How to Get Started as a Disability Blogger

I’m on my way to 3 years as a disability blogger now, so I felt like it might useful to give some tips to those who may be thinking about starting out as a disability blogger. So, here’s my top 5 tips for getting started as a disability blogger!

Know Your Collaborators

I think the key word here is collaborators, not competitors. Know the other disability bloggers that are around and making content, for me that’s people like Carrie Ann Lightley and Shona Cobb. These bloggers can give you other views on disability, particularly key since disability is an identity that everyone can experience, even if someone may have the same diagnosis as you. Other bloggers may also lead you to explore different angles on content that you didn’t see before, you might see something they post and think “I could expand on this point from my point of view” and then you have new content!

Write About What You Know

Write about things from your viewpoint of your disability and experience.  Don’t write about the issues you don’t live with, for example, I only talk about accessibility from the viewpoint of a wheelchair user, and I wouldn’t talk about accessibility for a blind or visually impaired person because I don’t KNOW about that experience or what would be considered good accessibility. However, that’s where you can collaborate and reach out to other bloggers to get their viewpoint like I mentioned in point 1, or link to a specific blog post if you know they’ve already written on that topic.

Find Your Niche

Find your niche that you think will make you unique, this might be looking at your hobbies in terms of how they interact with your disability  and how you experience that hobby. For me, I do that through my accessibility reviews of concert and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) venues. I mostly see my niche in the MMA venue accessibility reviews because I don’t see that content elsewhere (drop links in the comments if you do see that content around though), but MMA is also something I love very VERY deeply. I think that’s also key, find your niche but make sure it’s something you love, that love will show in the posts.

Not Everything Has To Be About Disability

Going back to talking about hobbies, talk about how much you love the hobby alongside the accessibility of it and how it interacts with your disability. OBVIOUSLY, my disability will come into everything I do because it’s a constant part of my life, but that doesn’t mean I have to mention it in every post. Another note is, if there’s no accessibility issues to talk about in a specific post,  that’s a good thing! It means that the world is becoming more accessible, and that’s worth noting too.

Show the Good and the Bad

You need to be realistic and show both the good and the bad sides of disability. I see this most obviously in my accessibility reviews. The response to reviews for poor accessibility can lead to connecting with the venue and working with the them to increase accessibility and create change for the disabled community. However, by the same token, a review for a good accessible venue or company can provide a shout out for that venue or company, which can drive more business their way as disabled people will be more likely to go somewhere if it’s accessible, and the Purple Pound (the money from disabled people’s buying) is worth a fair bit. This extra business is particularly welcome if it’s a small business or venue you’re reviewing, such as this Bed and Breakfast in Liverpool that I reviewed and encouraged everyone to go for their “work with the customer to make things accessible” attitude.

I hope these tips help a new disabled blogger get started in their new venture.

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

5 Things I Learned En Route to 5000 Views

Recently I hit 5000 views on the blog! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. That milestone led me to thinking about what I’ve learned about blogging in those 5000 views, so I thought I’d note my top 5 things learned over the course of 5000 views, and maybe you can make use of what I’ve learned BEFORE you hit 5000 views, or even if you already have.

Promote, Promote, Promote

Now this is a new one for me with the extra time I have in lockdown, but promote, promote promote your content on social media! Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest, promote your content everywhere you can and everywhere you feel comfortable. You have to sell your posts and make people want to read them and no one can read them if no one can see them!

Put Yourself Forward for Opportunities

Don’t be scared to put yourself for opportunities, collaborations or to work with brands.  You might not think you’re good enough, but an opportunity works within your niche and it interests you, go for it! The only caveat to this is don’t apply to an opportunity if you don’t fit the criteria (such as Domain Authority or niche), make sure you read opportunities before blindly applying.

Don’t Force Content

This is a biggie! Don’t write a post just because you feel the need to stick to a schedule, write when you’re inspired to. In the same vein, don’t write to trends because it’s what everyone’s writing about and will get a lot of views, write about what inspires you. This may make blog growth a little slower but I genuinely believe the content will be better if it’s naturally and organically written from inspiration.

Realise Your Key Cornerstone

Realise the one aspect or value related to your blog that you can’t avoid or wouldn’t give up on to gain more views. For me, that’s realism and making sure  my blog remains realistic. If I feel an opportunity or post is unrealistic or inauthentic, I won’t undertake the opportunity or write that particular post. That kind of leads back to point 3 and not forcing content, I feel like forcing content and writing to trends is inauthentic for me so I don’t do it.

