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Talking Travel, Business, and Possibility with Martyn Sibley


More adventures ahead

As our interview comes to an end, I ask Martyn what other plans and schemes are on his horizons. He tells me of his idea for a holiday booking platform for disabled people. With so much travel and blogging experience under his belt, Martyn has the insight that a lot of conventional holiday booking sites just can’t offer the disabled community. He also plans on starting an Arts and Crafts merchandise portal on Disability Horizons, a sort of classifieds for disabled people to create and sell things online.

Martyn is also looking forward to attending the Reading and Leeds Music Festivals, one of the biggest in the UK. Thanks to Disability Horizons, Martyn has backstage passes to hang out with and interview the stars of the show.

But the thing Martyn is most keen about is his journey from John O’Groats to Land’s End. The two places are famous for being on extreme ends of the UK. On September 4th, the day after Martyn turns 30, he’ll start the gruelling journey of about 1800km by wheelchair. Martyn has taken this challenge as part of Britain’s Personal Best, an idea to continue the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics legacy by pushing people to achieve their own personal best in life. Martyn will be raising money for his favourite charity, Scope.

As Martyn talks about his future plans, I recall an earlier part of our conversation. He mentioned that his condition is deteriorating with age. He’s not able to do as much as he could have 10 years ago and needs to tone down the wild lifestyle. Listening to his plans though, I can’t help but wonder: if this is him toning things down, what does he consider taking it up a notch?

Talking with Martyn made me realize that disability can be an uncomfortable topic for people without disabilities. We tiptoe around political correctness and the sensitivity of the issue so not to offend or patronize those with disabilities. In doing so we not only skirt around the subject but the heart of the matter altogether. That disabled people have the same needs and wants as anyone else: to live a meaningful life, be loved, have friends and family and be recognized for their work and efforts. They have the same drive as everyone, to achieve and accomplish, to rise above where they started and be the best they can with what potential they have.

We’re all born with different potentials, disabled or not. But Martyn Sibley doesn’t let his disability define his potential; he uses it to test it.

A list of amazing people

Do you or someone you know have a disability? Visible or invisible? Physical or psychological? Maybe you’ll find someone in the list below who faces the same challenges. See how they overcame their barriers to become their own boss.

Ruth Cheesley was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3, commonly known as Hypermobility, a condition that leaves her with severe joint pain and exhaustion. She went on to start Virya Technologies, a company specializing in IT solutions and web design.

Robin Kettle became tetraplegic after a motorcycle accident. He is the founder and owner of Access All Areas, an access auditing company based in the UK. Robin’s clients include big names such as BP and Capital One.

Stacy Zoern was born with a neuromuscular condition that left her confined to a wheelchair. She is the cofounder of Kenguru, a company that makes the one-person car designed for people with wheelchairs. The Kenguru is 100% electric, is driven by the hands and conveniently lets wheelchair users roll into and out of the car.

Erasmus Habermann has Cerebral Palsy and is a wheelchair user. He founded Habermann Translation, and online business that offers translation services between English and German, and is expanding into other languages.

Victoria Maxwell was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She is an educator, writer, speaker and actor. Victoria uses her theatre experience to deliver performances that document her journey through the diagnosis of her condition, how she dealt with it, and the recovery process. Her shows have been described as ‘educational,’ ‘inspiring,’ ‘magical’ and ‘profound.’

Michael Bortolotto was born with Cerebral Palsy, severely affecting the clarity of his speech. He now has a professional career as a motivational speaker, addressing topics like bullying in school and the workplace and creating an inclusive society. Michael has spoken in over 1900 events reaching more than 860,000 people.

Dan Bauer became paraplegic after an accident. But his love of the outdoors led him and his wife to create The Accessible Wilderness Society, a group that creates opportunities for anyone, regardless of their physical challenge, to be able to enjoy the great outdoors.

Mark Esho was diagnosed with polio as a child and struggled with bouts of chronic fatigue. He founded Easy Internet Services, one of the first web solutions businesses in the UK, back in 2000. His company nowd eals with over 50,000 customers, including UK based newspaper, The Guardian.

Evelyn Salt was diagnosed with Erythromelaglia, a rare neurovascular disorder which causes periodic inflammation and pain in the extremities of the limbs. Evelyn started making her own jewelry after being bedridden for four months. She eventually founded Inner Fyre Bespoke Jewelry, and online business that sells handmade and custom design jewelry.

Image provided by Martyn Sibley

Muneer Huda writes out of Waterloo, Ontario. He enjoys all kinds of writing, but has a special love for speculative fiction. He aspires to support himself solely through his writing one day. You can find him at http://muneerhuda.com.

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