For a number of years I have been putting off cane training. I had developed a system to navigate that during the time I felt was acceptable. In hindsight all I had really done is stopped going out on my own. I had restricted my travel to assure I was always accompanied by someone else.
I had decided a month or so ago to start the training but I was waiting for my request to be processed. Finally last week I met for my first lesson with the cane. Mobility previously caused a large amount of anxiety, while I was able to navigate in known areas I was still incredibly anxious and navigating around in unknown areas was incredibly difficult.
Beginning to use the cane I instantly dropped this anxiety as know I was sure I wasn’t going to walk into anything. I was now able to walk around at a consistent pace at ease. I had been resilient of the cane as I would lose my anonymity and I would instantly be identified as blind. However while utilising the cane this thought never once entered my mind instead I was focussed on the instant difference it was making.
I am continuing my lessons with the cane and will chronicle my progress as I go. Its week or so till my next lesson however as the intructor is on her holidays.
I finally bit the bullet and confirmed my place at Sheffield University. I followed this up with a quick visit with the disability department to discuss my needs and assistance I may require.
After discussing my needs and being reassured assistance would be put into place we hit the same old problem: Books in a digital format. Of the 5-pre course books on the reading list only 2 are available digitally. This continues to frustrate me, as we all know books are created in digital formats. There isn’t someone sat at a typewriter creating a book that is then photocopied. It is obviously sent to the printers digitally. So why not just convert that and sell?
I know the answer, its stupid DRM. Publishers do not want to lose control of their books. So now I will be forced to purchase the paper books and pay for them to be converted, making a £20 book a £200 book.
I am trying not to let this get me down and focussing on the course itself, I am looking forwarding to studying psychology at degree level and I am especially looking forward to the lectures. Not so much the commute though, but it’s the price I am paying to continue my other pursuits. There is always a trade off.
My current ambition to run the Cotswolds 100 has gained support recently from a number of websites and a newspaper. After using RunKeeper for a number of months to aid with my running I finally decided to create a post detailing exactly how it assisted me. This created an explosion of interest in my little adventure.
RunKeeper featured my post on their own blog which put the wheels in motion for a number of other opportunities. I was first contacted by Wired who asked to feature my post and asked if I would create regular updates for their Wired Playbook, I jumped at the opportunity and have had three posts published so far.
One day later I received an e-mail from The Daily and ending up giving an interview, my first ever! I was incredibly excited to be featured in a newspaper and have printed out a copy as a memory sake.
Being featured on these websites has allowed people in the blind and running community to get in touch. This has been fantastic and I have enjoyed talking to everyone, so don’t be afraid to get in touch. I have added a Skype button in the sidebar so people can call me too.