Connect With Other Bloggers

Another relatively new one for me but connect with other bloggers and link up for collaborations or contribute to their blog posts. You can gain traction and have opportunities brought to you through being involved with other bloggers who have a larger reach than your blog, particularly when you’re starting out as a small blogger. But I would say make sure the opportunity is actually something you want to collaborate on. Contributing to others blog posts and connecting with them just to piggyback off their larger reach won’t earn you friends in the blogging community.

I hope these tips help someone and show what I’ve learned so far in my blogging journey, and thankyou for 5000 views, here’s to the next 5000.

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award

Another blogger award! This time I’m nominated for the Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award by Smelly Socks and Garden Peas. First I’ll set out the rules, then I’ll answer the questions I’ve been asked, nominate some more bloggers for this award and give them 5 questions of my own to answer.

Rules

Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.

Answer your nominator’s questions.

Nominate up to 9 other bloggers.

Notify your nominees.

Ask 5 questions.

List the rules and display the “Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award ” logo.

My Answers to the Questions

What one thing would you stop your significant other from doing if you could just switch it off with no argument or consequences?

I’m afraid I can’t really properly answer this as I don’t currently have a significant other and it’s probably unfair to discuss my ex and would probably take me a while.

What’s your favourite sport to watch or participate in?

I only watch sport and haven’t really participated in any for a while. My favourite sport to watch, both live and on the tv, would definitely be Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). I even have a full section on my MMA Travels on my blog, alongside a section for my favourite MMA promotion, Cage Warriors.

What’s your favourite movie of the 1990s?

As I was born in 1996 (yeah I realise I’ve probably made some people feel quite old there) I didn’t really have many films to choose from that I already knew were DEFINITELY 90’s films. But after a bit of research, I’ll have to go with the original Lion King. Probably quite a standard answer I know, but It’s just great. If you don’t dramatically sing along to “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” every single time, I’m going to need to understand why not (did I play that song whilst writing this? Yup).

Whose blog would you love to do a guest post for?

I would have to say Shona from Shona Louise, she’s one of my inspirations and I always find her posts eye-opening, even to me as a fellow wheelchair user who also experiences some of the issues she discusses sometime. I’ve already contributed to her post on being an ambulatory wheelchair user, and I would consider doing a full guest post on Shona’s blog an honour if the opportunity ever arose.

If you could be any Pokémon, which would it be?

I would have to say Pikachu, he’s my favourite (I’m not ashamed to admit I bought a mini Pikachu teddy at a convention literally a couple of years ago). I also feel like being an electric type Pokémon would be quite apt, what with me being an electric wheelchair user.

Nominations

Carrie Ann from CarrieAnnLightley.com – This post references inspirations in blogging and Carrie Ann is one of mine, particularly with her accessible travel content giving me lots of ideas for where and how I can travel as a wheelchair user.

Shona from Shona Louise– Again, this post references inspirations and I’ve already told you, in the guest post question, how Shona is one of mine. So of course, she’s in the nominations here.

Madison & Rebecca from Foster Family Travels – These two are quite likely my best friends and some of my biggest supporters from the blogging community

Brendan from Blind Injustice – one of my earliest supporters with my blog, but someone I feel I’ve not had a lot of contact with recently, maybe this tag will get us back in touch

Keith from On My Mind Today – another, albeit more recent, supporter of my blog and someone with whom I feel like I have, and could have,  a lot of interesting conversations

 

My 5 Questions

  1. Where would you be right now if you could be anywhere?
  2. What is the best concert you’ve ever been to, or if you’ve not been to a concert, which is the concert you’d most like to go to?
  3. What would your perfect day consist of if you could do anything?
  4. What would be your dream 3 course meal?
  5. Let’s spread a little more blog love, who are 5 bloggers you would recommend for me to check out?

I hope everyone enjoys learning a little more about me and my nominees enjoy answering the questions

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Grief & Loss: The Opposite Side of Father’s Day

A heavily personal post from me today. To mark UK Father’s Day 2020, I thought I’d discuss my dad, my grief and how losing him has changed how I see Father’s day now.

