This is how it happens. One day, you suddenly realise that deciding to go in a particular direction, if you are a wheelchair user, is not simply a question of movement. Going in one direction is a leap in the dark. This moment has arrived for me as well: I chose where to go and I decided to take my driving test, to gain more independence and add an extra four wheels to my wheelchair.
It was not a decision taken lightly. It meant leaving my comfort zone, where there is always some-one else on hand to accompany you and push your wheelchair. But I decided to take the plunge and open a new chapter in my life. So, while I try to learn who has to give way at an intersection and make as few mistakes as possible in the quizzes, I will switch on the indicators and tell you what I am doing with “Pepitosa in carrozza”.
Taking a driving test for someone with shapes and measurements like mine is like running a mara-thon on your knees. It is hard physical and mental work, in terms of both the bureaucracy and the expense involved in taking the eligibility check-ups and hiring the car to drive.
I want this independence to be within everyone’s reach, which is why I have planned a communi-cation project that could be useful for many people. It is an idea in the making, a journey in stages, and above all a publishing project.
I am a traveller not only because I move on wheels and it is easy to move around, but because I love to travel, to see new places and tell you about them.
Obviously, someone who is not totally independent has to plan their movements carefully and I discovered that there is not one single place on the Internet or on paper that provides all the in-formation needed to avoid unpleasant surprises in terms of barriers or obstacles of any type.
With “Pepitosa in carrozza”, I aim to create a new form of accessible tourism online and offline. The key factor is the car, normal in appearance, but futuristic inside, which allows me to drive and to go up and down while remaining seated in my motorised wheelchair.
I will reach my destination with the car, which will be the control room for photographs and live broadcasts, open to interaction with anyone who wants to join me in this endeavour. I will travel with people and personalities with whom I intend to give a new meaning to the term “accessible”, in physical, mental and social terms, and overcoming a few taboos if I can.
On my return, coming home after my journey, I will use this valuable experience to write city guides, considering itineraries, hotels, restaurants, transport and cultural events, describing them in detail and giving them a “with wheels” grading.
To make this all possible, I decided to open a crowdfunding page. Collection started on 15 June and will continue for 40 days. Will you help me?
Independence is a right, not a gift.