Travel: My Most Enjoyable Vacation #AtoZChallenge

Welcome to day 20 in the #AtoZChallenge. I am feeling a bit frustrated with myself at the moment and as a result not as inspired to write. I hope this mood will lift while I’m in the process of writing this post. Today’s topic is travel. I was inspired to write about this by a nightmare I had last night, which was about a summer camp I attended in Russia in 2000. I don’t want to revisit that right now, so will instead be writing about my most enjoyable vacation.

This was, incidentally, also a summer camp. I attended the International Computer Camp for blind and visually impaired students in England in 2002. Because of my negative experiences with the summer camp in Russia, I had my reservations about going to this camp. Of course, this time I wouldn’t be the only blind person, but I still worried that I wouldn’t fit in.

The computer camp was held at a college for the blind in Loughborough, a town in the East Midlands. For this reason, we also took a trip to the West Midlands to see the Black Country museum or that’s what I remember it being called. This was something about the industrialization of England, but I wasn’t able to follow it much.

For most days, we had two workshops we could attend on computers and technology. I at the time had just discovered the Internet and was excited to learn what cool tech there was out there. I attended some workshops on word processing, but also on music and audio. I was also lucky enough to be on the editorial staff for the camp newspaper. I loved this and this was probably one reason I later began an online diary.

The staff worked at various disability agencies in their respective countries. One person I remember well worked at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany. He helped visually impaired students find their way through college. He taught a workshop on studying abroad, though it was more of a general survival skills for blind students workshop. This was perhaps the best experience I had there. It helped me realize that I wasn’t the only blind person out there trying to follow her dreams.

This was also the general message I took home from the camp: I am not alone. I met lots of blind and visually impaired young people from across Europe who were facing the same issues I was.

I returned to the international computer camp in 2003, this time in Switzerland. I liked that a little less, possibly because the Dutch staff who attended this time were a bit more pushy about my independence. I still enjoyed it though.

8 thoughts on “Travel: My Most Enjoyable Vacation #AtoZChallenge

  1. Astrid,

    I don’t know even now that I really “got” the Industrial Revolution, though a museum visit may or may not have helped.

    Loughborough I first came to know through the Ladybird books as it was where their publisher was based.

    Black Country – I remember towns like Birmingham and Wolverhampton.

    Yes, that whole camp newspaper thing was awesome.

    And what a great experience it must have been with the Karlsruhe professor and with the students and their different and diverse dreams.

    Argh – people being pushy about your independence! And they must have felt it would have reflected on them and on the country.

    Hope those Russian nightmares don’t visit you too much more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. I don’t have a clue which town or city we visited for the Black Country museum. I learned about the industrialization of England, particularly Lancashire, in my senior year in high school, because it was one of the history exam topics for that year.


      1. Astrid,

        The Black Country Museum – which is now the Black Country Living Museum – is in Dudley, and they [Wikipedia editors] say it is 10 miles west of Birmingham.

        [of course Wikipedia was still new at the time of your excursion].

        Lancashire would have been really big when it came to the industrialisation. And it would have sealed in your brain.

        Did you like history when you were in your senior year?

        And – wow – the Living Museum has grown and developed a lot, like all living history should.

        There’s metalworking; a living village; a 1930s street.

        And probably most interesting to the Dutch students – canals.

        The transport there is incredible. Cars; motorbikes; trains; trams.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, cool that you attended ICC, and it really sounds like it was fun. I’ve heard a lot about it in previous years and it always sounded pretty good to me, it’s quite popular among Polish blind people, and I even considered going there myself, but was really scared to do that as I also have a bunch of bad memories from different camps and such, and was worried that I’m not independent enough to manage it there and would need a lot of help. But very good for hear that you had such positive experiences there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting. I was wondering already whether you were trying to comment but your comments got stuck in the spam queue, since you used to comment so often. I’m so glad this wasn’t the case.

      As for ICC, I wasn’t very independent either. I tried to be, so for example I tried to walk around grounds independently using my white cane, but it was a definite struggle. The time in England, the staff were very accommodating. I remember you could also tick off a box saying if you had additional disabilities. Of course, my parents said “none”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I’m still here and was reading all your posts, has been a bit busy with things at home hence I didn’t comment much on blogs lately and am behind on everything a bit. 🙂 That’s good to hear that the staff there were accomodating, but a pity that your parents made it more of a struggle for you, maybe if they would be more open about/accepting ofyour other difficulties it would be easier for you.

        Liked by 1 person

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