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Without technology I’d be screwed!

This week’s video asks the question, what technology do you use to enable your life and career?

Obviously I use my wheelchair, hoist and adapted car for independence. I also use my phone for social and career things.

My phone is in fact my paper and quill, my filing cabinet, my megaphone, my teleportation device, my carrier pigeon, and so much more.

This video from my free YouTube course summarises the importance of technology. As a tool. But not as an addiction.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences 🙂

Martyn Sibley

– World Changer @ martynsibley.com.
– Author @ ‘Everything is Possible’ (on Amazon).
– Inclusion Captain @ disabilityhorizons.com.
– Presenter and Speaker @ visablepeople.com.
– Adviser @ Governments/Businesses/Charities.

Also @ Twitter | Facebook | Linked In | Skype.
Mobile @ +44 (0) 7798 746551.

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For the first time ever I almost missed my plane! I had booked the taxi driver one week earlier, while still in Poland. Waking up at 3 a.m. is never pleasant, but I was very excited about the trip to Valencia that morning. So after a busy week of travelling back to the UK by car, and delivering various client projects, the last thing I needed was the taxi driver not turning up. Thankfully the company scrambled a different driver. Somehow, along with my new personal care assistant Olga, we just made it through the airport in time.

After the usual audiobook, and a power nap, Spain was below the aeroplane. This particular trip was to focus on the Region of Valencia. Our visit acted as an umbrella for a series of events based on accessible tourism. It was organised by the Autonomous Community of Valencia (Turisme Comunitat Valenciana) and PREDIF (the Representative State Platform for Disabled People with Physical Impairments).

The main objectives were to promote accessibility in the tourism sector in the provinces of Valencia, Castellón and Alicante. Also to raise awareness among professionals in the public and private sectors, as well as to publicise the area to visitors from other countries. All through our experiences.

No pressure there then.

The Hotel and the Group

At the airport an accessible taxi and a fellow project member, Marianne, greeted us. We headed for the short ride to the Vincci Mercat hotel. After the usual shifting of some furniture, the room was setup for the rental hoist and my shower chair. This is always a relief to know I’ll be ok to use the bathroom for the visit.

Then a week of amazing food and drink and adventure began. We met that evening with Tatiana from PREDIF, Oscar from Accessible Madrid, Marianne from Marianne Tours, and last but not least a fellow blogger Nuria. Plus her guide dog Aldo.

Valencia Itself

We only had one day in the actual city of Valencia. But we certainly covered many great things. One thing I learnt immediately from the tour guide was that Valencia is actually the third largest city in all of Spain. Behind Madrid and Barcelona.

We all took the short walk to the college and museum of high silk art. The guide took us on a tour not only of the building, but through so much of Spain’s history.

Museum of High Silk Art

Silk was a major factor in shaping the jobs, culture, agriculture and so forth many centuries ago. In such a fearful and divided political climate, it was enlightening to learn about the beautiful consequences of different cultures coming together. Of course the battle between Christianity and Islam in Spain had its problems, but the positive outcomes of diverse populations was easy to follow through this silk story.

In keeping with the silk theme (hopefully you’re getting how vital it was for this area of Spain in the past now), we visited the silk exchange. There we also met the president of PREDIF Comunitat Valenciana, Carlos Sotos, and Francesc Colomer, Regional Secretary of Tourism.

Silk Exchange guided visit

After a hugely delicious lunch, we headed to the San Nicolas Church. It was really special inside the building. The art work and sculptures were so beautiful. It really gave me a feeling of peace inside for that short visit, on what was a busy day.

Via a short bus ride (adapted minibus from Marianne tours), we then headed to the Fallas museum. The word is pronounced very similarly to ‘fires’. I only realised the word was different later in the visit, because the whole museum was filled with amazing sculptures. Sculptures that were from the community during their annual festival. Whereby the sculptures are actually burned, very similarly to our Guy Fawkes night, in a crazy March evening of fun. Only the winning sculpture survives and takes its pride of place in this museum.

Fallas Museum

Apparently the night is a true spectacle not to be missed. So I hope to return for the actual Fallas party with the loud firecrackers and the bright burning lifelike mannequins.

Our evening drew to a close by walking around the fascinating art and science centre. Designed by a fantastic architect; the pavement, lakes and buildings are clever and symbolic. It’s very hard to describe them in words. But it’s definitely a place you should also see once, for sure.

