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Have Wheels, Will Travel

Let's Bring the Conversation of Disability, True Inclusion, and Representation to the Table

We should all be asking ourselves why people with disabilities are often othered (simply put, ostracized from society due to their 'differences'). I can see how my wheels and visibly extruding medical tubes can deter most, but let me just say that my disability is not contagious. I am quite the introvert but will advocate and speak my mind when and if needed. The power of my words is my moneymaker; you probably would not know I had a profound disability if I did not outrightly state as much. Channeling my inner Kimberly Elliott Hangartner (the founder of the Be Like Josh Foundation, podcast episode 67) when I say 'disability' is not derogatory, profanity, or foul language. Use it, embrace it, accept it. Euphemisms are overrated.

Although this might surprise some, it took me and my family years to accept my disability and complex medical needs that are a part of the package. As a little girl, I was severely bullied in school for my appearance and nasally voice, and I couldn't understand why no one else looked like me. As a child, I struggled to accept that I was different. I even wanted to identify with my American Girl doll, so we got her a wheelchair. It is a problem in the world that people like myself are rarely represented. If it was not for people like Ali Stroker (podcast episode 35) and Mindy Scheier (podcast episode 92), I doubt that others would even start the conversations revolving around true inclusion and representation. This is why I am determined to spread awareness about the wanderlust of traveling from a holistic perspective.

When in Wynwood

Back to Miami...Wynwood Walls is for you if you love artsy things as it is one of the most accessible Miami day-trips for anyone on wheels. If you minus the sketchy surrounding areas, the actual Wynwood experience has wide pathways, stunning graffiti and street art, and photo-worthy wheelchair-adaptable opportunities. So forget the nearby Selfie Museum (which I might add is not toted as accessible), visit an outdoor gallery and learn about graffiti and street art culture. After all, if it weren't for Wynwood, Team Peri would have never fallen in love with Fuzi, the designer of our Team Peri logo (his art is featured prominently in the nearby Museum of Graffiti, a block away from Wynwood Walls). While my mom was physically and emotionally drained from our wheelchair sled-pushing escapade from the day prior and was falling asleep on her feet, we were grateful for some time away from the boys. It was like a mini-vacation.

When in Wynwood, a must-stop is Zak the Baker, also known as the best bakery in Miami. While I am not a foodie, it is a great stop to rest and regroup before your Wynwood adventures. Shoutout to the bakery for setting up an accessible bench to savor our spread. It also poses as the perfect suctioning rest stop, just FYI.

Best to pre-arrange your handicapped accessible transportation to Wynwood as it is nearly impossible to find a ADA compliant cab that can handle electric wheelchairs. Don't get yourself stranded.

Nobu/Eden Roc ➡️ The Trump National Doral

Podcasting on 'vacation'? Why not? Podcasting in the wild was a whole other experience, but connecting with an individual who is a relevant entrepreneur within the universal design space is something I could not pass up. So stay tuned to hear the sound of the beach in an upcoming episode with Terri Bryant, founder of the accessible makeup brand, Guide Beauty.

We dragged ourselves to Miami in the first place because of the highly coveted Team Peri/Team Lifeline weekend. Yes, we did build our vacation around the annual Miami Marathon hoopla, but our ultimate goal has always been to see through our Team Peri commitment. This is why we were so determined to travel to Miami, despite knowing that the vacation would be fraught with disaster. As we already established, the Finkelstein fam does not travel lightly. Imagine trying to pack up an entire hotel room and switch from one hotel to another with pounds of medical equipment. If that is not dedication to represent our Team Peri squad at the Team Lifeline/Chai Lifeline and Miami Marathon weekend as a charity fundraising team, I don't know what is. So, there we are, packing, dragging, schelping, what else is new, to leave Nobu/Eden Roc to get to the Trump Doral. Luckily, my parents just keep pushing to do what needs to be done, while my brother Joel was cutting up fruit for me, I was throwing makeup on like a mad woman, and lastly, Joel was brushing his rabbi-wannabe hat made from a dead rabbit with a random brush he found in the Nobu valet closet. Priorities people, always set priorities.

The second leg of the trip is coming up we will dive deep into what it's like to roll in the Miami Marathon and through the Trump Doral.


Next Up: Biking Off the Grid, A Breakdown of The Trump Doral's Accessibility, & Marathon Tales

This is #TalesofWanderlust by Peri. XX


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