Welcome Aboard Friends!
My name is Ted Tahquechi, I am legally blind, and I love to travel. A car accident in 1999 left me with 5% low-functioning vision in only one eye. My field of vision is almost completely black (95% black) and I have no perception of detail beyond one inch. I can see limited portions of shapes, light, shadow and color. When I travel I always have my guide dog Fauna by my side. In October 2018, I completed my training and received Fauna, who is my first guide dog from Guide Dogs for the Blind https://www.guidedogs.com/ . Before Fauna and I became a team, I relied on my white cane and sighted guide with my friends or family when traveling. The independence Fauna has given me has been nothing short of life-changing. Fauna is always ready to go on a new adventure, and we both always look forward to our next adventure, wherever it may take us.
How did I get here?
When I graduated college, I took a summer job testing videogames for a small company called Atari (insert sarcastic voice here). I learned the ropes and worked my way up the corporate ladder, eventually moving from testing to making the games. As a senior external product manager, it was my job to oversee all aspects of a game’s creation from design and scheduling to tuning and even marketing. During my time in the games industry, I released 35 titles to market and worked for Atari, Accolade and Mattel Toys. I created many multi-million unit selling franchises and was on top of my game so to speak when a car accident robbed me of nearly all my vision, leaving me adrift in a sea of uncertainty.
Working in the games industry, a very large part of my job description was traveling to the developers who were making the games. I worked and managed the teams on the day-to-day grind of creating a hit title. I traveled all over the world during this time – spending more time away from the office than at home. The net result of constant air travel was that I always had enough air miles saved up to vacation on a beach somewhere when a title was completed. I fell in love and traveled many times to Jamaica, The Bahamas, Hawaii, Mexico, and all over Europe. I was an avid Scuba Diver and spent every chance I could diving all over the numerous small islands in the Bahamas, and in Belize and Mexico.
After the car accident, I did a lot of soul searching and decided to return to school to complete a degree in Fine Art Photography. I spent years creating new and innovative ways of using the camera to make artistic images, focusing on the composition of the scene rather than the detail – I am drawn to the shape, color and lines of the scene. I can’t see it all at once when I look through the viewfinder, so I mentally stitch the image together and rely on the camera to get the focus right.
I have extensive experience using Photoshop because of my time in the games industry. I began working with Photoshop in 1991 when version 2.0 was released. My photography editing workflow today begins in Adobe Lightroom and ends in Photoshop. All of my work is captured using Canon 5DMKIV cameras, and I use all Profoto gear for location lighting.
My passion is landscape and travel photography, but I am also well known for my abstract portraiture. My work has been featured in photography magazines, travel brochures and I regularly exhibit my work nationwide. I don’t sell my work, currently, the only way to get your hands on a print of my work is through charity auctions for organizations like Guide Dogs for the Blind.
you can see more of my work at: www.tahquechi.com
Why be a travel influencer?
I have traveled all over the world for more than 35 years and I have been almost completely blind since 1999. I have scoured the internet looking for a travel blog dedicated to the needs of the visually impaired traveler, and didn’t find one that I liked – so I decided to make my own. Here on blindtravels.com I focus on travel destinations, travel providers and assistive travel technology. It is my hope that this site can be used as a resource for those traveling with, or those who have visual impairments. Whether you are new to the visually impaired lifestyle, or have a friend or loved one with a vision problem, I hope you can find something of interest here.
The invisible disability
I regularly lecture and present about my vision loss, and traveling the world visually impaired, I had several friends who were completely unaware how bad my vision really was. This got me to thinking that unless you have outward visible indicators of a vision problem – like carrying a white cane, an eyepatch or a guide dog, most people won’t realize that you have a vision problem. This comes to the point of communication. Asking for help and letting the others around you know that you do have a vision problem is important, but for many with limited vision, this can be an embarrassing and difficult topic to be open about. I resolved this by getting up in front of hundreds of people to discuss how much I can and can’t see – and how it makes me feel. This quickly desensitized me to the embarrassment of the topic. I assume however that many of my readers won’t be putting themselves into the situation I routinely subject myself to, so here on the blog I provide many tips on navigating the world while visually impaired. I also have articles located in the education section of this site tailored to those who are fully sighted and would like to learn about interacting with visually impaired guests and travelers.
Supporting Legitimate service animal use
We have all been on a plane or in a store and experienced an ill-trained pet masquerading as an emotional support or service animal. These animals and their owners have given service animals a bad name. Since I began traveling with my guide dog Fauna, we have made it our goal to change the negative perceptions of service animals many travelers and restaurant staff have. My guide dog Fauna takes her job very seriously and works very hard to be the ambassador of good dogs everywhere.
In 2019, I debuted a new body of photographic work called Fauna’s Adventures which was exhibited for the Month of Photography in Denver’s Santa Fe Art District. With the help of Amtrak, United Airlines and Hilton Hotels, I have created this body of work, which promotes the use of legitimate service animals in the travel and hospitality industry. You can read more about the project and see some of the images from the collection at the link below.
As full time travel influencers, Fauna and I are always happy to work with new brands. If you would like to work with me, please email me at:
I do a lot of public speaking on vision loss, working in the games industry and of course traveling with low vision. If you would like to book me, I don’t charge. I have lectured at Art Galleries, Retro Game Conferences, Highschools, Colleges, and even summer camps for blind and visually impaired children. I love to meet new people and share my story. If you have questions or would like to schedule a talk, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org