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Love letter to bloggers + vloggers

What a journey it has been, but we have arrived. For decades the accessible community has been calling out to the world, I want to go too! The first travel bloggers appeared in the 1990s, but the technology of preliminary websites restricted post placement to appear in chronological order with little to zero search capabilities. In other words, to find information on a particular destination resulted in hours of searching. Then in the early 2000s, the world-wide-web took an advanced leap, creating more opportunities for travel bloggers to manage and display their content.

Consequently, a variety of voices began sharing their travel tips and tricks on everything from where to stay to how to get around to what there is to do, and collectively these individual bloggers were linking the pieces of the accessibility puzzle. Why? Because the mainstream wasn’t. If there was access, it should be known. What’s the point of making something accessible if no one is going to use it because it’s unknown? The mission of the twenty-first century bloggers was to change this. Know before you go! became the common theme behind the blogs because with some information a person could plan accordingly based on personal needs and preferences.      

Long before the bloggers access advocates were forging the paths that has allowed us to travel today; they fought for the right to ride transportation, enter buildings, use facilities, participate in recreational activities, and enjoy being in nature. With little to no recognition, some of these people simply led by example while others collaborated with government entities and businesses to create and implement a set of accessibility guidelines.

We understand what accessibility means today because of the courageous and insightful stance they took. They showed the world that we are equals with different abilities who have the desire to explore, expand, and thus experience the essence of life. Without their advocacy, accessible travel wouldn’t be possible. So first and foremost, thank you to everyone who has contributed to the accessibility platform. You have allowed us to access the world, and we can never thank you enough.

Brick by brick the foundation for access was laid by advocates over decades of service, and now the tech-savvy, trailblazing bloggers are ready to share it. The torch of accessibility awareness had been passed. In a way, these travel bloggers became access avengers, making it clear on what does and does not work. Such documentation and network sharing proceeded for several years, and then the travel industry began to respond and even implement improvements. Nonetheless, with the whole world to cover, a variety of interests, and a spectrum of accessibility needs, no one blogger could do it all, though all continued to try—all the while growing the database. With a plethora of content so easily available for the first time, it was clear that this information needed to be presented in a way to streamlines the public’s search efficiency. Once again, though it has taken a while to arrive, we finally have made it to our destination—the Mélange publishing group and TravelAbility are pleased to introduce the online travel magazine, Accessible Journeys. Supported by articles from the top accessible travel bloggers you’ve come to know and respect, Accessible Journeys will take you around the world and to nearby destinations as well as discuss the challenges and ways to overcome them, reinforced by the best resources and products. Accessible Journeys is here to offer solutions that will improve accessibility on a personal level and the worldwide platform, we aim to help you not only figure out where to go but also how to plan so can feel prepared and travel confidently. We are the accessible travelers and these are our journeys. Come see the world our way, where all are welcome; where all may enter.

About Ashley Lyn Olson: Paralyzed in a car accident that killed her father, a National Park Ranger, she has been using a wheelchair since 1998. She is based in the San Francisco Bay area and her blog may be found at www.wheelchairtraveling.com