Hello, fellow traveler!
The mission of PTC is to open conversations regarding disability and access through the lens of travel and transportation.
Our vision is to raise awareness by bringing conversations regarding disability and access to a global stage. Through the common interest in travel, we aim to engage people in the lived experience of a blind traveler. By opening these conversations, PTC endeavors to impact the infrastructure of public transportation and extend the limits of what is possible for all. Our work offers opportunities for people to explore their unique perspectives of themselves and the world through travel. The choice to travel, and experience what different cultures offer, is an integral part of having liberty. We hope that by sharing our stories, we can inspire all people to think in new ways about their own freedom.
Public transportation is a fundamental tool for citizens in their day-to-day lives. As tourists, we tend to limit our exploration by staying behind glass windows of a cab. However, public transportation allows for a fully immersive experience. Planes, Trains, & Canes showcases new locations through the lens of public transportation and allows the audience to experience each location like a local citizen.
The woman behind it all
Dr. Mona Minkara is a blind scientist, an adventurer, and a storyteller. She is known for her passion, dedication, and commitment to the idea that “Vision is More than Sight”, which has and continues to permeate all her professional and personal projects. Dr. Minkara lost her vision at a young age and, through perseverance and personal ambition, she is now not only an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Northeastern but also the creative mind behind her one-of-a-kind YouTube travel show Planes, Trains, and Canes (PTC).
As a visionary and inventive creator, Dr. Minkara perceived that PTC would be a fantastic platform to introduce her audience to her interest in travel, different cultural experiences, public transportation as well as a perfect platform to inspire individuals to reflect about their own society’s systems. Through PTC, Dr. Minkara aims to bring light to society’s regulations and structures and how they may carry hidden assumptions about individuals with disabilities.
In this case, Dr.Minkara’s PTC aims to open our eyes to ways that society’s systems, including public transportation systems, can impact the empowerment (or disempowerment) and inclusion of individuals with disabilities, by either facilitating or preventing these individuals from freely experiencing solo travel in diverse communities around the globe. If you would like to know more about Dr.Minkara’s work, projects, and achievements, check out her website at www.monaminkara.com.
Dr. Mona Minkara
a.k.a The Blind Traveler
Founder and Creative Lead
Hello y’all! I’m Mona Minkara, and I am the face you will see on camera on Planes, Trains, and Canes! This project is my dream, my passion, and my creative outlet. It has been so fun working on it, from creating the project and submitting it to Holman Prize to traveling to awesome places around the globe and bringing this PTC to life. I am very grateful for the opportunity to show the world my passion for adventure and travel and to provide an important resource for audiences to learn more about accessibility and cultural perceptions about disabilities in different countries. It is so exciting to be able to work alongside my friends on this project and to receive all the support from our community. I am looking forward to continuing bringing more PTC to you in the coming seasons! I hope you enjoy it and stay tuned!
Natalie Guse
Videographer and Location Manager
I first met Mona working as her lowly Technical Writing Assistant at the University of Minnesota. Ignited by our shared love of cheesy puns and swashbuckling adventure, a deep friendship blossomed. Through the cold Minneapolis months, Mona researched, I studied (sometimes), and together we wistfully dreamed about traveling the world. Enter Planes, Trains, and Canes—Mona’s golden brainchild for the holy grail of all adventures. Together, we worked without rest planning a documentary series so inspiring, so cheesy, and so action-packed that you wouldn’t even have to see it to be moved by it. In all sincerity, I’m honored to be a part of the Planes, Trains, and Canes team, to be trusted to capture the footage as a first-time camerawoman, and, most importantly, to have the pleasure of knowing and working with Mona. Why are you still reading this? Go watch an episode. You’re still reading. Watch them all!
Benjamin Ted Jimenez
Editor and Co-creative Director
Hello! I'm Benjamin Ted Jimenez, one of the editors for Planes Trains and Canes. By now, you've probably heard my voice throughout our episodes either from introducing the titles, or from the audio descriptions or even the closed captioning. I also handle the graphics, animations, music and more! I've got a diverse set of knowledge and experience in the video and media industry from working as a co-op at WGBH and Soundtrack Boston in the Northeast. As well as working in the independent music scene in the Philippines, planning concerts, filming promotional content and music videos with Stages Sessions. Regardless, I'm learning more and more with each episode of Planes Trains and Canes, and I'm open to feedback on how I can create a better experience for you so that we may continue to inspire new travelers out there! Reach out via our contact page if you have any questions or comments. Can't wait until we can all safely travel the world again. But for now, sit back, relax and enjoy Planes Trains and Canes! Hope you are all staying safe out there!
Dr. Elizabeth
Dr. Elizabeth Janney
Creative Designer and Content Strategist
Hello! My name is Elizabeth Janney, and I'm a writer for Planes Trains and Canes. I'm so honored to be part of this amazing creative team. I have an interdisciplinary background in contemporary international arts and science/new technologies. I deeply believe in the power of arts education to bring sustainable change. Planes Trains and Canes uses film to invite viewers to test their own beliefs about disabilities while virtually traveling with Mona on international adventures. "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness," Mark Twain.From the first time I watched Planes Trains and Canes, I was so inspired by Mona's adventures - I couldn't wait to share them. "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage," Anais Nin. On many levels, Planes Trains and Canes reimagines the travel documentary as Mona explores diversity and accessibility and, in the process, opens opportunities for us to learn new ways of imagining our world and ourselves.("No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time," Lewis Carroll.)Onto the adventure... :-)
Acknowledgments - Season 2
Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired
I would like to thank the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (MABVI), without whose support, season two would have not been possible. For over 100 years, MABVI has been committed to supporting individuals living with vision loss. They teach strategies for doing activities one may have previously relied on vision to accomplish. There is no one right way to live with vision loss. Their goal is to help one find ways that work for vision impaired individuals and to provide them with the support needed. MABVI is the oldest social service organization in the country that serves adults and seniors who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1903 as the Massachusetts Association for Promoting the Interest of the Adult Blind, today our dedicated team, volunteers and support groups are here to support those who are aging into vision loss. Lean more about MABVIE at https://www.mabvi.org
The Graham Foundation
The Graham Foundation
I would like to thank the Graham Foundation for making this project possible. Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts fosters the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. The Graham realizes this vision through making project-based grants to individuals and organizations and producing exhibitions, events, and publications. Click the link to find out more. http://www.grahamfoundation.org
The Graham Foundation
Acknowledgments - Season 1
Holman Prize Logo
Holman Prize
I would like to thank the Holman Prize. Their financial support along with our idea brought Planes, Trains, and Canes to life, making it possible for me to share what it’s like to travel as a blind person. The Holman Prize is an international competition that awards three winners up to $25,000 and a chance to “carry out ambitious ideas” that push them to “challenge themselves and shatter misconceptions about blindness around the world.” The prize aims to “support the emerging adventurousness and can-do spirit of blind and low vision people worldwide.” Click the link to find out more.http://holman.lighthouse-sf.org/
Lighthouse for the blind and visually impaired logo
Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired of San Francisco
I would like to thank the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a San Francisco based non-profit organization, for making this project possible. LightHouse, founded in 1902 by Josephine Rowan, is committed to promoting the "equality and self-reliance of people who are blind or visually impaired through rehabilitation training, employment placement, Enchanted Hills Camp and other relevant services". Click the link to find out more. https://lighthouse-sf.org/
Lighthouse for the blind and visually impaired logo
Northeastern University Logo
Northeastern University
I would like to thank Northeastern University, a Boston-based institution, for allowing me to work on this amazing project while setting up my team, lab, and teaching my first class. I would also like to thank the kind and dedicated faculty and staff of the Bioengineering department who have continuously shown their support throughout the project.
Hajara Shareef
Web Developer and Website Manager
Hi! I'm Hajara and develop, maintain, and update this website. I love using my software skills to highlight others' talents!
thank you for watching!