Firstly, a content warning, I’ll be discussing grief, bereavement and bits and pieces of medical stuff here, so I’d suggest skipping this post if any of those are likely to significantly upset you or bring up any of your own experiences.

I guess if I was to explain this post in a sentence it’s exploring the opposite side of father’s day. As I said in the mini introduction, the publication of this post coincides with UK father’s day 2020 and is also a couple of days short of the 2-year anniversary of my own dad’s passing. Since he passed away, I’ve begun to see Father’s day in a different light. Of course, there are those who have been father figures to me that I can still celebrate. Men like my own stepdad, who has been there for me for years whilst my dad was still here and has continued to be there for me since my dad passed away. But father’s day is still different. All the emails from brands and venues about father’s day gifts and reminders, and every blogger “father’s day gift guide” that I see is a stinging reminder every single time that my dad is no longer with us. Now, I’m not saying don’t write that content or for brands not to send those emails, I just don’t think we see this side of the situation as often (how people approach certain days and occasions after a bereavement). So, I thought I’d explain my side of it and how fathers’ days is different now.

I didn’t see my dad often, we lived at pretty much opposite ends of the country for a good portion of my life, so I never made a very big deal of father’s day. I’d just send him a “happy father’s day”  message, and a present if I could find a particularly good one that I thought he’d enjoy. Oh, how I  regret that now he’s no longer here, I so wish I’d made a bigger deal of Father’s day when he was here.

Father’s day was different once I’d received a phone call that turned my world upside down, telling me that my dad was ill and that we’d have to rush up to the hospital (hundreds of miles away). I didn’t fully know what was going on, but I knew I had to organise and sort everything to be ready to drive up to the hospital in the morning. It’s pretty difficult to organise your life when it feels like the world’s spun on its axis and the ground’s dropped out from beneath you all at once.

Father’s day becomes different because all I can remember is my dad’s last father’s day  with  him in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).  All of us (I have siblings) bringing cards and wishing him a happy father’s day. I can’t tell you how heart-breaking that was being unable to know what he thought of his cards or if he could actually hear us.

Father’s day is different when I realise that I spent the whole lead up to that day 2 years ago (basically the whole of June) discovering that the man I thought was invincible and immortal (because everyone thinks their parents are immortal right) actually wasn’t.

Father’s day becomes different when I remember the days and nights I spent trying to sleep in an ICU waiting room or relatives room wondering if dad was ok whilst the rest of us slept. Terrified to go to sleep in case he wasn’t with us when I woke up. Begging for someone to sit with him whilst I slept so that he wasn’t alone if something did happen.

Father’s day is different when I remember that,  instead of spending those June days chatting to dad and planning our trip to Madrid, I was cancelling the trip and wondering if I’d be helping to plan a funeral instead.

Father’s day will be different when I go to text him that same “ happy father’s day” message and realise I can’t because he won’t respond anymore.

Father’s day will always be different when every sentence talking about that wonderful man has to start with “dad was …” and not “dad is …”.

I’m not sure where I was going with this blog post. But what I’m saying is: Beyond the brands “father’s day” emails and adverts and the bloggers “ father’s day gift guides”, there’s a different side,  a different feeling to father’s day for me and those like me who no longer have the man we call dad with us. And I think that should be talked about more.

Happy father’s day, dad. I love you and I’ll miss you forever

All my love

Ems

The Awesome Blogger Award

Another blogging award! This time I’d like to thank Emmagayle from Empowered for the nomination. First, I’ll outline the rules, then answer the questions I was asked before nominating 5 other bloggers for the award and asking 10 of my own questions!

Rules

Thank the person who nominated you

Tag the post with #AwesomeBloggerAward

Answer the questions you were asked

Nominate at least 5 bloggers and inform them of their nomination

Give them 10 new questions to answer

My Answers

What is your favourite post on your blog and why?

My favourite post would be my How to Lose Friends and Alienate People: Disability Edition post on the 5 things people say, and 5 they do, that get on my nerves as a disabled person. I feel like it put across my frustrations with those sayings/behaviours well enough without seeming like I was shaming people, and hopefully had an impact on how people interact with disabled people from now on.

What is your writing process and do you have any rituals for getting ready to write?

