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The noted travel author Arthur Frommer once observed, "Unless vacation travel is a learning experience, unless it leaves you a bit different from what you were when you began, it is, in my view, a pointless physical exercise."

I am often asked "Why do you, as a blind person, want to travel so much? What would a blind person really get out of travel?"

This issue of the Canadian Blind Monitor attempts to answer these and other questions about the joys and barriers that persons who are blind face when traveling. This issue also provides a summary of the NFB:AE's Annual General Meeting, new Board of Directors and our new Scholarship Program.

People, including those who are blind, travel for business, pleasure, relaxation, and to experience new places and other cultures. For us, I believe visiting a site and "experiencing" first hand what it has to offer is even more important, as we cannot benefit as much as a sighted person can from the visual images of a photo or video. They are certainly no substitute for "being there," but they do provide sighted people with enough information to arouse their curiosity about a particular destination.

For us as travellers who are blind, issues such as more in-depth trip planning, approach to personal mobility (using a dog guide or long white cane), deciding on what style of trip to take, gaining tactile access to museums and other displays, and dealing with access issues such as finding audible pedestrian signals must all be addressed. We hope this issue of the Canadian Blind Monitor will provide inspiration to you--if you have ever considered venturing away from your familiar surroundings, and that you will have a fun-filled and successful trip, wherever you decide to go.

Bon voyage!