Meet Cory Lee, a twenty-six year old traveler who navigates the world in a wheelchair. Yes, you read that right. His story is one of determination and bravery. I am really excited about this feature and I hope it gives you a lot of inspiration to follow your dreams as much it has done for me.
Swam the Blue Lagoon, played with kangaroos in Australia, went hot air ballooning over Israel, safari’ed in South Africa, all from a wheelchair.
I love what his story stands for so I asked him a few questions and his answers were so insightful. It is always great to learn from the perspective of others and I am glad to know what it is like to travel in a wheelchair. I hope you enjoy this post.
My name is Cory Lee and I am 26 years old. I’m from Georgia in the USA and am a travel blogger at Curb Free with Cory Lee (http://curbfreewithcorylee.com). On the site, I share my experiences as a wheelchair user that travels the world. I hope to inspire other wheelchair users to break out of their comfort zone and see all the beauty our world has to offer.
Can you please shed some light on basic travel routine that might be more difficult for you that other travelers might take for granted?
My routine is a bit different in each place that I visit, depending on the accommodations and accessibility within the destination, but some things do remain the same. Air travel is always such a hassle. To actually get on the plane I have to be physically lifted out of my wheelchair and into a much smaller chair that can squeeze down the thin aisle of the plane, and then lifted again into my plane seat. I’ve been nearly dropped and tossed around during this process many times, and it’s definitely my least favorite part of traveling. My wheelchair is also stowed in the cargo and I always worry that it will get damaged during flight. I’m pretty lucky that it has only suffered minor damages so far, but it still stresses me out. I’m not sure what I would do if I got to my destination and my wheelchair was completely broken. I’d be immobile and unable to do anything. Hopefully one day airlines will allow us wheelchair users to stay in our chairs during flight.
What kind of help is available for travelers with disabilities? How does one get access to them?
The internet is a vast and wonderful place. I usually start planning a trip at least 6 months in advance, and almost anything about accessibility can be found online now. In recent years, more accessibility focused blogs have started popping up and I’m thankful that there is now a lot of information out there. There are also different tour companies around the world that specialize in accessible travel, which is a big help. I used to just try to figure things out on my own, but having a tour guide helps tremendously. They know more about what is wheelchair friendly in their country.
I know it can get difficult sometimes, what keeps you motivated to continue traveling? Do you ever want to just quit? Why don’t you quit?
To be honest, I have a big case of FOMO (fear of missing out). I just can’t imagine leaving this earth without having experienced all that I possibly can, even if it isn’t necessarily easy. Yes, at times it’s insanely difficult, but I know that the hardships will pass and my next great adventure is around the corner.
I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. With every broken bone, I swear I lived. Cory Lee.
How many countries have you been to, which of them was the most exciting and why?
So far, I have visited 19 countries across 5 continents. I immensely enjoyed all of them, but the most exciting for me was probably Australia. I went there back in 2014 and it had been a huge dream trip for my entire life. To finally be there, staring at the Sydney Opera House in person, was surreal. Australia ended up being better than I could have ever imagined. The people were friendly and it had some of the best wheelchair accessibility of anywhere in the world, especially Sydney. I was able to easily use all of the public transportation and every building that I wanted to go in was accessible. In many regards, I think it was even more accessible than the USA.
Why travel? And what experience are you looking forward to the most.
I think that traveling has made me more accepting of other cultures and shown me that there is beauty in our differences. I strongly believe that if everyone traveled, we would have a more loving and peaceful world.
The experience that I’m most looking forward to right now is visiting Ecuador this January. Ecuador will be my 20th country and South America will be my 6th continent, which is a big milestone for me. I can’t wait to explore the Amazon!
I strongly believe that if everyone traveled, we would have a more loving and peaceful world.
I think pretty much everyone can relate to this post. It’s a determination to follow your dreams, whatever it is, not letting any circumstance get in the way. Thank you Cory for granting this interview. I am absolutely inspired by you. Cory was recently filmed on CBS and you can follow him on Instagram @curbfreecorylee to follow his adventures.
Now it’s your turn. Tell me, what’s your reason for not traveling (or following your dreams) and how are you making steps to overcome that today? Let me know in the comments! And if you are inspired by Cory’s story, say “YAY” in the comments. Stay tuned for more as I hunt down remarkable people to feature on this space. Not subscribed yet? Now is the time! 🙂
Love and light,