American Sponsor for Vision-Quest

Bridging Continents in a Single Bound … Er, Book! 

Photograph taken from
Photograph of Maribel Steel taken from

35-Day Author Blog Challenge – Day 28, Ultra / Ultimate Blog Challenge

This photograph is one of my favorites  of my colleague and friend, Maribel Steel. I love the confidence she radiates, the blue of the water and the strong profile of the mountains in the distance. The sun is dazzlingly bright and it seems to be a perfect half circle directly behind her.

Her invitation to, “travel with me through the world unseen” is powerful. it sums up her outreach to both vision-impaired and sighted.

That play on words, “world unseen” reminds me that she cannot see her environment and yet, as you can see by the photo, it doesn’t hold her back from fully experiencing life. The invitation to quietly tag along with her and experience it through her words and senses paints a strong image in my mind. Her openness is a philosophy I both admire and share.

Maribel  has Retinitis Pigmentosa. Her vision loss journey started in her teens, a decade earlier than mine did. The lessons she’s learned and  now shares, inspire. She reaches out to anyone willing to move beyond what he or she can see or has experienced. She’s philosophical and at the same time, deliberate and practical.

When Maribel told me she was putting together a vision walk but one with a different spin, I listened eagerly. Her unique vision was to pair up sighted and vision-impaired individuals in teams of 2-3 in a scavenger-type walk in Melbourne to purposely build bridges and foster understanding.

I love this idea!

It’s the application of the philosophy we both share, and one of the mind-changing lessons I learned from my mobility instructor: it’s one world, not two. One is no less legitimate, and no less safe, than the other. 

I’ve been following Maribel’s progress as more and more pieces fell into place, wishing I could join in somehow. But Melbourne is on the other side of the world.

She found a way to include me–by inviting me to be an American sponsor to her Australian vision-quest. I will send my book, Mobility Matters: Stepping Out in Faith in my stead!  My book is all about moving forward, putting your best foot out there, embracing challenges and living a life of faith and adventure. It would be one of the participant’s prizes.

Maribel is all about inclusion. Creating bonds. Sharing life journeys. Building memories. Living a life of both spontaneity and planned purpose. Bringing people together. We share a life philosophy that includes optimism and purpose, practical education and expecting the unexpected, going with the flow.

October is both Blindness Awareness Month and World Sight month in one fell swoop. I can’t think of a better way to represent both than the Vision-Quest in Melbourne.

If you live in that area, here’s how you can become part of this exciting endeavor.


Join in the Vision-Quest

Sunday 8th November 2015

Vision is not just for the sighted….

….it’s a quest to see beyond disability

Would you like the chance to join in Melbourne’s first Vision-quest?

As a community event initiated by a local visually-impaired author, speaker and advocate for the blind, people are invited to take part in a specially designed walking challenge.

Vision-quest aims to:

  • demystify what it means to be blind or visually-impaired
  • provide an opportunity for people to share their commonalities
  • enable collaboration to heighten appreciation of all abilities
  • raise awareness within our community to the ART of living with a disability
  • create the experience of seeing through ‘blind eyes’ for a day

What happens on the Vision-quest?

Beginning at the Atrium in Federation Square, teams will be paired up and be given a selection of cryptic clues to reach all points of sensory interest along the walking challenge.

Teams will consist of: a blind or visually-impaired person, a sighted person and a team coach to keep each team on target.

This is not a race but an adventure in getting to know others in our community.

Time estimated to complete the Vision-quest circuit is 2 hours (11am – 1pm).

On completing the Vision-quest, participants are welcome to bring a BYO lunch (or purchase food from Atrium) while we celebrate with a final presentation.

How to join in the Vision-quest

If you are blind, visually-impaired or sighted – you can register your interest.

There is no need to register with people you know, the aim is to be challenged by working in collaboration and share this unique experience with those you have never met before.


We are also seeking support from organisations and groups who would like to contribute to the Vision-quest. Let’s get creative, let’s make a difference, let’s have fun with our abilities.


When:             Sunday, 8th November

Where:            The Atrium Federation Square (near Ian Potter Centre)

Time:              prompt 11am – 1pm, followed by lunch & presentation til 2.30pm

What to bring:            water bottle, comfortable shoes, sense of fun and adventure


How to Register:        email or phone Maribel Steel


M:                   0417 755 413

RSVP:             5th November

Info Updates @ :


“Sharing our stories…is one of the most powerful things in the world, because to share our story we must first accept it. We must own it. We must stop running from it or shoving it into the corner when company comes over. To share our story is to admit that we’ve been changed.” ~ Anna White

What do you think of Vision-Quest? Would you enjoy being part of such a walk? 

You have just read, “American Sponsor for Vision-Quest”  by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright October 10, 2015. Don’t forget to leave a comment!

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4 thoughts on “American Sponsor for Vision-Quest

  • October 10, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    I am visiting today from the Ultimate Blog challenge. My grandmother was visually impaired for what seemed like a long time. But she still managed to live life to the fullest. I can remember the fun times she and her sister had. There was very little she couldn’t or wouldn’t do. Your post brought back those happy memories. Thanks for that. I love the idea of the vision quest and you being able to participate by way of your book.

  • October 10, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    Hi Patti,
    First, thank you for stopping by! So glad your grandmother lived a full and enjoyable life! Glad it brought back good memories. Yes, thank you! Just as it’s getting cold in the United States, it’s warming up for the spring or maybe summer by then, in Australia!
    Have a wonderful day!

  • October 11, 2015 at 3:08 am

    The vision quest sounds like a fantastic experience. Melbourne is too far away for me, for sure. It would be great to have an international day of vision quest so that people around the world can have the type of experience that you described.

  • October 11, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Hi Alice,
    Are you in Australia then? Or across the seas somewhere?
    That’s Maribel’s desire too. She would like groups and organizations to take it up all over the world.
    Will definitely do a follow=up post on this story to let my readers know how it went!
    Thanks for reading my post and commenting.

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