​Family Vacation in Maui

Posted by Zack Collie in Life After Paralysis on September 09, 2021 # Lifestyle

Zack in Maui in front of a waterfallA few months ago, I got back from one of the best vacations of my life. In 2018, I started my first semester of my master’s program in counseling. Since then, I have been taking classes every fall and spring as well as my summers. This summer was the first one since I started where they didn’t offer classes because I am farther into my program. When my fall semester starts (2021), I will have one more year until I graduate, get a job and start working full time. Since this will be my one summer off, I decided to go on a family vacation.

I wanted to go back to Hawaii, and everyone agreed it is somewhere they would want to go. So my family and I booked a trip to go to Maui. We went online and found a condo that was already wheelchair accessible. The condo owner is in a wheelchair, he already had a roll-in shower and accessible apartment set up, so that worked out for me. After securing the condo, we found a car rental company called Wheelers of Hawaii that had wheelchair vans to rent. I have only been to Hawaii one time before, and it was a surprise gift my parents got me when I graduated with my bachelor's degree. We went to Kauai. Hawaii has always been a dream vacation of mine. Something about the warm weather, clear water, and slower-paced lifestyle has always attracted me. Plus, the best poke in the world, in my opinion. Once we had the plane tickets, our condo booked, and a wheelchair van rented, everything was ready to go.

Zack smiling holding his lunchThis was my first time going to Maui. As a wheelchair user, when going to a new place, especially an island, I worry about accessibility. However, once I landed and got to our condo, I realized it was much more accessible than I thought it would be. I went on an accessible helicopter tour that had a special seat lift that I transferred into, and it would raise me up right next to the helicopter, and then I could slide over into the seat. It was such an amazing experience flying in a helicopter and doing it over Maui. I thought it was awesome that this company had an accommodation like that for a person in a chair. I also went to a Hawaiian luau that was fully accessible and fun.

One of my favorite things I did was eat a bunch of different kinds of food. I am a big foodie, so trying different types of Hawaiian food was really fun for me, and I had no issues getting around. I did a tour called Road to Hana, which you drive through in a car. You drive through beautiful scenery, and along the way, we stopped at a waterfall that had a concrete pathway. I was happy about that because I really wanted to see a waterfall close up and could do that because of the paved path. Maui was much more wheelchair-friendly than I expected it to be. For anyone reading this who is interested in going to Hawaii but worries about accessibility. It is absolutely possible to go to Hawaii in a wheelchair. I miss being there often and can't wait to go back again one day. Aloha.

Zack Collie is living with quadriplegia and was paralyzed in 2010 diving under a wave at Newport Beach breaking his C-4 vertebrae. Zack started a YouTube channel to spread awareness about spinal cord injuries and his life living as one. His mother, Amber Collie, is also a regular blogger for the Reeve Foundation.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.