So this epic day finished at a beachside restaurant, with yet more amazing food. Oh the life of a travel blogger!

Xativa and Gandia

If you thought there was some interesting history in Valencia, then Xativa will blow your mind. In a good way of course. Particularly as I am a proper history geek. Every street had its own tale to tell. The museum was lined with interesting and intriguing paintings. Plus the church was a true relic to enjoy.

Xativa walking tour

Being older meant some of the streets were a little bumpy, but it was manageable in my chair. I was able to get inside all of the buildings. Most importantly I really felt like I had gone back in time.

There is the old pronunciation expression that goes: the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. Well the plain could be in a few places, but that afternoon the rain definitely fell bloody hard. It didn’t stop our plans, but I’m very pleased I took my new rainproof poncho.

That afternoon, following delicious fideua (paella with pasta), we visited the Ducal Palace of Gandia. Having coincidentally read a book about Leonardo da Vinci before, I was very plugged in to 15th and 16th century life in Italy. During this time there was an interesting story about a Spanish Guy who became the first non Italian Pope.

Have you heard of the Borgias? Or rather their Spanish origin was actually Borja. Well this castle is where the third generation Saint Frances lived. You could feel the people, the parties and the politics as we wandered around this stunning palace.

Ducal Palace of Gandia

Segorbe and Castellon

I really enjoyed this day. In Segorbe we learned about and were immersed in the festival of the bulls. It’s was phenomenal. Every year people line the streets. The bulls are lead from outside the town. Surrounded by people on horseback. As the bulls run through the streets, fast, the people move over just before they’re knocked down.

In writing it I’m feeling the needs to explain that no animals are injured. Moreover it’s just another thing you need to see. In the museum it feels like you’re right in that market square!

Bulls and the Horse Droving interpretation centre

Onto Castellon, we walked through the city with our very passionate guide. The story of the church and nearby towers was interesting. As was the continuation of the time Moorish people lived their.

Plaza Mayor of Castellón (Castellón main square)

As you can imagine, we headed for some food and drink, before getting a little shut eye. The next day would be off to Alicante!

Alicante

We clocked up some miles during this trip. The visit to Alicante also meant changing hotels for one night.

Unfortunately the weather, which did provide warm sun at times, was a bit unpredictable. The boat trip to the island of Tabarca was therefore postponed. Which was a shame, but it mean we got a more chilled day than the previous ones.

Instead we visited Santa Bárbara Castle overlooking the sea, followed by a Michelin star lunch with the same stunning view. I’d like to return to Alicante itself for more of an exploration. However what I saw of it was great.

Onto Villajoyosa and the famous Valor chocolate factory. We started with a video of the company history, and how they make their famous confectionery. Then I went up the stair lift and we all enjoyed the museum tour. Finally we strolled around the factory, watching the chocolates being made.

Chocolate Factory Valor

I say finally, but the true finale was the shop. I’m still burning off the calories now.

Afterwards we headed to the amazing Vilamuseu. Probably my best moment of the whole trip. The access was fantastic. The exhibitions were fascinating, inclusive and so interactive. Nuria being visually impaired was able to touch tactile items.

Vila Museu (Villajoyosa Museum)

We had so much fun dressing up as Romans, making historical perfumes, and uncovering a ship wreck. Recently divers off of the nearby Mediterranean coast found a sunk ship. From emperor Neros time! Carrying many amazing artefacts.

Vila Museu (Villajoyosa Museum)

The museum director took us to the basement where items were undergoing treatment. Eventually they will be placed in the museum’s exhibition and shown to the world. I felt very lucky to see such a behind the scenes glimpse.

We were caught in a huge downpour after our meal. We’d been eating at 9pm or 10pm. So this was an event later night waiting for the weather to ease. By morning I woke up to the perfect sea view sunrise. It really left an imprint on me. In fact you can see a video on my Instagram back from mid October.

World Changing Trips

I keep talking a lot about changing the world lately. This trip changed the world, but not in a special or arrogant way. Every initiative that encourages accessibility and inclusion changes the world that little bit more. Every positive experience and positive blog post pushes things forward for the better.

Town hall of Valencia

That morning we headed back to Valencia city for a press conference. The town hall was quite the spectacular location. Nuria and I spoke to the press and were asked questions too.

Who knows who was there, or read the article, or saw us on tv, and felt compelled to make tourism even better there. Who knows who is reading this, and will be encouraged to travel with a disability. Who knows what butterfly effect it all has.

