Each of my Sense Holidays has been uniquely amazing

From countryside cottages to sailing on a yacht, Catherine shares why Sense Holidays surpass expectations and match her needs.

‘Wow! I’ve found it!’ That’s what I said to myself when I discovered Sense Holidays. As a person with Usher syndrome, I’d been struggling for years to find a holiday that matched my needs. When my Sense communicator guide told me about Sense Holidays, I realised it’s what I’d spent years searching for.

On the water

My first Sense Holiday took place on a narrowboat. It was amazing. I’d found something at long last that was a perfect match for me. It was fully accessible with total support. I couldn’t believe such a thing existed.

On another Sense Holiday, we sailed on a 45-foot yacht from Southampton to the Isle of Wight. We learned how to raise the sails up and down. I even got to steer the yacht.

Everyone was screaming and laughing because they thought I might crash the boat into the rocks.

The guide and skipper would tap my right shoulder if they wanted me to go right, my left shoulder if they wanted me to turn left, or tap both together for straight ahead.

I’d never steered anything before, not even a car. But I was told I was a natural. It was such a thrilling experience – and I’ve obviously lived to tell the tale!

Catherine and Sarah sitting on a bench laughing on a Sense holiday
Catherine and Sarah sitting on a bench laughing on a Sense holiday

Lots of experiences

I’ve also stayed in a cottage in the Lake District, a farmhouse in Norfolk and a barn with a swimming pool inside, in a national forest. I’ve been on steam train rides and enjoyed lots of art-based activities.

There was also something called snow tubing. You have a rubber ring around you and you sort of sail down the hill. There were four of us and we all held on together as we all drifted down the hill. We laughed all the way down.

It was a beautiful experience.

Switching off

I feel I can switch off on a Sense Holiday. I don’t have to worry about anything. I can be wild spirited and feel free. Because I’ve been on a few of them now, I’m sometimes reunited with people that I’ve met on previous Sense Holidays. Along with meeting new friends, that’s a real positive.

Every day is a different experience. I can try things I couldn’t do on a family holiday. The Sense team don’t decide the activities: it’s your choice what you do. That builds our confidence and independence.

Sense Holidays match my communicational needs. I always grab the opportunity for a good conversation with someone who has the same signing skills as me. It’s really good for your mental health because you have such a good time. I’m so happy and relaxed. There’s lots of humour; lots of teasing and banter.

Not sure about Sense Holidays?

If you’re not sure a Sense Holiday is right for you, check with Sense. We need more people, like me, who are deaf and blind that love to chat and have a laugh. Apply online if you think they might be for you. You can be yourself, so come and join us!

Find out how to book your Sense Holiday this year