Disability Travel in Japan and Taiwan

Author: Ananda

Tags: Asia, Heritage, Semi Finalist

I went to Japan and Taiwan with my mom, my step dad, my grandma, sister, uncle, aunt, and two cousins. My sister and I were both born with developmental disabilities but we have been traveling with our family since we were in baby slings, backpacks, strollers and now wheelchairs. When we travel, we look for places where we have family and friends who can help us while we travel. Most of our trips are local but once every few years, we take on a big adventure overseas.

SEMI-FINALIST 2015 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP

Long plane rides are hard on my legs and spine. I was pleasantly surprised that the flight attendants had an inflight wheelchair to get us to the bathroom during the long flight when we needed. The meals on the plane were also soft and easy to swallow. These things are important to people with my medical condition.

We had a really great tour guide in Japan. Mrs. Shinako helped us find ramps in front of museums, temples, palaces and arranged for hotels and restaurants. Train station staff took us to the back way to avoid the stairs. I especially like the multi-purpose room on the train where a couch can fold into a bed. I was able to get out of my wheelchair and gave my stiff back and legs a much needed stretch.

We met my father, step mom, my half sister, my grandma's sister in law and my mom's cousin in Taiwan. We took a tour of the north eastern coast in a nonwheelchair accessible medium size tour bus. My step dad, my dad and my uncle had to carry my sister and me in and out every stop along with our wheelchairs. We went on a paddle boat in Liyu lake, roll through caves where swallows and bats lived, ate traditional meals served by indigenous people in Tailuge and stayed overnight at Green Willow Village.

The best part of our trip was to celebrate my birthday at Fulong beach. This was the same beach where my mom and my aunt have visited many summers with my grandparents. We couldn't believe our eyes when the staff from the information office rolled out a brand new beach wheelchair for my sister and I to go in the water. The waves were big and the water much warmer than I'm used to in Southern California ocean. I caught wave after wave.

This was my first time visiting my mom's home town. People were very friendly and helpful to us. I want to visit again, especially Fulong beach.