This article is written by Candis Welch, 2023 Ms. Wheelchair California, DEI Advocate, and Professional Speaker.
Traveling with Wheel the World
First class experiences, memorable adventures and accessibility that is well thought out and specifically curated for your needs (and wants); this is what traveling with Wheel the World feels like. It’s a feeling of serenity, peace, safety, and fun. During my trip with Wheel the World, I was able to sit back, and roll with the flow, because they made sure everything was taken care of and were always 10 steps ahead of me. I would be crazy to travel without them going forward because, for the first time in my adult life, traveling and planning was not filled with angst, fear, and disappointment. I was able to sit back and trust that Wheel the World would provide a safe environment for me to experience true accessibility.
"First class experiences, memorable adventures and accessibility that is well thought out and specifically curated for your needs (and wants); this is what traveling with Wheel the World feels like. It’s a feeling of serenity, peace, safety, and fun." - Candis Welch
I have never been to the state of Virginia, nor had I heard of the city Charlottesville, so when Wheel the World approached me with the opportunity to explore a new destination with such culture and history, I jumped at the opportunity!
Embrace the Unplanned Adventures
As many are aware, the day of travel can come with lots of surprises and unplanned adventures. This trip was no different. For starters, my private caregiver, who is scheduled to arrive early in the morning to assist me onto my para-transit car to the airport, almost didn’t make it to work. This meant there was a huge chance I would miss my transportation to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) which is over 30 miles from my residence, and then struggle to find an accessible uber at 5:30AM. Luckily, I was able to find an accessible uber and make it to the airport, however, I am sad to report that the LAX was/is not very accommodating to those in wheelchairs or those who require assistance with luggage, etc. My best friend and I struggled to find assistance from airport staff despite several attempts.
Upon boarding and take-off, my trip was in full swing. After landing at the Washington-Dulles International Airport (which is located in Virginia) we spent about an hour trying to locate Baggage Claim, despite the delays, our Wheel the World host was in direct communication with us the moment our flight landed. For the first time, I wasn’t in fear of missing my transportation, or spending time explaining where to park, why I was the last to debark the plane, etc. Wheel the World made sure everything was under control, and when they experienced delays that may impact our original schedule, they provide accommodations for us during our wait. It was giving, full inclusive vibes! Despite a long travel day, our accessible host hotel, The Draftsman, happily greeted us with open arms and presented a beautiful, curated welcome basket and thank you note. True hospitality.
Charlottesville is Rich in Culture and History
Throughout my trip in Charlottesville, Virginia, Wheel the World crafted a fun-filled itinerary that allowed me to see so much of what Virginia has to offer. Our host, Yoel, mapped out the accessibility of each destination; from the beautiful sprawling views from the vineyards of Pippen Hill and Blenheim, to the history and culture that the Jefferson School honored our group with. I even reignited my love and ability for painting at Pikasso Swig. And I can’t forget the food!
Food in Charlottesville
The food of Charlottesville taste like homemade love wrapped in a hug. Traveling with Wheel the World, they don’t skip any corners, the restaurants were all accessible and very accommodating to my needs, even going above and beyond to make sure that everyone in our group felt, seen, heard and left with plans to return. Though the trip was quick, I am leaving with lifelong memories of what real accessibility looks and feels like when tourism and accessibility work together.
Travel Without Limits - That's the Goal
Wheel the World made sure to create an experience for myself and my group that would change the way each of us felt about travel and accessibility. Traveling can be difficult for many disabled individuals to experience; from the cost to the planning (and over-planning) that it takes to make the trip happen. It can be daunting and may be too much to take on for one person.
However, my trip with them, has inspired me to continue my state of wanderlust for new and exciting travel destinations, because I know they are going to take care of everything. There is nothing that they have not thought of that isn’t already mapped out and handled. I can appreciate the level of service provide by our Wheel the World host, Yoel, because no matter the obstacles that were presented, he not only found a safe and accessible solution, but also made the business aware of the teachable moment for future accessibility.
If you haven’t already done so, book your next vacation with Wheel the World now!
Who knows, you may just see me along for the adventure, too.