In May I’m off to Texas, and I’m already excited. But this isn’t my usual kind of trip. This time I’m travelling with a company called Traveleyes, who pair sighted travellers with the visually impaired for a trip which promises to enrich the experience for both types of tourist.
The brainchild of Amar Latif, an entrepreneur who went blind in his late teens, the company specialises in offering trips which make independent travel a reality for the blind and partially sighted. Sighted travellers are offered a hefty discount on the price of the tours. In return, they accompany a different traveller each day, guiding the person to their own individual requirements.
Included sightseeing programmes promise to make this a trip to remember. I’m looking forward to visiting Austin, San Antonio and the Alamo, where we’ll be taking guided walking tours to unlock the history of these places. I’m especially keen to visit Galveston, devastated by the USA’s deadliest hurricane in 1900 which killed over 6000 people. It’s long since been rebuilt, of course, but it will be interesting to compare notes with the experience of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
There are also some activities on the programme which you might not expect. A ranch stay forms part of the programme and we’ll be riding out on horseback to enjoy the local scenery. As a novice rider, I’m a little daunted about how I’m going to be able to guide another horse if I’m not fully in control of my own, but I’m trusting that both Traveleyes and the ranch have already thought of that.
Traveleyes have sent through their document on the do’s and don’ts of how to act as a sighted guide and I’m going to be studying it carefully. One thing I do know, however, is that I’m going to learn as much as the people I’m paired with. I can’t wait to see Texas from a different perspective to my own. Check back at the start of the summer and find out how I got on.
If you’d like to find out more about Traveleyes, please visit their website: