Just read a fascinating piece published in March by Men's Journal. It centers on Daniel Kish, a man blind since infancy, who relies on an unusual method of sensing his surroundings. This allows him to ride his bike around town, hike through the wilderness all alone, and essentially experience the same type of lifestyle that most sighted people take for granted. The method? Echolocation. I'm serious, go read the article and it will explain everything.
One of the things I found most engaging about the guy is how he feels about peoples' misplaced kindness and unnecessary sympathy, when to him, blindness is more of an inconvenience than anything and isn't something people should feel sorry about. In fact, for most of his life he has seen himself as more capable than lots of his peers.
“Most blind kids hear a lot of negative talk. ‘Don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t move. No, here, let me help you.’ The message you get, if you’re blind, is you’re intellectually deficient, you’re emotionally deficient, you’re in all ways deficient.”
Reading Daniel's story has inspired me, to say the least. He has easily accomplished so much more in his life than most people can claim (myself included), and we should all take his example that there are no excuses for giving up on the things you want to do. I also found one section of the article particularly moving, involving one of Daniel's students, with whom he has shared his echolocation techniques. Go read the whole thing and you'll see what I'm talking about.