Mobility Missions


So the other day I was looking at my church’s website and I started browsing the mission trips, just to see what was available. It occurred to me that most, if not all, of the options were in areas that are probably hard to get to and more than likely not very accessible. My particular campus, for instance, has a partnership in rural Honduras.

This got me thinking, I’ve definitely seen other people in chairs or with walkers and such at my church. Surely some of these people have a heart to serve internationally, right? So I contacted the church just to see if they were prepared to accommodate a person with mobility limitations such as myself. Their response was very kind, but they didn’t think a person with mobility issues could be adequately accommodated on their trip to Honduras. After it became clear that Honduras was not an option, at least with their conventional arrangements, I asked if I could plan a trip that was fully accommodating. But the lady with whom I was corresponding did not have the authority to propose a new trip. That would have to come from the leaders of the church.

So I plan on presenting the church with a proposal for some type of missions trip geared towards those with mobility limitations. All will be welcome, of course, but I want to give priority to people who need our service. First I want to inquire to the readers of this blog if they have a desire to serve on a mission trip and where, if they do, would they like to go. My inclination as a travel enthusiast is to go somewhere new to me, perhaps India or Thailand or maybe the Philippines or Indonesia. I would see this as possibly in conjunction with a medical mission. We could solicit used and new adaptive equipment to provide in those unable to obtain these types of things. Also it would be fun to introduce some adaptive sports. Sometimes these little additions to make life easier or more exciting can make a huge impact on those with disabilities. I’m open to wherever there’s a need, though, so please let me know your thoughts via comment or email at

My 2 Favorite Weekend Trips from Charlotte


One of the great things about living in Charlotte is that you are within a reasonable driving distance to both wonderful beaches and scenic mountains. There is a lot to do around town here, but if you are ever feeling stir crazy it is simple and inexpensive to get out of town to a beautiful location. Whether you’re in search of a weekend getaway with that special someone or just a great place to unwind and reconnect with friends and/or family it’s all within your reach. Here are some of my favorite local day or weekend trips from the Queen City.





The charm of Asheville lies in its culture. From excellent cuisine to rowdy live music this mountain town can make for a great weekend escape. Maybe you want to spend some time in the art district, where you can tour galleries or even watch the artists at work. Or you could spend the day on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, where you can see the luxurious home built by the Vanderbilts or tour the gardens or go wine tasting at the vineyard. There is enough to occupy your whole weekend without even leaving the grounds if you choose. Accessibility in Asheville on the whole is pretty good considering it’s a mountain town. There are some smaller restaurants and shops that can be difficult and parking is a challenge for everybody, but the city has done a pretty good job of providing adequate accommodations. The art district could use some improvements to the sidewalks. The last time I was there some areas were so poorly maintained we had to take the wheelchair into the road. A number of the galleries are accessible but some aren’t. The Biltmore Estate is very accessible. Transportation is provided on the grounds between the attractions and several of the buses have wheelchair lifts. The majority of the house itself is accessible by wheelchair, and the gardens are fully accessible




If you’re a beach lover I don’t think it gets much better than Charleston. With a number of beach communities within a few minutes’ drive of this historic city you’re sure to find one that fits your style. The city itself is full of great places to eat and shop and lots of fun things to do and see. It’s a great place for families or a group of friends. Kids love Patriot’s Point with the aircraft carrier and submarines, the grandparents like the history and visiting the old houses and everyone likes the market and the great food. Accessibility in Charleston is not bad considering how old the city is. Most of the places you want to go in town are either accessible or have been retrofitted to make them as accessible as possible. Even the aircraft carrier has access for wheelchairs to the most interesting decks. There are many close beaches. Our favorite is Isle of Palms. There is an accessible beach walkway not too far from the strip mall as you are headed to Wild Dunes. There is some parking but not a lot. We like to stay at Wild Dunes Resort. The Boardwalk Inn has accessible accommodations but it’s a challenge to get to the beach. Just few changes would make all the difference. If you want to rent a house for a family gathering plan ahead if you need accessibility. Most of the houses are built up one story but you can find some for rent that have an elevator that take you from the ground level. You can also rent beach wheelchairs and they will deliver and pick up from wherever you’re staying. It isn’t cheap, though, so plan accordingly. Also due to the variability in the tides pushing the chair across the dry sand can be challenging. I would recommend the chair which has the big wheels that a reviewed a few weeks ago.  There’s something for everyone in Charleston.




