1) How did your passion for traveling begin?
Actually, following my injury in 1978, I really did not have much of a passion for travel at all and I only traveled when the need demanded that I do; it was a PAIN! Allow me to clarify that: If traveling required flying, I hated it; if I could drive, I loved it. I’ve driven from AZ to Florida, to Texas [a few times], to Atlanta, to Sacremento, Chicago, Las Vegas, Utah; lots of places, but mostly back and forth to Mexico. I own a home in San Carlos, outside of Guaymas, Sonora, on the Sea of Cortez.
2) What made you decide to invent the Go Anywhere Shower Chair and can you explain a bit about what it is/how it’s different from other shower chairs?
Necessity was, again, the mother of invention. I had been doing a lot of driving into Mexico which is a very inaccessible country, for the most part. [It is getting much better as they realize how many tourists are disabled]. Fortunately, the Mexicans are probably the most hospitable people you’ll ever meet. I’ve been wheeled-up and down flights of stairs, thrown over Mexicans’ shoulders and hauled onto boats, you name it, they’ve gotten me there!
One day I was sitting on the beach drinking a few cervesas and the idea of a portable shower chair popped into my head. It’s taken years to really perfect the product [of which there are now 8] and, in reality, they’re still not yet perfect as everytime we manufacture another run, I tweak a little here and a little there and, voila, it’s better than it was when I thought it was perfect.
GO! Mobility’s GO-Anywhere Chairs truly are in a class of their own. I live them, breathe them and sleep them and my need to make them “the best” has become my passion. We don’t have much competiion but, the little that we do have, manufactures products that are bigger, heavier, twice, even three times, the price of ours and they require tools to assemble and break down. Ours do not require any tools.
3) How do you go about choosing your destinations?
At this point I rarely get the chance to choose them. They choose me. My business requires that I travel frequently so, unfortunately, I’m not traveling for pleasure. I did for years [when my choice of destinations involved travel by land] and maybe, some day, I will get to travel for pleasure again. Please don’t get me wrong; when I say that I’m not traveling for pleasure it doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy it. I love my work so I guess I love the traveling as well [although I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I HATE commercial flying and everything that has to do with it! I did have the opportunity to pilot an Ultralight once and that was awesome!]
4) What is the most wheelchair friendly place that you have traveled to?
I would have to say that it would have been my Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, last year. Everything on that boat was totally accessible.
5) What is the least accessible place that you have been to?
Tough one; parts of Mexico, China and Panama were all pretty bad.
6) What kind of problems have you came across while traveling in a wheelchair? How did you overcome them?
Practice, practice and more practice and, of course, I never leave home without a GO-Anywhere Commode, Shower ‘n Tub Chair.
The obstacles have been many. Cobblestone roads in Puerto Vallarta come to mind where, in the cosmopolitan tourist cities [unlike rural Mexico], people will just walk right on past you while you’re stuck in the mddle of the road without so much as a look, like you’re invisible.
7) What are some of the top items on your bucket list?
New Zealand…I want to see hobbits. I would like to drive all the way to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of Chile. I had it mapped-out and planned, in 1999, but got I got real sick in southern Mexico and had to end the journey there. I think that I could still do it, though. You want to run GO! Mobility for me for awhile while I’m gone?!
8) Do you have any tips for other wheelchair users that might not think traveling is possible?
Absolutely. It is not only NOT impossible, it is VERY possible. Just dream a little and then do it!
9) Most importantly, where to next?
Let’s see; LA for the Abilities Expo next week, Nashville in April, New York and NJ in May, June is still open, Colorado in July, Europe in the fall, and I’ll try to sprinkle a trip or two to my home on the beach in Mexico.
If you would like to order a Go! Anywhere Shower Chair for yourself, visit GoesAnywhere.com and enter the code CFCL50 at checkout for $50 off!