Throw a dart at a map of the world. Wherever it lands, Albert Lin has probably been there. Lin, the global traveler who graces this issue’s cover, filled all the pages in his passport ages ago.
From his nomadic summers as a university student to his current career as a researcher for National Geographic, Lin has spent his whole adult life journeying to new destinations. His middle name, “Yu-Min,” translates as “Citizen of the Universe.” Lin has more than lived up to it.
But for all the miles he’s logged, Lin never crossed a greater distance than he did while lying in a San Diego hospital bed in 2016. That’s where he made the decision to amputate his right leg below the knee rather than attempt limb-preservation surgery. It was a daunting passage even for this intrepid explorer. But far from holding him back, limb loss has liberated him, opening Lin’s eyes to destinations he never knew existed. The map hasn’t changed, but Lin has. Even the most familiar provinces hold the promise of fresh discoveries.
Most of us can say the same thing after a year and a half of enforced hibernation. We’re all finally beginning to venture forth again, leaving our quarantine caves with a changed perspective and a newfound appreciation for our freedom. There are new rules and routines to get used to, extra arrangements and contingencies we never had to make before COVID. But for the limb-different tourist, those kinds of adjustments are second nature by now.
This issue of Amplitude has two travel-oriented articles to get you back in the rambling mindset. They’re both full of ideas for safe, satisfying travel as an amputee—how to plan, what to pack, where to find insider tips, and which resources to consult. You’ll hear from travel agents who specialize in trips for people with disabilities, bloggers who’ve roamed far and wide in their wheelchairs and sockets, and adventure enthusiasts who seek to be challenged rather than catered to when they’re abroad. We’ve packaged up solutions to some of the most common challenges that come with adaptive travel, along with a few common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid.
You might say all travel is adaptive in post-COVID times. Or you could simplify the quip even further and just say this: Travel is inherently adaptive. You chart your itinerary, bundle up your documents, and prepare your kit to the hilt; then random chance intervenes before you’re halfway to the bus station, and you’re flying by the seat of your pants the whole rest of the way. Just go with it. That’s why we leave home—not just for the change of scenery, but also to redraw our interior maps.
Wherever you’re bound, may your journey enlighten, exhilarate, and rejuvenate. Return safely.