TRAVEL

How i Backpacked Alone With A Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Caitlin Lisle

My Spinal Cord Injury Accident

Hi, my name is Caitlin. When I was 18 years old, I fell off a horse and broke my back leaving me as a full time wheelchair user. Since that first day of rehab I put everything into being completely independent and leading as full and "normal" of a life (whatever that means) as possible.

Studying and Pursuing A Career

Having a career was always very important to me. I've wanted to be a veterinarian since I was kid, but once I had my accident I thought this dream was impossible. However, supported by those around me I enrolled in veterinarian school and after many years of study, exams, hard work, and tears it all paid off and at the end of 2014 I became Dr. Caitlin. The next year I found a job at an extremely supportive practice, and they did everything to make sure my job as a vet was as easy and accessible as possible.

Backpacking solo in a wheelchair

My other dream has always been to travel. I have had so many friends who backpacked around Europe solo and I really believed this was something I was going to miss out on. However one morning I woke up and thought I can do this dammit, I quit my job and bought my ticket to Europe the same day. So since October this year I have been pushing around Europe and now South Africa with everything I own carried on my back, travelling solo. I have been to some amazing places (blue lagoon Iceland, ruin bars Budapest and learning to ski in Austria). I have mostly been staying in hostels (that's right sharing a room with 10'other people) and have made some really good friends in the process.  Travelling by myself in a wheelchair for 3 months has been challenging but sometimes it has been incredibly hassle free. There are some things that I have had to miss out on (certain restaurants, some attractions) which I know if I had a travel companion to help me I would have been ok. However I think that's part of the adventure, if I was a normal backpacker who could do anything without thinking about it first it wouldn't be a challenge and quite frankly I'd probably be quite bored.

The future

I'm currently travelling in South Africa for the next couple of weeks and will be looking to finishing my travels In January and also look for a job - still in the veterinary field.  

If anyone has any questions about working, studying or travel I would be happy to answer them. I am writing a blog about my adventures which you can fin at www.wheelchairwanderings.com

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