Julia - wearing a blue parka and red gloves - smiles as she makes her way to the summit

My name is Julia and my roots are in Zumarraga, a small town close to San Sebastian in the Basque Country, north of Spain. I’m 51 years old and a member of the Spanish National Association of Blind People (ONCE).

Since I was 8, I have had progressive myopia magna – this means I only have frontal vision. I don’t have reflections and I have a very short visual field. I inherited this from my mother. Each year since then, I have been losing vision, some years more than others. In the years that there was no vision lost, it was a celebration for me!

In my daily life, everyday is a challenge. Things are in constant change and I’m always alert, trying to find out the best way to keep on.

But thanks to Basquelands Way – an inclusive travel agency in the Basque Country – and their mountain guides, I lived a great experience last summer. I was able to hike a 3,000-meter-high mountain in the French Pyrenees, where you need certain mental strength not to break down or give up.

This experience helped me learned to push myself to achieve new goals – sometimes accepting help and sometimes doing it by myself.  If you want to know more about our journey, check out this blog post.

I will never accept the phrase: “You cannot do that” – even though they might call me crazy. There may be difficulties, but I will fight to try to live as a person with no vision problems.

If the mountain wasn’t able to stop my self-improvement, I won’t let anyone do so. As long as you are really convinced and aware about this, no one will stop you.

Basquelands Way works closely with people in the northern territory of Spain who have visual impairments. The company is developing a project called “Mountains for All” (“Montañas para Todos”) where nature, culture, tradition, senses and human aspects will play a big role. In summer 2018, Basquelands Way is planning a documentary film about a group from ONCE trekking through the Pyrenees. To learn more, visit basquelandsway.com.

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