Publicado por: Ricardo Shimosakai | 28/03/2017

SA expat backpacks around the world solo… in a wheelchair


Caitlin has been travelling around Europe and South Africa in a wheelchair for three months.

At the age of 18, 29-year-old Caitlin De Wit fell off her horse and broke her back. As soon as her rehabilitation began, Caitlin put all her energy into becoming completely independent as she decided to live a full and meaningful life.

From a young age, Caitlin knew she wanted to be a veterinarian. When she had her accident, she initially assumed this dream was over. However, through support and determination, she persevered through her studies and qualified in 2014 as a vet.

Now based in Australia, Caitlin watched as her friends headed off to Europe to backpack and experience the world and she realised that this had always been a dream of hers, but one that would most likely go unaccomplished.

Then Caitlin recalls what happened one day: “One morning I woke up and thought ‘I can do this dammit’, so I quit my job and bought my ticket to Europe the same day.”

Since October last year, Caitlin has been pushing around Europe and South Africa, travelling alone, with everything she owns in her backpack.

She says: “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”.

Some of the highlights of her trip so far have been visiting Iceland’s Blue Lagoon and learning to ski in Austria.

Once a player in the Women’s National Wheelchair Basketball League and now rowing for Balmain Rowing Club as well as being an ambassador for the Spinal Cord Injury Network, Caitlin is proving that being differently abled is certainly no reason to not live your best life.

To read more of Caitlin’s story, check out her blog on her backpacking journey.

Fonte: The South African

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