I recently traveled solo to Turkey, most people I know thought it was impossible given my circumstances, but my passion to travel and to be on my own triumph all adversities. This is a picture of me, dragging my bag from one ferry to another on the last day of my trip after I had checked out from my hotel. I remember how it was drizzling yet I did not feel cold at all. I ditched the Taxi and went for an adventure. I myself was absolutely shocked at my audacity to trust strangers so freely, sing loudly on the road and talk to people in gibberish, and above all to feel so Independent and free. I would hand over my phone to anyone on the street to take a picture and no one disappointed. I stopped at the corner for a while to have corn and to look at people fishing. After that, I went to a small Kebab shop to have a doner. A realization hit me at that point, that probably my brain navigates the path before me and forms plans based on my disability and my limited options. It’s like a GPS that would direct me to where a ramp would be or an accessible washroom. I hardly turned to an alley that would have bumps or dogs. I am also amazed at how I did not argue or negotiate with any stranger about the prices in a foreign country. That was probably also an auto-mechanism to not get into a conflict when you’re on your own.
The biggest lesson I learned was not to take any risk either big or small. In all situations, the mind and body adapt to what you aim at and what resources are available to you. When I wanted to pray, a Masjid appeared. When I wanted money, an ATM was in front of me and much more. Along the journey, interesting meetings and conversations were happening automatically. I was surprised at my tone, confidence, and creativity. I felt a difference in me, I was even tipping better. It was liberating to feel noticed yet not stared. Help not directly available yet present. Sense of being disabled yet being on the giving end. Whether it was at a shop or a hotel, I was a customer just like anyone else, a contributor to the Universe.
About the Author:
Tanzila Khan is a Boss Woman, the founder of Girlythings.pk through which she delivers sanitary napkins and other products and also urgent menstrual kits to women anywhere across Pakistan. She has been catering to women in small cities and villages along with metropolitan cities. She wrote her first book, ‘A story of Mexico’ when she was 16 and then went on to publish her second book, ‘The Perfect Situation’ later. She has sold her books to fund community projects in the fields of disability, women empowerment, education, and the environment. Her NGO called Creative Alley trains and empowers the community through events and projects. Tanzila has also been a public speaker and Trainer across 19 countries and has been awarded fellowships such as Young Connector of the Future by Swedish Institute and Young Leader by Women Deliver. She also ventured into Film making and acting to project disability through a heartwarming short film called Fruit Chaat.