My mother, Emma Eljas, was a wheelchair user who never let life’s obstacles get in her way. She got MS when I was 11 years old and I watched her slowly progress from a cane to a walker to a wheelchair.
Her power of positivity and enthusiasm for life was contagious.
This never slowed her down, as she always wanted to do more, see more and get out and experience the world. My mother taught me an incredible life lesson that no matter what the obstacle is, you can overcome and even turn it into a win. Her power of positivity and enthusiasm for life was contagious. We have a neighbor that lives across the street from our old house who said whenever she was having a bad day, she’d look across the way at our house, think of my mom and instantly smile.
My mother served as a commissioner on the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Disability Advisory Commission and helped make regional transportation more accessible. With a wheelchair-lift van, our family traveled the Bay Area and took advantage of the beauty of the region. While many venues were accessible, countless were not. Even calling in advance, only to be told misinformation by well-intentioned employees, didn’t solve the problems and could lead to heartache and disappointment when things went awry because of a lack of accessibility. One time, a local movie theater told us over the phone that their venue was accessible. We arrived to discover that accessible meant a thin cracked plywood ramp that couldn’t hold any weight. We left the theater, disappointed and frustrated.
Experiencing these accessibility situations firsthand with my mother made me realize there had to be a better way...
Experiencing these accessibility situations firsthand with my mother made me realize there had to be a better way and led to the inspiration for the founding of a travel site serving those with accessibility needs to fulfill their travel dreams and goals.
accessibleGO is a travel platform for people with disabilities offering bookings, reviews, services and community. We started accessibleGO to create a community of like-minded travelers with disabilities that want to help each other and share valuable information about their travel experiences.
It is my hope that with the help of accessibleGO.com people of all abilities will feel comfortable making travel plans and, like my mom, do more, see more, and experience the world!
Miriam is a serial entrepreneur based in Jerusalem who started and sold a newspaper in NYC. Most recently, Miriam left her managerial role in business development at an Israeli venture capital firm to start accessibleGO. She is a mentor for new companies at several Jerusalem based entrepreneurship programs.