Like myself, Carrie-Ann Lightley has Cerebral Palsy but this doesn’t deter her from travelling the world sharing her experiences with others in addition to actively working with travel agents to assist them in reaching out to disabled customers.
I live in the Lake District, UK with my husband Darren and our little dog, Poppy. I love to travel, to the next town or somewhere far away. I’m an organiser, a planner, and a list maker. Researching new places to go is what I love to do, and it’s also been part of my role as Information Service Manager at Tourism for All for the last 12 years. I have Cerebral Palsy, which means I use a wheelchair. I was brought up to believe that there is nothing I absolutely cannot do – there is always a way. I launched my blog www.carrieannlightley.com as my way of sharing that belief with the world, and celebrating accessible businesses that go above and beyond to make sure that everybody enjoys their holidays and travels.
For most of my childhood and teenage years I travelled ‘mainstream’ – booking hotels through a high street travel agent, hobbling on to transfer coaches, rearranging furniture in the room to accommodate my wheelchair. It wasn’t until I started working for Tourism for All that I realised travel can be made easier. Overall, the thing I love most about travelling is the sense of independence. Travelling alone or with my husband, managing it all, and sometimes struggling but pushing myself to carry on, gives me a huge sense of achievement. Sometimes it’s a harsh wake-up call going somewhere new and having that comfort taken away, but isn’t that what travelling is all about? Going to new places, seeing things with fresh eyes, taking in new experiences. Sometimes it can be a little more difficult for me, but that’s not going to stop me any time soon!
It’s difficult to pick just one, but I think Rome has been my favourite place to visit up to now. I really fell in love. Rome isn’t an easy city for someone with mobility requirements to visit, but it’s worth the effort. Ancient Rome has an abundance of cobbled streets, so prepare for a bumpy ride with beautiful sights everywhere you look, vibrant culture and magnificent food.
In 2010 my husband and I had a holiday to Oludeniz, Turkey. I’d spent ages researching excursions, and was really looking forward to a romantic sunset cruise on a traditional gulet boat. However on arrival we discovered that my wheelchair wouldn’t fit down the boat’s walkway, so my husband had to throw me over his shoulder and carry me on!
I agree. Barcelona is without a doubt the most accessible place I’ve travelled to. The city’s Olympic legacy means that accessibility just is a part of every day life, and I had no issues at all accessing accommodation, transport, attractions, beaches, and places to eat and drink.
My dream destination is Perth, Western Australia. My best friend emigrated to Perth in 2014 and I’m desperate to visit. I am concerned about the length of the flight, so would probably break it up with a night in Dubai or Singapore on a stopover.
I’m working with travel brands to help them reach out to disabled customers in a unique, authentic way. Find out more on my website: https://www.carrieannlightley.com/work-with-me