Summer Recap Pt. 1- No More Blahh and No More Barriers Because We Went to The No Barrier Summit 2017!

I’m back and I’m bloggin!

Hi, everyone! If you were beginning to wonder where I, Andrea, went (Hi Mom, friends, those who have chanced upon my beloved Poor House…), the truth is that I took a summer blogging sabbatical. My late-spring state of mind, you see, as documented in this blog post HERE, was, what’s that word I used again? Oh yes, that’s right- blaaaaahhhhhh and I needed to take some time to examine why that attitude was lingering.

Question for you – ever feel like your blaaaahhhhhh is unwarranted, comparatively?

Maybe it’s just me (doubtful), but I find that when I’m feeling a little low/grumpy/whatever, my inner dialogue has this tendency to impatiently cut in, diluting and dismissing my totally legit and uniquely me sufferings down to, essentially, first world white girl problems. But that’s not cool, because while that mindset provides me with a pretty upbeat attitude, it appears to divert space away from actually exploring and giving credence to the breadth of the feelings my shadow side experiences.

I really wanted to explore some of that stuff this summer (next blog post will reveal some detailed thoughts on that) and as luck would have it, early June offered us up a uniquely awesome and auspiciously timed opportunity to kind of kick that off. Thus, Ri + Andrea + Ri’s caregiver made our way down to Lake Tahoe/Squaw Valley to attend the 2017 No Barriers Summit. Despite the fact that I am not the target demographic for the event (or maybe I am and that’s the point), it was a completely transformational experience. I’m at a loss for words, actually. It was one of the most authentic opportunities I have had in my adult life to play, make new friends, connect with old, and challenge those stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we can do. We attended talks, concerts and were surrounded by innovators. And the product placement?! Totally on point with every banner, shirt and water bottle reminding us consistently that-

What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way

Heck. Yeah. That’s a message I can get behind (totally rockin that No Barriers Summit shirt at this very moment).

You can check out photos from the Summit HERE to get an idea of the breadth of this amazing event. And please, check out the No Barriers website while you are at it. This organization is seriously the real deal.

And while you may have seen some of our personal photos posted to our social accounts this summer (hint hint- follow us on social-  Instagram Here and Facebook Here), here’s a recap!




This summer has been absolutely epic and I need another blog post (or 3) to sum it all up. So por favor, stay tuned, my friends and I shall deliver the deets!




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Accessible Vaycay Hawaii Style


img_3009Written by Andrea

Winter in the Pacific Northwest gets tough, you guys. So cold. So wet. No sun. Why do we live in Portland again? Check back late spring and I will remember once again :).

At some point mid winter, it just became clear- Ri and I needed the warmth of a tropical breeze to dry out our water logged bodies. We craved Vitamin D -straight up from the sun. We required vaycay.

So, we booked a trip to Maui with friends. This was a big deal for 3 main reasons.

  1. We had never taken a tropical vacation together.
  2. We had never taken a tropical vacation with friends.
  3. We decided to do this tropical vacation sans caregiver, meaning Ri and I were a team on all fronts.

I want to tell you something about Riley- he is a travel prep pro. My boyfriend keeps a grand master list of every possible item we need to consider/bring when traveling + he keeps a prepackaged travel bag filled with extra medical supplies, a travel sling and more. Check, Check and Check!

Add to that, Ri and our travel pal sourced an awesomely accessible accommodation, along with a ramp van and a hoyer lift, so we had every controllable aspect of the trip set up beforehand with, quite honestly, little to no effort on my part! I, you see, was conserving my energy in preparation for the actual trip, when, you know, all the uncontrollable stuff starts to happen. Which, if you have ever travelled, you know is inevitable.

We had  fair amount of that stuff hit us on this particular vacation. Flight delays, rain, food poisoning, pain, sleep disturbances…that all happened. But, all of those things were just speed bumps along the way. Outside of the bumps, we made some kick ass memories with really great friends, Ri and I went swimming together for the first time ever, and we watched the sunset over the ocean every evening. We relaxed, we read, we soaked up the sun. We did Maui and it was really nice to get away.

I was hoping to share a few wheelchair savvy travel tips throughout this post, but all I can say about that is – talk to Ri, he has it down. I do have some general travel tips though, which I have realized apply equally as well to general life as they do to travel (darn, I guess vaycay is still real life). Either way, enjoy!

Here are my travel tips-

  • Be smart, be prepared, and only do what your body and mind are up for.
  • Don’t push yourself! Duh, you are on vacation.
  • Accept that in between all of the wonderful moments of travel/life there will be a bit of nonsense, chaos, and well, hard shit. This is the adventurous part of the trip (life) and you will either laugh about this stuff down the road or they will help define and shape the person that you will become.
  • Get a lot of sleep. Like, a lot of sleep. More than you think you need. Oh, and drink a lot of water. But not right before you sleep.

I want to give a big shout out to the Hyatt Residence Club at Kaanapali Beach. It is a fabulous option for anyone with mobility issues, or anyone who just wants to relax to the max.

Lastly,  Ri suggested I write another blurb about my experience with the whole caregiving side of the trip. So, stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, examining the juxtaposition that is Caregiving (or as I prefer- Care-girlfriending) While on Vacation.