|Twelve Apostles, Australia|
Cory Lee, a 26-year-old, born in Georgia, USA is a graduate of the University of West Georgia and a keen traveller involved in accessible travel. In October 2016, Cory will be flying to South Africa to join Epic Enabled for an accessible safari trip exploring the famous Kruger National Park and a private game reserve situated in Limpopo.
When just a toddler, Cory was taken to medical professionals for a muscle biopsy after his mother noticed he wasn’t yet walking and struggled with standing up. Diagnosed at the early age of two with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a form of Muscular Dystrophy, his muscles are weaker than the average person. Due to the progression of the disease, his muscles continue to deteriorate and he now makes use of a wheelchair to go about his daily activities.
Adventurous by nature and an avid traveller, he noticed there was not much information online with regards to accessible travel so back in December of 2013 he started Curb Free with Cory Lee. The purpose of his blog is to publish information and accessibility reviews on various cities, attractions, hotels and tours that will make travelling for other wheelchair users hassle free and more of an adventure.
With a following of over 45,000 across his social media sites he states his, ’biggest achievement has been connecting with so many other people through his blog.’ Cory has spoken at various conferences and receives emails from new visitors to his blog often. He loves getting to know his followers and feels the demands of a blog make it all worthwhile when a person has been inspired to travel after reading Curb Free with Cory Lee.
Cory strongly believes, “the world is too big to stay to stay put in one place” and aims to inspire others to start exploring, while he himself travels as much as possible while still able to do so.
When asked what his concerns are when it comes to disability he stated that since he works in the travel industry, most of his concerns involve accessibility when it comes to travel and the lack of accessibility in various destinations around the world.
|Blue Lagoon, Iceland|
Cory says that he, “would love to see airplanes become more wheelchair friendly”, and explains flying as, “such an arduous process for wheelchair users and wheelchairs are often damaged during flight, so many people don’t travel at all for fear of what might happen.” He believes that if it were made possible that, “wheelchair users could remain in their wheelchairs during the flight it would open up a whole new world and be a real game changer.” Cory is hopeful that, “something will be done to improve air travel in the near future.”
Cory’s biggest challenge with regards to his own disability has been, “accepting the changes that come with SMA and the gradual weakening of his muscles.” He was once able to lift his arms up but now has trouble doing so. Cory describes himself as good with adjustment although when seeing himself lose strength he naturally worries but is determined to keep living his life to the fullest by exploring and travelling while still able. He also longs, as so do many other wheelchair users, for people to see beyond the wheelchair and know they are so many things before a wheelchair user.
Australia and Iceland are at a tie for his favourite destinations; Australia because the country has a high standard of accessibility and Iceland because the country holds abundant natural beauty. He adds he is “under the impression that diverse South Africa might become his new favourite when he visits this October.”
Cory is of course eager to see the famous Big Five and is especially interested in seeing elephants and lions as he finds them to be remarkable creatures. As a lover of all animals, he is excited to see all the wildlife that the country has to offer. Cory’s bucket list includes his dream to visit all seven continents on the globe, ride a camel in Egypt, see the Great Wall of China and feel the thrill of skydiving.
When not travelling or working on his accessible travel blog, Cory can be found discovering new restaurants, exploring the outdoors when the weather is warm or watching films and attending the theatre.