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Q&A: Braving Winter with Cory Lee

We love to partner with travel and adventure bloggers to do what we do best – keep them warm and comfortable in cold weather conditions. When blogger Cory Lee told us he was heading to Helsinki during winter, we provided him with a Arc’teryx Fission SL jacket

We caught up with him between destinations to pick his brain on travel experiences and of course, discuss his time in Helsinki. To hear more about Cory’s perspective on sharing the world from his wheelchair, head on over to Curb Free with Cory Lee.

What was your first travel experience?

The first trip that I remember going on was to Disney World at the age of four. My mom was a schoolteacher at the time so she was off for a few months every summer. We used this time to travel domestically, mostly along the East Coast when I was younger, but then started taking our travels internationally when I turned 15. All of our road trips along the East Coast made me want to explore further and see more of the world, so I think traveling has always been a huge passion of mine.

What inspired you to start a travel blog and travel the world?

As an avid traveler myself, I wanted to share my experiences traveling the world as a wheelchair user. When I started my blog back in December of 2013, there wasn't very much accessibility information online about many destinations. I hoped that by sharing my experiences it would encourage other wheelchair users to travel and gain new useful information as well. Of course, I also hoped that my blog would eventually grow and allow me to travel more, which it has done now after lots of hard work and determination.

What advice do you have for people who want to begin to see the world?

I would say that there is no time like the present, so just go for it. It's easier said than done, I know, but once you book those plane tickets, it makes it official. There is no better feeling in the world than booking flights, I believe. You can start planning far in advance as well, to better prepare for your adventure. It'll help ease your nerves (if you're nervous about jetting off on a big trip) and you'll have more time to research and figure out everything that you want to do within the destination.

What are some of the most challenging situations you've encountered?

As a wheelchair user, traveling is always quite an adventure. It's not necessarily easy to travel with a wheelchair and everything that that entails, but it is definitely worth it. One challenging situation that I encountered happened on my first night ever in Europe. I was in Munich, Germany and went to plug my wheelchair battery charger into the wall (even with the right adapter and converter) and it managed to blow up. Sparks were flying and the power in the entire hotel went out for about fifteen minutes. Luckily, the hotel management never found out that I caused the outage so I was spared the embarrassment. I then had to find a wheelchair repair shop in the Munich area and purchase a new charger, which cost 250 euros. It wasn't an ideal situation at the time, but I remained optimistic and found a solution. No matter what goes wrong, I try to stay positive and then the issues usually work themselves out.

What's the coldest place you've ever been? 

I'd have to say that Finland is the coldest place I've ever been. I actually just returned from there about a week ago and temperatures in the Helsinki area were about 20° Fahrenheit. I actually expected it to be a lot colder, but 20° was still very chilly for me, as someone that grew up in the Southern United States. On the day that I was leaving for Finland, it was 70° at home, so it was quite a contrast. 

Tell us about some of your favorite gear. Where did the Climashield Arc'teryx jacket come in useful?

I absolutely love my Arc'teryx Fission SL Jacket with Climashield insulation. It is the warmest jacket I've ever owned and it has came in useful in Iceland, Finland, and Estonia so far. Even in the 20° Fahrenheit weather in Finland, this jacket kept me warm. I expected the jacket to be good because I know that Arc'teryx is a well known brand, but I honestly didn't imagine that it'd be this great. I'll happily be using this jacket for many years to come!

What destinations are next on your list?

I'm going to Las Vegas in a couple weeks to celebrate my 26th birthday, which I'm really excited about. I haven't been to Vegas since my 21st birthday, so I've been itching to go back. Aside from gambling and seeing shows while I'm there, I'll also be going hot air ballooning one day in a wheelchair accessible balloon. This will be my first time ballooning so it's exciting. I also have a couple other fantastic international destinations on my travel itinerary for this year, but I'm saving them as surprises for my followers. Follow along on my Facebook page (http://Facebook.com/CurbFree) to find out where I'll be going.

What place do you want to keep going back to? 

I visited Iceland this past September and I haven't quit thinking about it since. I swam in the Blue Lagoon there, toured the Golden Circle, saw the Northern Lights, and explored downtown Reykjavik. It was truly unbelievable and I can't wait to go back and see more. Iceland offers so much beauty and so many things to do. I'm already planning to go back in the summer of 2017 and a smile comes over my face just thinking about it. 

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