I have no rituals as such but I do have a writing process. Firstly, I’ll plan out the blog post by hand in the specific notebook I use. Then I’ll transfer that plan into a word document on one of the templates I’ve made  (either the general template, the access review template or the train travel template, depending on the blog post) then I’ll just fill in the words around my planning notes until I have a blog post.

What is one of your musical guilty pleasures?

That would probably be Taylor Swift. I have no explanation for why I listen to her music but she’s definitely the kind of artist I usually listen to, which I’m pretty certain means I can call her songs a guilty pleasure.

Who was your first celebrity crush?

Ah, that was either Justin Timberlake or Simon Webbe from the UK boyband Blue. I had a crush on both at around the same time I think.

What animal do you prefer – cats or dogs?

Dogs 100%, they’ve been part of my life my entire life as they were always our family pets.

Where do you like to write your blog posts?

In terms of blog planning, I prefer to plan out blog posts in coffee shops with my notebook and a coffee or two, although obviously not at the moment with the lockdown and pandemic situation. For actual writing, I prefer to write in my  bedroom at my desk, whether that’s in my university room or my bedroom at home

What is your favourite social media for blogging?

Definitely Twitter, I like the amount of interaction I can have with my audience and feel like I can show them more of me and my hobbies beyond blogging.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I don’t think so. I can do that thing where you roll your tongue up into a full circle from the sides if that counts?

When and where was your first holiday?

If we’re talking holiday abroad, the first one I remember was to Alcudia in Spain. I think I was 6 or 7 but I may have been older, I can’t really remember exactly. There may also have been an earlier holiday that I don’t remember.

What is your favourite hobby?

Those of you who have read my blog for a while or follow me on Twitter (particularly on Saturday nights) will probably know the answer to this. I love to watch Mixed Martial Arts, either on tv or live  in person at venues. I prefer watching in person as the live atmosphere is almost always incredible, but when I’ll get to experience that again, with the impact of the pandemic, I don’t know.

Nominations

Glen from glenparmenter.com

Alyvia from LifewithLyv

Madison & Rebecca from FosterFamTravels

Thomas from The Doubting Thomas Blog

Joey from Concealed Voices

My Questions

What is the explanation behind your blog name?

What is your main goal with blogging?

What skill would you like to learn?

What is your favourite film?

What city/country is top of your list to travel?

Who is/are your inspiration(s) when it comes to blogging?

What would you do if you could have your perfect day off?

Do you have a favourite sport? If yes, which one?

What is one inspirational quote or thing someone’s said to you that’s stuck with you?

If you could invite 5 celebrities or inspirational people to dinner, who would you pick?

*UPDATE

Sooooooooo this post needs an update because I’ve just received ANOTHER nomination for this award from the lovely Aleks at AJ’s Notes

My Answers to AJ’s Questions

What is your favourite song/album at the moment?

The album in my CD player at the moment is Without Fear by Dermot Kennedy, so I guess that’s my favourite album at the moment. But I also go through cycles of listening to a band’s entire discography on loop on Spotify for days, and at the moment those bands are Papa Roach & Simple Plan.

What is your favourite social media site/s? Why?

My favourite platform would have to be Twitter. I enjoy the interactions and the feeling of community, as well as the fact I can be part of a variety of communities from #WritingCommunity to #MMATwitter

Do you use your own photos in your blogs? Why or why not?,

Yes and no. I use my own photos for accessibility reviews and my other posts when I remember to take relevant photos, but I do forget a lot.

What are your favourite quotes? It could be inspirational or a line from a book/tv show/film.

That would be “The ones who love us never really leave us”, a line spoken by  Sirius Black in the  third Harry Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban. I’ve wanted it as part of a memorial tattoo for my grandad since I was like 15.

Do you believe in aliens?

No. I cannot fathom anything beyond our world that we currently inhabit, other than that we already know about.

Choose one: Conspiracy theories or True Crime stories?

True Crime Stories. Conspiracy theories always seem too far-fetched to be interesting to me.

If you were to choose one book/film genre to read for the rest of your life what would it be?

I would pick Mystery or Thriller, books where there is something to figure out throughout.

Have you ever been nominated in other blogging awards before? Which ones?

Yes, I’ve been nominated for many other awards.  Other than my previous nomination for this award, I’ve also been nominated for the Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award, the Ideal Inspiration Blogger Award, the Original Outstanding Blogger Award, the Golden Bloggerz Award, the Sunshine Bloggers Award, and the Blogger Recognition Award.

