1) How did your passion for traveling begin?
Coop– I did some therapy in Singapore when I was 2. This made me want to travel more! I then did a fundraiser for a Cambodian charity ( I walked in my walker for 1km) and raised $15,000 so I got to go to Cambodia and see the school I helped build.
Bron– Traveling in my family is an obsession! My grandparents loved traveling, as did my parents. My passion started really growing with my own kids. Plus we love a challenge!
2) What made you decide to start Smiths Holiday Road and can you explain a bit about what it is?
Bron: Our blog started when we were planning our first big trip to Europe last June. We wanted a blog focused solely on travel with kids, one of whom happens to use a wheelchair. We have three kids aged 9,6,3 and live in suburban Melbourne. Cooper our eldest has Cerebral Palsy from a birth injury and uses a variety of mobility and communication devices.
Coop: I like using the blog for my school work while I am away on adventures. My friends read it and then my teacher knows Im doing my homework!
3) How do you go about choosing your destinations?
Coop– we research, we look at maps, we read books, we read blogs.
Bron– budget plays a big role! So anywhere in Asia usually wins when there is a cheap Airasia sale! I am actually a bit obsessed with searching for bargains!
4) What is the most wheelchair friendly place that you have traveled to?
Coop– I loved London for access. Everything was accessible and everyone was very helpful and friendly.
5) What is the least accessible place that you have been to?
Bron– least accessible would be our Asian travels but helpful and friendly people more than make up for it. Melbourne where we live still has a long way to go too!
6) What kind of problems have you came across while traveling in a wheelchair? How did you overcome them?
Bron – Coop uses a manual chair while we travel. I couldn’t see using his powerchair as very easy same goes with his walker. We would have to say traveling on trains is a bit tricky! Finding accessible toilets is always hard too. Coop is still young but as he gets older we are accessing more supports while we travel such as airline special services or apartments with accessible facilities.
7) What are some of the top items on your families bucket list?
Coop– my top three are America including New York and a Bahamas cruise. China and Japan.
Bron– I would love to take the kids to America on the West coast. South America especially Peru and Macchu pichu. China to walk the Great Wall.
8) Do you have any tips for other wheelchair users that might not think traveling is possible?
Coop– never give up, never give in! Try anything!
Bron– Make the most of your adventures. Step outside your comfort zone and just go with it! Be prepared for anything!
9) Most importantly, where to next?
Next: Laos- North of Thailand in March. Looking forward to overnight sleeper train from Bangkok and swimming in the river at Vang Vieng.
To keep up with this awesome family, visit http://www.Smithsholidayroad.wordpress.com
If you’re a caretaker of a child with special needs, visit cpfamilynetwork.org for valuable resources.