Valencia City Press Conference

Here’s to Valencia, here’s to the organisers, here’s to small improvements, here’s to big consequences, here’s to changing the world together!

Oh and here’s the places we stayed and ate in, just in case it’s useful.

 

HOTELS

VINCCI MERCAT HOTEL

Address: Carrer de la Llanterna, 31, 46001 Valencia, Valencia.

mercat@vinccihoteles.com

Tel: +34 961 01 42 60

 

HOTEL ALLON MEDITERRANIA

Address: Avenida del Puerto, 4, 03570 Villajoyosa, Alicante

info@hotelallon.com

Tel: +34 965 89 02 09

 

RESTAURANTS

Puerta del Mar

Carrer dels Transits, 4, 46002 Valencia

www.restaurantepuertadelmar.com

Tel: +34 963 94 00 08

 

Dos Lunas Beach

Marina Real Juan Carlos I, s/n, 46024 Valencia

www.doslunasbeach.com

+34 960 61 54 70

 

Boga Playa

Carrer del Senill, 105, 46713 Playa de Gandía, Valencia

www.bogarestaurante.es

Tel: +34 960 26 03 33

 

Vino Tinto

Carrer de Sant Vicent Màrtir, 44, 46001 Valencia

www.vinotintovalencia.com

Tel: +34 963 94 24 42

 

Gastroadictos

Carrer Palau, 22, 12400 Segorbe, Castellon

Tel: +34 655 93 33 02

 

Entrevins

Entrevins – Primer Piso, Calle de la Paz, 7, 46003 Valencia

www.entrevins.es

+34 963 33 35 23

 

El Posit Villajoyosa

Av. del Puerto, 23, 03570 Villajoyosa, Alicante

www.elpositgastronomia.es

Tel: +34966851519

 

Martyn Sibley

– World Changer @ martynsibley.com.
– Author @ ‘Everything is Possible’ (on Amazon).
– Inclusion Captain @ disabilityhorizons.com.
– Presenter and Speaker @ visablepeople.com.
– Adviser @ Governments/Businesses/Charities.

Also @ Twitter | Facebook | Linked In | Skype.
Mobile @ +44 (0) 7798 746551.

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It’s a short post this week, word wise, but an important video.

How do you create influence and change?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on my ideas. More importantly looking forward to learning from you 🙂

Please hit reply after watching it, and share a sentence or two with me.

Martyn ‘serving’ Sibley

– World Changer @ martynsibley.com.
– Author @ ‘Everything is Possible’ (on Amazon).
– Inclusion Captain @ disabilityhorizons.com.
– Presenter and Speaker @ visablepeople.com.
– Adviser @ Governments/Businesses/Charities.

Also @ Twitter | Facebook | Linked In | Skype.
Mobile @ +44 (0) 7798 746551.

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Without ideas, what is there? We’d have a fraction of this world we experience. No buildings. No transport. No products. No services. No community. Nada.

Where does creativity come from then? Is it gifted? Is it waiting to be plucked from the atmosphere? Do we download it in our dreams?

Well, I don’t have THE answer. However I can share my experiences. The things that work for me.

Most importantly I read with purpose! This can be substituted for listen (podcasts) and watch (videos) with purpose. The key point is to eliminate the dross in the mainstream media.

We’re safer now than ever. Starvation, war and disease impact us less than ever. So purposefully consume things you’re passionate about. Things that are truly relevant. Things that help you join the dots and make the world better.

Being a world changer means looking at the bigger picture, using your imagination, and ultimately being positively creative.

I love those moments when time disappears. When we’re so absorbed by a task we lose our senses. Remember suddenly being aware of your hunger, thirst or need for the loo after creating something beautiful? Flow states are amazing experiences.

Here’s a video on staying sharp:

What do you do for idea generation?

Martyn Sibley

– World Changer @ martynsibley.com.
– Author @ ‘Everything is Possible’ (on Amazon).
– Inclusion Captain @ disabilityhorizons.com.
– Presenter and Speaker @ visablepeople.com.
– Adviser @ Governments/Businesses/Charities.

Also @ Twitter | Facebook | Linked In | Skype.
Mobile @ +44 (0) 7798 746551.

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As you know, I’m currently in Valencia for my #accessibletourism work. The photo is from inside the beautiful San Nicolas church.

This week I want to talk about consistently showing up. No matter what. To create your master piece and change the world.

