Welcome to Zest - a place for youth, by youth.

Update

We have decided to bring Zest down in scale from 7 pages to 1 page in the hope that it is easier to navigate and interact with. Therefore the discussion space is below on this page. We are always evaluating what can be done better and have other potential developments up for review in the coming months. Any feedback you have is much appreciated as we are making these changes with you in mind.

Featured posts

What is Zest

Zest is an online space for people around the ages of 18 to 35 who live with blindness or low vision.

Whether it’s talking about dating, socialising, travelling, your studies, working or simply useful things to do when you are chilling on your own time at home: we want this to be the place you can ask and interact with others that may be going through or have gone through similar experiences. Don’t be shy.

Getting started

Sign up hereOr

Log in

and start your own conversation by creating a new forum below or by adding

comments and replies inside forum posts.

Browse our featured posts at the top of the page

Or go to our

Guest book and introduce yourself

Don’t miss out!

We put together a short newsletter every couple of weeks to let you know what is going on.

Subscribe to the mailing list by entering your email address in the text box on this page. You can do this by pressing the letter E on your keyboard or navigating via headings by pressing H.

Need help:

Check out our

audio guide on navigating Zest

or our tips on

Navigating Zest with a screenreader

The Zest team welcomes suggestions and ideas to improve the site. To contact us or make a suggestion simply email:

zest@visionaustralia.org

While we try to ensure the Zest pages have accurate information and resources, Zest is a place for people to share personal experiences and solutions. The information on these pages is not meant to be a substitute for professional assistance or advice.

Update

We have decided to bring Zest down in scale from 7 pages to 1 page in the hope that it is easier to navigate and interact with. Therefore the discussion space is below on this page. We are always evaluating what can be done better and have other potential developments up for review in the coming months. Any feedback you have is much appreciated as we are making these changes with you in mind.

Featured posts

What is Zest

Zest is an online space for people around the ages of 18 to 35 who live with blindness or low vision.

Whether it’s talking about dating, socialising, travelling, your studies, working or simply useful things to do when you are chilling on your own time at home: we want this to be the place you can ask and interact with others that may be going through or have gone through similar experiences. Don’t be shy.

Getting started

Sign up hereOr

Log in

and start your own conversation by creating a new forum below or by adding

comments and replies inside forum posts.

Browse our featured posts at the top of the page

Or go to our

Guest book and introduce yourself

Don’t miss out!

We put together a short newsletter every couple of weeks to let you know what is going on.

Subscribe to the mailing list by entering your email address in the text box on this page. You can do this by pressing the letter E on your keyboard or navigating via headings by pressing H.

Need help:

Check out our

audio guide on navigating Zest

or our tips on

Navigating Zest with a screenreader

The Zest team welcomes suggestions and ideas to improve the site. To contact us or make a suggestion simply email:

zest@visionaustralia.org

While we try to ensure the Zest pages have accurate information and resources, Zest is a place for people to share personal experiences and solutions. The information on these pages is not meant to be a substitute for professional assistance or advice.

Discussions: All (2) Open (2)
  • You need to be signed in to add your comment.

    So I just came back from my very first solo international holiday where I knew nobody. I went with a company called TravelEyes to San Francisco and Yosemite
    national park for 12 days. Considering I feared I would never be able to travel on my own as an adult without the agreement or company of my family or
    friends: I can’t put in words just how much of a big deal this was to me. I have literally never felt so free and liberated, just in the knowledge that
    I can do what other 28 year olds do and have...

    So I just came back from my very first solo international holiday where I knew nobody. I went with a company called TravelEyes to San Francisco and Yosemite
    national park for 12 days. Considering I feared I would never be able to travel on my own as an adult without the agreement or company of my family or
    friends: I can’t put in words just how much of a big deal this was to me. I have literally never felt so free and liberated, just in the knowledge that
    I can do what other 28 year olds do and have my dignity and safety intact while doing it. Travel eyes are a company out of England that provides holidays
    for sighted and non-sighted travellers in a tour group setting. On my trip there were 6 blind or low vision travellers and 7 sighted travellers. Nobody
    but the tour guide is a professional, there are no carers or anything like that just people eager to travel and eager to help one another out and look
    out for each other and the group.

    Before the holiday

    Before the holiday I got sent a travel holiday pack of everything we would be doing, where we are staying, the facilities in all of the places we stay
    and a list of names of your fellow travellers. The tour guide also got in touch to introduce themselves and give you a rundown of what is happening in
    terms of the group meeting with each other and to just check how you are feeling about it all and go over any concerns.

    The flight

    I had booked my flight with Quanta’s and asked for “meet and assist” which lets the airline know you need some assistance getting through the important
    parts of the airport like customs and security. It also ensures that on the flight itself and on the other end in your destination airport that the staff
    are aware and can help you out and get where you need to go.

    To the hotel

    In my case I hadn’t realised that San Francisco had two airports in the area and I flew into one while the main body of the group flew into the other 9
    hours later. Usually the tour guide will try and meet you at the airport if you are flying in on your own to make the thing as simple as possible. In my
    case that wasn’t possible so I shared an uber with a friendly local who over heard me talking about how I was going to get to the hotel. SO it all worked
    out.

    The rooms

    When I got to the first hotel I got set up in a room that I was sharing with another traveller on the tour. You can choose to have your own room or share.
    Sharing being a cheaper option. You also get orientated if you so choose to each room you are in so you know where all the essentials are. On my trip all
    of the hotel rooms for the entire tour generally ended up being close to each other so you are never too far away from people you know. It might be the
    same floor, or corridor etc.

