'If we can, anyone can' — family with disabled child travel the world
- Credit: Robinson family
An Ipswich family has proved the sky is the limit — and not just for the able-bodied — by spending years travelling to exotic locations in South East Asia, the Middle East and the Arctic Circle with their disabled son.
Oscar Robinson is just nine years old and has 49, XXXXY Syndrome — a chromosome abnormality which causes learning disabilities and birth defects.
His dad Justin grew up with frequent trips abroad, camping sometimes to save money and maximise travelling, and wanted to ensure his son and wife had the same incredible experiences he did.
In 2020 the family of three were planning a trip to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Mongolia, taking the Trans-Siberian Railway across Russia then heading home through Latvia and Estonia — but have instead spent the past year shielding.
Justin and his wife often take unpaid leave to maximise the time they can spend travelling — with the numerous medical appointments Oscar requires each year they use up their allotted annual leave pretty quickly.
"People are often shocked when they find out how much we travel," he said.
"Obviously it's more difficult than with an able-bodied child, but you get a lot of people saying 'oh I wish we could do that', and our reaction is if we can then anyone can.
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"It was more difficult when Oscar was on oxygen for about three or four years so we had to carry cannisters around with us — one time we were on a trip across Turkey for a month and had to organise places to pick up more oxygen along our way.
"He was fed through a tube for a long time too so we had a lot of medical equipment with us and would almost always have to hire a car.
"As he got older and didn't need the tube or oxygen we could take trains and buses more often."
The family spend time before each trip liaising with airlines and doctors to ensure they can board the plane and access all the equipment they need — all of which dad Justin says gets easier the more often you do it.
They've attended a full moon party in Thailand, seen wild orangutans in Borneo and ridden camels in the Jordanian desert.
Though typically the restless family tend not to stay in one place for too long, they've consigned themselves to the fact that the only place they'll be visiting this year is Caister in Great Yarmouth — but hope to get back out there next year once international travel becomes safe again.