Katie's Diary

Making a celebratory journey

29th February 2016

I’m Adrian and I live in Scarborough enabled by ubu to have greater independence than I ever had in the past. I think I am a happy outgoing man and I like the idea of having new experiences. Up to now I have only dreamed about going on holiday abroad but have never had the opportunity or felt I had the confidence to do it. When I turned 60 last August, I was looking for a way to mark my special birthday and I thought that a trip abroad would be something I would really like to do!

Beginning to make a plan brought with it many new challenges to face and made me think about how to get over things I have found difficult in the past, like travelling for long distances and being in crowds of people which I find scary!

I live with autism so for me any new challenges or changes can be a bit frightening. I also have epilepsy so I have to be careful about what I do when I’m out and about. I have tried hard to overcome these challenges and with ubu’s help have found ways to deal with how these things make me feel…especially changes in my life.

With my birthday coming up and because I had decided to take this life long trip to celebrate, I went along to my local travel agents to pick up some brochures. I thought this would be a good way to start to think about places I might want to go.

I knew that I was looking to do something a bit special so when I decided that going abroad was what I’d really like to do, my next big challenge was to deal with getting a passport as I have never had or needed one before. The first step was to fill in the application form, I asked for support to do this from ubu enablers because there are so many questions to be answered and it is something I needed to try to learn how to do. The application process took over 10 weeks to complete but finally I was the proud owner of my very first passport!

Then I had to think about and decide where I would like to go. Making decisions isn’t easy! I was flicking through one of the brochures and came across Disney Land in Paris. This caught my eye as I have always been fond of Disney films and character’s since I was very young. I knew right away that Disneyland was where I wanted to go for my special holiday.

My next challenge was to make a plan about how I would travel there. I had the choice of making the trip by train, plane or ferry Imagine the decision making that went on! I had to plan a route and book tickets for my journey. Then I needed to think about where I would stay and what I would like to do. These were all things that I usually find difficult or even impossible, but I was determined to have a go and get it right this time.

I have always been very fond of trains, so for me this was the best way to get there, another way to celebrate my trip with another passion fulfilled! With some support from my ubu enabler who was going to come along with me, we booked the train to Paris. My journey began in Scarborough taking a train first to York, then on to London Kings Cross Station. The plan I made was to stay over in London for a night, and then take the Euro Star Train to Marne La Vallee in France which is the station next to Disneyland Paris.

When we arrived in London the day before we were due to go to France, we had the perfect opportunity to get out and about and do some sightseeing. I visited many places in London, I felt like an explorer! I had some amazing and eye-opening experiences. My favourite places were Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s Column, Covent Garden and ‘China Town’ in Soho. It was brilliant! I found that I was enjoying the ‘buzz’ and atmosphere of what it is like in the busy heart of London. This was something quite new for me and I felt really good.

The next day we made our way to St Pancras International Train Station to board the train to Disneyland! It’s a really busy place, with people coming and going all the time. The train journey to France took us around 3 hours and it was quite a different experience for me, travelling through the Channel Tunnel and then speeding through the French countryside. When we arrived I was incredibly tired but really excited – all my hard work, research and effort had paid off and I was there at last!

The weather was wonderful, the sun was beaming! I had a fantastic time, visiting some of the most famous attractions in Disneyland like Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and Buzz Lightyear’s Lazer Blast and many, many more. The whole experience, especially having a voice to say what I really wanted to do, my success in taking a very active part in planning and helping to organise my celebratory trip has given me the ‘travel bug’! I‘m excited about what my next adventure could be. Maybe next year I will go away on a plane or a boat…that would be really amazing!

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