Rolling Back Home: Wheelchair Around the World

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

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:

At the DMZ between North and South Korea

In China at the Terra Cotta Army

Shawn Saleme

Shawn Saleme is a contributing writer for Visual News. A 4th generation San Franciscan, Shawn has developed an adventurous spirit that has taken him to over 55 countries. His degree in cultural anthropology shapes his perspective and thirst to socially experiment in a rapidly shifting planet. His work has been featured in the Seattle Times, The Globalist and the Daily Mail. Currently he is writing a book about the shared economy. Connect with him @shawnsaleme.

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

  2. Phiilip Douglassays:

    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:

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

  5. heeeeeeeeeeeeeei nice

  6. mazsays:

    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! :-)

  7. This is such an inspiring story!

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