Susie Twydell, resident in London, UK has been passionate about travelling way before she was bound to a wheelchair by Multiple Sklerosis in 2012. However, she was shocked by the lack of information available for people with disability in regards to travel. That is why she founded Wheelchair World – a non-for profit website that consolidates global online travel information for wheelchair users.

Currently she is running a media campaign in the UK to disseminate the website and raise further funds to optimise it.

Wheelchairtraveller.org is in contact with Susie to join forces in disseminating information and putting pressure on travel organisations to provide adequate information. Below she gives her reasons why wheelchair travelling is so important:

Wheelchairtraveller: Why are you passionate to promote travel?

02_airlifting-BrazilSusie: Growing up in the UK there is the culture of taking regular holidays, they are seen as part of your human rights! And as it is often cold and rainy here, we are very used to travelling to another country to ensure that 10 days of holiday is not 10 days of rain! Whether you like cold or hot, beach or mountain, the world has a place for you, there are so many great experiences that you can have, everywhere and anywhere!
As a youngster I also grew up with my Dad being headmaster of a residential special school which meant that the only time he really had ‘time off’ was when we went physically away from the school.  Hotels are expensive so we made holidays affordable by getting a campervan…and ended up going away locally every other weekend! Being away should be relaxing, stepping out of your day to day can be a really beneficial experience for your health.

WCT: What has been your richest experience while travelling?

Susie: People always ask me: And which has been your favourite country? When I tell them I have been to loads of countries (I will go to my 78th this year!). And it is impossible to answer because every single country has offered unique and exciting experiences.
Since I’ve been in my wheelchair (2012), I’ve seen the Northern Lights, been ‘chairlifted’ across a Caribbean beach by the lifeguards and spotted a giant ant eater in the wetlands of Brazil.  There is something about experiences being enriched by seeing the lengths people will go to in order to help you (at the viewpoint for the Northern Lights the attendant made sure I had the best spot and cleared people out of the way for me, in the Caribbean, the lifeguards looked after my wheelchair and chairlifted me back and forth across the beach and in Brazil everyday people helped me into the car so we could look for animals instead of taking a more traditional horse trek!)

WCT: How do you think can we achieve to motivate more wheelchair travellers to go to places less travelled?

02_WCW_logoSusie: Everybody has a different style, different things that they look for and want to experience when they travel, and this is exactly the same in the world of the disabled traveller – there are people that want to know exactly where they are staying and know every single detail about the destination. Then there are people who want a very different type of experience and are happy to just see what happens and figure it out along the way. Then of course there are all the people that fall somewhere in between the twousie. Information is our key resource. It allows us to make an informed decision about what is right for us. Other people’s experiences are inspiring and it shows that a) it can be done b) it has been done and c) this is what it is like.  We can inspire each other by sharing our adventures, our experiences and showing each other – and the world – that it CAN be done, and what’s more, it can be a fantastic experience!