Travel around the world with limited mobility

So many people dream of a fantastic long journey, like taking the Trans Siberian Express through Russia to Mongolia and China. Is this possible with limited mobility?

Such a far journey seems impossible when you need a walking aid. Ellen and her husband Guus however, do not get discouraged. They seek possibilities. “My mobility is limited and Guus has a worn knee. In our case, travelling certainly is a challenge. But somehow, we always manage to reach our goal. We have travelled for many years and continue to do so, even after I became chronically ill”, says Ellen.

“It comes down to whether you can deal with adversity. No one grows older without any ailments. Some people however treat you as if you were completely helpless”, notes Ellen. “Especially with the trips we take. “Can you cope, is this not too much for you?, they ask extremely worried. But I’ve travelled all my life, why would I stop? My wheelchair won’t prevent me. We just need to take some precautions.”

Solving foreseeable ‘bumps’ in advance

At travel agencies, the duo encountered a lot of resistance. “When we wanted to book the Trans Siberian Express, the assistant warned: Madam, this is a trip for backpackers. You’re getting quite old, most travellers are between 30 and 45 years. When I then told her about my poor mobility due to MS, she fell into a state of panic. “How will you ever manage?” she asked (having quite a high voice).

“I just want to discuss with you whatever issues we might encounter”, I said (in a low voice). Foreseeable ‘bumps’ in the road we seek to solve at home as much as possible. Then you can counter any problems in advance. That way, my disability won’t be a bother to anyone else. My Rollz Motion helps.”

Strong guide to push the wheelchair

Flying to Moscow is easy. But then what? “Guus has a bad knee. I’m sitting in a wheelchair. And we have a huge pile of luggage; because we’re heading for Siberia and have taken our ski suits as well. So for each transfer point I arranged a strong and handy guide in advance. One who knows the city and the grounds well, and can push me. He brings us wherever we want to go.”

Ellen was a little concerned about storing the Rollz Motion on board the Trans-Siberian Express. She didn’t want to bother the lady of the travel agency any more. “I reckoned we would solve this on the train. And we did, it neatly fitted into the luggage rack in our train compartment!” In Siberia, they slept in a Mongolian yurt and stayed with Russians. The wheelchair accompanied her everywhere. They have seen Lake Baikal in Siberia, visited Irkutsk and Beijing and have even set foot on the Great Wall.

Rickshaw experience in Beijing with a wheelchair

Remain active in society

Her husband Guus, smiling at his wife: “Traditionally a wheelchair user is regarded as passive. She sits there and lets herself be pushed. This dual device makes it possible to switch from being pushed to walking actively with the walker herself. Not that my wife needs any activation… as you may have noticed. This device gives both of us a sense of freedom.”

Ellen adds: “It’s not like my mind turns off whenever I sit down in my wheelchair, and leave everything to my helper. I am part of society and will continue to do so. And I will keep on walking as often as possible: use it or lose it … Good tools are a great help.”

Ellen and Guus have sent us a CD full of great photos. “We have such a good time with the Rollz Motion. Every time we arrived at a really beautiful place, we said to each other: “Let’s send the creators a picture of us traveling! Finally, after five years, we have actually done that.”

Do you want to travel with the Rollz Motion as well? Find out where the nearest Rollz-distributor is located.