Julie Haraksin (with husband Ian Irwin) moved from California to Sydney, Australia, in 1990.

Julie Haraksin (with husband Ian Irwin) moved from California to Sydney, Australia, in 1990. Photo by Edward Rubin

Thanks to decades of change–both technological and social–more and more Americans with disabilities are finding the wider world open to them. But are we open to the world? Which of our expectations should we take with us to other countries, and which ones are better left at home? These three adventurous wheelers–living on three continents–have discovered the sort of independence that can’t be won simply by passing laws and building ramps.

Sydney, Australia, is a long way from Julie Haraksin’s hometown–and not just geographically. Growing up in Downey, Calif., she never imagined that she would one day be living in the Lan