My name is JEM. I am a US Library of Congress Certified Braille Transcriber now living in Thailand. Since 2003 I have assisted foundations for the blind in SE Asia, as well as blind university students on an individual basis, with English language Braille materials.

I grew up in the town of Morristown, NJ, the home of the original  ‘Seeing Eye’ guide dogs for the blind, founded in 1929.  I watched  persons who were blind and had come to my small town from all over the world to train with their new dogs. I realized at a very young age that these persons were as normal as anybody else; they just couldn’t see very well. A series of chance occurrences in Thailand, drawing on this background, led me to work for the (blind) founder of the largest foundation for the blind in SE Asia … chances that only occur when you get up and go places.

Many persons become blind later in life and maintain a passion for  travel. They have vivid memories of how things look and can identify with new surroundings. We become very dependent, and maybe complacent, on sight as our primary sense, although many scenic wonders — such as Yosemite National Park, the roar and the mist of Niagara Falls, the Amazon Rain Forest, the Mountains of Nepal, the crashing surf of Hawaii or the California Pacific coast, the hubbub of street markets, the ‘feel’ of ancient history at Rome, Athens, the Egyptian Pyramids, or the terracotta soldiers of Xian — can be overwhelming sensory experiences beyond just sight. Persons who became blind at an early age, and have few if any memories of the visual world, still revel in the sensory overload of such surroundings.

I often notice, on flights from the USA to Asia, those eager faces – both young and older – with their noses pasted in some travel guide contemplating, what is for many, a new adventure and maybe a turning point in their lives. Persons who are blind are no different. And they should have the same access to these materials despite their ability to read only in Braille.


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Also, please see the WikiPedia entry I wrote for my late close friend Brian Cutillo at