You can scour Harvard University’s online course catalog for as long as you want, but you won’t find a summer listing for Accessible Road Trips 101. That hasn’t stopped undergrad Kunho Kim from planning an elaborate 20-Cities on Wheels adventure where site-seeing will take a side seat to gathering information for an accessible online travel guide.
Kim, who was raised in South Korea, was paralyzed in a skiing accident four years ago in Montana. The ambitious road trip will fulfill two of his passions: his desire to see more of America and his commitment to improving access.
“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do since I was a kid,” says Kim. “I want to write a wheelchair accessible travel guide so that people like me don’t have to go through all the hassles I have.”
Kim will be traveling with three friends, including fellow Harvard undergrad Brad Riew. Their current route starts July 10 in San Francisco and ends 18 cities later Aug. 26 in Boston. They are hoping to spend one to three days in each city reviewing hotels, restaurants and attractions with an eye on wheelchair access. After the trip they will publish their travel guide through Let’s Go, a travel guide company run by Harvard students.
They have been planning the trip for months and have raised nearly $6,000 via the crowdfunding site Trevolta. Riew is optimistic the trip can make a difference in addition to being fun.
“Primarily our mission is to raise awareness about the state of accessibility information in the states. Even today, information regarding accessibility can be incredibly unorganized, difficult to find, and sometimes even inaccurate,” he says. “One accessibility-focused tour guide may not change the state of accessibility information in American society, but it may do something to help, and more importantly, it may help to start a more vocal dialogue regarding these issues. Our goal is to point attention towards these shortcomings and present solutions as to how these problems may be addressed.”
For more details on Kim’s trip, click here: http://wheelproject2014.wordpress.com/