Meet the Disabled Artist with a Passion for TravelBy Jason Wilscher-Mills -
I use iPads and other digital platforms to create paintings & sculptures, which are humorous, but have a serious centre, in that I depict aspects of what it is to be disabled – right here, right now.
I am married with 2 children, and as a family we love to visit new countries and places.
What 3 words would you use to describe travel and what it means to you?
Beautiful, educational & life-affirming (cheated a bit with the last word!)
If you were a country what country would you be and why?
Because of my family heritage I would have to say, Ireland, as it is a rugged but beautiful country, with a strong moral compass and strong tradition of making beautiful art.
What is your favourite bar/restaurant?
Living in Lincolnshire this is difficult to answer, as we have to drive at least 20 miles to get to a decent restaurant, but as a family we love Wahacas (when we visit London) as it’s got beautiful food and a vibrant atmosphere. We also love Levi Roots restaurants.
Where did you eat your fave sandwich?
I think it was in Paris, when I was visiting the Louvre, 20 years ago with my wife. I bought a simple baguette from a street vendor, it had ham and mayo and was a ‘religious experience’. Simple ingredients & wonderful surroundings make for wonderful sandwiches.
Where have you been that genuinely took your breath away?
We went to Scotland a few years ago and went to the top of a mountain, which was an incredible experience, given that I am a wheelchair user, but when we got to the top we were greeted by the most amazing view, which apparently was Queen Victoria’s also.
What one piece of advice would you give for accessible travellers?
Planning. And lots of it. Email and contact venues, ensure you book in support – if and when needed and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
What's your funniest travel moment?
As a teenager I was paralysed from the neck down, so went to a special school, etc. Anyway one year they took us all on a Jumbolance (an articulated ambulance) to Austria. I was on a stretcher all the way, but what I didn’t realise was that when they turned me over, my bare arse was on show to the motorway traffic of Germany.
Where have you been where you felt most at home, away from home?
I loved visiting Italy, because of the food, wine and people, but also felt similar when I visited Ireland, but that is because my Great Grandad came over from Ireland.
Where have you visited that you could see yourself living?
I could imagine living in Ireland or even one of the Nordic countries, such as Norway.
What life advice would you have given yourself five years ago?
Pack a portable ramp on every trip.
Where do you hope to visit in five years time?
I would love to visit Iceland Australia.
Which book would you recommend to take travelling?
When I am escaping I love a bit of escapism, so the Terry Pratchett Discworld novels are a bit of guilty pleasure. I love history & biography novels and when visiting Norway recently I read a novel about the Dunkirk evacuation.
Would you rather go into space or explore the depths of the ocean?
I would love to go into space and be able to look at the world from that vantage point. I would also make use of the zero gravity, so that I could move freely, which as a disabled person would be wonderful.
What's the craziest activity you did abroad?
I went a tall ship voyage and went up the mast of the ship on a special chair, so I was effectively pulling myself up my arms. I loved it, even though it was knackering. I am planning on retracting the voyage of the Tolpuddle Martyrs journey from the UK to Australia in 2019, which will see me at sea on a tall ship for 9 months. I love and adventure!