Hi, I'm Alex and I'm an autistic traveler of Scottish/Greek heritage.
I started traveling solo in 2013 when I was 19 with my first solo trip on a one-way ticket to Tokyo, Japan. I stayed for 6 months, studying at a language school. I had been studying Japanese at night school since I was 13 and my dream was to speak Japanese and live there. I started to travel full-time in 2019, after I graduated from university. I have an Honours Degree in Japanese studies, as well as having achieved the International Proficiency Exam at the highest level but I haven't been able to find work. The UK’s Office for National Statistics reported in 2021 that only 22% of autistic adults are in employment (this figure is reflected in other countries around the world). I’m one of the 78% that despite having a plethora of academic qualifications, just cannot compete in the highly competitive and ruthless world of recruitment.
I travel to help me with the feelings of hopelessness that being unable to get a step onto the career ladder brings, I have travelled to 30+ countries - having lived/worked/studied in 6 of them so far, spanning all continents (with the exceptions of South America and Antarctica) and I've done all of this on seriously small budgets, working in exchange for accommodation and food, and using Couchsurfing along the way - relying on the generosity of friends, family and those I meet along the way that share my passions and understand my vision.
I have decided to establish my own business "Autism Adventures Abroad" - with the aim of working with the travel, hospitality and events sector to raise awareness of the challenges faced by autistic individuals, supporting and advising them to attract more autistic "customers" by understanding their needs and reducing or removing barriers to their involvement. Accessible Travel is a growing movement and rightly so! I am also establishing myself as a travel writer, and photographer, allowing others to see the world through my autistic lens. I've already written some commissions (see links below) and I'm pursuing others. It is a very slow process establishing a business with little financial income, but I'm determined to make it work. I'm therefore looking for support from people who understand and support my vision. The money will be used to fund my website (it is currently being built), enable me to upgrade my camera equipment and participate in professional development opportunities such as conferences and workshops. I hope to also use some of the funds to participate in more cultural experiences when I'm travelling so that I can then write about them for my blog.
Autistic people deserve to be understood, have as much fun, explore this world, and have the employment opportunities that everyone else has access to and I want to play my part, using my personal experience to support and inspire as many autistic people as I can, and influence as many travel related businesses to become more inclusive. I also hope that one day I will find my worth in the workplace (or as a successful entrepreneur) and be living somewhere that I dream of!
I’ve been to some incredible places and I’ve met so many amazing people but most importantly of all, I have learned so much about myself. I never imagined that travelling could do that for me but it has. Travel for me has become a way of life. I'd love to settle in another country and establish my career but unfortunately, the world is a very unforgiving place for people with such dreams, coupled with the fact that autistic individuals are severely disadvantaged in the job market means that I have had numerous setbacks in getting my foot on the first rung of that ladder. I am, however, a very determined person, so I know I won't give up until I can achieve happiness and stability in my dream life abroad. So, the pursuit of the life I have not yet procured has led me across the globe to some of the most outstanding places I would never have before imagined existed. I have formed life-long friendships with some of the most amazing people from every corner of the globe. I now cannot imagine living my life any other way for the time being. I found a new perspective on life, one that I now hold onto fiercely.
Many people wrongly assume that autistic people don't travel, that they can't travel. As an autistic person I am here to prove these people wrong. Being a spectrum, I can only ever speak for myself as an individual and never the entire autistic community, but travel gives me a level of freedom that I cannot put into a concise language. However, I will try to put it into some form of words. That first time I went to Japan at 19 and on my own was a revelation. I suddenly realised that I was only one of many people living in the middle of a huge city (Tokyo), far from home and not knowing anyone. I realised that in these situations there are no social norms, everyone who connects has no expectations of how the other might act, knows nothing of the social and cultural norms in anyone else’s home country. Everyone there just wants to meet new people and learn more about people from other countries and it was liberating – I could be who I truly was with no fear of judgement. This was a turning point for me.
Everyone struggles in life in one way or another. These struggles help to define us as individuals over time. I wouldn't say I'm happy at the challenges I've faced, but what I can say is that I'm proud that I have been able to fight for this long and this hard. The fight has led me to a life of travel that I could only have ever seen online before, had I not have been met with such obstacles in the first place. For that alone, I am truly grateful.
My life is far from perfect, I have no major source of income, little stability but big dreams so I still have a lot to work on - but as with everything, it's a process. I merely wish to keep up the contentment I experience while I am exploring new places and meeting new people, which I then document online in the hope of encouraging people, particularly autistic people (who may otherwise shy away from travel) to explore the world beyond what they know, to push the boundaries of their comfort zone, and develop themselves beyond their wildest dreams.
Autistic travel blogger Alex shares his love of exploring countries and cultures around the world – Autism Together (https://www.autismtogether.co.uk/alex-autistic-travel-blogger/)
The Top Attractions in Gharb Soheil, Egypt - Explanders (https://explanders.com/africa-middle-east/egypt/gharb-soheil-egypt/)
Find me and follow me on Instagram at Autism Adventures Abroad. My new website will be launching in the immediate future and the address is www.autismadventuresabroad.com , I will update this profile when it goes live, encouraging you to take a look at my blogs, articles, photographs, and to sign up to my mailing list. In the meantime, feel free to get in touch with me here about this campaign, about my travels, my blogging, my photography – in fact about anything you want to know about me, my hopes and dreams and about this journey I have been on so far. I’d love to hear from you and I promise to respond to each and every message I receive.
Thanks for reading this profile and also thank you so much for your support and encouragement, and to everyone who engages with my Instagram account - please share it with anyone you can think of who might be interested. Together we can all make life more inclusive and purposeful for autistic people, and we can raise both acceptance levels and awareness of neurodiversity and why it is important within a progressive and productive society.