I’m convinced I have the greatest job in the world. For the past two decades I have been able to share in the adventure of a lifetime with over 13,000 travelers with intellectual & developmental disabilities from every state in the country. People ask me all the time how I got started in this business. In 1979 I became a foster parent to Trent, a 19-year-old young man with cerebral palsy. Did I mention I was only 23? At that age I didn’t think to alter my active lifestyle to accommodate Trent, so I just took him everywhere with me. Trent started doing the things myself and other people our age did and he loved it. We had some darn good times and to this day, I still won’t share all our shenanigans with his mom.
Trent Circa 1979
Now Trent was nothing short of amazing; he was paralyzed from the neck down, loved new experiences and people. He would talk to everybody, and everybody adored him in return. I noticed the more places I took him (rafting, football games, concerts, festivals, parties) the more people related to him as Trent the funny, social guy more than Trent the guy with a disability.
Another thing about Trent is he was up for seeing the world beyond what local programs and camps offered. When an opportunity arose for him to go to San Francisco for a doctor’s appointment we decided to make a vacation of it. Picture this: 5 young guys from Oregon taking a road trip in a van to the big city (no air conditioning, but, that’s another story.) We hit all the hot spots in that town and then some. I was profoundly moved by Trent’s interactions with people and how he broadened their perspective of what people with disabilities are capable of doing.
Jim circa 1980’s. I’m the good-looking one on the right. Just kidding, I’m the other guy.
Trent still travels with Trips Inc. over 30 years later!
As children we are taught not to stare. As a result, people with disabilities are often ignored. Inclusion has been one of the cornerstones of Trips Inc. and travel has been the bridge to connect people of all abilities together. Trent challenged us all to redefine “normal” and to focus on our similarities rather than our differences. Like, we all love to laugh and have fun! And who couldn’t use a little more of both in our lives?
Jumping right in with the dolphins in Hawaii!
Determined to offer travel opportunities for folks with special needs, I earned my masters degree in special education and Trips Inc. was founded in 1991. I figure over the last 23 years I have had my lion’s share of fun and laughter, countless lifelong friendships made and an outpouring of gratitude from parents and caregivers who have entrusted their loved ones with us. We promote independence through travel because we feel it is a great way to grow and build confidence. It was a leap of faith for some parents, but I reminded them that the only way to make sure their adult children are 100% safe is to keep them home. I believe we owe our loved ones the dignity of risk.
I’m proud to say Trips Inc. Special Adventures is an award winning business and a national leader in all-inclusive vacation tours for individuals 16 years and older with developmental and intellectual disabilities. We aim to give parents and care providers the peace of mind knowing a dedicated group of caring individuals plan and oversee every aspect of each traveler and every trip to create a completely worry-free and fun-filled vacation. We’ve found that on every trip a new family is created, friendships are forged, and lifelong memories are made. With over 30 vacations to choose from (including cruises, rail trips and international destinations) there is a dream vacation for everyone!
We are so excited to form an alliance with SpecialGlobe. Like them, we believe in the power of sharing information on what is possible in the world of special needs travel!