Hello, fellow traveler!
Planes, Trains, & Canes seeks to understand cultural perceptions about disabilities, such as blindness. Through travel on plane, on foot, and via public transportation, we aim to uncover how social norms influence infrastructural systems across the globe.
Public transportation is a fundamental tool for citizens on their day-to-day lives. Visitors to a new location tend to limit their exploration by hiding behind glass windows of a cab, which places them in the outskirts of these exploratory experiences. PTC wants to fully immerse in new locations as local citizens of each place and, for this reason, engaging with public transportation and the day-to-day citizens is key.
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 has 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
Creator and Director
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
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
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!
Anna Barbosa
Anna Barbosa
Communication Development Strategist
Hi! My name is Anna Barbosa, and I am a proud member of the Planes, Trains and Canes team! I met Mona in 2017 and had the pleasure to work with her for two consecutive summers when she volunteered for my nonprofit organization Empowerment Through Integration (ETI) and developed and implemented an inclusive STEM curriculum for our blind and sighted youth in Lebanon. As ETI’s Executive Director, I am committed to transforming the stigma surrounding disabilities and, when I was invited to become a member of Mona’s PTC team, I was honored to contribute to this fantastic project. PTC is truly a one-of-a-kind travel experience that has the potential to transform people’s misconceptions about disabilities while highlighting the importance of inclusion and accessibility. I am thrilled with the opportunity to collaborate with Mona, who is someone that I deeply admire as a professional, leader and friend, and to promote PTC among different audiences all over the world. And It is my pleasure to invite you to join us in this life-changing adventure!
Afridi Shaik
Web Developer
Hi! My name is Afridi. I am the developer of this website, that makes me responsible for the amazing content or bugs you see here. Working on Planes, Trains, and Canes has been a great learning experience for me, and an opportunity to grow personally and professionally. I am really proud to be part of such an impactful project and a highly motivated team behind it.
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.
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Anxhela, Dylan, and Sarika
I would also like to express my gratitude to Anxhela Becolli, Sarika Dagar, and Dylan Chhatwal. Anxhela contributed her media and photography expertise to help design the logo and provide insight into capturing footage during filming. As an avid supporter of the project, Sarika Dagar, put in hours of work to help design our logo. Dylan Chhatwal, helped write the vivid and descriptive alternative text for all images on this website.
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thank you for watching!