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Videliz Njoki: Deaf solo traveller, passionate about raising awareness
By Angela Lynn and Pauline Mackenzie

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Travelling is a passion that transcends boundaries, bringing people from different backgrounds and abilities together to explore the world’s wonders. For one adventurous traveller from Kenya, the journey is not just about visiting new destinations but also about breaking barriers and inspiring others. Guest Editor Angela Lynn spoke with Videliz Njoki, delving into her travel experiences and aspirations as a Deaf solo traveller. Videliz shared insights, tips and tools that make her journeys both memorable and accessible.

ESSENTIAL TRAVEL COMPANIONS FOR A DEAF TRAVELLER:

Being well-prepared is crucial for any traveller and for a Deaf traveller, it’s even more essential. To navigate the hearing world seamlessly, Videliz relies on a set of trusty companions.

Smartphone: Her smartphone, equipped with SMS and text messaging, is a versatile tool that helps her navigate unfamiliar places with GPS apps like Google Maps, stay updated with weather forecasts, and efficiently manage her travel plans.  “The ability to transcribe conversations and capture precious moments allows me to treasure the experiences I encounter,” she shared, “but local signs and gestures have also become my universal language, enabling me to communicate and connect with people from various corners of the world.”

Notebook and pen: A small notebook and pen serve as a reliable backup for jotting down notes and crucial contact information when using a phone may not be the most convenient option.

Power bank and universal charger: These ensure that her devices remain charged and ready no matter where her travels take her.

Translation app: The Live Transcribe app comes in handy when there are no captions provided in her surroundings, allowing her to communicate effectively. “With these dependable tools and my proactive approach, I embrace each journey with confidence and enthusiasm, finding my way around independently,” she shared.

Videliz has valuable advice for others who may feel anxious or nervous about embarking on solo journeys as a Deaf traveller or as a person with a disability.

Cultivate flexibility: Embrace flexibility and an open mind, as every new place offers something new to learn. And be willing to challenge yourself. “When I embark on travels, I encounter something new each day in each new place I visit.”

Research and prepare: Conduct thorough research about your travel destination to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip.

Raise awareness: Use your travels as an opportunity to raise awareness about your unique experiences and challenges.

Stay positive: Maintain a positive mindset and pursue your passions while on the go.

“Travelling is a continuous cycle of learning and unlearning. I use my travels as an opportunity to raise awareness. Most importantly, I never stop pursuing my passions. With a positive mindset, I can journey to any destination I desire. My tools empower me to confidently engage with new environments and people while cherishing the memories that enrich my travels.”

And her travels have only just begun. Tanzania has captured her heart with its stunning beaches, rich culture, captivating sights and warm hospitality. The journey to this East African gem was prompted by an exciting opportunity – participation in the Miss and Mr. Africa Deaf Cultural and Art event, hosted at the Serena Hotel in Dar es Salaam. The event not only allowed her to showcase her talents but also gave her a deeper appreciation for the country’s diverse culture. But while Tanzania has become a cherished destination, Videliz’s wanderlust knows no bounds. India, with its mesmerizing sights and vibrant culture, is next on her list of dream destinations. The idea of immersing herself in the rich tapestry of Indian traditions and exploring its diverse landscapes fills her with excitement. And, she longs to witness the iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, a symbol of romance and artistry that beckons travellers from around the world.

Looking ahead, there are more exciting travel plans on the horizon. “My aspirations include attending the 3rd World Deaf Tennis Championship in Greece, where I aim to showcase my skills and passion for the sport. Following that, I have my sights set on exploring the breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders of Namibia. From the mesmerizing Etosha Park to the tranquil Swakopmund beach city and the vibrant capital of Windhoek, Namibia promises a diverse and enriching travel experience. Zambia also beckons, as I dream of witnessing the majestic Victoria Falls and embarking on an unforgettable safari along the Caprivi River. These future goals fuel my wanderlust and drive me to immerse myself in the beauty and culture of these remarkable destinations.”

Being Deaf does not hamper the spirit of this intrepid traveller. With the right tools and attitude, Videliz believes the world can be accessible to Deaf travellers.

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