a man sitting on a wheelchair overlooking a city

What’s your excuse?

Inspirational quotes on social media may be the most overwrought and cringe worthy things on the internet, but life is nothing without inspiration. Since May of 2018, there’s been a person who has inspired me unlike many I’ve ever met. For me, John Morris is that guy.

In 2012, a car crash claimed three of John’s four limbs, making him a triple amputee, and virtually every day since, he’s been on a mission to help make accessible travel better. I had the pleasure of meeting John at the TravelZork conference in Las Vegas two years ago, and since then I’ve simply been in awe of his journeys, and passion for what he’s doing.

Like many of you, there’s at least one friend on social media that when they post, you perk up and take notice. Like last week, when John had the manager of a hotel belonging to a major chain telling him that his accessibility needs were effectively an inconvenience. Or the recent time when an airline broke his extremely expensive and vital wheelchair for the umpteenth time. Of course, there’s also the time where he was planning to race camels in Egypt recently to celebrate his 100th country since becoming a triple amputee.

a man sitting in a chairJohn isn’t writing this stuff looking for pity, in fact the man would probably kick your ass for taking any on him. He’s living his best life, and he’s making sure that others in the over 1% of the world population which rely on wheelchairs can too. He’s taking names and making things right at every turn, and providing guides to the best airlines, airports, hotels and cities for people in similar positions.

“Just like me, wheelchair users know that the majority of online resources for wheelchair accessible travel are limited and unreliable. With this site, I aim to disrupt that unacceptable status quo. I write only about the places I have visited and the experiences I have had from the seat of my wheelchair. If I cannot be confident in the accuracy of information, I will not publish it. I am committed to providing my readers with the tools to access the world independently or with friends/family/caregivers.” – John Morris.

a man sitting on a wheelchair overlooking a cityWithout gushing, I find myself in awe of the call to action which John has taken up, and the amount of good it’s doing. From things like easy to understand resource guides on what ADA rooms and layouts must provide, to the cities around the world which best cater to accessible needs, there’s a treasure trove of info. Those who rely on this kind of information now have a hands on, personal experience resource and an advocate with a voice. John’s audience is well over 150,000 people per month and with all hope that’s a mere fraction of the audience it will eventually reach.

If you want to help support his work and amplify this important voice, check out John’s Twitter, Facebook and most importantly – his blog, WheelchairTravel.org. The only way airlines, hotels and cities will ever fully comply with accessible travel regulations and frankly, basic needs is if negative stories reach a critical mass. I hope, at the very least, that this story helps bring that closer to fruition.


Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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