Newspaper interview for Odense Paper in Denmark.

Translated from the original newspaper article in Danish language by Google Translate. 43-year-old Tony Giles from England and his Greek girlfriend Tatiana visited Odense this weekend, where the author of this article took them around HC Andersen’s House. It became an educational morning for everyone. 26 Sep. 2021 at 09:00 Simon Staun Odense: I would otherwise have sworn that I would never use the HC Andersen phrase “To travel is to live” again. But in the case of Tony Giles, it is impossible not to dust off the cliché. The 43-year-old Briton is 100 percent blind and 80 percent deaf, yet has managed to visit an impressive 125 countries. For him, travel is both about living and staying alive. Many blind people spend most of their lives on a couch or in bed. My mission is, among other things, to show that you can easily travel, even if you are blind and almost deaf. It’s about using his other senses instead. That is why it is absolutely fantastic to be able to feel statues and busts of HC Andersen, says Tony Giles, who was born in Weston-super-Mare near Bristol.
He was born with a visual impairment that made him almost blind. As a child, he could see black letters on white paper if the letters were 4-5 inches. This meant that he both learned to read and get a feel for many forms and things before completely losing sight as a 10-year-old. He finished elementary school at a school with other blind children. 2/5 – Waaaaauw, is it really the door to his birth home, Tony Giles exclaimed when he and his girlfriend Tatiana felt most of the facade of Hans Christian Andersen’s birth home. Photo: Simon Staun – I went to a class where we were only three students in math classes. This meant that the teachers had much better time for the individual student. Therefore, I was able to read on, so I actually studied American studies at the University of Northampton before moving to the United States to study in South Carolina, says Tony Giles, who hears fine with the help of his hearing aids. However, he ended up partying more than he studied, and in the following years he began to travel more and more around the world. However, he had to stay calm when he had a kidney transplant 13 years ago. – I had travelled almost nonstop for six or seven years when I got a new kidney. At that time, I had probably visited 50 countries. When I was healthy enough to fly, I started traveling again. Among other places to Greece, where I met Tatiana. She had read some of my travelogues and invited me to dinner. It was the first time in my life that a woman paid for me, says Tony Giles and laughs. He does not mind me holding her hand while I guide them around the museum. In fact, it is a necessity. For them quite common, but for me extremely borderline the first 10 minutes. Forced to trust others The couple is especially fond of the many statues and busts of Hans Christian Andersen in the mirror room. They feel and comment on everything from his nose to the hairstyle and attire. They spend several minutes on each of the statues they can reach on the mirror podiums. The nightingale and the many mattresses from the fairy tale about the princess on the pea are also a success, because they can feel the nightingale’s cage and the fabric on the different mattresses. 3/5 Tony Giles and Tatiana did not know the fairy tale about the princess on the pea, but promised that they would read it after the visit to Hans Christian Andersen’s House. Photo: Simon Staun While we find the stairs up to the reception, the couple says that as a blind person you are forced to trust your fellow human beings. Tony and Tatiana need help crossing roads, help ordering food, help finding their seats on a bus, and help raising money. – You have to have an enormous trust in your fellow human beings as a blind person. We need help withdrawing money when we are outside the UK, so you have to hand over your debit card and code to a stranger. (inserted text from Tony: I never actually give anyone my debit card or pin code). I have actually never seen anyone run away with my card, but it was close to a single time in Senegal, says Tony Giles. When we walk around together, we especially use our sense of hearing and sense of touch to sense the spaces, while you make great use of your sight. When we combine all our senses, I think we create a more holistic picture of what it is we are experiencing TONY GILES, BLIND TRAVELLER He has once been close to losing his passport when he took off his belt bag on a train in South Africa when he was going to the toilet. A conductor returned the bag with the passport in, but without cash. – There was only the equivalent of 300-400 kroner. It was not a disaster. I’ve actually been spared many of the kinds of mishaps that most travellers encounter, says Tony Giles. He acknowledges that trusting complete strangers may seem naive. But the reward is palpable. – If you trust your fellow human beings, you often end up making new friends and unexpected experiences. It also has the side effect that sighted people may gain a greater insight into life as a blind person. And become a little less prejudiced towards the disabled. Love waterfalls The highlight for Tony and Tatiana is Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace and memorial hall, which makes them sing to feel the acoustics. – It sounds like a cathedral. I would guess that the room is about 20 feet wide, says Tony Giles. I tell them what all the paintings represent and mention as many years as I can think of. A few times Tony corrects me. – It was not in 1865 that he became the first honorary citizen in Odense. It was 1867, says Tony Giles, who to that extent has control over the year, number and everything from street names to names of parks and statues in the city. 4/5 After the visit to HC Andersen’s House, Tatiana and Tony Giles would like to pass the Radisson Blu HC Andersen Hotel with the large statue at the main entrance. Photo: Simon Staun Although the visit to Odense and the museum has long been on the wish list, it is not quite at the top of Tony Giles’ list. One thing he loves above all else: waterfalls. – I have visited the world’s four largest waterfalls. Iguazu in Argentina and Brazil, Angel Falls in Venezuela, Niagara Falls between the USA and Canada and Victoria Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Standing at the foot or above a roaring waterfall and feeling the water on your face is the best I know. The energy is enormous and you can really feel the forces of nature when all the senses are stimulated, says Tony Giles. Most things are possible As a sighted person, it is an eye opener of the rank of following a blind couple around a museum. How do you describe the spaces, the architecture, the effects and the materials? – When we walk around together, we especially use our sense of hearing and sense of touch to sense the spaces, while you greatly use your sight. When we combine all our senses, I think we create a more cohesive picture of what it is we are experiencing, says Tony Giles. 5/5 Tony Giles lives in Birmingham, England (inserted text by Tony: I actually live in Devon, England), , while Tatiana lives in Athens, Greece. Photo: Simon Staun He not only has a goal of visiting all the countries of the world. He has set himself the goal of visiting the 60 largest uninhabited islands in Denmark and the same in Greece. – My hope is that I can inspire others with disabilities to throw themselves into things that may seem unmanageable. For a blind person, making a cup of coffee or shopping can be a big challenge. If I can motivate them by showing that you can do more than you think, it would mean a lot. Most things are possible if you believe in yourself. Read more about Tony Giles Tony Giles has written the two travel books: “Seeing The Americas My Way” and “Seeing The World My Way” Website: Facebook: YouTube:
— Tony Giles blind solo traveller and public speaker. Author of new eBook: Seeing a Slice of Southern Africa My Way ISBN 9781839781544 I’m Fund raising for Galloway’s Society for the Blind, a charity that supports blind and visually impaired people throughout the northwest of England. my challenge: to raise £3,850 or more. Half for Galloway’s to support their fine work and half to send me to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru in April or October 2022 and show what blind people can do. My Go fund me page:

