Going away on holiday when you’re blind can be a mixed blessing.
Sure, it’s great to escape the daily grind of work and chores for a week or two; but I seldom find it relaxing.
At home I’m on familiar ground. I know where everything is. And if I want to go out, to the shops or the climbing wall, I can do so independently.
On holiday I’m always reliant on someone else. Whether it’s finding the coffee or working the microwave; or being escorted everywhere in case I get lost; my lack of independence is dis-spiriting.
Then there’s sightseeing! I know, it goes with the exploring new territory part of a holiday. And I don’t expect others to forego the pleasure on my account. But the constant refrain of ‘ooh, look at this’ and ‘ah, isn’t that beautiful’ does get irritating when you can’t see the objects being ogled.
So I’ll often stay behind and listen to an audiobook instead. Which is okay…except that all rest and no play makes me intolerable. I need my daily dose of exercise. Without it I go stir crazy. So thank goodness for The Isle of Wight.
With its own association for the blind, the island takes accessibility seriously. Which means there are plenty of activities to keep me busy.
Unfortunately climbing The Needles isn’t an option – at least not on my family holiday. The aim is to find something we can all enjoy doing together.
This year – our eighth – Kate, the kids and I went off the beaten track and explored the island by bike. Thanks to a wonderful charity called Charlotte’s Tandems, we had free hire of a bicycle made for two.
And with Kate steering and me pedalling hard behind, the kids quickly discovered that their parents aren’t so decrepit after all.
A few days later we were riding the waves. With me and an instructor in a two-man kayak and Kate and the kids in singles, we were all able to enjoy paddling at our own pace.
After all that fresh air and fun I was quite happy to stay behind and do my own thing when the others did go sightseeing. And we all returned to London relaxed, refreshed and without feeling my blindness had been an issue at all.
So no prizes for guessing our holiday destination next year!