32 years old polio survivor travel 25.000 km all by herself on modified bike
My name is Shinta Utami. When I was 4 years old, I got polio. After the fever had gone, my parents found I could no longer walk. I was lucky because many victims are paralyzed forever but, eventually, I learned to walk again in my own very strange and painful way. Some days, I could walk half a kilometer and some days it hurt so much to walk only 100 meters. Recently, I tore three of my left ankle ligaments and so I have to be using a wheelchair. The doctor said that some of my ankle problems are because of post polio syndrome. That means that I start to experience gradual weakening in muscles that were previously affected by my illness. In 2013, my father modified my sister’s scooter for me. This was my first modified scooter and having it allowed me to ride around like a normal person. And that is how my passion for travel began. With my scooter, I am able to see and do things that I always wanted to do. One day, I set off from my home and didn’t stop riding until I’d ridden across all of Indonesia. I rode 24,488 km in 34 provinces. After my trip, in 2015, I was invited to the palace to meet the president of Indonesia and I was awarded a record in the Indonesian Records Museum for “The longest distance traveled on a modified scooter by a physically challenged person”.
On March 2017 I will wheeling my manual wheelchair from Yogyakarta to Jakarta, which is around 530 km. I will do this journey using only my own muscle power and my own willpower. I always have passion for inspiring and motivating people and will use this trip to raise awareness of people with dissability's rights in Indonesia and try to change public perception of people with disability.
This is my way of touching people’s lives to let them know that we should always be excited to push ourselves to the limits, get out of our comfort zones, and see how big our world is. I am pushing myself to my physical and emotional limits just so I can live out a dream and hopefully, in the process, inspire someone else.