The Locked-In Traveler: Road Trip

19.02.2020

The Locked-In Traveler

(Kati’s Wheelchair Traveling Journals)

European Road Trip

(Click here for audio version)

I cannot be spontaneous anymore. In my state, I cannot just to jump into a car and go unless it is a place very near. We must plan or at least think about where and when well, before picking up the keys. Major issues that we must consider are; timetables, assistants schedules, accessibility, and restrooms.

I envy people that can just jump in the car and go. I pity people that just sit at home watching others living their lives. They do not understand nor appreciate having the ability to act and truly live.

I always dreamt about taking a road trip through Europe and the USA. For a long time, I considered that another dream that the stroke took away from me. Circumstances changed, though when Henning came into my life. He also likes the idea of taking road trips. Henning is willing and able to drive through Europe, and in 2013, my dream came true.

As it was going to be our first long-distance trip by car, we decided to make it not too far or too long. Finland – the Netherlands in ten days seemed reasonable. We took one assistant with us and invited mom to come along.

Get Kati’s autobiography; “Living Underwater

We took a cruise from Turku, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden. From there we drove south through Denmark and Germany to The Netherlands. The driving distance between Stockholm and Amsterdam is about 1450km (900 miles.) Only the driving would take fifteen hours (not counting breaks.) It would be exhausting to do in one day, not just for Henning behind the wheel but also for me in the wheelchair. We overnighted halfway through just outside of Copenhagen and continued the day after to Amsterdam.

My main concern was restrooms along the way. I was delightfully surprised that it was not a problem at all. Everywhere we stopped had a wheelchair-accessible toilet. Only at one stop in the Netherlands, we had a bit of an issue. The accessible restroom was tiny, and the wheelchair could not fit in it. We had to keep the door open while mom and my assistant lifted me to the seat. Henning had to block the hallway so I could have some privacy.

It was a real pleasure to take a trip by car, it was just as I imagined it. We had the chance to visit family, do some sightseeing and go where we wanted to go when we wanted to go. I love traveling like this, visiting different cities and seeing various sites.

Kati

Get Kati’s autobiography; “Living Underwater

(Kati & Henning van der Hoeven)

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