This Blind English Man Strives to Travel to All 195 Countries

Tony Giles already visited over 125 countries, and never saw one bit of them

May 22, 2018

Like many, this traveler loves visiting places he has never seen before, only there’s something special about Tony Giles and his favorite hobby. While Giles has been blind and severely deaf his entire life, he doesn’t let his rare condition--where he’s limited to only seeing shapes and shadows--stop him from doing what he loves most.

In an interview with Great Big Story, Giles said that his response, when asked why he travels, is that he “likes the excitement of going new places..the adventure, the unknown.” The adventurer, who has about 80 percent of hearing in both his ears, still finds plenty to take in when he visits unfamiliar locations, and what’s even more incredible is that he embarks on his journeys alone.

His love of exploration was ignited when the 16-years-old was invited to go to the United States, a long journey from his hometown in Teignmouth, South West England. It was then that Giles realized he wanted to keep pushing his boundaries and discover new environments.

In a YouTube video, Giles states that he’s been to ancient sites like Jerusalem and has “seen nothing.” In the video, he walks along a pier and recognizes the sound of the sea. His ultimate goal is to visit every country in the world.

So far, he’s explored Venezuela, Indonesia, Iceland, Romania, Antarctica, Guatemala, Turkey and more. Another question Giles receives from curious civilians: How are you able to travel and get around with your condition?

In the video, Giles explains that he uses several braille maps to get a feel for what the country he’s visiting looks like, researches the country, and decides which sites he wants to visit, whether it’s a church, a museum or a mosque, looking for locations that also have audio guides.

Giles says that “as a blind person, I’m not interested in beautiful vistas, so I need to walk places, to feel the atmosphere, touch things.” He relies on friendly people everywhere he goes for directions, or for writing down which sites he’s visiting in the country’s main language, so it’s easier to ask for help.

His favorite part about traveling? Reaching his destination and getting from one place to another, an equally huge and motivating achievement.

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REBECCA WOJNO, CONTRIBUTOR
Rebecca is passionate about reading, cooking, and learning about people doing good in the world. She especially loves writing about wellness, personal growth, and relationships.

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