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  • Writer's picturePeta

Lindsay Nott: Getting on with life, one passport stamp at a time 🧑‍🦼🛫☀️

Lindsay Nott jumped into a pool on the last day of high school. That day was memorable but for the reasons he expected.

Living with a spinal cord injury for now over 28 years Lindsay has continued to live his life. He adapted quickly to living with a disability with travel a big part of life that lights a fire in him.

Connect with Lindsay:

Lindsay's podcast My C5 Life

Lindsay's website

Lindsay's Facebook

Lindsay's Youtube

Connect with Peta:

Instagram @petahooke


Episode Transcript:

Peta [00:00:03] Hello and welcome to the I Can't Stand Podcast. The podcast answering your questions about what life is like when you have a disability. My name is Peter. I'm your host. I have cerebral palsy and I love to answer your questions. If you'd like to ask me a question for a future episode of the podcast, I encourage you to contact me either via Instagram. My handle is at @petahooke spelt peta hooke via email. My email address is or by my website I've got another great interview for you this week. So without any further ado, let's hand it over to Lindsay.

Lindsay [00:01:04] Hi, Peta. Thank you for having me. My name is Lindsay. Lindsay. I have acquired a spinal cord injury over 28 years ago. I went out for a celebration swim at Southbank on the last day of grade 12. And, yeah, unfortunately, it broke my neck. And that's all right. That was virtually it. But life has gone on. I've been able to work, travel, get back into the community and, you know, live a fulfilled life. It's just a new chapter now. It's a new part of moving on with everything.

Peta [00:01:43] So do you consider yourself to be a disability advocate?

Lindsay [00:01:47] In a way, I do see myself as a disability advocate just by living my everyday life. I'm bringing awareness to the community. People see me out and about. I might be talking to the person at the register. I might be getting into a taxi. Might be going to work. And it's raising awareness to the community, the businesses, to know that one small change can make a massive difference to not only my life, but someone like yourself or a parent or someone who's elderly. I do. I do see it as an advocate role, but also. Yeah, just living life at the same time.

Peta [00:02:28] Does it taken you a while to sort of feel comfortable in becoming that disabled voice?

Lindsay [00:02:36] I. I just threw really quickly to my injury paid up during the hospital. I would go around and talk to all the patients every night and I could go to school, practise for me for pushing my wheelchair, getting out and knowing people. But as all also, I got invited back into the hospital really quickly and got to talk take up like a peer support role and talk to the patients about living life, getting back out in the in the community and talking to family and relatives. And I think it started back then, to be honest. I broke my neck. It didn't change my personality. It didn't change anything. I've just lived life on four wheels and not two legs now. So it's been about three years to fully adjust and be fully comfortable because I was so young. But I was I just got on with life, a very supportive family, and they supported me on all my decisions and encouraged me. I had a great team in the hospital that were. It was tough love, but was get on with it. This is life and you got to make the most of it. But it was just talk to me in the end. I had to do it. I had to put things in place and if I needed help, I would ask and I don't know, I just got on with life and got to get on with it type of thing. I have a support worker who comes in over morning to do my care routine. Get me out of bed, do all the showering personal care requirements, assist with preparation and setting me up for the day. I work and volunteer, go to the gym depending on the day, and then have my carers come in at night, put me to bed. I have a carer at lunchtime afternoons or dinners to help prepare dinner and things like that. I work in office administration to get to work through taxes. And on the days where I'm maybe volunteer, I would volunteer would be a taxi to the hospital or try and get a bus or whatever I try and do to get there at the time and then yet get on with life and do it that way.

Peta [00:04:59] You've been a part of a campaign in regards to spinal cord injury research. Is that something that pushes you along in life? Do you think about a cure for spinal cord injuries or is it just something that you say is a community service to help possibly people in the future?

Lindsay [00:05:19] For me, I think it would. I'd love to have the cure. I'd love to be able to get up and walk around and be able to do my own thing again and give my parents a hug and all that sort of stuff. Being part of a campaign and being and bringing awareness. Sharing my story about, you know what? Go out and have some fun. That look after you might be very responsible. And yes, accidents happen. But let's stop people from having an injury or trying to raise the awareness at the same time as trying to raise. Funding for a cure, not just the spinal cord injury, but for all disabilities, because that would be so awesome to be able to have that happen. But the reality is it's going to happen when that happens. We just need to push it along and and bring it to the forefront.

