Friday, 15th April 2011
Written by John Ware
Deaf and blind Teignmouth adventurer and traveller Tony Giles is back from his latest jaunt – to the Antarctic – and is now busy promoting his book.
Despite his huge handicap, he has visited all seven continents and 60 countries, usually on his own, proving that exploring different parts of the world is still possible, despite such a severe handicap.
‘I feel that I am the luckiest person alive being able to undertake these journeys. I was given chances, which I took to make everything possible, and eventually created my own opportunities,’ is his positive philosophy.
‘Travelling is more than just seeing the beautiful scenery or landscape with your eyes – it concerns using all the body’s senses, being able to engage with people, feeling different textures of land and plants, eating unknown foods and hearing new kinds of music, being exposed to an alternative, exciting culture, and emerging into another country’s qualities, and to return home knowing more than I did when I left.
‘It is about learning and meeting people from different walks of life and cultures, and seeing how people feel in different situations, day in and day out – things we don’t think about.
‘I found it fascinating walking around observing the culture with my other senses. Was this why I was meant to be blind – to absorb what so many other people miss – the real sensations of life?’
Tony usually travels solo, but this time he had to have a helper-guide for the ten-day trip. A member of the crew from the boat helped him to get to and from the inflatables to land on Antarctica.
He spent a couple of nights in Ushuaia, the southern most city in the world, where he hiked up a glacier, following the trail with his cane and feet in temperatures of -7c.
He is now concentrating on promoting his book, Seeing the World My Way, and will be signing copies at Waterstones in Taunton on May 21.