How do you stay on task?

I use to do lists because I get so much gratification from ticking off the things I’ve done, particularly when I have days where I don’t think I’ve done much. I also listen to music constantly to fill the “noise void” which has particularly key now that I am in lockdown alone.

When do you think the pandemic will end?

Hopefully soon, but I don’t foresee a return to life with no restrictions until AT LEAST 2022.

My Nominations II

Jess at Stuck In The Book

Sara at Vivid n Stylish

Hannah at Hannah’s Bookshelf

Ellie at Ticking The List

Alex at The VI Critic

My Questions II

This maaaay be a sneaky way out of thinking up new questions buuuuuuuuuttttttt, since I’ve gained a lot of new #BloggingCommunity friends since first time I was nominated for this award, my new nominees can just answer the questions I asked when I was originally nominated (see the “My Questions” section above  for those questions).

Thanks to Emmagayle and Aleks for nominating me, I hope this gives a little more insight into the Invincible Woman behind the blog and that those I’ve nominated enjoy answering my questions.

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award

Soooooooo I’ve been nominated for a Vincent Ehindero Blogger Award by the lovely Ashley from Blabbing Ash. First, I’ll set out the rules for the award, then I’ll answer Ashley’s questions, ask some questions of my own, and reveal my nominations for the award!

Rules

Thank the person who nominated you with a link to their blog.

Make a post of the award. (Using a photo with the logo.)

Post the rules.

Ask 5-10 questions of your choice.

Nominate 10-30 other bloggers (or more) and notify them.

Questions set by Ashley

What is the first thing you notice in a person?

The first thing I notice would be someone’s demeanour, whether they’re generally a happy person, someone who’s often sad, or someone who’s generally relaxed and laid back about everything. I usually  pick up on that pretty quickly and can get a general vibe from people.

What are some challenges you think the next generation will face because of our generation’s now actions?

I think the biggest struggle will be money. I don’t want to get political on this, and I know it’s not the entire generation’s fault that there are money struggles. However, it’s well noted that there are various places in the world in bad financial situations at the moment, with a lot of people struggling. I don’t want to come across as a “social justice warrior” type , but I really hope the situation changes and there are fewer people struggling for money in the world sooner rather than later.

What is something you could teach me that comes easiest to you?

I could teach you how to successfully drive an electric wheelchair. People that occasionally have to park my wheelchair for me usually find it quite difficult, but driving it has become second nature to me after all these years.

Coffee or Tea? Why?

I prefer coffee, mostly because I like the process and routine of making my morning coffee and the head space I think it gives me to think through what I have to complete in a day. It’s the whole romantic thought of drinking coffee in your kitchen in the morning while the world wakes up.

What is your favourite quote and why?

My favourite quote is “Those who love us never really leave us” from the third Harry Potter book The Prisoner of Azkaban.  I’m a big Harry Potter/ Sirius Black (the character who says that quote) fan and feel like that quote really encapsulates and helps me through my own experience with bereavement, which is something I’ve gone through a lot in recent years.

What is the most useful thing you own?

I would say my electric wheelchair as that’s my main mobility aid and the reason I can go on all these adventures I write about on the blog. However, I technically don’t own that, I just loan it. So if we’re going on something I actually OWN, I would say my rollator/walker thing as it’s  my second most used mobility aid and I actually OWN it.

Do you have a favourite comfort food? What is the recipe?

My favourite comfort food would be Mum’s homemade chicken pasta. I admit I don’t know the recipe to be able to recite it and I’ll have to ask her for it.

If you could have lunch with one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

It would be Corey Taylor, the singer from my favourite bands Stone Sour & Slipknot. He’s one of my idols in general and pretty much musical idol and I’d love to be able to explain to him the impact he and his music have had.

My Questions

What/where/who do you think of when I say the word “home”?

Who is your favourite music artist or band?

What is your proudest achievement in your blogging journey?

What is your proudest achievement in life in general?

Do you believe in regrets? If no, why not? And if yes, what’s your biggest regret

What is your favourite travel memory?

What is your main hobby?

Nominations

Shona from Shona Louise Blog

Carrie Ann from Carrie Ann Lightley Blog

Pippa from Life of Pippa

Alex from The VI Critic

Emma from Little Harto

Hope from The Hope Chronicles

Nikki from SpokenByHer

Claire from Short Girl Walking

Madison & Rebecca from Foster Fam Travels

Megan from Life in Postcards

I hope that this has given you some more insight into me and that the people I nominated enjoy answering my questions.

