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Touching the World: A Blind Woman, Two Wheels and 25,000 Miles
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Cathy Birchall is the first blind person ever to circumnavigate the globe on a motorcycle, covering 26,385 miles, 31 countries and 5 continents with her companion Bernard on their 18 year old BMW. Adventure and courage all the way - from feeling the traffic passing so close it touches you as you ride through Indian cities, to mounting an elephant from the front (yes really!) and climbing Wayna Picchu with its innumerable steps and vertiginous drops, Touching The World takes you on a journey of extraordinary beauty and interest, full of surprises. It is unique in the perspective it takes because it is written from Cathy's point of view, that of a blind woman. "Men do not want you if you are blind, why would you want to be with a blind woman?" asks Neena at the Centre for Blind Women in Delhi as Cathy and Bernard experience some heart wrenching cultural differences where a blind woman was considered doubly afflicted and worthless. Their old BMW motorcycle keeps breaking down and you feel for Bernard as the lights dim in Malaysia and the bike grinds to a halt with a dead battery.
But somehow they keep the bike going and in this they were often helped by the unwavering kindness of strangers. From border guards guiding Cathy's hand to the bike to anchor her in a strange place, to Glen helping perform open heart surgery on the bike in the Nullarbor desert, the natural generosity of people is vividly portrayed. Touching The World challenges our perceptions of our own boundaries as well as those of others and portrays vividly just what it means to be blind in a way that has never before been attempted. Cathy and Bernard not only achieve their dream but also set a landmark for us all. "An incredible and inspirational story. Ride, Cathy, ride!" Ted Simon author of Jupiter's Travels. "Cathy's courage has been truly inspirational for many blind and partially sighted people across the world" Stephen Remington, Action for Blind People.
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Title: Touching the World
Imprint: Panther Publishing Ltd
ISBN 10: 0956497586
Illustrations & Other Content Notes: colour illustrations
ISBN 13: 9780956497581
Sub Title Of Text: A Blind Woman, Two Wheels and 25,000 Miles
Publisher: Panther Publishing Ltd
Publication Date: 23/08/2012
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Cathy Birchall has been blind since she was in her mid 20s. Following the death of her husband of 19 years and finding herself blind and alone she put herself through college and became a Further Education Lecturer. Within this role she met Bernard Smith, and then took a year off from her job with Action for Blind People to go on this journey. Bernard, a motorcyclist for over 30 years, and a former teacher then working for the RNIB, had an ambition to circle the world. On their return from their trip Cathy went through treatment for cancer from which she is recovering. Bernard is now retired, but does a little consultancy.
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