Blind backpacker and travel writer has visited over 120 countries

I initially felt bad for Tony Giles when I watched his story on the BBC Travel Show. I caught the episode part way through and saw him walk right into a turnstile while crossing a security checkpoint into Palestinian territories. Giles, from England, is completely blind and severely deaf, but he travels all over the world by himself and occasionally stumbles into people willing to guide him a bit.

When I found out he’s visited over 120 countries, including all seven continents and every state in the US, I realized I don’t feel sorry for Giles. I’m jealous of him and I’ll continue to feel sorry for myself. Giles can make any argument his disabilities limit him from traveling or excuse himself from any barrier at all. We’d all understand. Yet, he’s experienced things people probably don’t even waste time dreaming about.

Photos on Giles’ personal website show him taking a mud bath near the side of the Dalyan River in Turkey and playing the kora in Senegal. I assume many of us, disabled or non-disabled, would come up with hundreds of reasons why we couldn’t travel and explore the world. Giles just does it.

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