Travel chops: Sailing solo when paralyzed

Sailing solo around Britain would be quite the feat for most of us, I suspect. Sailing solo when you can’t move your body certainly turns it up a notch–or a hundred.

Hilary Lister from Dunkirk, Kent in Great Britain is not letting the trifles of her life stop her. She’s been paralyzed from the neck down for seven years, but has kept setting sail by blowing into a device that controls the sail and the tiller. Her method has taken her already around the Isle of Wight and across the English Channel. She is the first quadriplegic female to ever do these trips.

According to this BBC News story, Lister’s journey around Britain will not happen in a non-stop endeavor, but will be broken into segments, and the segments broken into parts. That seems sensible. She must have a powerful set of lungs. She also has land-based crew that can offer support as needed. Her determination is astounding, but so is the support she must get from family and friends who know how important it is for people to reach their dreams no matter what the dreams are and what obstacles can get in the way.

Several years ago, when I stayed with a lovely family in Vinita, Oklahoma, there was one family member who had been paralyzed from the neck down in a horseback riding accident. He was able to do all sorts of things using just his breath because of the way gadgets had been built to help him do so. His family also made sure that he determined what he wanted to do and left him to his own devices.

We cooked dinner one night, although, he really was the brains behind the endeavor. All I did was do what he said. Dinner was delicious, and honestly, I had little to do with it. If Hilary Lister has half the determination he did, she’ll make it around Great Britain for sure.

As for me, maybe I’ll call up the friend I know who has a sail boat to see if we can take it on a spin on the Scioto River. She knows what to do and instructs me. Suddenly, I have the urge.