Posted on June 30th, 2014 by Sara Fair
Apple’s new campaign “Exploring Without Limits” is exciting for the deaf community, and for me! Their campaign is about Cherie King, who is deaf, and how she manages to travel to different countries with her iPad. She uses the iPad to communicate with others on the road. Having an iPad is so convenient for King to travel with, it becomes a barrier breakthrough in most countries she travels to. I hope this campaign inspires more deaf people to travel and discover other deaf communities. It has inspired me. I’ll tell you why.
I’ve been deaf since birth, and I have a lot of friends who are deaf or hard of hearing. I’m constantly listening to their travel stories and how they use gestures and pen/paper to communicate. It is so nice listening to Cherie King’s perspective on traveling using an iPad. Our generation relies heavily on technology, but having that incorporated in travel planning and travel communication is surprisingly eye-opening.
Many people have asked me how deaf people manage to travel on their own, because how would we know when to board a plane, how would we communicate with others in a foreign language and how would we know a car or a pedicab is coming behind us? Well, boarding a plane is one of the easiest things to do. Plus, deaf people are natural observers, and we ask the front desk to let us know if our cab is here or for help.
With tablets, we don’t have to ask others for help as much, which feels good. King mentions that she uses an app to look up if her plane gets delayed or cancelled, and she can catch the next flight available via her app.
How would you communicate with a foreigner? Gestures, learning their language, and trying to accommodate? Us too. Lucky for all of us, gestures are usually universal. King uses a translator app, and an app that is picture-oriented (so that you communicate via pointing out pictures instead of words). The car/pedicab is a little tougher, but we watch out for ourselves and our friends, we use our eyes, and we observe the environment around us a little more.
After looking at the campaign’s site, I went over to King’s website/blog — it’s pretty interesting. She shares gorgeous pictures of her travels, and her travel stories. King uses various kinds of apps like TripAdvisor, BabelDeck, AroundMe, Twitter and many more to communicate with people around her. For example, she would show the address on the Maps app to a pedicab driver so communication is communicated effectively and she gets wherever she needs to be.
This campaign really opened my eyes to the technology we could use to make travel easier, not only for deaf people but for everyone in the world. I don’t travel, mainly because I’m still on a college budget, but I daydream of going to London or Australia or Japan. I often am intimidated by the thought of how would I communicate, and how would I translate other languages… and Apple answered. I am now inspired to start traveling as soon as I complete college in the winter! With this technology (and other tablets), we can make new friends, experience places like we’ve never before, and truly enjoy traveling.