On this episode of 'the Nostalgic Vagabond' podcast, I talk with Dr Francis Boorman.
Francis is a British historian, an expert on certain 18th-century happenings in London. While not researching and writing books and papers Francis enjoys travel and exploring new and interesting places. What's a little more unique is that Francis uses his wheelchair to explore places afar and has managed to visit every continent except Australia, and Antarctica but let's not count that.
Francis is an experienced traveller with a positive mindset and outlook, on the serendipity of travel and adventure, so why not get some interesting first-hand information on the accessible travel industry.
In conversation, Francis reflects on some of his earliest travel memories as a kid with his family and (9:25) schoolmates. He's very candid in describing what his first international trips were like (again with his friends and family) after he became a wheelchair user (13:20) as a young adult. We talk about some of the places he's been and particular favourites (17:15) over the last 10 to 20 years.
Flying with a wheelchair can make travel more complex. Francis gives a run down on what the flying experience can be like, navigating through airports and the logistics of moving seats and making sure the chair survives the journey (18:30).
We talk about some travel mishaps (23:30) that although can often not be the most comfortable at the time, can end up a great anecdote. But I think one of the best things about Francis as a traveller is his attitude and mindset. His way of thinking could be adopted by every traveller, from everywhere.
We get into some of the planning and the practicalities when travelling with a wheelchair (31:50) and touch on some things to think about, sites to check out, insurance issues and stuff to consider in general trip preparation. We talk about how the accessible travel industry has evolved and continues to evolve as greater investment, tech and general awareness becomes available (35:00).
Things are still not quite there yet, better, but not perfect by any means. Dr Francis shares his thoughts on how he'd like to see the industry continue to improve (48:50) and has some good advice (49:30) for wheelchair users who want to travel when it's possible again, and also for their family and friends.
The best thing as Francis says is to think positive, always enjoy it (it's a holiday after all) and if things do go wrong which they will from time to time, the best thing is to chill out, have a nice beer, and try again tomorrow...
Back Up: https://www.backuptrust.org.uk/
A big thanks to Tom Forfar for creating the title tracks for the podcast series.
And, any comments or feedback feel free to email