If you have health challenges and want to skip the cold Canadian winter weather, then you’ll be pleased to meet Tarita Davenock of Travel For All.
A one-time social worker, who is fluent in Hindi and Punjabi, Tarita has carved out a unique niche in the travel industry. Her business is based on her personal philosophy – that travel should be Inclusive and not exclusive.
At age 29, Tarita was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This made her work as an on-the-road social worker difficult. Clearly, this unexpected blow changed her life; a new direction was in order. Tarita loves to travel, so she concluded this might be the perfect time to pursue new horizons in the tourism industry.
Go For It
She happened to see an employment ad for a travel agency, she had all the qualifications except for lacking an academic travel diploma. Tarita liked what she read and thought, that’s it …I want to go for it!
Tarita met with the owner and shared her real-life travel education.
Impressed, and captivated by her sparkling personality, she was hired on the spot.
This was the start of their 15-year successful working relationship. Along the way, Tarita acquired her certified special needs travel accreditations and never looked back.
Six years ago she began working from her home in Nanaimo, located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, in British Columbia.
As an entrepreneur, Tarita has steadily grown Travel For All, a boutique travel agency, into a much appreciated customer-focused business.
Travel Can Be Scary
In our conversation, we talk about how she finds her way through disappointments and fears associated with living with a disability. Tarita really understands how scary it can be to travel with a wide range of special requirements, and she doesn’t shy away from talking about personal frustrations.
“Don’t refer to depends as diapers, call them sexy undies” she laughs. According to Tarita, people who cope with bladder issues get stressed out when traveling. She knows this all too well and is not afraid to talk about such topics. Therefore, Tarita recommends products like Depends and explains it’s a way to increase independence and lessen anxiety. But, it’s not something you hear from most travel agents.
According to Tarita, people who cope with bladder issues get stressed out when traveling. She knows this all too well and is not afraid to talk about such topics. Therefore, Tarita recommends products like Depends and explains they are a way to increase independence and lessen anxiety. But, it’s not something you typically hear from a travel agent.
One of the advantages of having MS, she says, is knowing first-hand the range of travel mishaps that can occur for people with special needs. “I’ve learned how to solve problems quickly and not lose my joy of traveling.”
Museo de Arte de Ponce – Puerto Rico – a gallery of staris!
Advocate For Access
Tarita is a down to earth, tell-it-like-it-is kinda gal. She admits to having bad days, but she calls them “whaa–whaa” days. When she’s in a low mood she thinks back to when she could do more and got to wear fancy shoes. But, she snaps out of it and says to herself, “Okay Tarita, get on with it.”
As the founder of Travel For All, Tarita is also an accessibility advocate on various committees, including the Standards Council of Canada On Accessible Tourism. She encourages people with mobility challenges to talk to their provincial and federal elected politicians – “Let them know you want more access!”
Tarita partners with many industry leaders like Lonely Planet (who offer interesting e-books for accessible travel) and AbilityOnline, and she contributes to the Huffington Post and other travel-related magazines.
Where Do You Want To Go?
Glancing at Tarita’s website is bound to spark your itch to travel; there are plenty of accessible tours worldwide. Russia, Barbados, Iceland, Amsterdam, and my favorite, a wheelchair accessible Danube River Cruise.
Whoa – I want to cruise on the MS Primadonna!
The Danube River Cruise offers wheelchair-accessible excursions in Bratislava, Budapest, Linz, and Vienna. All from the comfort of the elegant catamaran, MS Primadonna. There are 4 wheelchair-accessible cabins (approx. 16 m²) with a small balcony, TV, roll-in shower, toilet with grab bar. On the ship, there is an elevator between Upper and Panorama Deck and a stairlift with a platform between Panorama Deck and the sun deck.
Does this wet your travel appetite?
Check out the group tour that Tarita is planning for early fall in 2018.
What a great way to start planning for the New Year!
Travel For All
If you think your travel days are over because of health challenges, then it’s time to shift your thinking. Do yourself a favor, and talk with Tarita Davenock of Travel For All today!