Disability Perks Of A One-Handed Life

I prefer the cooler more positive side of being born with one hand. The more positive we are in life the more options we see. The more positive thinking we have the more solutions we are able to visualize and utilize. The power of our thinking is limitless. That is why I lean on humor, fun, and inspiration in life. Blog #11 of “40 Blogs in 40 Days of my first 40 Podcasts” shares the story of getting my one-handed perk in the form of a Golden Access Passport. 

It is rare I play the “disability card” so to speak. But there are times when I do. I often ask to board a plane early; I look for any disability discounts, and use my disability as a hiring preference. On more rare occasions I will ask if I can park in the “alter-abled” parking area when speaking or preforming at a festival. The Oregon Country Fair has always been supportive of this request. My legs are just fine. To attempt to ask for the privilege of handicapped parking crosses the line for me. There are some things I will not do in relation to my disability. I will never ask for a disabled parking license plate or status, hide behind my disability, or use myself as an excuse. And at the same time I will always look for the “disability perks” of my one-handed life.

They are out there! I did mention a few in the first paragraph. Asking to board a plane flight early is a major perk. When I was in China the process and perception are different due to the culture. In the Hong Kong airport the flight attendants approached me and asked me if I wanted to board the plane early. Then they carried my bags and stowed them for me. Wow! I felt like a rock star. When I lived Seattle, Washington I was eligible for a disability commuter pass. This allowed me to ride the public bus system at no cost. And I received a major discount on the monorail, light rail train, and the ferries. SCORE! This was such a perk. Additionally, Seattle also offered a disability discount to many museums and state run activities. There were a lot of perks having a disability when I lived in the “Emerald City” of Seattle. The best perk of all was hearing about and later receiving a Golden Access Passport from the National Park Service.

I spent a bit of time in the backcountry of Washington State. This was mostly due to my roommates at the time and my larger circle of friends. Most of the people I spent time with loved to go hiking, biking, and camping. Therefore, the amount of support and advice I received as I prepared for my cross-country bicycle tour was impressive to say the least. I am not sure who I was speaking with at the time or what was our location when I heard about it. I just recall discussing what was called a Golden Access Passport. Once I started to do research on it I realized this “passport” was for me! It is basically “a lifetime admission permit” granted by the National Park Service for people with disabilities.

The perks cover a lot of ground. I get free admission for everyone and me in my vehicle as I enter any National Park and Federal Recreation area. I also get a 50% discount on a number of other fees for Federal sites, facilities, equipment, and services. This is a true bonus for any hiker, camper, backcountry lover, and solo bicycle traveler. I could not wait to get this passport.

This is a short story of meeting my dear friend Stacy near Yellowstone National Park while on my cross-country bicycle trip. He was also with me in my first story turned podcast in episode OHS001. We had a few great adventures in the state of Idaho and in Yellowstone National Park. Our timing and short travels together also had a personal agenda for me. After doing research on the Golden Access Passport I learned there were only a few places at that time to apply for the passport. Yellowstone National Park was one of those locations. It is also where I had a most precious and special one-handed moment as we entered Yellowstone National Park.

To hear the story how I crossed the gate at Yellowstone click and listen to my One Hand Speaks Storytelling Podcast Episode OHS012. Please feel free to share this blog or my podcast and I ask you to offer a comment with your opinion and feedback! Thanks!

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