use, the smooth paths around the city even in the Gothic Quarter as well as the accessibility at the beach including the beach wheelchairs. Check out my accessible city guide to Barcelona for more information.
5. Where do you work and do you enjoy what you’re doing aside from blogging?
Aside from blogging I also work in an office. It’s a job I’ve had for 10 years now and I enjoy it especially some of the great friends I’ve made throughout the years working there.
6. What do you say to disabled people that say travelling is too tough?
Travelling can be tough and be challenging at times, especially with a disability. But I believe the amazing experiences of travelling and the memories created completely outweigh any challenges. My advice would be to go with the flow and enjoy it.
7. Best album of all time?
This is such a difficult one to answer. There are so many albums that I love for different reasons. Albums represent a particular time in my life and memories. So I’d have to say Kings Of Leon – Because Of The Times is one of my favourites. It is the album that Allan and I listened to all the time when we took road trips at the beginning of our relationship. Whenever I listen to this album it always brings back great memories.
8. Where is your favourite place in the world that you have been too?
New York. I’ve been three times and loved each visit more than the last. I just love the feel of NY. There is always something going on. It’s easy to get around and find places due to its grid plan. It would be hard to get lost in New York. I don’t feel like people judge others and I don’t remember ever being stared at, which is always a good thing.
Despite what a lot of people say about New Yorkers, I found them to be some of the most friendly and helpful people I’ve met. We often got asked if we needed help accessing buildings or crossing the street and people complimenting me on what I was wearing as we walked down the street. We don’t get that in the UK. The skyline and the beautiful parks are some of my favourite things about New York.
9. How did you deal with the dating experience as a disabled person before meeting your partner?
I’ve been with my partner for 11 years. He was my first and only relationship so I haven’t had previous experience of other relationships and dating. Dating with a disability can be difficult, but not impossible. It is about finding the right way of finding someone that suits you whether that’s meeting in real life or through dating sites, but also finding the right person who sees you rather than the disability.
In my experience, I think it helped that we both got to know each other really well over many months before actually meeting up. We knew so much about one another and as cringey as it sounds, fell for each other before I actually mentioned my disability. Telling him that far in could have had a different outcome, but thankfully, it didn’t change anything or the way he felt about me so meeting up for the first time wasn’t an issue. You may feel it’s best to be upfront from the get-go or wait until the person gets to know you before bringing up your disability. Most importantly, don’t be ashamed of being you. If they don’t accept you for who you are then they are not worth your time.
Ryan & Holly asked:
10. If you had the chance to visit any country in the world, where would you go and why?
I’d love to go to South Africa on a safari. I think it would be amazing to see all the wild animals in their natural habitat. The scenery would be absolutely stunning as well. It really would be a dream come true to go on a South African safari. As much as I love watching wildlife documentaries I don’t think it would compare to the real thing.
12. Is there anywhere you have visited & found to be particularly ill-equipped for disabled people? Are there any journeys you regret?
Thankfully, I haven’t visited anywhere that has been ill-equipped for disabled people. Of course, I’ve never been somewhere where everything has been taken care of and fully accessible. But on the whole most places I’ve been have been good for accessibility and making conscious efforts to improve. I’ve also not regretted any journeys as such, but have regretted my choice of hotel on a few occasions where the room has been tiny or the bathroom layout has not met my needs.
11. What is the biggest challenge(s) you face personally and how do you try to overcome it?
I’ve struggled with body image/confidence and still do to an extent. I think most women struggle with body confidence to some degree in their lives, but I feel I have an added pressure as a disabled woman. TV, movies, magazines, adverts, celebrities, reality stars are plastered everywhere we look and they have what society class as ‘perfect bodies’. Disabled people are not fairly represented on TV and media, therefore, it’s not that often I see people like me on my favourite TV shows, movies, news or magazines. I’m constantly battling with myself to accept my body and to stop comparing my body to able-bodied people. I’ll never have a body like that and I should be proud and comfortable in my own skin. Some days I do, some days I don’t. It’s who I am and I’m working on being more body confident every day.
13. Have you travelled on a cross-channel ferry? How was it? Any advice.
I’ve travelled on a ferry from Dover to Calais around 7 years ago. I found the experience on an accessibility point very good. The journey itself wasn’t very long, a few hours so we were able to past the time fairly easily. However, my partner didn’t enjoy the experience and was sick the entire journey. I recently travelled from Aberdeen to Lerwick on NorthLink Ferries. This trip was 12 hours so we had a wheelchair accessible cabin to sleep in. Accessibility onboard was very good and the staff were brilliant.
14. Who’s your favourite Buffy character?
I was a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I was younger. I had all the VHS and DVDs, figurines, books etc. Yes, I was one of those people. I loved spending a Friday night with my sisters and our friends watching the latest episode of the show. We would all sit in my living room with drinks and snacks having a great time. Those friends were more like family and I remember them as some of the best years of my life. Back to the question…my favourite Buffy character is hands down Angel. If you’ve seen Buffy then you’ll know that Angel was her first love. Angel left the show and got his own spin-off TV series, called Angel. Friday nights got even better when it was Buffy then an episode of Angel straight after.
15. What’s one thing your disability has taught you?
One thing my disability has taught me is patience. When you rely so heavily on others to do things for you, you learn to develop a lot of patience. As much as I might want something done right there and then, it sometimes it’s possible and I’ll have to wait until that person is ready.
Ask Me Anything Q&A | Part 1
Thank you so much for the questions for Ask Me Anything Q&A Part 1. I had a lot of fun answering them. Please let me know if you would like me to do another Q&A in the future. I’d love to know your answers to some of these questions in the comments below. Also, please let me know what other blog posts you would like me to do.