Anyone currently reading these lines enjoys a range of perceptive senses that give them information about the world around them. The combination of all five makes reality understandable, so that it can be explored and experienced. If we don’t have one of the senses, our ability to interact with our surroundings is reduced.
Sight is generally considered to be the most important of the five senses. This is a somewhat simplified view, but those who are able to see usually have problems imagining the difficulties that daily life entails for people who lack this sense. This is not an easy world for them.
Let’s do a short experiment. Let’s close our eyes and open up our other senses… What do we hear? What do we feel on our skin? What smells do we detect and what memories do they bring? What do our other senses show us? How do we perceive our city, the countryside, or other landscapes?
In a society that moves at breakneck speed, we don’t often stop to pay attention to these feelings, and much less to ask ourselves how people with any type of disability do so.
Without a doubt, everyone has the right to enjoy these experiences and people with disabilities are no exception. For the world to be a place to be enjoyed, there is accessible tourism: a way to travel that breaks down obstacles, problems, and bad experiences.
But making tourism accessible is not enough. It should be inclusive and free of barriers so that people who are blind, in a wheelchair, or suffering from any other condition can travel along with those who are not, and everyone can enjoy unforgettable moments where solidarity plays a main role. A celebration of learning in which people without disabilities also discover new and enriching ways to perceive the world.
This is the kind of tourism that an advanced and inclusive society should support. And this is the kind of tourism supported by Núria Azanza, a popular blind blogger who devotes a great deal of her time to her passion: traveling, learning, and sharing her inclusive experiences.
As Núria explains, the challenges she faces multiply when she leaves her familiar surroundings. She realized that, when she traveled, there was not enough information and experiences from other blind travelers. How are guide dogs integrated into a trip? Can you find braille travel guides or tactile maps? How can you overcome the lack of specific information for blind people? How can we raise travel agencies’ awareness of this issue?
This was the idea behind Six Sense Travel, a blog where Núria explains how she and her husband, who are both blind, travel along with their guide dogs. This is a space where she works with destinations and companies to make tourism an inclusive experience for all. Ultimately, it’s all about raising awareness and helping other people travel in an accessible way, as well as reclaiming the ability to enjoy senses that seem obscured by the omnipresence of sight.
And why should this be limited to conventional tourism? Shared experiences include skiing, balloon rides… The entire world within the reach of the senses.
Let’s think about the great number of things that sighted people take for granted and which entail problems for blind people: How do we know if the clothes we are going to wear are stained or if the colors go well together? How do we check expiry dates on food? How do we move around in the chaos at airports and stations, or read information screens? In short, how can we enjoy the advantages offered by our modern world naturally and efficiently?
Thus, with the help of the Repsol Guide, SENSORIUM was born. An exhibit to explore Spain using all the senses. A sensory journey, an interactive game in which hearing, touch, smell, and sight are integrated into an experience that involves, for example, the smells of different regional products or the typical sounds of national festivals, among others.
The Repsol Guide is highly committed to this project. This is a combination of the senses of inclusion, progress, integration, overcoming barriers and, above all, a playful sense of life.
Close your eyes and let us take you on a journey with all of your senses.