For McCool Travel’s 180th travel interview, I am pleased to present Cory Lee. I am so impressed by Cory Lee and am honored he took the time to do this interview. Confined to a wheelchair for life, Cory Lee has a lively spirit and is remarkably inspiring to people—of all physical abilities—around the world. I have followed his exploits ziplining over water with gators and crocs, riding a camel, rolling on the beach. Truly, y’all, if Cory Lee can do it, you can! As they say, but wait, there is more. He did not talk about it here but I might be most impressed with Cory Lee occasionally hosting tours and inviting his audience to join him on trips.
Cory Lee’s bio:
Cory Lee frequently speaks about accessible travel at conferences around the world. He recently won the 2019 Webby Award for Best Personal Blog/Website. In 2017, Cory Lee won the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award for Best Travel Blog and was also named the 2018 Person of the Year by New Mobility Magazine. Cory Lee has been featured on Travel Channel, CBS News, National Geographic, Forbes, Lonely Planet, in the Los Angeles Times, and many more.
Curb Free With Cory Lee
The tiny, tiny town of LaFayette, Georgia—the state of Georgia, not the country.
ON EVERY TRIP I MUST BRING …
My wheelchair battery charger! Without it, I couldn’t roll anywhere.
3 FAVORITE HOME-AWAY-FROM-HOME PLACES …
Helsinki, Finland – I feel completely at home in Scandinavia, but especially in Helsinki. It’s an incredibly accessible city and easy to navigate. I love it so much!
New York City – I have been tremendously tempted to move to NYC for the past few years, and I’ll probably take the plunge and do it within the next 3 years. It’s part of my master plan.
Barcelona, Spain – I visited Barcelona for the first time last year and quickly fell in love with the city. It has beautiful architecture, accessible beaches, and delicious food. What more could you want?!
A FAVORITE TRAVEL MEMORY …
Riding a camel in the Sahara desert of Morocco! I had dreamed of riding a camel for years, so when I finally did it, it was surreal. I’ll never forget sitting on top of the camel and looking out at the beautiful sand dunes. Otherworldly.
3 FAVORITE TRAVEL BRANDS …
Allianz Travel Insurance – I’m a big believer that everyone should have travel insurance, whether they go on one trip per year or thirty trips. Having travel insurance has saved me multiple times and I love Allianz, in particular, because they cover pre-existing medical conditions.
Delta – I live near Atlanta, which is Delta’s home base, so they have more nonstop flights from Atlanta than other airlines. For that reason, I’m very loyal to them.
Hilton – I’m pretty loyal to Hilton because I love that they “guarantee” wheelchair accessible rooms. I can easily book an accessible room on the Hilton app and I know that when I get to the hotel, it’ll really be accessible.
3 MONEY-SAVING TRAVEL TACTICS I USE …
I have studied the art of maximizing credit card points and it’s a huge money saver for me. I’m not spending a dollar unless I get points for it.
Skyscanner and Google Flights are sites that I check daily (and sometimes multiple times per day). I’ve been lucky enough to snag some great “mistake fares” by doing this.
Traveling in the off-season to some destinations. Hotels and flights can be a lot cheaper by going in the off-season.
3 WAYS THAT I HAVE FUN WHILE TRAVELING …
Trying local foods. I’m a foodie when it comes to traveling and I love to scout out the best restaurants and unique foods to try in the destination. I’ve had everything from fermented shark in Iceland to a 17 course dinner in Finland.
Breaking out of my comfort zone. When I’m traveling, I tend to be more adventurous than I would be at home. I love the thrill of trying something new and because I broke out of my comfort zone, I’ve been able to go hot air ballooning in 3 continents, waterskiing, and even ziplining.
Talking to locals. Whenever I visit a destination, I try to get advice from the local people on what to do, where to eat, etc. Doing this has led to some really fun experiences.
8 WORD (OR LESS) TRAVEL MANTRA …
“If you never go, you’ll never know.”
FAVORITE NON-TRAVEL WEBSITE …
As a theatre nerd, I check Broadway.com way too often.
MOST MEMORABLE SOUVENIR …
I visited India last year and got a henna tattoo on my hand in Jaipur. I loved the henna so much that I made it permanent with a real tattoo a few days later. Hands-down the best/most memorable souvenir ever!
FAVORITE CHEAP EAT …
Definitely tacos! Tacos are my favorite food and luckily, they’re cheap pretty much everywhere around the world.
I AM FORTUNATE TO HAVE MET …
Samantha Brown. I started watching her Travel Channel show, Passport to Europe, when I was 14 or 15. Her show inspired me to travel the world and I dreamed of meeting her and telling her in person. I finally met her earlier this year, after she invited me to the season premiere party for her new PBS show, Places to Love. I’m still pinching myself over that invitation. She was everything I wanted her to be and more.
I WOULD LIKE TO MEET …
Ellen Degeneres! Ellen, if you’re reading this, call me! (Ed. Note, this must happen!)
McCool Travel presents tips from travel experts in our 5 Minutes travel interview series—featuring travel industry giants, super frequent travelers, and adventurous persons. Check out McCool Travel’s previous travel interviews. Previous 5 Minutes travel interview: Rob Taylor.