Peta [00:06:15] A few people on my Instagram contacted me. And that's how I found you, Lindsey. They said Lindsey loves travel payday. He would be great on the podcast and here you are. So where did the love of travel start for you?

Lindsay [00:06:32] It started when I was younger. My dad would take me and my younger brother to Bathurst for the yearly Bathurst 1000 race when we're old enough. We'd do some family holidays and then, I don't know, it's just something I always wanted to do. Travel opens up so many opportunities and experiences that you never get to do in your own backyard sometimes. And not everyone wants to travel, but some people do. And if that's your passion, jump on board and go for it. And if it's a bit of. Well, it is what it is. And you just got to get out there and do it. And I've had great experiences and loved every part of it. I've had journeys, hard times booking it, but in the end, I got there and the the achievement was unbelievable. Something you don't you can't forget.

Peta [00:07:29] So for those listening who have a disability and feel anxious about travelling, what tips do you have to try and make sure that the trip goes as smoothly as possible?

Lindsay [00:07:43] Plan Get in there. Do as much research. You need to talk to people. If you've got a passion for travelling, get there and have a go. If you get scared, talk to somebody. If you've got someone you can talk to that's in a similar situation to yourself. Social Media. Google is your friend. Join a Facebook group and just sit there in the background and read information. Do a little day trips. Go out for a whole day on the public transport or in a car or a taxi. And see what you learn. Make some notes. Keep a journal. Get an idea of what it is that you need. Depending on your disability, it's all doable. You just have to do it in a different way. And my motto is you have to improvise, adapt and overcome at all times.

Peta [00:08:40] How do you choose a destination? What sort of elements do you consider when choosing where you want to go next?

Lindsay [00:08:48] It depends. It will be something that I've always wanted to go and do a destination that is been on the bucket list. It could be, you know, what the weather I like? I don't like the cold weather, but it might be. Let's go to a destination that's going to be warm. Let's go to ice. It's going to be fun. It's going to give me an opportunity to learn something new, to try an activity. I was on my bucket list was to go to Alaska and on a whim I thought, let's go to New York, let's try different opportunities. And I've been very lucky to have a team that is happy to go with me or someone that can help me out on those activities. Normally it would be 2 to 3 weeks if I'm going overseas because, you know, you've got to take so much luggage and equipment with you. You've also got to put a lot of research in. So it's well worth the long haul labour and staying in a place that's essential to everything, all the requirements that you need.

Peta [00:09:57] Not only that, but often people who are in our situation are also not only paying for themselves, but they're paying for their support workers to go over. So it's a huge expense in many occasions.

Lindsay [00:10:13] Yes, absolutely. And that is where you need a commitment with both parties. You've also got to be prepared to go on those activities and know what you want to do when you get there and how you work together when you have time apart.

Peta [00:10:31] Yeah. I have to say, I've only ever travelled with my parents. It's certainly something I want to do going forward in the future, is to travel without my parents. But I have to say, there's a fear in me that I'm sure would alleviate once I found the right person. But having to rely on a support worker overseas and knowing that and I know this I know this is like to be honest, it might be a little bit dark, but to think that you could have somebody that you've built your relationship over over a couple of months before you go overseas, you arrive in your destination, they put you to bed and you wake up in the morning. And despite you calling and calling, they don't respond to you. And then you're stuck. And then I'm sort of thinking, how would I get out of that situation? There's so much trust that both the support worker and the person with a disability have to have to engage in this sort of relationship to travel, particularly overseas.

Lindsay [00:11:42] Yes. Trust. Just taking a leap and going for it. It's all you can do. You got to get out there. You've just got to do it. It is what it is. And you live and learn and fingers crossed, you get out there and you have a go and it's all going to work well. That's all I can say about that. That's all I can suggest.

Peta [00:12:06] One of the main areas that I don't think the hotel industry really considers at all is accessible rooms, specifically wheelchair accessible rooms. That's what they're still called. I would love to hear your perspective on what makes a good, accessible room for you.