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Hidden Aspects of Travelling with a Disability (Collaboration with Alex Ramzan from The VI Critic)

FINALLY, a new blog post! This one’s on the hidden aspect of travelling with a disability from my viewpoint as a wheelchair user. And even more excitingly, it’s a collaboration with Alex Ramzan from The VI Critic, check out his post on travelling with a disability as a visually impaired person.

It’s Time Consuming

The first thing is that travelling as a wheelchair user is waaaaaaay more time consuming. And it’s time consuming in 2 ways, both before a trip and on the day of the trip. Before a trip, there’s a bunch of hoops to jump through, firstly, I have to check if the stations I want to travel through are wheelchair accessible, then I have to check if the trains I want to travel on are wheelchair accessible (because THAT’S not always a thing) then I can book my train tickets, then I have book assistance through a phone call with the train company I’m travelling with, THEN I’m finally set to travel.

On the day, I have to turn up AT LEAST 20 minutes before my train and wait in an assistance lounge, then I have to wait to be taken to train by a staff member, then I have to wait for a ramp to enable me to get on the train, then I have to sit on the train for however long, then I have to get to the other end and wait for another ramp to appear to enable me to get off the train. You see all that waiting? That’s TIME.

It’s Exhausting

Travelling as a wheelchair user is also exhausting. See point 1 about travel being time consuming, travel as a wheelchair user takes so much more time than it does as a non-disabled person, there’s a lot more hoops to jump through like I talked about above. And anything that takes more time also takes more energy. And so, travel as a disabled person takes so much more time and energy which makes it entirely EXHAUSTING.

I Travel Before I Travel

Another thing I’ve found is that I take the trip in my head before I take it in reality. There are a lot of “what ifs” when travelling as a wheelchair user: What if the lift at a train or tube station breaks down? What if the assistance doesn’t turn up to get me off the train or tube? What if I’m on the bus in London and the automatic ramp breaks and I can’t get off the bus? What if there is luggage in the wheelchair space on a train and I have to make an issue to get it moved?  I’m one of those people that focuses on the “what ifs”, but I feel like disability, and specifically travelling with a disability,  intensifies that, there’s a lot of extra “what ifs” that disabled people have to consider and find solutions for. So, I’m always taking a trip prior to actually going, because I’m constantly coming up with the “what ifs” and figuring out solutions before they happen so I don’t meet a situation where I’m stressed and lost on what to do next. And to draw back to point 2, that feeling and situation is FLIPPING EXHAUSTING!

It Makes Me Wary of People

I’ve also become very wary of people through my travels as a wheelchair user. I’m often on edge about how other people will react to me as a wheelchair user on public transport. Will they try to  “help” me and end up potentially doing more harm? Will they offer to carry my electric wheelchair off the train if the assistance doesn’t turn up? (Don’t do that it. It’s too heavy you’ll just hurt yourself and potentially break it), will they try and push my electric wheelchair (Don’t do that either, it won’t move and you’ll potentially break it) Or will people make accessibility issues seem like my fault? ( (Like asking “did you book?” when assistance doesn’t turn up to get me off a train). I’ve just become very wary of people and am much more likely to see the issues they may give me rather than the good they’ll do. And I’d really rather it not be that way.

Knowing the System like the Back of my Hand isn’t Cute, it’s a Necessity

I have also found that I almost HAVE to know everything  about accessibility when I travel, I have to know which are the accessible tube stations, which are the accessible train stations and how to get around in between stations if I cannot go directly to my destination using an accessible station, particularly when travelling across London.  I feel like I have to be like that because either a) no one else fully knows about accessibility enough and b) if they do, I’ve had enough wrong information about accessibility from other people that I’m not ever fully confident in others’ accessibility knowledge, and I’d rather not end up somewhere inaccessible.

So those are the hidden aspects of travelling with a disability, specifically from my viewpoint as a wheelchair user. Be sure to check out Alex’s post for his viewpoint on this issue as a visually impaired person.