New travels!

Hi everyone. Had a nice, relaxing weekend. Now about to head off north, well, northeast to be exact! Tomorrow afternoon I’m travelling by train all the way to Kingston Upon Hull, in the far northeast of England. East Yorkshire in fact. and the Hull and Humber rivers. Why? To do a little exploring and stay in a delightful, independent hostel. Oh, and yes, for a base to travel to Leeds on Wednesday, for day one of the third cricket test match between England and India. India won a dramatic match at Lords in London to win on the final afternoon as England experienced yet another batting collapse! Nothing new, I’m afraid. Hopefully the match at Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, will have a better outcome. However, I will only experience the first day, as I’m off down to London on the Wednesday evening before flying to sunny Athens, Greece Thursday lunchtime to be with my beloved Tatiana :). Happy days everyone. Keep following. Cheers. More photos from Devon and Cornwall coming soon. Stay safe, thanks, Tony :).
— Tony Giles blind solo traveller and public speaker. Author of new eBook: Seeing a Slice of Southern Africa My Way ISBN 9781839781544 I’m Fund raising for Galloway’s Society for the Blind, a charity that supports blind and visually impaired people throughout the northwest of England. my challenge: to raise £3,850 or more. Half for Galloway’s to support their fine work and half to send me to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru in April or October 2022 and show what blind people can do. My Go fund me page: Author of eBooks:
*Seeing The Americas My Way* An emotional journey (2016) Available from Amazon – Kobo –
*Seeing The World My Way* A totally blind and partially deaf guy’s global adventures (2010, repub 2016) The first eBook in the trilogy. Second edition is available from all Ebook sites. Amazon –
Website: Facebook: YouTube:

A fund raising plea!

Hi dear friends and followers: I hope your weekend went well. I had a fantastic one. Attended the 3rd, 4th and 5th and final day of the cricket test match at Lords, in North London, between England and India. Sadly and frustratingly, India won! :). But it was a close match until midday on the Monday, then England let it slip! Really though, India are simply a better team at present :). I met some lovely people though, who helped me around the ground, escorted me to the toilet, helped me get tea and food, and chatted with me at quiet moments during the game. I love my cricket :). Please pay attention to the following info. Have a great week. Stay safe, thanks, Tony :).
My story I’m Tony Giles from southwest England. I’m totally blind and severely deaf in both ears. I’ve been battling against obstacles all my life! I’m about to embark upon my biggest challenge to date- hike the famous Inca Trail of Machu Picchu in Peru! Four days of serious hiking at altitude! My reason for undertaking this? Not only because it is a magnificent adventure and test of my own body and fitness, but more importantly, to raise money for Galloway’s Society for the Blind. A charity based in Preston, England, helping and supporting blind and visually impaired people throughout the Lancashire region to live their lives as independently as possible.
Please could you help me reach my goal of £3,850? One half will go to Galloway’s so they can continue their great community work of supporting blind and visually impaired people, whilst the other half is to fund my trip to Machu Picchu, the hike and challenge of a lifetime. My go fund me page:

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to over 140 countries alone and visit all seven world continents, despite being totally blind and severely deaf. By hiking the famous Inca Trail of Peru I want to further illustrate and highlight that people can take on challenges and achieve their goals despite living with disabilities.
Living with sight loss is not easy; people often become isolated and cut off from society, lose contact with friends and family members. Can find it difficult to be accepted by society and often struggle to adapt to an ever changing world. That’s why supporting me and helping me raise money for Galloway’s is so important.
They need to raise £1 million annually to survive as a charity and continue their amazing work.
So please give as much as you can and help me achieve both my goals of raising money for Galloway’s Society For The Blind and helping me get to Peru and hiking to Machu Picchu. I thank you all in advance. Every pence/cent counts :).
You can read more about me and my travels at:
If you wish to learn more about Galloway’s Society for the Blind and their amazing work visit:
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Event Personal Challenge Date 10 April or early October 2022 Charity Galloway’s Society for the Blind

