In my blog “Can’t Fight Every Fight” I spoke about one of my long-term goals as being to setup and run holiday accommodation which is completely wheelchair accessible for people with disabilities and mobility restrictions. I started working on this in 2009 for a couple of years then gave up on it for various reasons. I’m back working on my ultimate dream because there is still an extreme lack of accessible properties in popular holiday destinations and I really believe that there is an extreme shortage.
The idea came about because it has always been a huge mission for me to go away whether it be for a week or just overnight. Whenever I make a booking for holiday accommodation my first question is, “Do you have a wheelchair accessible room?”. When I receive confirmation, my second question is along the lines of “Is there a grab rail beside the toilet or is there a lip / into the shower?”. By this time it’s common for conversation to end at this point and I’ve had to move on to enquire at the next place on my list.
Only a couple of years ago my brother and I went away for a few nights and I was assured that the place where we were staying was completely wheelchair accessible, there was even a showerchair. I made the booking for two adults, with one being in a wheelchair. When we were packing the car, we debated whether or not we should take my showerchair and luckily we had put it in just in case. As you can see from the photo below, there was not a showerchair, it was more like a toolbox or a step stool nor was there a horizontal grab rail in the shower. I would have had to return home if I had taken their word for it and thought there was a showerchair. If I was with anyone else other than my brother, I would’ve been forced to return home as he has the ability to throw me around.
For decades it has been a requirement by law that there be a wheelchair accessible option in most holiday accommodation. Unfortunately once the accessible units are built, they are then “adjusted” by the owners to make the units more aesthetically pleasing, by for instance removing some rails, but the unit is then not truly accessible. I believe that this is due to owners not seeing the importance of these basic necessities for people with disabilities and the lack of knowledge of this untapped growing market.
While this is a massive goal for me to achieve and I know I can, my biggest hurdle to conquer is the transition period between being in ‘The System’ and starting up the business. Over the years many Accountants have wanted to help me with my idea so much so that they’ve been on a pro bono basis. While this is extremely generous of them, unfortunately this has only resulted in me not being able to find the balance between being a client and being a pro bono case. As a result the progress has been very slow and often stalls. I am determined this time to see my dream become a reality, my dream of becoming financially independent and of providing holidays for people with disabilities.
I feel like I have come full circle and need to obtain backing from people to prove that I’m not the only one who finds it near impossible to go on a holiday. If you’re interested in my idea and helping me achieve my goal, please visit www.chooseabilityaccommodation.com.au and fill out the survey. Or tell me about your good / bad holiday experiences privately via the Contact Us link or publicly start a discussion on Facebook.