This month, two disabled adventurers form Poland have begun an epic road trip across the Americas. Maciej Kaminski and Michal Woroch are both wheelchair bound but don’t let their disability hinder their passion for travel. After completing a European road trip in 2012, the pair set their sights on South America.
They received the Andrzej Zawada Award, a Polish grant for young explorers, and used some of the funding to kit out a 1996 Land Rover Defender for the trip. As well as the usual adventure equipment, like a roof tent, kitchen and a winch, they also had to convert the vehicle to suit their needs. An automatic gearbox and hand controls for the pedals were fitted as well as a lift to access the rear of the vehicle and the roof tent. The vehicle was then sent to Buenos Aires by cargo ship where they flew out to meet it a few weeks later.
The trip will take them from Tierra Del Fuego, at the southern tip of Chile and up the Pacific coast to Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. Then they plan to cross Panama’s Darién Gap into Latin America, Mexico and the United States. They hope to finish in Washington D.C.
The pair were interviewed by Kate Siber for National Geographic magazine, who ran a story about the trip. On being asked “What are your ultimate goals for the trip?” they replied:
“The aim is probably to traverse the route safely and soundly, to meet people from whom I can learn something. Maybe some people tracking our actions will think about the physical hardship that accompanies the expedition and evaluate their own everyday lives in which there is too much complaining and not enough joy.” (MK)
“As far as expectations with respect to the expedition, I do not have any. It is dictated a lot by the specifics of our life, or being confined in a wheelchair. From personal experience, I know that it is better to live life than waste energy on pondering how this life should be.” (MW)
You can get updates on the trip (in Polish) on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wheelchairtrip/
Or on their website: