A Wheel and Away is not a big organisation with massive overheads and years of business experience. It is a simple concept, the product of a love of travel and a belief that disability does not have to be a barrier to that.
A Wheel and Away is me and my family. My name is Cheryl. I am a mum of two young people, aged twenty and sixteen. I have always been passionate about travel and have permanently itchy feet. I partly blame it on the Willard Price books I devoured as a child, but that’s another story!
When I met my husband and prior to having our children, holidays consisted of booking a flight, putting rucksacks on our backs and making up the rest as we went along. As a result, we stayed in many places that varied from amazing gems to those slightly less salubrious! But the overall experience was always one to treasure and left us with fantastic memories.
When our children were born, my husband and I shared the same outlook – we both felt very strongly that one of the best things we could do for them was to give them the opportunity to experience as much of our world as possible through independent travel and adventure.
Then, when she was two and a half, our daughter was diagnosed with a genetic neuromuscular condition which meant that walking any distance became very difficult and she needed to use a walking frame to help her. It was an incredibly difficult time, but we were fortunate to have a lot of support from those around us. Eighteen months later, at the age of eight weeks old, it was discovered that our son shared the same condition.
Our children have had to cope with a lot, but every day they make us very proud in the way they deal with things. Their strength has made us even more determined that they should not have to miss out on anything, simply because they need to use a wheelchair. It just means that we sometimes have to find a different route to the same destination, both actually and metaphorically.
For this to happen, I sometimes spend hours researching online and in doing so have found a lack of information specifically dedicated to travelling with any sort of disability. This is heightened further when travelling as a family group! There are some knowledgeable and exciting bloggers who constantly make us look at what else is possible. There are some fantastic and experienced companies offering accessible travel options, but for the independent traveller who likes a bit more freedom, there is often a lot of time involved in pulling together everything you need to make your trip a reality.
A Wheel and Away is my attempt to make this easier. It does not have any illusions of grandeur and is a very long way from pretending to be all things to all people. But it is for anyone who dreams of seeing the world under their own steam (or on their own wheels!) but is not sure how to go about it. It offers the chance to research destinations, find places to stay, things to see and put together your own accessible trip. But most of all it allows you to connect with like-minded people and share experiences, both the good and the less so.