Traveleyes has become a Teenager!
This month, Traveleyes enters its terrible teens! It’s now been 13 years of leading adventurers all over the world. Back in 2004, blind entrepreneur Amar Latif set up Traveleyes with a simple vision – to allow those with Visual Impairment to independently explore the world!
Amar said, “It’s been an incredible journey. When I started Traveleyes, I had no idea that it would ever grow to this level. As a blind person, I faced so many restrictions from mainstream group and solo holiday companies that limited my right to explore the world. I knew that Traveleyes would change the lives of many VI’s like myself, but what I hadn’t anticipated was how popular the concept would be amongst our sighted travellers.
“One of the things that keeps driving me forward is having met so many wonderful travellers, both blind and sighted, over the last 13 years. I would love to mention you all by name, but there’s nowhere near enough time, so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you!”
Don’t worry, just because we’re teenagers now doesn’t mean we’re going to start getting stroppy and listening to heavy metal music. However, like a teenager, we’re going to keep growing and try to take over the world! So, what does the future hold for Traveleyes?
“Going forward, I am as passionate about Traveleyes as I was 13 years ago,” said Amar. “We’re going to continue to build and grow, offering more holidays and destinations than we ever have before! As Traveleyes steams towards adulthood, we’re going to offer more diverse holidays, introducing a whole new range of activities and continue to reach out to people all across the world!”
One thing we’re really excited about is our work with young people and International Schools! In early April, Amar led a group of students from the International School of London, Surrey (ISLS) on a Traveleyes trip to Romania. The students were partnered up with our VI travellers, and acted as their sighted guides throughout the trip. Through describing and guiding, the students improved their communication skills, and gained valuable insights into visual impairment.
Susan Stewart, Head of Languages at ISLS said, “It is rare that teenagers today are given real, meaningful and enriching tasks to do. Giving a teenager the responsibility of guiding and describing the sights for a VI is full of opportunities for them to learn and see things in a new way.
“Connecting with a VI on a hike or on a visit around a historic monument allowed the students to experience life through a new lens, and to pause and reflect on alternate ways of being.
“Returning to school, the students bemoaned the lack of a VI on their arm found the adjustment back to fully sighted life quite strange. In an assembly, one of the students reflected that he had realised that ‘the loss of sight need not be a handicap, and could sometimes be an advantage’. Wise words indeed!”
Building on the success of this trip, we are leading another trip to Romania with an International School from Hong Kong in May, with many more young peoples’ trips planned in the future! So not only is Traveleyes now officially a teenager, we’re helping to give young people all over the world eye-opening and life changing experiences!
It’s been a wonderful journey so far, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
Here’s to the next 13 years!