Site hosted by Build your free website today!

It's A Small World After All

by Judy La Borde, New Orleans, Louisiana

Thirteen years ago, Denise Drake (President of the Louisiana Chapter) began using a wheelchair to go from place to place. Of course, it took some getting used to but she was a quick learner, determined to adapt to her view of the world from a wheelchair. Since that time, her world has gotten a whole lot bigger.

She's traveled to seven countries on three continents, including: England, Italy, Virgin Islands, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii and now ... Tahiti. In December, 1997, she left her home in New Orleans equipped with manual chair, motorized chair and an attitude that says, "Anything is Possible."

She flew to Los Angeles, then on to Tahiti. Soon, without asking, she was in the arms of handsome locals who valiantly whisked her across white sandy beaches and into the blue/green waters of the Pacific Ocean. The bronzed skin of her new friends made the perfect canvas for the tattoos that are such an honored part of the Tahitian culture. They talked for hours while warm breezes made soothing sounds passing through the palms that lined the shore. The music of a ukulele added to the intimacy and intensity of the moment.

To say that Denise's fellow travelers, all of them able-bodied, looked on with envy is to tell the truth. How is it that someone with so many physical limitations is able to have such extraordinary experience in a land of strangers on the other side the world? I believe there are good, friendly, warm people everywhere you go, she says. There is everything out there if you are adaptable and think that life will be accessible.

Denise believes that a person's attitude toward travel is similar to the attitude toward life. If you are going to worry about things being able to fit you perfectly, you'll live a closed life. I believe its extremely important to travel and not be closed minded have just one way of seeing things. Different ways may be different, but they add up to the same thing.

One example is foods. In the South, with all our spices, food has a beauty that you wont find in another part of the country. But, in the North, its another beauty. Beauty of the mountains, the land, the water. Its always about beauty. What surprised Denise about Tahiti was the beauty of the people. The combination of the people, and the earth, and the water produced a serenity I'll never forget, especially coming at Christmas time. The lack of conflict and crime and competition among the Tahitians, where you have total strangers so sincere in wanting to help you..... Her voice fades, thinking about the memory.

Denise Drake believes there are good, friendly and warm people everywhere you go. People who have so much to teach us. In Tahiti, she now knows Peace on earth; goodwill towards man, is a lesson in day-to-day living.

Back to Main Page