An Interesting Time

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well and keeping busy. I’ve been busy this last 10 days or so! On Friday 23rd July, my love, Tatiana, and I headed to Weston-super-Mare in Somerset for the weekend to stay with my parents. Normally a straightforward journey! However, this one turned out to be problematic! Upon arrival at Taunton, our train to Worle, a suburb village of Weston was delayed and then subsequently canceled. So we had an hour or more to wait for another train. One eventually arrived and rail assistance staff put us on the train. We were told that this train wouldn’t be stopping in Worle, so I phoned my mum to request we be met at Weston train station instead. However, 5 mins after contacting my mum, the train manager informed me that the train would now be calling at Worle after all! What a mess. Upon arrival into Weston-super-Mare, platform staff were unsure on which platform we’d arrive on as all the electric notice boards were in correct and the station staff had no clue what was happening! My mum eventually found us and all was resolved! On Saturday we headed to the Isle of Portland, as it’s called. Not really an island as it’s linked by a causeway that can be walked at low tide. It was a long car journey across Somerset’s country roads. Once in Portland, a famous former port for the Royal Navy, we visited and explored the old Portland Castle, built on the order of King Henry VIII in the 1540s to repell possible attacks by the French from across the English channel. Although the fort or castle had several large cannon, they only saw action once, during the English Civil War, (1642-1649). The castle was later converted into a private property. It eventually fell into the hands of England Heritage who returned it to its original look as a Tudor defencive fort. We moved onto Portland Bill Lighthouse and it’s interactive centre. Unfortunately, the Lighthouse still wasn’t open for climbing at the time of our visit. It maybe open now. The visitor centre was interesting. Lots of written info on the history of Portland Bill Lighthouse, from its early beginnings to its present-day usage under automatic power. Our last stop, late in the day, was near Dorchester, Dorset’s county town, to visit the Iron Age fortified mound of Maiden Castle. This was a Celtic settlement erected before the invasion of the Roman army in 43 AD. My step-dad and I had a brief, fast, steep hike up the grassy embankments to see what could be discover – a series of high never-ending grass-soil embankments and valleys. Hi up on a large hill it was heavily defended by earth walls and ditches. The Roman’s imagined after climbing up 40 feet (12 metres) of steep banks, they’d find the enemy in hiding. However, the Romans were met by more high and steep earthen fortifications. The Celtic tribes were simply waiting to pick off any attackers at random. It’s Britain’s largest Iron Age fortification and seems to stretch for miles/kilometres in a series of earthen mud banks, one hill after another. On Sunday, 25th July, my parents drove us over the boarder into Wales to visit St. Faggans; a national park housing many different reconstructed heritage buildings from all over Wales. A fascinating day out for both my girlfriend and I. We were able to enter buildings and houses from the various ages of Welsh history and culture and learn how peopled lived in the mid-late 19th century and early-mid 20th century. We walked around the walls of a pig sty, entered an old, late 19th century school classroom, a 1950s-1960s working men’s gaming room and entered several old-fashion homes. We were able to touch wooden furniture and had described the layout of several different houses as they moved forwards through the decades, increasing in modernity as we went. A fascinating day out. On the Monday we headed to the Somerset village of Cheddar to hear the raging water in the Cheddar Gorge before experiencing cheese tasting, a delicious experience. Later we drove to Well, England’s smallest City. Although Wells has the feel and population of a small town or large village, it’s classified as a City in the UK because it has a cathedral. and an old one at that. It dates to at least the 11th century and maybe even older. Many people visit Wells to witness the famous swans ring the bell and be fed. On the Tuesday, Tatiana and I returned to Teignmouth, this time with no train problems. The following day we took the long train journey, nearly 3 hours, to Penzance – the westernmost town in England. In Penzance, a town we’ve visited before, we had rail staff cross us over the road to the nearby bus station. We asked about buses to the small hamlet of Cripplease, a 30-minute to 1-hour bus journey through small and narrow country lanes. Our destination was the old pub and guesthouse called The Engine Inn. A interesting historic place almost half way between Penzance and St. Ives. We were staying there for one night to go to see/hear a show at the famous open-air Minack Theatre. Though Cripplease wasn’t exactly near the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno, it was the only reasonably inexpensive accommodation I could find in West Cornwall at short notice! We could have reach the Minack via two buses, but what with all the