My 8-year-old recently had to deliver a speech in class on one of his heros. He chose, James Holman who was known as “The Blind Traveller.”
James Homan has always been a favourite of ours here at Itchee Feet. His story is amazing, especially given the time period he lived. Born in England over 200 years ago, Holman travelled the world alone, despite being completely blind. He’s quoted as saying, “I see the world with my feet.”
As my son prepared his speech, I was able to ask him the important question, “How do you see the world?” It’s not an easy one for a child to answer. So we went a step further and one afternoon we walked home from school, him with his eyes shut most of the way.
My kid discovered a few things from this experiment:
- James Holman was REALLY brave—after all he had me to hold on to but James Holman travelled alone.
- If you can’t see then you DO need to feel (see) the world with your feet. Every bump, step, hole in the road needs to be navigated carefully.
- If you rely on your hearing, then you can hear things you’d normally ignore.
- Bondi smells like spring at the moment. Apart from one smelly garbage can we passed.
- If you are travelling blind, you really need to trust yourself and the people around you.
- You can see the world, even with your eyes shut—but it takes courage.
These are all observations from an 8-year-old. Interestingly, since the experiment, he has continued to observe things from a “Blind Traveller Perspective” even while his eyes are open. He’s a little more aware of the ground beneath his feet. He talks about the sounds and smells around him. He tells me what James Holman would experience. Immersing himself in the world of the Blind Traveller has helped him see the world more clearly.