Social change… in the dark

Do you know someone who is blind? Have you ever thought about what it’d really be like? Last month I had the opportunity to not only think about what that would be like but to also experience it with Chris (who was visiting from Australia) for a couple hours in Boulder, CO.

The Blind Cafe is a Colorado-based organization with pop-up locations in five cities across the United States (Austin, Boulder, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle).

We create inspiring and impactful positive social change experiences in the pitch dark for corporate, college, non-profit fundraisers and the public!

The Blind Cafe’s mission is to use the concept of darkness to inspire and initiate ‘positive social change’ in the lives of everyone who participates in our programs. We seek to entertain and educate persons on how to relate to themselves and others with a greater sense of compassion and offer an experience that inspires them to think, feel and behave beyond their visual conditioning, social etiquette and their cell phones.

For more: check out The Blind Cafe

What to expect

Marissa (Little Things Travel Blog) invited me to attend as a blogger, and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect. I love the idea behind this and thought it would be a unique experience (and that it was!) so happily accepted her invitation. You never know until you try something, right?

Each event and location is slightly different but overall you can expect to meet plenty of interesting people, connect (leaving your phone turned off at the door) in new ways, say goodbye to sight and tap into your other senses, enjoy a healthy meal and listen to live music.

Picture below: Before we heading out to Boulder + surprise flowers & wine Chris got for my mom and I.


My experience

Upon arrival, not knowing anyone, Chris and I mingled with another couple and some of the blind speakers who were walking around greeting guests. After a couple minutes everyone was divided into groups of 6 and lined up, holding onto each other. We were then led into the pitch dark, weaving around things that I kept getting tangled in (picture of what that ended up being below) + bumping into furniture. It was a little unsettling but a good laugh. Once we made it to the table you had to find your chair and then feel the top for the dinner that was placed in front.

You have no idea what you’re eating, other than knowing it’s vegan and gluten free. It was entertaining listening to our group as we ate, trying to figure out what everything was and if everyone had the same. Since we were at a table of 6, it was 3 on each side and unfortunately Chris and I were split up, being across on the far ends. You have no idea how big the room is, how big the table is or how far apart all the tables are.

While eating, you’re introduced to the blind speakers followed by a Q&A. I have to say it was inspiring hearing their stories, what their experience has been (from being born blind to going blind now) and how they are helping others. At the end of the Q&A one lady from a table across the way asked the last question, directed at all 4 speakers, that stuck with me. She asked, her voice quivering through the tears “What would you say to someone who just found out they are going blind?” The speakers had wonderful, in-depth answers. Main points: 1. That persons life was not over but they just have to think about things differently, 2. It isn’t something to be afraid of but rather embrace a new obstacle and all the new experiences you’ll have, 3. They were all willing & eager to talk with her more at the end of the event.

Hearing that in the dark, in a silent room was powerful. You could feel the emotion, pain, strength, acceptance and love. You weren’t looking at anyone but instead connecting on another level. It really made me think how different your life would be and how I would handle getting news like that. A reminder that everyone is going through their own struggles and to be grateful for what you have, especially your health.

Lastly, the evening is ended with live music. There may be some more to it, but I’ll leave you with some surprises.

Note: Since most of it was in the dark (no camera/phones allowed) below are a few pictures from when we arrived/mingled and then at the end when I was able to go back through the venue and take a few pictures 




Picture below: What we were led through to get to the table + I realized the flaps hanging down were what I kept getting tangled in.



Thursday Thoughts

As I’ve mentioned in other Thursday Thoughts posts, the main purpose of these is to get YOU to share your thoughts. We all have stories and feedback that can benefit someone else + I would love to hear from you!

Do you know someone who is blind? Have you ever tried anything like this? If so, what did you think? If not, would you try it now?

This really was a unique experience that I was happy to be a part of and encourage you all to check out The Blind Cafe for more information about them + when they’ll be coming to a city near you. Throw yourself into a new situation that not only is entertaining and different but also educational and inspirational.

Thank you to The Blind Cafe for sponsoring this post.