Making Life & Travel Enjoyable for People with Limited Mobility Every Day!
Ciao, I'm Justin Skeesuck (pronounced ski-zuk), a bestselling author, speaker, and accessible travel and disability lifestyle coach from Eagle, Idaho.
You might know me as a co-subject of the award-winning documentary film and book, I'll Push You, where my best friend, Patrick Gray, pushed me 500-miles on the Camino de Santiago across northern Spain in a wheelchair.
Have you ever asked yourself:
- Is it even possible for me to travel with a disability?
- I've heard all of these horror stories from other people with disabilities and their travels. Will this happen to me?
- Will my wheelchair or scooter be damaged during flight? If so, what do I do?
- What if I reserve an accessible hotel room and it's not what they promised me when I get there?
- How do I find accessible transportation to get around?
- Where do I even start planning or finding accessible resources for my next trip, vacation, or holiday?
If so, you've come to the right place!
Whether you have traveled in the past or you're brand new to the idea of stepping out and traveling with limited mobility, I can help you.
My Journey: The Ups & Downs
I've loved traveling since I was a child.
My parents were educators and didn't have a ton of extra money. Still, every couple of summers, we would either go to California or Minnesota to visit my grandparents and cousins. (quick side note: it wasn't until I was about 10 years old when I took my first flight!)
At age 16, my life changed.
I was involved in an automobile accident that triggered a progressive neuromuscular disease in my body called Multifocal Acquired Motor Axonopathy, a disease very similar to Lou Gehrig's (ALS).
Ever since then, I've lived the spectrum of limited mobility: orthotic foot braces, walking canes/sticks, walkers, manual wheelchairs, and now I live every day in a power wheelchair.
From the moment I get up until the moment I go to bed at night, I require help in pretty much every aspect of my life — eating, going to the bathroom, showering, etc.
I have to admit, I've had some VERY hard days. There have been times I didn't want to keep moving forward. I have experienced periods of depression. Some days, I've even felt suicidal.
But for some reason, none of that has EVER stopped me from seeing and experiencing this beautiful world. Through it all, I've never stopped traveling.
In college, I took my first trip overseas to Sicily, Italy, and I was hooked!
There was something about it — meeting people from other countries and being embraced with open arms, even with a disability — learning from differing cultures, laughing with strangers turned friends, letting their story become a part of mine. It was life-changing.
So far, I've been all across the United States, Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico, South America, the Caribbean, and Europe multiple times — all in a wheelchair!
A Grand Experiment In Accessible Travel
In 2013, my wife and I decided to rent out our house in San Diego, California, pack up our three kids (Jaden 9, Noah 7, and Lauren 4), and move to Lucca, Italy, in the northwest corner of Tuscany for a few months.
Even though Italy isn't exactly disability-friendly, I could talk for hours about all the amazing experiences I had while living there.
I describe it as a grand experiment in accessible travel because I typically plan EVERYTHING, but in this case, I figured out where we were going to stay, and that was about it! Once we got there, I wanted to see how I could survive by winging it.
It was absolutely terrifying… but, I survived.
Not only survived but thrived. This experience had me looking for the next adventure — one where I could push myself even further.
500 Miles, Two Best Friends, And One Wheelchair
Shortly after my return from Italy, my best friend, Patrick and I set out to conquer the impossible: walk/roll 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage across northern Spain.
At the time, no one had completed the 500 miles in a wheelchair. I was bound and determined to make it from Southern France to Spain.
It was by far the hardest thing I've done in my life. The pilgrimage was incredibly difficult as there were virtually NO accessible bathrooms, hotel rooms, etc. on the entire 35-day journey. We had to figure things out each day.
Our experience in Spain has led to us traveling all around the US and internationally, sharing our story live with hundreds of thousands of people. This journey has even led to national and worldwide media, our bestselling book, award-winning movie, and more.
Taking The First Step…
Now, I'm not telling you my story to brag — far from it.
I simply want you to know that WE ARE CAPABLE OF SO MUCH MORE than we think!
It takes courage to step out and have faith in ourselves when facing something that scares us.
You need to believe in yourself and believe that you can do it.
Listen, I know first-hand that traveling with a disability is not perfect.
And just so we're clear… traveling, in general, is never perfect. EVERYONE has challenges. It's just that OUR challenges are exponentially more difficult because of our circumstances.
All you need to do is take that first step.
I've learned from my mistakes, and I've learned from others as well. And I want to HELP YOU learn from my experiences, SO YOU DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES!
Honestly, I'm most excited about accessible travel because the world is becoming more accessible!
There is a new trend happening. Businesses and organizations worldwide are taking steps to help make people from the disabled community feel welcome. Now, for the world to be truly accessible, it'll take a while, so please be patient; these things take time.
Does it have a long way to go? Yes. But it is getting so much better!
The world is ready for YOU, and
I want YOU to get out there and experience it.
But, if you need help figuring that out, you're in the right place! Let me show you all that I've learned in my 25+ years of traveling with limited mobility.
It might've taken me years to get here, but you can actually get started a lot faster than I did.
In fact, I want to help you right now from the comfort of your own home…
Ready to start? Let's go!
Ready to learn how to travel with limited mobility from the comfort of your own home?
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