THORNTON, Colo. — We all deserve the chance to travel and venture outdoors. But for people with disabilities, it isn't always easy. Now, a Colorado mom has taken it upon herself to find the most accommodating activities to suit your needs. You're in good company with Exploryst.
Angela Wilson is a busy lady, and she loves taking her son along for the ride.
"I want to be able to show him the world," said Wilson. "When I was young, my parents, we'd just pick up, and we'd drive."
Her son Sam is a teenager now, but when he was 3-years-old, she and her husband noticed his mobility start to decline.
"Sam is still undiagnosed," said Wilson. "So we're on a diagnostic odyssey for about the last 10 years. So — genetic testing. And, he has symptoms that mimic different types of conditions, but there's no overarching answer."
Sam has intellectual and progressive physical disabilities. But, he's just one of many people on a vast spectrum of disabilities who would love the same opportunities as everyone else.
"I was just really frustrated as a parent with a child with disabilities and trying to research the details that families like mine need," said Wilson.
So, she started Exploryst, a website she dubs the TripAdvisor for disabilities.
She's done countless hours of research and posts information about which hotels, restaurants, and attractions provide different inclusive features.
"I know so many people that are just like, 'This is such a headache. I just don't go places anymore,'" she said. "That should not be the cause."
She says one in four people aren't "standard" travelers and need some kind of accommodation, which include things like limited mobility, wheelchair access, or hearing and visual aids.
In 2021, Forbes honored her as one of its "Next1000", for her vision as an entrepreneur.
"Just don't be afraid to ask the questions to get the information that you need to be able to explore," Wilson said. "Get out and about. Live your fullest life."
She says the accommodation tourism market amounts to 64 million travelers nationally, and nearly 2 billion internationally. It's a $13 trillion tourism industry she thinks businesses can tap into, for what she considers a wise investment.
"You don't have to spend a ton of money to make changes that can influence people's ability to visit your location and have a great time," she said.