Travelling blind

How a blind person travels.

It was the height of summer and I was half way across Canada, a magnificent country that more resembled a continent. My next challenge was to cross the remainder of this great land, explore its complement of mountains, parks and wildlife and, if possible, reach Alaska before the weather changed for the worst.

I was particularly happy now that I was re-united with my backpack. After an hour’s journey, I crossed into the Mid-West province of Manitoba, with its lakes and flat land. I changed my watch by one hour to Central Standard Time. At the Winnipeg Backpackers, I was met by the owner who welcomed me with somewhat of a surprised and anxious attitude. He had not expected a blind visitor. Nevertheless, I soon put him at ease stating that I was an experienced traveller and was very independent. The hostel was an old house with many stairs and a tiny wooden porch.

Initially, I was shown upstairs, but it was later suggested that the basement might be easier. I said, “at least down there, I would have a good mountain view!” After that remark, we got on famously. Winnipeg is a quiet mid-western town with little to do except walk by the rivers or visit the large historical museum. The weather was, once again, hot and the mossies were out in force. I went in search of a food store, and made dinner after re-locating the hostel. I asked for directions to the store and walked until I came upon a crossroads, then by using my alert hearing I waited until it was clear and crossed to the other side. All I had to do then was locate the store, which was hidden deep within a car park. I waited until someone passed by and got them to show me the way.

I asked a shop assistant for my goods, then retraced my steps. I counted the small roads I had crossed and when I felt I was near the hostel, I began searching for a path. This is how I do the majority of my travelling.

Taken from

Chapter 9 of second book

Seeing The Americas My Way


Tony Giles


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