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Travel Bucket List: Top 5 Longer Trips I Want To Take

Again, it seems odd to be writing about travel with half the world currently on lockdown from COVID – 19, but alongside my Top 5 Bucket Cities I Want to Visit post, I wanted to share 5 longer trips I’d also like to take (road trips or whole country visits rather than specific cities) So, here they are!

Interrailing

Those of you who know me personally or have been long time readers will know I spend a good amount of time on a train and love a good train ride, so interrailing seems like a nice extension of that and way to combine it with seeing the world (I could more than likely tick off a few of the bucket list cities this way). It would also be a good way to compare the accessibility of European railways to the variable experience I’ve had here in the UK. Plus falling asleep on a train out of one city and (intentionally) waking up in an entirely city (or country) sounds like magic to me.  I’d probably go to Paris first as it’s the easiest trip from London, then onto Madrid before finding a way to double back through various countries and get to Prague, or maybe I’d just interrail through Scandinavia specifically (Norway, Sweden and Denmark and maybe more) and make sure to visit Copenhagen, I’ve never imagined a set route so who knows!

Greek Islands Tour

Island tours just have a sense of something special about them for me, which is why this is next on the list. I guess that love for islands properly started on our Sicilian road trip, and since I’ve already been to Kos and Rhodes somewhat, a Greek Island hopping trip sounds like a good next plan. I always figured I’d just grab a plane to Athens and then spend a month or so (maybe less) hopping between different islands.

Ireland Road Trip

Next up is a road trip around Ireland (yes there’s a road trip/island hopping theme to these). Aoife and Ellie, 2/3 of the Invincible Women from whom this blog is named, did a road trip around Ireland not too long before we went to Sicily and I was slightly gutted not to get to go. So I’d like to get to see what the country has to offer, starting in Dublin of course, my #2 bucket list city

Balearics Road Trip

I spent many a childhood summer holiday in Mallorca, one of the Balearic islands, and found it to be wonderfully accessible, so it would be nice to explore the rest of the Balearic islands, both to see how they are as islands in their own right and to see how they compare in accessibility to Mallorca (and other places of course). Now of course I know there are many islands in the Balearics and it’s quite impossible to see them all in one whole trip, so I’d probably start by going to Mallorca, or maybe I’d start with one of the other islands I’m not too sure. Let me know if you have any specific recommendations!

Sri Lanka

Right, I’ll be honest here, this one’s on the list to prove a very specific point. There was a school expedition to Sri Lanka when I was in sixth form (so like 17/18 for those international readers who don’t know the UK school system) which I would have been interested to go on. However, the itinerary amongst other things made it seem like it wouldn’t be possible to adapt things to involve me in most activities, which has always irked me slightly. So, I’d like to go and explore Sri Lanka just to see how much of what I thought and was told was not accessible could become accessible with a little ingenuity and #InvincibleWoman thinking! I would probably most like to see Adam’s Peak and Sigiriya which I’m pretty sure were part of the original expedition itinerary, just to prove I may have been able to access them.

I hope this gives another little insight into where I plan to go when this is all over!

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Travel Bucket List: Top 5 Cities I Want To Visit

Now it may seem odd to be writing about travel with half the world currently on lockdown from COVID – 19, but this lockdown just has me thinking about all the places I’ll go when it’s all over. So, with that in mind, Here’s my Travel Bucket List of the top 5 cities I want to visit when this ends.

Prague

This idea came from my Dad who visited Prague a few years back, I believe he spent the Christmas/New Year period there. All I remember hearing about before he left and after he returned was him imploring me to go and repeatedly telling me how much it was something I NEEDED to see, and I knew it HAD to be good if he was suggesting it. His suggestion took on a different level of importance after he passed away. I remember him discussing the Old Town and Charles Bridge and how, even if I might struggle with the cobblestones in my wheelchair, it was an absolute must see! From all that, seeing sunset or sunrise at the Charles Bridge has become this moment of magic in my head and an absolute bucket list must do.

Dublin

Next up is Dublin. It definitely seems like a very vibrant place with plenty to visit and see, which is certainly my kind of “exploring” holiday vibe. Plus, given that Aoife herself is Irish, I may end up travelling with a “local guide” of sorts, which could lead to finding and exploring some hidden gems not found in travel guides. The only thing that could make any trip better would be being able to pair it with seeing an MMA show if I could coincide the two? OH what’s that I hear? UFC Dublin in August if COVID 19 eases by then?! I guess we have a potential date for a Dublin trip then.