Imagine the hours it took to painstakingly turn up and create this beauty. The people. The sweat. The politics. The fear.

In my life the brushstrokes are the conversations, the idea generation, the collaboration, the action and the impact. All for a fair and inclusive world.

What beauty are you working towards? How are you making brush strokes towards it? Most importantly are you turning up, even when it hurts?

Martyn Sibley

– World Changer @ martynsibley.com.
– Author @ ‘Everything is Possible’ (on Amazon).
– Inclusion Captain @ disabilityhorizons.com.
– Presenter and Speaker @ visablepeople.com.
– Adviser @ Governments/Businesses/Charities.

Also @ Twitter | Facebook | Linked In | Skype.
Mobile @ +44 (0) 7798 746551.

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I’m just back from two weeks away. Myself, Kasia, my PA Eileen and Sunny left on Saturday 22nd September for Poland. Stopping for a night in Essen, Germany – about halfway. Arriving at Kasia’s parents Sunday dinner time.

During the visit, I had a nice work vibe. Without Wi-Fi and being far from the UK, I had no meetings. Meaning I got lots of deep creative work done. Something we should all aim to do each week. Wherever we are. I still had mobile internet by the way. Meaning I was still keeping everything ticking over. Just way fewer meetings!

The rest of the time I caught up with the outlaws, grasped a bit more Polish, and ate way too much 🙂

Our golden retriever puppy, Sunny, had an amazing time too. Trying out the Polish culture, meeting Polish dogs and digging wherever he could.

On the way home we wanted a quieter, picturesque accommodation. We found Op ‘t Eikenschoor in Holland. Perfectly placed for the channel tunnel crossing yesterday morning.

The place was magnificent! Enough room for us all. Very affordable. Yummy breakfast. Accessible walks. It was the perfect place to rest on a LONG journey.

The owners in the first photo were so aware of inclusion. So impactful. They are the true world changers this week!

Martyn Sibley

– World Changer @ martynsibley.com.
– Author @ ‘Everything is Possible’ (on Amazon).
– Inclusion Captain @ disabilityhorizons.com.
– Presenter and Speaker @ visablepeople.com.
– Adviser @ Governments/Businesses/Charities.

Also @ Twitter | Facebook | Linked In | Skype.
Mobile @ +44 (0) 7798 746551.

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Do you ever get a feeling that everything happens for a reason? I spoke 3 years ago in Madrid about accessible tourism. There a very happy and friendly woman came up to me afterwards, and wanted to speak about accessible tourism in Lisbon.

After a catch up at Naidex, a few Skypes, and a lot of hard work by Rita and her sister Daniela, we finally worked together in Portugal last month! 🙂

The Basics

Upon meeting the Duarte sister’s from Portugal for all Senses in Lisbon, it felt like Kasia and I had known them forever. After the airport welcome, we headed to the wheelchair accessible taxi. The driver was really helpful, and somehow got us all in the vehicle with the suitcases and my shower chair.

We stayed at the Pestana CR7 hotel. For those not so in to football, it’s part owned by Portuguese football player Cristiano Ronaldo. Who always wears the number 7 on his shirt – hence CR7 🙂

The room was great. They had arranged a mobile hoist for me. They could have also got a shower chair, but I prefer my own. There was room for the equipment. Plus the shower chair went over the loo and in the shower fine.

A great start!

Inside and Nearby the Hotel

Knowing that the basic but vital aspects were in hand, it was time for food and exploration. The food in the hotel restaurant was delicious. Particularly the breakfast omelettes, and the steak and pasta meals.

In the bar area I tried the Portuguese beer, which went down a treat. We made a plan for that evening. Whilst there was a big screen with Ronaldo doing kick ups, alongside live footage of people walking past. Very amusing.

The hotel is really well placed. There’s the river Tagus only 5 minutes away. This then flows to the Atlantic sea. Although we’d eaten that night, we spotted lots of cafes, bars and restaurants. That all looked pretty accessible too.

After a bit of warm sun, fresh air, and a wander; we grabbed some bits from the nearby shop. It was time to head for some well deserved sleep!

UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sintra

The next morning our driver arrived to take us to Sintra. Somewhere I hadn’t heard of one year ago. But somewhere I’d been told about multiple times since. I now understand why 🙂

Despite a hold up on the 30 minute journey due to an accident, we arrived excited to explore this magical place. There were lots of narrow lanes and stunning views on the final part of the ride there. Before we’d even started!