    Breakfast

    Every sighted and non-sighted traveller gets paired with a breakfast buddy for the entirety of the holiday. You arrange each day when to you meet your
    breakfast partner and what time you want to go etc. and just work it out between yourselves what works for both of you. Breakfast was included in the tour
    on every day in my case on my trip.

    During the days

    During the day you have a day partner that rotates each day. So every blind traveller will be paired with a sighted traveller for the day’s excursions
    with the larger group. This works really well. For me I just need an elbow and the cane does the rest, apart from that it was a great way to get to know
    someone else. The rotation happens every day to ensure everyone gets the chance to mingle with each other and that any personality clashes don’t happen
    or cause an issue.

    Tourist sites

    I found that many of the places we went to had some kind of accessible information for someone who couldn’t see that well. In the case of Alcatraz and
    Yosemite national park there were detailed tactile models you could feel to give you an idea of what you are  not seeing which I had never come across
    before. In the case of Alcatraz prison there was an audio guided tour which every visitor partakes in. you just press play when told and you are told stories
    and instructed through a journey of the complex as you walk around.

    Dinner

    Generally the group tries to eat together and the tour guide will find a new place every night and book us all in. if you feel like going somewhere else
    you are free to do so or in my case I just chilled in my room and missed dinner a night or two so it’s flexible.

    Free time

    There was a certain amount of free time on my trip where you can decide to go somewhere else with your day partner or just do your own thing in your room.
    There is also the option that if your day partner wants to do something that you don’t want to that you can swap partners to make sure everyone gets to
    do what they feel like doing and nobody misses out, sighted or non-sighted.

    Local tour guides

    I found that the 2 tour guides we had that were locals were great at explaining things in a way the blind and low vision travellers could understand. One
    of them in particular drove us around the national park for5 days on his bus, bringing us to all the sites, informing us of their history and generally
    being a top guy that was great to hang out with. In my case he ended up helping me out later in a big way.

    Going home

    The tour guide from TravelEyes made sure that all of us had what we needed in terms of getting home and to the airport. In my case because I was flying
    out of another airport I didn’t go to the airport with the main tour group. Nicely for me, our local guide who we had spent 5 days with offered to bring
    me to my airport and make sure I got to where I needed to go which was really great of him and calmed my nerves big time. I will know next time however
    to try and synchronise my plans a little better with the main body of the group.

    After the holiday

    After I got back home I received an email from the company welcoming me back and a list of email addresses of those in the group who wished to stay in
    touch. I also received a feedback form to comment on how the holiday went in every aspect so the company could take that into account for further trips.

    The best thing I have ever done.



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    How many times as a person living with blindness or low vision have you been in a situation where your style was dictated by your parents or siblings or
    friends. This has been a constant battle for me. You are always at the mercy of  what someone else decides you look good in or you find yourself making
    safe choices that aren’t what you’d ideally want. I did that. I would wear something baggy because I assumed it made me look smaller; I stayed with the
    style I knew from when I could see which was 16 years ago. My...

    How many times as a person living with blindness or low vision have you been in a situation where your style was dictated by your parents or siblings or
    friends. This has been a constant battle for me. You are always at the mercy of  what someone else decides you look good in or you find yourself making
    safe choices that aren’t what you’d ideally want. I did that. I would wear something baggy because I assumed it made me look smaller; I stayed with the
    style I knew from when I could see which was 16 years ago. My solution was found this weekend when I went on a personal stylist session and it has really
    made me feel like I am in charge of what I wear again.

    Before the session

    I got in touch with this place through a friend here at VA who had used them called Ruby Slipper Styling. They are a main stream company who help clients
    find their style, go shopping with them and educate them on what works best for your complexion, size, shape and budget. I got sent a questionnaire where
    I spoke about what style I was after, who I potentially liked the fashion sense of, what kind of circumstances I needed clothes for, my budget, my sizing
    and a picture of myself for the stylist.

    The day

    On the day I went into the centre of Sydney to the main shopping complex of the city. This did several things. For one it means you have less walking around
    which is a big tick for me because that’s what I hate about shopping. The second is that the company has arrangements with shops that allow them to pick
    clothes out for you before you show up and have them all waiting in a change room when you walk in. This is great because it means you aren’t running from
    rack to change room, to rack, to change room. The arrangement stops there, there is no commission basis so everything stays impartial and nobody is benefitting
    from using that shop in particular.

    For me

    My day consisted of meeting my stylist and going to 3 shops over a3 hour period. I walked into every change room with clothes already in it and tried them
    on. The stylist also educated me on how to dress up and dress down what I was wearing should I want to buy it. Things I would have never thought of as
    a blind person. Like turning hems up, or leaving buttons completely undone and how all these things give differing impressions even while being the exact
    same clothes.

    All of the items I got were interchangeable with each other so I could mix it up as much as possible without packing the wardrobe with piles of stuff.

    The best part

    The thing that I liked most apart from the ease and lack of running around was that I now feel much more comfortable in my ability to choose my own clothes
    while shopping and when dressing myself. The stylist went through what colours and cuts go best with my complexion, hair colour and eyes as well as size
    and body shape. Meaning that in the future I can go shopping myself and have much more of an idea about what works well for me and not be at the mercy
    of parents or friends. It wasn’t cheap for the fee but the shopping budget was whatever I was comfortable with and the stylist did her best to find me
    things on sale or things that were cheap that didn’t come across as cheap. So I wasn’t buying things in a price range I wasn’t comfortable with. I will
    be definitely using them in the future.

    Just my thoughts and thought it was worth a share. Happy to answer any questions below.




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