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  • Writer's pictureKyrby Brown

Adventure Awaits... I Hope!

Back in June 2023 I received the news that I had been awarded a Churchill Fellowship. This fellowship enables like-minded experts in a (huge) variety of social and economic fields to travel overseas to engage with forward-thinking organisations all over the world. This is all with the aim to bring back fresh ideas to help to UK become a better place to live. 

When I received the news it didn’t seem real, but after the last 3 months of intensive planning, I am now only a month away from my first flight. My destination is the USA, looking at the infrastructure supporting Disabled adults to get involved in sports and recreation in a non-competitive way. My journey started with a simple blog post (linked below) which looked at how our education system continually fails to encourage school leavers to be physically active. Ultimately, this means that most Disabled adults outside of the elite and competitive sporting world struggle to make physical activity part of their day to day lives. 

Through research I have found and reached out to US based organisations supporting Disabled people to get outside and take part in a variety of activities. These range from outdoor fitness classes, accessible hiking and water skiing to the development of Disability-centric gyms and equipment hire. It’s going to be a real learning journey and I can only hope that I can take it all in. 

I’ll be blogging my adventure every step of the way, after all the journey itself will be an exercise in accessibility. It’s already proven to be a challenge to get my ducks in a row, they keep breaking rank and scattering! 

Barriers to travel are nothing new, but I have found this process is truly challenging my mental strength and resilience. 

I’m taking a grand total of five flights throughout my journey, I have done all the research I can to find wheelchair friendly airlines but I know I’ll be buzzing with anxiety every time I leave my chair at the gate. Wheelchairs get broken on planes, that is the disgusting reality of the situation, and I know it all too well. 

On top of that I have had to research the make and model of the plane just to ensure that my chair will fit in the hold upright (I don’t want to risk it being left on its side!). I now just need to trust that nothing changes or goes wrong ahead of flying (hahahahahaha! As if!). 

My usual micro management tactic is only partially prevailing here, for the large part I am planning for the unexpected and the inaccessible. Things will go wrong but we'll work through it. 

I have to have faith it’ll be ok, or I wouldn’t bother leaving to front door. If I have learnt anything in the past 18 months it’s that nothing ventured is nothing gained and there’s nothing that can’t be overcome with a sense of humour and a strong mind. This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and I need to grab it with both oddly formed claws!

So please join me on this journey, I can guarantee some laughs, some learning and a great deal of deep delving into the real sh*t! 

I’m excited, I’m anxious but mostly I’m ready! Can’t wait to share this with you all. 

Image Description: Me partaking in supported Paragliding in Turkey, ready to push the limits even more.

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