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10 Things You Learn When You Go Backpacking In A Wheelchair

Amy Oulton uses a wheelchair due to a connective tissue disorder. After a year-and-a-half of planning, she and her friend Steph backpacked through Asia, visiting Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Japan. Although her experiences would not necessarily hold true for other people who use wheelchairs, she shares some things she learned along the way, including some rather personal travel details.    

1. You can take a wheelchair just about anywhere…although you won’t always be in it.

I took my wheelchair places I never thought I could go, including wheeling into a river to wash an elephant with a tiny bucket. I found that often the only way to accommodate my wheelchair was to separate myself from it; I had to bum-shuffle into and around my chosen method of transportation. By bungee-cording my wheelchair to vehicles, I managed to travel on boats, tuk-tuks, and motorbikes. This did mean I spent most of the trip with a brown-stained bum and quickly realised the flashing hazards of the dresses I had brought.

2. Things can get really personal.

There’s nothing quite like your wheelchair being strapped to the roof of the Mekong boat you’ll be on for two days, weak legs and appalling stability even on steady land, a heavy flow, a Mooncup, a squat toilet, and no running water to bring you closer to the friend you’re travelling with.

Read the rest of Oulton's list and see pictures of the trip at Buzzfeed.

(Image credit: Amy Oulton)

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