Our specific destination was the Monserrat palace. When you search for Sintra, you’ll see it was only the tip of the iceberg.

Built as a summer house by a rich British family, it struck me as the Downton Abbey of Portugal. Our guide Sara explained how the climate enabled so many different trees and other wildlife to grow there. Plus she explained how life was inside this stunning palace.

Western most tip of continental Europe

After a long walk around the gardens and the palace, we grabbed lunch. Before heading to Cabo da Roca.

We were unlucky with the weather here. Known for its mist from the sea, the beautiful view was restricted. But it’s certainly a good thing to tick on the list of explorations.

Lisbon Itself

After quite a heavy night of mojitos and philosophical chats, we were all set for a better look at Lisbon itself.

We started by visiting the Belem tower, learning all about the naval discoveries from Lisbon and famous Portuguese people.

After lunch we saw the historical monastery of Jeronimos. Which had a ramp made especially for wheelchair users like me 🙂

Official Portugal for all Senses tour

That evening we were treated to a really special experience. Rita and Daniela now offer guided tours for accessible tourism. Which is also available for Airbnb customers too.

I’m a real history geek. So I lapped up all the information of Lisbon and Portuguese history. The politics. The wars. The natural disasters. The religion. The architecture. The heroes. The villains.

Wow. I was in my element!

We also got taken to a local shop for local food and local port. An amazing gastronomy experience. Plus we were taken to the regular cafe of their famous writer and poet.

There was an old lift that took us up to an amazing vantage point over the city. We even got to skip the queues to use it. The view of the old town, new town and the river was majestic.

Overall the city was good for dropped curbs, access to buildings, and all without needing public transport. People often talk about Lisbon being hilly. Which parts of it are. But where we stayed and ventured to was just fine.

Beach Weather

The climate in the city is fantastic. I wore shorts and t-shirts everyday and evening. In mid September. It was around late 20 degrees with a nice sea air.

So on the last full day, Kasia and I got a taxi to the beach at Cascais. There was a ramp down onto the sand, and a mat towards the sea.

I loved it. Just reclining back in my chair and listening to my music for a while.

Last Supper

On our last evening, we recorded the interview you can see above, and we ate together. It was nothing like the last supper Da Vinci painted from the bible. But it was really special for us.

We’d done so much together in these days. Having never been to Lisbon or Portugal before, I’m so pleased I have now. I definitely want to return there again soon.

Its climate, terrain, history and food were magnificent. Most importantly we made new friends too.

Portugal for all Senses

If you have always wanted to visit Portugal, or really fancy Lisbon now, please have a look at Rita and Danielas website here and ask them any questions. They will really do all they can to make your stay a good one.

Martyn Sibley

– World Changer @ martynsibley.com.
– Author @ ‘Everything is Possible’ (on Amazon).
– Inclusion Captain @ disabilityhorizons.com.
– Presenter and Speaker @ visablepeople.com.
– Adviser @ Governments/Businesses/Charities.

Also @ Twitter | Facebook | Linked In | Skype.
Mobile @ +44 (0) 7798 746551.

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I can do everything! All by myself. No matter what.

These words are a sure fire way to achieve absolutely nothing.

Let’s talk about the power of the tribe.

Soon after I started my blog, we wanted to build a tribe. To give a voice to unheard people. So Disability Horizons was born.

This summer our team ramped up our social media marketing services too. By delivering engaging articles and podcasts for clients. We’ve already impacted on their mission.

As part of this project, we utilised some of the amazing creative talents of our community. One example is Emma Vogelmann, who started volunteering for us at DHorizons a couple of years ago. Through her experiences, she bagged herself a fantastic job for Muscular Dystrophy UK and is now their employability lead.

Emma agreed to feature in episode two of our client Iansyst Ltd podcast, about Access to Work. Where she explained the benefits, both for businesses and disabled people, looking to be supported by AtW in employment.

All of this typifies the magic we’re trying to create. Giving disabled people volunteering and paid for opportunities. Giving our community a voice. Supporting organisations to change the world to be totally inclusive.

How are you nurturing your tribe?

Martyn ‘tribal’ Sibley

PS. If you want more, do consider the following:

– Subscribe to my blog and get a free copy of my book ‘Everything is Possible’

– If you’re a World Changer, contact me about coaching opportunities and our social media marketing agency

– If you’re disabled, head over to Disability Horizons (.com) for our articles, interviews and free masterclasses