Copenhagen

Now Copenhagen’s one of the places I should have already been. I was supposed to visit a friend who was studying there at the time a couple of years ago, but that trip was cancelled when my dad fell ill. So I kind of feel like I have unfinished business with Copenhagen even though my friend is no longer studying there, like I HAVE to go there to do the trip I had planned.

Madrid

Again, Madrid is one of those places I was supposed to have been already. I was booked to go with my dad, but we were supposed to fly right around the time he got ill so obviously that trip was cancelled. When he passed away, I promised him I’d do our trip someday, the visit to the Santiago Bernabéu (dad was a Real Madrid fan), eating so much tapas (including from the famous San Miguel market) and seeing what the place had to offer. So again it’s a sense of unfinished business with Madrid, completing a trip that was already planned and honouring my promise to my dad.

Paris

I know I know, what a cliché bucket list trip, but this is yet another instance of “I said I’d do it so now I’m going to”. All throughout my time living in London I talked to friends about how I’d love to be spontaneous, jump on an early morning Eurostar to Paris with a mate for a girly day, explore the French capital, and be home in time for supper. So that’s what I intend to do when this is all over.

I hope this gives a little insight into where I plan to go when this is all over!

Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)

Lockdown, COVID – 19 and Me: How this pandemic has the InvincibleWomanOnWheels feeling a little less invincible

It was sort of inevitable that I’d be writing about COVID – 19 and the lockdown, let’s face it it’s all anyone can think about right now. So here’s my take on COVID – 19, lockdown and how it’s affected my life.

So let’s start with the practical bits: The events I’d planned to attend have now been cancelled or postponed (fingers crossed this thing eases by October so the rescheduled Cage Warrior 114 card can go ahead and we can celebrate mine and my mum’s birthdays at the same time). My university is now closed with all lectures and exams online AND I’ve left Birmingham and moved back to the family home for the foreseeable future. While this might be a bit of an annoyance as I’m used to my own space and schedule having lived on my own for most of the last 5 years now, but I know it was the right decision. I’m 90% an introvert so staying inside is something I can do pretty easily by choice; I mean I spend most Saturday nights watching MMA by myself rather than clubbing or at a bar. But of course there is no choice in this situation and THAT’S the bit that’s going to be a struggle. Those of you who regularly read this blog will know I spend what feels like half my life on a train, but that isn’t possible right now, so the wanderlust is building up a fair bit right row. So I guess it’s just time to stockpile wanderlust in this lockdown and use it all up when I can.

Now on to the more specific bits: What does COVID – 19 mean for me in terms of my disability? Well I have cerebral palsy which according to the list below would make me somewhat high risk for the virus (but not shielding level high risk) and vulnerable which meant I should stay inside as much as possible. It didn’t specify if it was a specific type of cerebral palsy that would make people vulnerable but I chose not to take the risk and begin isolating/quarantining/whatever the appropriate word is. I have to admit that that scared me a fair bit. I’d never seen my disability as something that made me vulnerable or significantly affected my life before, it was just sort of this thing that existed as part of my life and meant I got a cool set of wheels. But seeing my condition on that list and knowing what that said about the effect this virus could have on me was a reminder that I wasn’t entirely invincible.

COVID 19

The really REALLY scary part about this is not the way it is impacting me, but the way it’s impacting my family. My mum’s autoimmune disorder means she’s at the highest risk if she gets COVID – 19 and has to shield for 12 weeks. I’d known it was coming after hearing that those with autoimmune conditions were high risk and knowing the condition she has, but hearing that she’d actually got the text about shielding still came as some weird kind of shock even though I knew it was coming. We don’t always get on 100%, we’re too similar for our own good and we both drive each other up the wall more often than not, but god do I love that woman. The thought of her getting this virus and potentially losing her, and losing both my parents in the space of 2 years, terrifies the entire life out of me. The reminder that the woman who made me invincible may not actually be as invincible herself as I always thought she was is an eye opening wake up call that I wasn’t expecting to affect me in quite the way it has.

PLEASE stay inside and observe social distancing so I can be close to my mum again and her and other high risk people (and everyone else) can safely leave their house at some point this year.

Stay Safe, Stay Inside, Wash Your Hands and Stay Invincible!

Em (Invincible Woman On Wheels)