Bill Barkeley

deaf-blind adventurer, advocate, author & storyteller (public speaker)

Bill is a deaf-blind adventurer, advocate, author & public speaker (storyteller) that speaks and delivers adventure projects to inspire people around the world - disabled or not - on building a pioneering, adventuring spirit and overcoming the challenges in their lives.

Bill's work is about helping others get to a better place in this world and paying it forward in a life that has been rich and fulfilling beyond his wildest imagination.

Bill's groundbreaking climb as the first deaf-blind person to summit Mount Kilimanjaro was covered on Good Morning America.

The story was to share a personal journey about building a life within the context of your abilities and disabilities.

In Bill’s case, the journey is an inexorable march further and further into darkness and silence.

He is a pioneer with assistive technologies for the hearing impaired / deaf, the vision impaired / blind and those with dual sensory challenges -the deaf-blind.

Bill is one of 15,000 in the United States and 100,000 in the world with Usher's Syndrome which progressively robs its victims of both hearing and vision over the course of their lifetime. There are currently no treatments and cures.

See why in many ways he believes that it may be the best thing that ever happened to him.

Reaching Beyond Yourself

The vision is bold and it is bigger than you.

Make hay while the sun shines

Make hay while the sun shines

What's next? 

The 8 hour hike today begins... 

The 8 hour hike today begins... 

Chaos. Confusion. Energy. Adrenaline. Frustration. Elation. Doubt. Creativity. Fear. Excitement. Isolation. Connectedness. Engagement. Anger. Passion. Moodiness. Relief. Calm. Depression. Anxiety. Determination.

....and a whole lot more!

You will experience every emotion under the sun.


Today is the day we reached a place that many say Ernest Hemingway put on the map.  His book "The Sun Also Rises" tells of young travelers going from France down to Spain. 

We are young but our spirit to walk the Camino de Santiago from France into Spain is no less compelling to us as a team of 4 -comprised of 3 hikers guiding the deaf-blind adventurer.

We are taking on one of the oldest hikes on the planet going strong at over 1200 years. It is an athletic, spiritual, emotional and intellectual pilgrimage to boot.

It is about reaching into oneself, disconnecting from the modern world to help each other on the expedition team get a better sense of clarity as to who we are and how we can each give our best to the world moving forward in our life journeys.

This is no small task. The process is like a fresh teabag being placed into a cup of fresh water.  This life-enriching brew called the Camino de Santiago is just starting to stay tuned to what we discover!

Today's compelling question for you is now that you have a vision for yourself that inspires you to give your best back to the world (after the first blog post question) is this:

"How will you reach beyond yourself?"

I can guarantee the flood of conflicted human emotions I described at the beginning of this update will derail your vision like a train-wreck unless you have mentally decided that you and only you - will define yourself and own your vision moving forward.

Vision does not arrive in a box one day, you open it up, and your life is good to go.  Don't shop your vision around for a bunch of approvals or high fives either. Ask to learn and be curious but don't be looking for permission to live. The world around you tells you what to think and do more than it ever should.  Well meaning and intentioned as it all may be - nobody lives in your mind 24/7 like you do.

So, turn on your own internal compass and GPS, that is the best place to start to build on and live your vision- from within.

"How will you reach beyond yourself?"

Do you want to run "with" the Bulls of Pamplona or run "from" the Bulls of Pamplona?

If you choose to run "with" the Bulls of Pamplona you are choosing to reach beyond yourself.  You are staring fear and risk in the face.  You are deciding the whole messy affair of chaotic mixed emotions are worth it.  You realize it may be for you and/or only the closest to you. People will say you are crazy and more.

Who am I to say if someone chooses to run "with" the Bulls of Pamplona?

They say deaf-blind people don't climb mountains, run marathons, lead expeditions into the Amazon jungle or raft the rapids of the Grand Canyon and more...but I do.  I may not do it the same way as everyone else does, but I do it.  If I strive to reaching beyond myself, no one can ever say I can't do something unless I let them.

If you choose to "run" from the Bulls of Pamplona you are not wrong. You are not a failure.  You are no less of a person.  It may actually be the best place for you based on life stage, time, circumstance and responsibility.

That said, to hide behind those factors or be aware of them when you purposefully decide to "run" from the Bulls of Pamplona, the risk you run is having the world define you rather than you defining yourself. 

If people always see you in the same light, never changing and maintaining the same course, year after year, decade by decade, you can become bogged down by others people's perceptions, stereotypes, assumptions and notions of you.

It is important to realize that if the "call to adventure" and giving your "best to the world" is unconsciously resisted and dismissed over and over in your life's journey it can be your albatross when want to reach beyond yourself purposefully. It's not a pretty feeling in life when you feel you are always are boxed in a corner and a bull is coming right for you day, after day, after day...

Your personal answer to my question whether to run "with" or run "from" the Bulls of Pamplona is merely an answer to a much larger and serious question in your life.

"How do you respond and react to the opportunities, barriers and challenges you have faced or will definitely face in your life journey?"

If you look back on your life's journey and your significant life decisions and read through them like tea leaves, you can and will discern patterns, behaviors and expectations that you have for yourself and others. We are all at this very moment the sum of all the moments we have had in our life journey so far.

Are you truly reaching beyond yourself enough?

The very beauty of life is in the very struggle of life. Accept the barriers or challenges of life. It will hone you, refine you, focus you and give you the resolve to overcome and transcend those barriers and challenges. The greatest satisfaction and rewards in life are the ones we made and earned rather than the ones that were just given to us.

That is, if the vision of running with the Bulls of Pamplona is attractive to you.



Pelegrino monument to hikers on Camino

Pelegrino monument to hikers on Camino

Running With The Bulls of Pamplona Monument 

Running With The Bulls of Pamplona Monument 

The Matador  

The Matador  

Ice cream is serious business

Ice cream is serious business