My Most Memorable Meal



What is the best meal you’ve ever had? Do you remember? Can you narrow it down to one specific meal? What factors would you consider in making this distinction? Obviously the food is the first thing we think of. That part would have to be superb to be considered. The other factors I would consider would be the company and the setting. Encompassed in the company would be things like the conversation, or perhaps a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary. The setting would include the physical location, the ambiance, or even the scenery.




The best meal I’ve ever eaten came at the end of my trip to Europe in 2008. It was one of the last days of a cruise that took me, several members of my family and some close friends from Rome through the Greek Isles to Istanbul and back.




The entire experience was amazing. While I may have thought the highlights of the trip were behind us, I didn’t know that our stop at Naples, Italy, had one more wonderful surprise in store for us.

We woke up early for our private guided tour of the Amalfi Coast. The van met us at the port and we climbed in, still bleary eyed and sleepy. Our guide spoke broken English but used his arms to express himself in a very European way as he spoke. We quickly learned to not ask for clarification on anything, because he was also the driver, and would take both hands from the wheel as he spoke. The scenery was beautiful, but the road was winding and was bordered on one side by a cliff and an inadequate looking guardrail. On more than one occasion he returned his hands to the wheel just in time to jerk the van back from certain doom with no acknowledgement other than a brief, “Whoops.”


We were on this road for what seemed an eternity, stopping occasionally to shop or look around the various towns cut into the steep rocky slopes that looked as though they would fall into the sea at any moment. We were all getting very hungry when we finally stopped for lunch at what seemed like the highest point, overlooking the many villages, the water and beautiful flowering plants and trees.


Our party of around 8 had the restaurant virtually to ourselves. I’m not even sure they typically open for lunch. We were seated by a window with an amazing view, and as we ordered the house wine the waiter explained that all the vegetables were grown on the accompanying farm and all the pasta was made from scratch by his mother. Everyone that worked in the restaurant was part of the family and it had been that way for years.


I don’t know that I can begin to describe how good the food was. The vegetables, yes vegetables, were so fresh they seemed to melt in your mouth. Anyone who has ever eaten with me knows this a profound statement from a man who doesn’t exactly eat a lot of veggies. The pasta was just as delicious, and we were given a sampling of all of their types of pasta, including one called Pasta di Mama that was the innovation of the matriarch. It’s been awhile and I can still remember every detail of that meal.


We have sent other groups there since and have had only glowing reviews of the experience.   The restaurant had a couple of steps down into it but that was no problem for me as the entire kitchen crew rushed out to lift my wheelchair right into the dining room and positioned me for the best view out of the window. This type of personalized experience is what I want to give to all of my clients no matter what their limitations.

Pros and Cons of Beach Wheelchairs


The most important thing to remember when using any beach wheelchair is that you are using it for your enjoyment to do something that would otherwise not be feasible. If you are worried about how you look or bothered by the stares of curious onlookers you will probably not enjoy yourself. Most people will think it’s pretty cool and be genuinely interested and maybe even inquisitive, but they will still stare at you, even if it comes from a good place. Just be prepared and don’t take notice or offense.


That said a good beach wheelchair can mean the difference between enjoying a day in the surf, sand, and sun or being left on the sidelines to watch others but not join in. I’ve used two different types of beach wheelchairs. Both did an adequate job of rolling over the sand, and I imagine that any beach chair you find will do that. However, they were both awkward to get in and out of and not particularly comfortable to sit in. One was lower to the ground and broke down so it could be transported by car. We were even able to check this one on an airplane and took it on our recent cruise to the Caribbean. The beach at St Thomas which we went to was doable. The other we rented at the beach in South Carolina and I doubt it would fit it most cars, and it sat up higher so I wasn’t able to get more than my feet wet. I’ve seen some cool ones on YouTube, but haven’t been able to try them out yet. I’m posting links to the two I have used however, if any of you have used a different type or want to comment on these two types please add a comment to the blog, email me, or send a picture. I would love to get a conversation on the pros and cons of all the different type of beach chairs so maybe working together we can encourage improvement.


It’s also time to lobby for better beach access. I usually go to the South Carolina beaches and often there is no or very inconvenient access do to the dunes and many steps approaching the beach. Give me some feedback on this as well


The very best beach access I have ever had was on a visit to Ibiza, off the coast of Spain. I didn’t have a beach wheelchair with me but they had a wonderful board walk right to the water which my regular chair was able to negotiate just fine. They also had handicapped accessible restrooms and even offered a free beach lounger to those who were in a chair!!