How I Became The Blind Scooter Guy – Christopher Venter | BOOK REVIEW
In 2013 four scooter riders set off from Cape Town, South Africa to Dublin on a voyage of discovery. A 30,000 km eight-month road trip on LML 2-stroke 150cc scooters. A trip devised to help raise awareness and funds to improve paediatric healthcare in South Africa. Little did the main organiser, Christopher Ventner realise that this trip would cost him much more than eight months of his life. An illness contracted during the trip later cost him his eyesight.
I interviewed Chris on the Isle of Wight during that fateful trip; he’d been forced to sit part of it out to recover (or so he thought) from a nasty illness. He later rode solo to catch up with his teammates in Europe and actually covered more miles than the others as they headed towards the finish line in Dublin. Christopher was looking forward to his first taste of Guinness once he arrived in Ireland.
I’d been waiting for the book to come out for a while afterwards; I love travel and adventure stories. If those stories include two wheels they’re even better. I’d pretty much forgotten about the book though when I first noticed ‘The Blind Scooter Guy’ popping up on the internet. I quickly realised that this was the man I’d interviewed and things had taken a turn for the worse after the trip ended.
None as blind as those who cannot see
There are two ways you can deal with a life-changing condition or illness. You either crumble, or you do everything you can to live life to the full. Christopher is a tough cookie, as I realised once I started conversing with him by messenger. Modern technology means he can either dictate messages or use a Bluetooth keyboard. Either way he replies quicker than you or I can ever type and he follows social media like the rest of us. He’s upbeat, inspirational and can see the world far more clearly than many of us blessed with 20/20 vision. His blindness certainly hasn’t stopped him, for starters he’s written and published the book about his adventure and subsequent illness. The first chapter grips you instantly as he’s forced to abandon the trip whilst still in Africa; it’s a hard-hitting opening, especially as we’re under no illusion as to the eventual outcome of that illness. Even so, he recovered enough (temporarily) to get back on a scooter and complete the trip.
Even without the obvious scooter connection, it’s a great read, some of the hostility faced in remote areas of Africa is surprising and enlightening. Some of the sights smells and sounds also make interesting reading. This is no easy ride and the majestic sight as a herd of elephants surround your scooters in the wilderness is far outweighed by the decay, disorder, extortion and stench of the towns, cities and border posts along the way.
Christopher faced blatant racism as African doctors and medical centres refused to even have him in their buildings when he urgently needed care. In life, though good usually outweighs the bad and the four riders were also shown plenty of kindness along the way. Fellow travellers, scooter riders, clubs and individuals helped out once they arrived in Europe.
This book gripped me from the first page; it gives an insight into a world many of us will never see and a world, which Christopher can still see as clearly as the day he was born. It’s a book of friendships amongst fellow scooterists, hardships and adventure. A book we can all learn from and use to help us live life in a better way.
How I Became The Blind Scooter Guy is available now on Amazon and Kindle. It’s only the start of things though; proceeds from the book will help to fund Chris’ next adventure…
My multifaceted Mediterranean mobility meander”
Sightless from Sicily to Southern France is a blind man’s journey by any means. Chris told us “It’s the story of how I travel and experience everything through just my remaining four senses. Climbing a 3000m volcano, horse and cart across Sicily, sea kayak the Amalfi coast, sail over to Sardinia, tandem bicycle around Tuscany, vintage car along the French Riviera, canal boat through Provence and hike over the Pyrenees mountains. Sounds, smells, tastes and feel of each all the time proving that a #BlindManCan do anything that a sighted person is able to do”.
What else will you be up to on that trip? “I’ll be presenting at some schools and sight loss organisations, meeting with Andrea Bocelli, taking a hot air balloon flight, picking olives in Sardinia and making pecorino in Sicily, working on a swordfish boat one day, scuba diving, swimming, taking a scooter pillion ride, old bike and sidecar one day, etc. should be fun. Nothing like a challenge”.
Where to get a copy of How I became The Blind Scooter Guy
You can buy a paperback copy of How I Became The Blind Scooter Guy now from Amazon, it costs £19.99. The book is also available on Kindle for just £4.83. Buy yourself a copy (the author gets a better deal on Amazon sales than Kindle) and let’s make sure Christopher gets to carry on his adventures. Please note the book has only just become available in the UK and the rest of Europe, ignore the expected delivery time (it says 3 to 4 months), it will arrive in just a few days.
You can find out more about Christopher on his own website here.
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