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Our Story

Travel rarely goes as planned and making travel plans, although exciting, can be a daunting task. Planning for travel with a disability, health condition, or age-related condition can be even more challenging. One of our founders, Rupa Valdez, experienced firsthand how much harder it was to plan her travels after acquiring several health conditions and disabilities. She got used to calling ahead, asking friends who had already visited her next destination, and scouring the web for any accessibility details she could find. It was exhausting, and she knew there had to be a better way. What if all the accessibility information she needed to plan her travels could be found in one place?

This question was the spark that turned into Blue Trunk Foundation. When Rupa brought up the idea, Claire was thrilled to join in as a co-founder. Our journey to where we are today was filled with grassroots conversations about accessibility. We spoke with professionals in the fields of aging, disability, and travel, local business owners, older adults, and individuals with disabilities. What information was helpful? How could Blue Trunk make it easier for everybody to travel? After many weekends and late nights spent in cafes, our organization was born. 

When coming up with a name we wanted to include both accessibility and travel. We were drawn to the color blue because it is used all over the world to represent accessibility and because of the idea of the "blue planet." We wanted the other part of our name to focus on travel, and given our love of all things vintage we chose a travel trunk as our inspiration. These parts came together to form our name, Blue Trunk Foundation. Serendipitously, after choosing our name, we realized that together "blue trunk" could evoke the image of Ganesh, the blue elephant-headed god in Hinduism. As the remover of obstacles, Ganesh symbolizes the role we hope to play in making travel more accessible for everybody.

It has been a long journey and we are grateful for all of the grants, donations, support, and encouragement we have received along the way. We are happy to have you as a part of the Blue Trunk community, and we look forward to our continued growth!

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