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Breaking Barriers with Tanelle Bolt

In this episode, Lisa talks with Barrier Free Design Consultant Tanelle Bolt about her strengths, struggles, and how the day she became a paraplegic everything changed in her world. Tanelle had an accident at the age of 27 and all of her efforts since then are now dedicated to breaking down the physical barriers of the world and the perceived judgment of those who live in it to create barrier-free spaces for all.

Tanelle Bolt, Barrier-Free Design Consultant

When and Where My Perspective Changed

I listened to Tanelle's Ted Talk (you should too) and this is the day her life as she once knew it, changed forever. "The day that my perspective changed, and I'm hoping that by the end of this talk, I can push everybody towards a turning point that I had to experience based on this adversity. So it was a hot, sunny Sunday, summer afternoon. I'm going to seek relief from the sun, and a successful week of camping friends decided to head to the bridge over the river to catch a tan and cool off before we headed back to our real lives in the city of Victoria. I chose to live and associate in a world of people very able both in mind and body, living a completely independent life as a business operator and fitness competitor, the last thing to cross my mind was diversity. I was always keeping up with boys. 123 go where the last words chanted. Before we before I screw my flip-flops and jump feet first after them. I felt the break upon the impact of the water, so I assumed never coming in contact with the bottom. I searched for the surface, reaching my arms up and pulling them down. I felt the feeling, leave my body for my chest straight out of my toes. It felt as though to be left behind. When I came to the surface I searched for that first gasping breath of air, everybody searches for finding it labored I jumped beside a friend that day. Use totally fine. Our conversation in the water was brief. Are you hurt. Yes. Yes.

I'm broken. What have I done to the inside of me?

I had no perspective at 27 able-bodied and standing over six feet tall and high heels and as an interior designer marching around building barriers into the entire world around me after I had paid 10s of 1000s of dollars in school to learn how to do it wrong, my journey immediately after my spinal cord injury. I had taken everything that I had learned in my life. And the adaptivity that I had become a little bit familiar with.

The mental health aspect of living with a disability in a world that is built to block you out of it is tough.

How Tanelle is Breaking Barriers

RAD - Recreation Adaptive Society

The RAD Society has been established to help individuals with short term and permanent mobility issues to lead independent active lifestyles with family and friends by providing an inventory of adapted outdoor recreation equipment for low-cost rental.

So sustaining a spinal cord injury at 27 years old, with a garage full of able-bodied sporting equipment. Now I was living with the need for adaptive sporting equipment who knew that the price tag of this stuff was completely unattainable to your average citizen. I jumped off of a bridge and into a gap in the system where there is no support for independent living people with a disability that require assistive devices to do things like hiking and biking and golf and kayaking and surfing and every one of these pieces of equipment you can tack on a couple of zeros to if you go from an able-bodied device to an adaptive device.

RAD Society Polar Plunge

This is how you can support Tanelle and her goal - Even though this virtual event is on February 13th you can always donate and help raise funds for the adaptive community and make outdoor fun accessible for everyone!

The Vision

We aspire to create a world where individuals living with short-term and permanent mobility issues have the opportunity and means to live independent, active (outdoor) lifestyles with friends and family regardless of financial circumstance.

The Mission

As such, we have made it our mission to make BC, and outdoor recreation in BC, accessible to independent-living individuals with short term and permanent mobility issues by providing an inventory of adapted outdoor recreation equipment for low-cost rental fees. Learn more about the RAD Society and the 5th Annual Polar Plunge!

SoulFly Experiences

SoulFly Experiences is the first travel company focused on barrier-free, accessible travel. Culinary, Cultural & Adventure Experiences for all!

SoulFly Experiences was founded on the belief that universal access is a human right.

Let your soul fly with inclusive barrier-free travel packages and a-la-carte experiences.

SoulFly Experiences are curated to be safe, authentic, and sustainable; and must have a positive impact on both traveler and host community!

Contact Tanelle if you want to get involved with Soulfly Experience!

Connect with Tanelle

Tanelle is a Barrier-Free Design Consultant who helps everyone get where they want to go by working with businesses and organizations to create barrier-free spaces. Learn more about this amazing woman breaking down barriers for all!

Learn more about Tanelle and connect with her on Facebook and Instagram!


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