Blind travelers say seeing isn't everything

Kim and Barry Campbell
Kim and Barry Campbell

By Stephanie Lum - bio | email

WAILUKU, Maui (KHNL) - Everyday, thousands of visitors come to the islands to soak in the sun and play in the surf. Of the many who come here, there is one group that experiences the beauty of Hawaii without actually seeing it.

It's a sweet start to Kim and Barry Campbell's Hawaiian honeymoon. They're on the Valley Isle at the Maui Plantation. The Campbell's came all the way from Maryland.

"We were looking at Royal Carribean but we were kind of nervous about whether they had accessibility," said Kim Campbell. "I'm totally blind. I had foresight before I lost my sight about 30 years ago."

The couple booked their trip with Damar Travel and Cruise. It specializes in providing safe escorted travel for the blind.

"We've been on tours other times and they drive past things," said Barry Campbell. "They don't describe City Hall."

On this tour, they take in the tropical scenery through touch, smell and sheer imagination.

The group listens as tour leader Marsha Schuman describes the lush vegetation.

"The trees have got very broad leaves and the banana hangs down and grows upside down and are about the size of your fingers," said Schuman.

Kim and Barry say they don't have to see Hawaii to know it's a beautiful place.

"Oh we love it!" said the Campbells.

"If anyone has a loss of vision and is afraid to travel on your own you don't have to worry," said Barry Campbell.