Data + Design Project

Rolling Back Home: Wheelchair Around the World

Monday 05.09.2011 , Posted by
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Meet Peter Donnelly

Let me introduce you to Peter Donnelly from the UK. He’s an amazing soul who has been traveling around the world, going to such exotic lands as Bangladesh, India, Tibet and Japan. He’s logged in over 8,000 miles, seen some amazing sites and shared his friendship with others… and did I mention Peter is a paraplegic?

That’s right. Peter, who’s in his mid-twenties, used to be able to walk and when he did, he adventured around and loved life. Unfortunately, a motorcycle accident provided him with a T6 spinal cord injury and he lost the feeling from the waist down.

Not feeling sorry for himself and having not lost one bit of the adventurous spirit, he decided to trek solo around the world in his wheelchair. He hopes to provide inspiration for the many other individuals who have a physical handicap and may think they are limited to travel.

Peter speaking to Bangladesh Media

Peter has gone through the craziest traffic in the world, traveled across the Himalayas, gone up the Great Wall of China and has experienced the handicap accessibility (and lack thereof) in 14 nations. He doesn’t ask for help, in fact, his wheelchair doesn’t even have handles. He has a custom chair, hard rubber tires and wheels that can easily pop off so he can pack his chair when he rides trains and buses. And you thought travelling was tough!

I had the privilege to chat with Peter in Beijing for a bit and he graciously told me about his experiences and challenges traveling. He also told me about his mission to bring about crutches and chairs to those in countries such as Bangladesh, where people can’t afford or even have access to such mobility devices. For three months, he volunteered in providing counsel, rehabilitation and vocational training to others who have paraplegia.

With friends in Bangladesh, Bangladesh Rehabilitation Center

Peter is currently in Northwest China. A very rural area, he plans to trek through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan across the Caspian Sea to Georgia, Turkey and back home to England. If you want to read more about Peter’s journey, follow his blog at rollingbackhome.blogspot.com

I asked Peter what he wants to do when he gets back to England. “I’m planning on being the first Paraplegic to skydive solo in the world.”

More information on supporting the Center in Bangladesh can be found at: justgiving.com/rollingbackhome

At the DMZ between North and South Korea


In China at the Terra Cotta Army


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Shawn Saleme

Written by Shawn Saleme



Shawn Saleme is a full time writer for Visual News. Having traveled to over 50 countries, his international escapades continue to influence his writing and perspective. When not in a foreign territory, he makes his home in his native San Francisco Bay Area. Become friends with him on Facebook and invite him to share drinks and stories with you.

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Comments

  1. really inspiring story — thanks for bringing it to the world

  2. Amazing, absolutely amazing.

  3. It’s people like this that inspire the world. Thanks to Peter for never giving up and continuing to live.

  4. Just letting you know that your article inspired me and I have written a story about it, here is the link: http://www.impre.com/la-gente-dice/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978827602

    it is in Spanish. Hopefully, this will help and spread the news of Peter’s cause.

  5. Nice, but he’s just vey lucky in another sense.. he have the right amount of MONEY to do this. I know, despite I’m healthy and willing to travel, it would be impossible to me! :-)

  6. This is such an inspiring story!

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