Seeing the World the Tony Giles Way
By Katy Brennan, Digital Content Manager
Wandering around the markets of Israel, adventurer Tony Giles takes it all in. The smells of the surrounding food booths, the sounds of the people chattering about, and the feeling of individuals brushing past him. Somehow, one of those passersby manages to bump into him just hard enough to send him flying into a nearby store. In the blink of an eye, Giles finds himself being strangled by scarves in his new surroundings. Swatting at them, he eventually finds his way out, realizing that he was almost strangled — by scarves.
This story reflects the chaotic, yet amusing world that Giles has uncovered throughout his 19 years of travel. Over the past nearly two decades, he has traveled to 125 countries and all of the states in the US. Despite being completely blind, he has managed to make the most of his situation.
Adventurous would be an understatement when describing Giles, who frequently bungee jumps, sea kayaks, and white water rafts. He explained that he feels he has an advantage in these situations as he cannot see what is surrounding him which, to him, makes everything less scary.
“I got an advantage because I can’t see the bottom,” Giles explained jokingly.
Throughout his time traveling, he has seen the true ins and outs of accessibility in countries throughout the world. He explained that while countries like the United States, London, and Australia are extremely accessible (to fit his needs at least), he has found that, unsurprisingly, less developed countries like Vietnam and China are a bit more difficult to navigate. Nonetheless, Giles frequently finds “hidden gems” of accessibility, even in less developed areas.
“I was recently in Thailand, and at a historical site of a prison camp, I found a map with braille on it which was a big surprise for me,” Giles said.
In an attempt to encourage others to follow in his footsteps, he has continued to document his adventures. He has now published two e-books, Seeing The World My Way and Seeing the Americas My Way, which document both his early travels and some more recent ones. Giles considers the first book more of a documentation of his “partying years” and first visits to Australia and New Zealand; whereas, the second book is more of an emotional journey through his kidney disease, relationship struggles, and his continued travel in the Americas. Through it all, he hopes to encourage others to take the same path as him.
“I want to create a more open-minded world, and I hope my travels can do that,” Giles stated. “I want to encourage to do the same.”
Overall, he is a big believer that “diversability” encompasses the fact that, while everyone is different in their own diverse ways, we are all alike in some way or another.
“The whole world is diverse,” Giles explained. “Everyone should be equal, and everything should be inclusive. I hope my travels can create this more open minded world”
You can continue to follow his travels at this website: http://www.tonythetraveller.com/