Cottonton resident’s YouTube videos showcase travel accessibility
By Rodnita Simmons
Rollin’ with Kristine is a unique YouTube show starring Russell County resident Kristine Newbold as she travels to a variety of destinations and does activities people might not expect a person in a wheelchair to do. Newbold was born with a brittle bone disease, Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and has not been able to walk since age 5.
However, she does not let her being in a wheelchair inhibit her from living an active lifestyle. “It’s a genetic disorder but it was not in my genetic history, so I believe I’m in a wheelchair for a reason to put my knowledge to use,” Newbold said.
From an early age, her family contributed to her active lifestyle, making weekly trips to the lake to swim and ride boats, and they often traveled. Originally from Augusta, and a military family, Kristine lived in Germany as a child. She traveled back and forth to the states. As an adult she has held various jobs, including being a Park Ranger in Pennsylvania and working for the Department of the Interior in Washington D.C. She is an animal lover and takes care of horses with her husband Don in Cottonton, Ala.
One day while watching a travel show, she wondered about accessibility for a person in a wheelchair at some of those places. There wasn’t any show that catered to such topics, and thus, Kristine began traveling with a production team in tow to film her adventures to help others.
Her show rates a destination’s accessibility and the ability level needed by a traveler with disabilities on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being 100 percent accessible. “I like to do things on the edge” or things people in wheelchairs don’t normally do, she said of show ideas. “My favorite destinations have been between Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., and whitewater rafting on the Chattahoochee (River).”
Kristine thrives to challenge herself. “I’m the most active person in Toastmasters,” she said of the local Columbus, Ga. club that improves communication skills. When she told her fellow members she had gone whitewater rafting, they were shocked. “If a girl in a wheelchair can do it, y’all can do it!” she told them. Next, she has plans to tour Atlanta, Ga., eventually Disney World and for her dream destination, “I want to go to Iceland to the horse farm,” she said.
Outside of the show, Kristine volunteers for the Mayor’s Commission, trains horses and judges competitions.
Kristine hopes to inspire others in wheelchairs and to also spread awareness to others about the need for appropriate accommodate for those with disabilities. She said she has received nothing but positive feedback from viewers and when she goes to a new place, “My focus is on what I can do, not what I can’t.”
Find Newbold online at rollinwithkristine.com and on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.