Lindsay [00:12:29] The issues I have found or the lack of accessibility is the average bed height. What is the on the bed clearance bathroom design entry to the hotel? How do you get around all of these sorts of things when. Like yourself and I, we have so many different requirements for an accessible room. But if you can just do the basics and make it happen, would be would open the door. The lack of information on a website regarding the accessible features. Yes. It might not look ideal to have the accessible bathroom on your website. But you know what? If you showed that you got your enticing someone to go on book at your hotel and get in there and have a go. Because there is so much back in work that I need to do to get to a hotel and make sure that it is accessible. Yeah. If that information is at the front or front, that would make a world of difference. If they did advertise it and provide information and photos. Nine times out of ten, someone but somebody with a disability who's going to book that room? We'll probably book that room longer than an overnight or a weekend away and probably have it for maybe seven, seven nights up to three weeks at a location because trying to get to multiple hotels on a week away is not always feasible. So a hotel will probably pick up more money and revenue from us staying in one location for a week or two, then a couple of nights.

Peta [00:14:15] I'd love to know what your experiences have been in regards to airlines and how you go on travelling on an aircraft.

Lindsay [00:14:26] I've been fortunate enough to be on air travel on over 50 flights, but I've learnt you need open communication. You need to be. No the airline rules on of accessibility and that can be found on all airlines and the sensibility features. That's always handy to carry that with you. That documentation talk to the airline companies. Like for myself, I use a power drive wheelchair. I need documentation about my batteries. I need to have documentation from my doctor learning to know. How much time do you have to allocate between transferring between planes, international or domestic? Getting between all of those parts and dealing with checking and allowing that extra time to get through customs and immigration and all of that sort of stuff. In Australia they have a hoist called an Eagle Hoist. It's narrow enough to go down the aisles that will be able to lift you with a sling that can get you into your seat and that can be economy, premium or business.

Peta [00:15:46] I hear in you, Lindsay, that you get a lot of energy and sort of inner self pace not to get too. As far as what travel brings you, do you think travel gives you resilience?

Lindsay [00:16:03] Thank you. And yes, it does. Yes, it does. It is a challenge. Suddenly you achieve a goal. Then it's like, okay. Been there. Done it. What's next? What's on the next list? Can we do?

Peta [00:16:18] What do you wish people better understood about having a disability?

Lindsay [00:16:23] That we are able to live a fulfilled life. We have the correct support of family, friends, support workers. We can achieve our goals. We just do it in a different way. We are able to work, volunteer, to do all sorts of things that everyone else can do in life. It's just a different way it can be done.

Peta [00:16:47] And what do you love about having a disability? Is there anything you love?

Lindsay [00:16:51] I like that I am able to continue living. I've been able to. Achieve activities or go on experiences that I might never have of experience if I didn't have my disability. I'm glad I'm alive. I'm glad I'm living, I'm glad I'm out there. I'm taking every opportunity of it and being able to get on with it.

Peta [00:17:21] And is there anything you don't like about having a disability?

Lindsay [00:17:25] Relying on support workers decrying the loss of independence? The lack of accessibility into the built environment when things go wrong with public transport or whatever it is that you do when you have a disability, it's sort of magnified, if you know what I mean, because if it starts to rain, I'm stuck on the footpath, I've got to get covered, try and be protected, I've got to be a support worker, doesn't turn up. I've got to take a bit longer to get ready, those sorts of things like that. But then again, when they do everyone, everything goes to plan. You don't even notice that you just doing life as it is. Do you know? Does that make sense?

Peta [00:18:13] Completely, yeah. And I also hate the rain. Nobody's ever said the rain on this podcast, but I completely agree with you. The rain sucks.

Lindsay [00:18:23] It has. We need it. I need it for the farmers. We need it for all of that. But when you're in a wheelchair getting around, it's very hard.

Peta [00:18:32] And lastly, what do you hope in the future for people with disabilities?

Lindsay [00:18:38] Organisations are missing out on a massive market, opening up. Open those doors. We will come, we'll spend money and we're out that we want as not just Australia is the whole world that is out there. We travel, we do all sorts of things. We got cares and people are helping us to get to those hearts. Let us get that open the door and let's get it done right. The built environment needs to be included that everyone is able to be come along and those decision makers also need to be aware. We are out there and let people like you and myself be advocates, get out there, change the world, and make it better for everybody.

Peta [00:19:26] While I hope that you have many more stamps in your passport if they still do stamps and passports in the future. Lindsay, it's been such a pleasure talking to you. Thank you so much for your time.

Lindsay [00:19:39] Thank you. And I've been yeah, I've enjoyed every moment of it. And I'd like to chat to you again in the future.

Peta [00:19:48] Thank you for listening to my conversation with Lindsay. Not. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, can I encourage you to leave the writing review? If you listen on Apple Podcasts or follow on whatever platform you're listening on until next week. Have a good one, guys. Bye.


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