Photo description: Cass and Cora stand side by side on a down leading escalator. They have almost reached the bottom, with seven steps to go. A couple of people wearing shorts and t-shirts can be seen standing behind them on the escalator. Cass wears a long dark green dress with a tie around the waist. White straps for a backpack peek out from behind her straight blonde hair, which hangs just below the shoulders. In her left hand she holds Cora’s harness and lead. Cora faces the bottom of the escalator wearing a focused expression. Photo by Lee Anderson.

Welcome back! While my last post was quite sweet and light-hearted, this one is probably going to be a little heavier and hopefully more thought-provoking. For quite some time now, I have wanted to share some of the assumptions, biases and misconceptions we often face in our day-to-day lives as people who are blind. But I feel as though I am tiptoeing through a minefield. I want to somehow strike a balance between highlighting these while avoiding making anyone uncomfortable. Some readers may realise that they themselves have made these assumptions or have these biases, and while I hope that…

Well well well, here we are. I have been promising that I would tell you more about Cora, and the time has finally arrived. I am also going to share more about guide dog mobility in general too.

In Australia, the breed that is most commonly trained to be guide dogs is the Labrador. There are a few reasons for this. Labs are smart dogs that are easily trained (they would do just about anything for a piece of kibble). They are also very loyal dogs. They love to be by your side and will do their best to please…

This photo was taken close to the ground, facing towards Cora. Cass is sitting in a chair at a café table, visible only by her white sneakers and blue jeans. Cora lays beneath the chair with her harness on. She is spread out, extending one paw to her left in a relaxed pose. Her face is squished into the floor gently, eyes half-open, almost as if she is falling asleep. Small garden beds are visible behind them, along with a small window where sunlight comes in. Photo by Lee Anderson.

As I have explained in an earlier post, canes and guide dogs are both primary mobility aids. This means that someone who is blind would usually rely on one or other of these to get around. In this post, I am going to delve into why someone would choose a cane over a guide dog, and vice versa.

Notice I used the word “choose”? This was very deliberate. Many people think that everyone who is blind should have a guide dog. Several of my cane-wielding friends have encountered many a dumbfounded stranger who can’t understand why they don’t have a…

Photo description: Cass stands in front of an ATM with her hand on the keypad. She is wearing a royal blue lace-knit cardigan with a white short-sleeve blouse underneath and light blue jeans. Her hair is pulled back in a ponytail and silver earrings dangle from her ears. Cass is using a pair of white headphones which are plugged into the ATM. Photo by Lee Anderson.

So, I’m curious… Did you notice the different smells of places you have visited since reading my last post? I hope so! In this post, I am going to share some more tidbits of information that I hope you will find interesting.

The first thing I want to share is a bugaboo for probably nearly every blind traveller. You would be amazed how often we are physically touched or grabbed when out and about. My arm is often held while I am trying to step onto public transport or an escalator for example. I have been pulled across a road…

Hey! You’re back! I’m chuffed. This time I thought I would explore the basics of travelling as someone who is blind. Some of these things you may already know, some you may have always wondered, and some you may never have thought about before. Regardless, I hope you find it interesting. I’ll try not to overload you with information, but I thought it was important to cover all of this before I delve into any of the topics more deeply in future blogs.

Cass walks towards the camera using a white cane with red tip to follow the directional tactiles. She has long, straight, dark blonde hair and wears a mid-calf length dark green sleeveless dress and white sneakers. In the background are several tall buildings and other pedestrians. Photo by Lee Anderson.

First and foremost… senses. Many people believe that when you are down a sense (namely sight in…

Hi, welcome, come in. This is Cora, she’s my guide dog. I have a cat too, his name is Magic, I adopted him from a cat lounge. Can I make you a tea or coffee? Yes, I can manage boiling water safely. No, I don’t need to put my finger in your cup to know when to stop pouring. Please make yourself comfortable. I have so much to share!

Cass and Cora shaking hand and paw!
Photo by Lee Anderson. Image of Cass and Cora shaking hand and paw. Cass wears a white t-shirt with “mademoiselle Paris” written on the front in black text, and light blue jeans. She smiles brightly towards Cora, with her blonde hair pulled back into a neat ponytail. Small silver twist earrings hang from her ears. Cora looks expectantly towards Cass, ears up. Cora wears a light orange collar with blue and green tags. Behind them is a large window showcasing the Melbourne city skyline.

I guess I’ll start with a little bit about myself. I am twenty-seven, short, blonde, sometimes shy and sometimes outgoing. I enjoy playing Vision Impaired Table Tennis, listening to podcasts (yes…

Image of Cora, a lovely guide dog.
Photo of Cora in Docklands, Victoria.

I feel embarrassed to admit it, but when I am out and about, I limit the amount of water I drink because I worry about finding the bathroom when I need it. It’s crazy to think about it that way, but it is a subconscious decision I make because of the challenges of navigating unfamiliar and complex indoor spaces.

Other times it’s more of a calculated decision. Last year a good friend of mine (who is also blind) and I ummed and ahhed about going to the MCG on her birthday to watch the Aussies take on New Zealand in…

Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash

There are two words that I am trying to evict from my vocabulary — “good” and “lucky”.

“Good” — because it is such a beige, non-word, non-answer, more-punctuation-than-a-word, like “nice”, or “okay” and all three words should be banned by law.

“Lucky” — well, because “lucky” was often how I would describe things happening to me. I was “lucky” that I got that funding or award, or I am “lucky” that I get to do the job I do. When really, luck has nothing to do with it at all.

I should say (and am trying to get used to…


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