Don't assume...

There are a lot of stereotypes out there -for everyone. However, I have found that since I started using my cane, people were more vocal about things they assumed about me, or blind people in general. These are some assumptions that have been made about me at one point or other.

Don't assume I am totally blind.

Sure, I am using a cane, but I also have some vision. In fact, over 90% of white cane users have some remaining sight and, believe me, we use it as much as possible. Just because I am using a cane and I can see, it doesn't mean I am trying to trick you into thinking I am totally blind. My cane is a mobility tool that helps me travel safely and I am not getting any special benefits out of using it. In fact, it is very inconvenient to always have a busy hand so, trust me, if I didn't feel a need for my cane, I wouldn't have it.

Don't assume I can't talk.

When I have my cane, people often talk over me to whoever is with me. In restaurants I often get the, &q…

Should I disclose my disability to potential employers?

I want to start by saying that I realize this is a contentious issue in the disability community and that there is no right or wrong answer. I think everyone should do what they feel comfortable with. That being said, I have an opinion that has changed over the years and I have experienced everything from not disclosing at all to being open from the get go.

When I was younger, I was of the opinion I should not disclose my disability to a potential employer -ever. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, I am not required to disclose and potential employers, or employers, cannot ask. Of course, if I didn't disclose, I could not expect any reasonable accommodations. When I worked all my part-time jobs in college, I didn't ever share I had a disability. I didn't want to get a 'black mark' on my application and, what's worse, I felt like admitting that I needed accommodations was a sign of weakness. I felt that I had to prove myself at any cost; my visual…

Solo trip to Santa Barbara, California

On Tuesday I woke up bright and early so that I could board Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner to Santa Barbara. I had never taken an Amtrak train in the States -let alone by myself. I will discuss how accessible it was at the end of my post. For now, I want to focus on the trip itself. The train was extremely comfortable and one of the conductors told me which side to sit on to get the best views.

In the two and a half hour journey from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara we went through mountains and a gorgeous shoreline. The sea was roaring and some of the passengers got to see whales as they were migrating -I didn't, because... blindness. However, I certainly appreciated the beautiful scenery!

I arrived to Santa Barbara at 9:30AM. Since I was just spending a half day there and didn't really want to take any public transit, I decided I would just visit the things that were within walking distance. Right away, as I left the station, I noticed how the atmosphere in Santa Barbara wa…

My blind girl stories

If you are blind or legally blind, you become very comfortable with awkward. The fact that you can't see or pick up on someone's nonverbal cues can get you in some really sticky or embarrassing situations... You can do two things: 1) You can hate yourself for that (not too healthy!) or 2) You can laugh it off and decide that this is what makes life interesting. I decided to do the latter.

I laugh at this situations, usually once I realize what's happening. However, that being said, not everyone is like me. Please, don't assume that if a visually impaired person gets themselves into a similar situation as me it is Ok to laugh -it's not! Wait for a cue from the person so you know how to react.

So, I hope you will join me for some laughs in what certainly are cringe-worthy situations I have gotten myself into because I am legally blind.

Is this not the girls' bathroom?

My parents signed me up for swim lessons at this brand new swim club. So new, in fact, that they…

The places I traveled

I love traveling, always have. I am fortunate that I was able to travel so much from a very young age. For me, traveling is about so much more than just seeing new places and trying new food. For me, traveling is a chance to immerse myself in a new culture, learn new things about that place's history and gain a new perspective on the world.

NORWAY: Some may say this doesn't count because I had the privilege of living in Norway for two years. However, in that time, I got to explore so much of the country. If I had to describe Norway in one word, I would say magical. Albeit seemingly cold, Norwegians are welcoming and eager to help in any way they can. I was impressed by how clean cities like Oslo and Bergen are. I loved to see the wooden buildings and the country's rich history.

However, I think we can all agree that fjords are the most iconic site in Norway -and rightly so. For the two years that I was there, I never stopped being in awe of my surroundings. In the summer, …

Legally blind and using a white cane

I started using a white cane about six months ago. I am legally blind, which means that my best corrected vision is 20/200 or less. I am not totally blind. In fact, more than 90% of white cane users aren't; we have varying degrees of vision loss. I was never taught how to use a cane growing up (even though I was born legally blind) and I don't even remember it ever being a discussion. It might be because in Spain we don't have as big a culture of white cane use like in the United States, or perhaps it is because I have pretty good functional vision. In other words, I don't generally bump into stuff. So why did I decide to start using a white cane?

There were many reasons that pushed me to make this decision and I wanted to share them for those adults that might be wondering whether they should get a white cane and parents of visually impaired children that are on the fence about whether they should have an orientation and mobility (O&M) instructor teach their kids…

Moving to a new state

Three months ago my husband David and I packed up all our worldly possessions into our mid-sized sedan and made the seven hour drive from Las Vegas, Nevada to the Central California Coast. We changed the desert winds for the sea breeze. We traded desert dust for luscious sand. We swapped impressive red mountains for endless green rolling hills. It was a bitter-sweet day. We had to say goodbye to so many things. Las Vegas was where we came straight out of college and got our first jobs. In Las Vegas we grew, both personally and professionally. It was in this city that we moved into our first apartment together. Sin City witnessed our proposal and our I do’s. We met wonderful people and made life-long connections. However, it was time. We had been thinking about leaving Southern Nevada for quite some time. In no particular order,
here are some of the things we considered when choosing our new city -some of which were specific to my sight impairment, some of which were not:

Weather: we …