Although weather wise our Snow post from the 10th January might be more appropriate (Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow - http://vidatraining.weebly.com/blog/41-let-it-snow-let-it-snow-let-it-snow), it is #WorldBookDay tomorrow (1st March) and we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you about this great book by Cathy Birchill and Bernard Smith that we’ve both read (Vicky in paperback and Dave in audio), enjoyed and already recommended to lots of people.
"Touching the World" is a fascinating account of 2 people's journey around the world on a motorbike, detailing their fantastic adventures and accounts of the generosity of human nature (in general) but also the strength of character required by both of them to undertake such a journey. Cathy has RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa) and whilst the book is much more than about Cathy's blindness, it is part of everyday life for Cathy and Bernard (her sighted partner) and so is an integral part of the book.
Their book provides an honest, often humorous but at times really poignant account of 2 people travelling in unknown countries with unknown risks and with a lot of the time unknown driving behaviours (I, Vicky, loved their ever changing list of top ten bad drivers, changing that is until they got to India). It details the effect this had on their relationship and themselves. Bernard's support for Cathy's decision to climb Machu Picchu as well as his physical and verbal support throughout the climb is described but also Cathy's quiet support of Bernard throughout the difficult days of driving is evidence of their true partnership. At times it made me laugh out loud (their ability to find themselves staying the night in brothels, their comment about my dad is bigger than your dad when describing the troops from each side of the India and Pakistan border are just two examples) but what will stick with me is their willingness to accept and adapt to different cultures and (in the main) meet everything with a smile. As well as being a fascinating account of two people supporting each other to travel the world, of particular interest to us was the description of the Swiss Guide Dog training, the way people’s behaviours changed when they realised Cathy was blind (thankfully, usually for the better) and also, as always, people’s assumptions about vision impairments (“but you don’t look blind”).
We could go on for ages about the book but really we just recommend you to read it for yourselves!
So, we’ll leave the last words to them:
“What you see depends mainly on what you look for”
“Being blind means you see the world in a different way”
The talking book reference number is TB19740 and be aware that it’s a long audio read of 19 hours 10 minutes but as we’ve hopefully made obvious, it is in our opinion well worth it.
We’re always interested to know about other people’s experiences and thoughts. Please share these by commenting…
Interested to learn more about VIDA Training? Read about our Training and Consultancy packages, specialising in Vision Impairment and Disability Awareness, Communication and Team Building or contact us for further information.
Our VIDA Insights...
Following our experiences from delivering our Vision Impairment Awareness training days over the past couple of years, we know that there’s loads more that we could talk about and examples we could have shared. Whilst these won’t be a substitute for our training, they will give you an insight (hence the name!) into our thoughts, observations and experiences from each of our perspectives - Dave’s living with sight loss and Vicky’s from being a sighted person and working alongside and supporting people who have sight loss.