hassle of changing buses and waiting times then having a 10-minute or more walk to the actual theatre, we thought it prudent to take a taxi each way. It cost £80 in total, but was the easiest way to get there and back. Experiencing a live show at the outdoor venue of the famous Minack Theatre was thrilling. I’d organised audio descriptive commentary and it was fantastic. The performers were excellent and gave a modern twist on William Shakespeare’s The Winter Tail, the second half of the show turned into a 1980s musical and the audience joined in! We stat on the rough grassy terracing and experienced all the natural elements of the theatre, the fantastic acoustics, the hard rough rocks surrounding us and the chilling wind that cut through the exposed theatre in the second half. What an experience. We had a relatively quiet day on the Thursday and basically travelled to our next accommodation at the Penryn Campus of Cornwall University near Falmouth. Again, this place was chosen because of its availability for 3 nights and because of its relatively reasonable price for Cornwall, that is! Getting around the spacious and rural campus was interesting and, at times, difficult and frustrating. However, we usually found someone to help us. finding the bus stops just off the campus was trickier. We mainly relaxed on the Friday, 30th July, just visiting Falmouth Town in the evening, a 15-minute bus ride from Penryn Campus and had dinner in a packed and lively Weatherspoons pub. On the Saturday, we eventually ventured to nearby Redruth, the heart of Cornwall’s former tin and copper mining industry. Indeed, it was in Redruth that, William Murdoch, the first man to have gas lighting in his home, indeed, the first house in the world to have this, lived and worked. Murdoch was arguably the inventor of the modern gas industry. Redruth turned out to be an interesting, though extremely steep town, as we found out almost immediately on our arrival. Getting there was slightly taxing. First of all we had to find our way off the Penryn Campus and then find the correct bus to drop us outside Penryn train station. However, I must have taken a wrong turn as we went up one of the many steep hills and we became lost. Luckily, we met a couple of former students and they showed us to a bus stop. However, buses from this stop didn’t go directly to Penryn station and we were told we’d have to walk down a hill, go under a railway bridge and then ascend a big steep hill to reach the train station. Luckily, another bus driver heard our conversation and suggested we take a different bus a couple of stops, alight, cross the road and take a bus in the opposite direction which would drop us directly outside Penryn station. This is what we did. At the train station we met more kind people who showed us the way to the only platform and helped us board. Unfortunately, upon arrival at Truro, one of the Cornwall mainline stations, we discovered that our train to Redruth was delayed by nearly an hour. Apparently, many train staff had caught Covid or had been in contact with someone who had covid and this meant the railway was short staffed and many trains were delayed or had been cancelled. Luckily, our train was still running. 20 minutes after our train departed Truro we arrived in Redruth. A kind train staff member at Redruth helped us off the train and escorted us over the bridge and part way down the hill into Redruth town. I’d done a little research and new that Fore Street was one of the main shopping streets and that one of the town’s landmarks was a statue of a tin miner. This we attempted to find. We literally walked into him, stood on a concrete round poll at the junction of Fore Street and High Street. This is where we discovered that Redruth is an extremely hilly town. We wandered slowly up Fore Street, checking out some of the buildings as we walked, touching the stones and old brick walls of several buildings. Eventually, we attempted to search for a pub to have dinner. Unfortunately, all the pubs we found in Redruth only served drinks and not food. After inquiring at one pub, a gentleman of an indeterminable age, and a little drunk, kindly helped us find a small restaurant next to Redruth’s only cinema. Tatiana and I had a delicious meal and then attempted to find the bus stop to head back to Truro and onto Penryn. Naturally, we became lost, but another kind local gave us directions up yet more hills and told us which directions to take to reach the bus stop. As we slowly strolled up the very steep High Street, a nice guy from the northwest of England offered to walk with us. He even showed us where the sculptures of the bronze dogs were located. Dog statues made out of tin miner’s boots. An interesting creation of art! We finally reached the bus stop, where a couple who were also going to Penryn, helped us get the correct buses to both Truro and Penryn. Around midnight we finally made it back to the campus. Early Sunday morning, 1st August, Tatiana and I took an extremely long train journey to London Stansted Airport where, sadly, tatiana caught a flight back to Greece and I caught a train back to Teignmouth. What a week, what an adventure! I hope you enjoy my stories and description. Thanks for reading and following. Keep safe. Cheers, Tony :).

