The Disabled Traveler Gets Ready for his Next Adventure

 

Caters News Agency picture
Caters News Agency picture

Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Grey are truly inspirational. Best friends, they have decided to be the first people to conquer the 500 mile trip between France and Spain using a non-motorized wheelchair. Hailing from Idaho, they will be the first to attempt the “French Way” route across the Pyrenees towards the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in Galicia.

They both believe that life is about facing challenges and they are ready for this one. Justin, known as the “Disabled Traveler” on his blog, teaches other people with disabilities how to travel the world.

As they said, ‘Our aim is to help others realize that life is too short and anyone really can achieve their own dreams if they just make that first move.’

Justin was finally diagnosed with Multifocal Acquired Motor Axonopathy (MAMA), a rare progressive autoimmune/neuromuscular disease which selectively targets muscles throughout the body and causes them to stop functioning.

Ostrovok for Your Summer Travel Plans

travelsSummer has arrived and that means that more people are traveling and making hotel reservations.

If you’re Russian and looking for the best hotel options in over 200 countries – Ostrovok.ru is the place to look. The recent hotel booking app allows Russian speakers to look at over 135,000 hotels and it promises that within two minutes users will find a hotel, select a room and book with their credit card. The company hopes to become a combination of Hotels.com, Priceline and Booking.com and expand from the Russian market to surrounding areas.

Ostrovok.ru just announced that they completed a $12 million Series C round of financing led by Vaizra Capital with Vyacheslav Mirilashvili and Lev Leviev. As part of this financing deal, Fritz Demopoulos, an early investor in Ostrovok and co-founder of Qunar, became part of the company’s board of directors.

The app, backed by Russian and Silicon Valley technology investors like Yuri Milner, Accel Partners, Esther Dyson and Lev Leviev, can be downloaded for free and it features a hotel search around the user by selected destination. They have 24/7 user support in Russian and English. They also have hotel ratings based on guest reviews.

Ostrovok has over $50 million in funding to date and is certainly worth watching as an up and coming company.

Travel in Style…to a Treehouse

treehouseIf you’ve always wanted to get away from it all up in a tree, now is your chance. Nick and Tara Culverhouse were trying to figure out how to preserve a tree that is on the grounds of their 200 year old hotel. And they have done so by turning it into its own little hotel.

The house has a master bedroom on the top floor, a room for two kids with bunk beds and a sitting room on the main floor and a full kitchen and bathroom.

Staying in this tree house won’t be a cheap holiday, as the unique location on the grounds of the Fox and Hounds Country Hotel in Eggesford, Devon starts at £245 a night.

Irish Trio Taking On the World

irishHere’s one way to promote your country – dance your way around the world. This is the idea that three guys from Ireland had, setting off from their native country to travel around the world promoting all things Irish. And they did so through dance.

Iain McNamara, Chris McGrath and Kevin Cobbe, all 26, danced their way through 22 countries in the course of a year. Called The Wirld, they started in March of 2013 with a world ticket, a limited budget and an all-weather camera.

They visited schools, universities, businesses and private homes with the goal of spreading the word about Ireland.

As Iain said, “Apart from Australia, New Zealand and the UK most people were generally confused but very supportive and we had a few round of applause.”

They are encouraging people to share their dancing videos and to build interest in Ireland in this way. As they explain on their blog, “Created in 2013, The Wirld is an organization formed by three Irish men with the objective of promoting our small nation abroad. But we are a little different…Unlike government agencies, our target market is not just businesses abroad, but the leaders of tomorrow. We hope that some unadulterated fun and mischief can do what these agencies are unable to. We want to Instil Irishness across the world.”

Learn more about them and their mission at Thewirld.org.

Adventurers: Mike Libecki, John Castle and Others

mike-libecki
Mike Libecki

Adventurers are people who partake in exciting or unusual experiences with uncertain outcomes. Generally bold and potentially dangerous, adventurous activities include skydiving, mountain climbing and extreme sports.

National Geographic recently released its annual Adventurers of the Year photo gallery. Top explorer Mike Libecki reflected on his adventures in Greenland, Afghanistan, Antarctica and many other locations in an interview with the magazine. He explained that he climbed icebergs in east Greenland- an incredibly dangerous feat.

“The excitement of this kind of climbing- I have done it a lot- is incredible. Icebergs are challenging because of the ice condition/quality,” Libecki said. “These moments never leave me; they are such an incredible, joyous feeling.”

He added, “The main components of my trips are remote, untouched, unexplored mystery. An adventure for me can’t be an adventure unless there is mystery, unless there is an unknown, something that hasn’t been done before.”

You don’t have to travel far to find adventure. In fact, many Americans have accomplished amazing things right here in the U.S. John Castle, Castle Harlan chairman and CEO, recreated the entire Lewis and Clark expedition on his own, traveling from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean in a 15-foot dinghy. The journey covered 3,100 miles. Mr. Castle later completed the river trip across the entire United States in a small inflatable boat.

“I went from New York Harbor the Pacific Ocean by starting out repeating what Lewis and Clark did- coming down the Missoura River to St. Louis and then I did the Columbia part of it, going through Washington and Oregon,” John Castle explained. “And then having done that, I said, ‘I might as well do the rest of the United States,’ so  left the New York Harbor, went up the Hudson River, across the Erie Canal, across the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, and up the Mississippi, completing the trip across the United States.”

It’s a Plane, It’s a Car…No, It’s a Train

When traveling around Europe (or many other locations for that matter) people most often think about using a plane. What they don’t realize, however, is that traveling by train might actually be a better option for them. Here’s why:

  1. Check in times are much more complicated for a flight than they are for a train. If you think about the length of the journey, and add in check in times, baggage hassles and waiting time, you might just see that the train gets you there faster.
  2. You can bring more baggage. Remember, when you take the train, that there is no limit to your baggage. This is a big plus for many people, particularly today when they appear to be charging for every item you try to bring on the plane.
  3. Lines: There are much shorter lines when you take the train and security is nothing like it is with a flight.
  4. The seats are infinitely more comfortable on the train – and you can get up and walk around. Enjoy a snack in the buffet cars and walk the length of the train, as you desire. And when you’re ready to relax, you’ll find a far more comfortable seat than the one on the plane.

Find more information about trains around Europe with raileurope.co.uk, eurostar.com and Seat61.com