A means to accessible travel

Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well and busy travelling :). Below is a lengthy article about a British man who invented a travel chair for his disabled wife after, once again, receiving poor specialist assistance at London Heathrow Airport. Something that, sadly, is a frequent experience! I thought you all might find this article interesting, especially for anyone who like/wants to travel. The chair sounds great, though it seems a little expensive at first glance. But if one can use the chair to gain greater freedom and travel, then it’s probably worth it. Enjoy article, Stay safe, happy days, Thanks, Tony :).
TRAVELLER CHAIR – WITH YOU ALL THE WAY! The story of how one man became an inventor for the love of his life.
(Belper, Derbyshire)
Now available to pre-order!
A story of how the husband of a wife with reduced mobility decided to take on the world issue of travel challenges and invented a product to totally change their travel experiences – all in the name of love.
Richard Williams is a manufacturing specialist and a professional engineer. His wife Jane has cerebral palsy and has had this condition since birth. What this means is that she finds it difficult to walk excessive distances, particularly when travelling through airports.
It was on a trip coming back from Asia into Heathrow about 5.30 am, tired, hungry and they just wanted to get home. No wheelchair service provider appeared, as was arranged, and this wasn’t the first time. There was no-one around to help. So Richard ended up scrabbling around trying to find a wheelchair.
This was the lightbulb moment, when Richard thought to himself ‘I can fix this. I am a manufacturing specialist and professional engineer. I CAN FIX THIS!’ So what started out as an idea three years ago has become Traveller Chair.
Traveller Chair is a lightweight folding transit chair that folds down to a carry-on size case that meets 95% of airline requirements for hand luggage. So, with a Traveller Chair, you do not have to be reliant upon third party services as the chair can stay with you all the way.
Traveller Chair retails at £395 excluding VAT and has a variety of features that make it a must-have travel companion.
Traveller Chair Features:
● WEIGHS ONLY 9kg approx – it’s the lightest folding adult transit wheelchair available.
● SUPPORTS 100kg – It’s an ultra-lightweight wheelchair but still strong enough to support passengers up to 100kg (16 stone).
● INTEGRAL CASE – It holds 72 hours worth of travel essentials in both case and chair modes.
● EASY TO TRANSPORT – It’s lightweight, making it ideal to transport on long trips.
● COMPACT DESIGN – It can fit into car boots with ease and complies with over 95% of airline carry-on luggage requirements.
● EASILY FOLDS/UNFOLDS – Quick folding and unfolding (in under 30 seconds) combined with its ultra-lightweight profile makes it ideal for people with reduced mobility.
● SHOULDER/LAP STRAP – It comes with a shoulder strap for ease of carrying when folded which also doubles up as a lap strap for extra security and safety when sat in the Traveller Chair.
● CARRY HANDLE – makes carrying easier when folded.
● Eligible for VAT relief
The chair has undergone a make-over in its last phase of manufacturing and has a great new look which incorporates flashes of cyan colour, a greenish-blue, that we are affectionately calling Traveller Chair blue. The bright lively greenish-blue reminds us of the sunshine sparkling on azure blue seas on our holidays (you’ll see what we mean from the images below!). The mechanical features of the chair have also had a makeover, making it really clear for the users of the chair to fold and unfold as they embark on their journey.
There are future plans to release a range of luggage that will work with the Traveller Chair to make it the must-have transit wheelchair and luggage range to give optimum freedom and independence to those with reduced mobility.
You can pre-order your own Traveller Chair now at with deliveries expected in early Autumn.
If you would like more information about this topic, please email

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— Tony Giles blind solo traveller and public speaker. Author of new eBook: Seeing a Slice of Southern Africa My Way ISBN 9781839781544 I’m Fund raising for Galloways Society for the Blind, a charity that supports blind and visually impaired people throughout the northwest of England. my challenge: to raise £3,850 or more. Half for Galloways to support their fine work and half to send me to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru in April 2022. My Go fund me page: