Episode 164 – Unstoppable Spirit with Kevin Lowe
From time to time, in addition to having stimulating conversations here on Unstoppable Mindset, I am asked to appear on podcasts created by others. One such podcast, Grit, Grace, and Inspiration is based out of Florida and has as its host, Kevin Lowe. I knew little about Kevin’s story until he and I talked on his podcast. I knew I had to invite him to be a guest here. He graciously accepted.
Kevin is in his 30s. At the age of 17, he was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumor. When the tumor was removed Kevin lost his eyesight.
What makes Kevin’s story somewhat unique and certainly inspiring is that he chose not to give up, but to live. He will tell us about his challenges, not only related to blindness but also from other issues, and how he overcame everything.
Kevin is as unstoppable as anyone can be. He lives, thrives, and grows as you will see. I hope you enjoy our episode.
About the Guest:
In his 30s, Kevin Lowe has become a shining example of strength, resilience, and optimism. Despite losing his sight after a life-saving brain tumor surgery in 2003 at just 17 years of age, Kevin has blossomed into a Life & Business Coach and the engaging host of the popular podcast, Grit, Grace, & Inspiration.
His passion for positivity, growth, and connection has touched countless lives, leaving a profound impact on all who encounter him.
Embracing his new reality, Kevin found solace in his faith and the love of his family. Their unwavering support and his strong belief in the goodness of people have helped him navigate life’s challenges with grace. Today, Kevin is a beacon of hope and encouragement, always acknowledging the role his faith and family have played in his journey.
As a coach, Kevin’s unique perspective helps him to empower his clients to overcome their own challenges and achieve their fullest potential. With a knack for forging deep connections and fostering transformative growth, he has made a lasting impression in the personal development world.
Grit, Grace, & Inspiration, Kevin’s podcast, is a treasure trove of motivation and personal growth. Through captivating interviews and heartfelt discussions, he shares valuable insights on resilience, perseverance, and embracing the beauty of life’s challenges.
Kevin’s dedication to making a positive impact and uplifting others in the face of adversity truly embodies the spirit of a true leader. With his inspiring story and contagious optimism, Kevin Lowe is redefining what it means to live a life well lived – one where leaving an impact and making a difference matters more than anything else.
Ways to connect with Kevin:
Single Promo Link: (1 Page with links to my podcast on all platforms)
About the Host:
Michael Hingson is a New York Times best-selling author, international lecturer, and Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe. Michael, blind since birth, survived the 9/11 attacks with the help of his guide dog Roselle. This story is the subject of his best-selling book, Thunder Dog.
Michael gives over 100 presentations around the world each year speaking to influential groups such as Exxon Mobile, AT&T, Federal Express, Scripps College, Rutgers University, Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. He is Ambassador for the National Braille Literacy Campaign for the National Federation of the Blind and also serves as Ambassador for the American Humane Association’s 2012 Hero Dog Awards.
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Michael Hingson ** 00:00
Access Cast and accessiBe Initiative presents Unstoppable Mindset. The podcast where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet. Hi, I’m Michael Hingson, Chief Vision Officer for accessiBe and the author of the number one New York Times bestselling book, Thunder dog, the story of a blind man, his guide dog and the triumph of trust. Thanks for joining me on my podcast as we explore our own blinding fears of inclusion unacceptance and our resistance to change. We will discover the idea that no matter the situation, or the people we encounter, our own fears, and prejudices often are our strongest barriers to moving forward. The unstoppable mindset podcast is sponsored by accessiBe, that’s a c c e s s i capital B e. Visit www.accessibe.com to learn how you can make your website accessible for persons with disabilities. And to help make the internet fully inclusive by the year 2025. Glad you dropped by we’re happy to meet you and to have you here with us.
Michael Hingson ** 01:20
Hi there, and we’re glad that you decided to join us today on unstoppable mindset where inclusion, diversity and the unexpected meet and whatever else comes along. But that’s probably in the unexpected part. I want to really thank you for being here. Really glad that you’re with us. And hoping that you’re having a good day, our guest today. My colleague in crime and conversation today is Kevin Lowe. And I was on a podcast that Kevin did. And I told him that the cost for me being on his podcast was that he had to come on unstoppable mindset. And he bought into that so we suckered him. So you know, what more can you ask for Kevin? Welcome. How are you?
Kevin Lowe ** 02:02
I am glad to be here, man. I’m glad to be here. And then to be honest, for a minute, I thought, oh, my gosh, I have to cancel this interview right away. But then now I guess I can afford the cost of having to be on your show as well.
Michael Hingson ** 02:16
You’ll suffer through it. Right. Exactly. Yeah. Well, we’re we’re really glad that you’re here. And it’s always fun. And I understand that where you are down in Florida. You’re having typical summer Florida sunshine. Yeah, yeah. California sunshine, right.
Kevin Lowe ** 02:33
Yeah, sunshine with a mix of thunderstorms. So yes, it never
Michael Hingson ** 02:38
rains in Southern California. But here we are. Well, let’s start with the way I love to start. Tell us a little bit about you growing up what life was like and just all about Kevin, and we’ll go from there.
Kevin Lowe ** 02:54
Yeah. So you know, I really have a really blessed childhood. Honestly. You know, I grew up I was born and raised here in Ormond Beach, Florida. Which for those who are a little bit more familiar with Daytona Beach, Florida, which is about an hour east of Orlando grew up right here in this little beachside town and had a great childhood grew up riding dirt bikes, and four wheelers hunting and fishing and, and all the things you know, my biggest loves was was riding dirt bikes. And literally on my fourth birthday, I got my first dirt bike and it was so little that it even have training wheels on it. And my my my parents and stuff, they would get a kick out of it, because I’d be riding around the yard and the training wheel would hit a pile and I topple over.
Michael Hingson ** 03:50
And button to the ends. Of course, yeah.
Kevin Lowe ** 03:54
Well, what Well, of course, you know, but, you know, it was it was really good. And that really, you know, the dirt bike, I don’t think they had any clue what that birthday present would do. But really that would become my life for my childhood was was riding dirt bikes. It was something I did with my dad. And so we would go camping in the woods for a week at a time doing nothing but writing every single day. And and coming up in my teenage years when I turned 16 Of course the the love for dirt bikes turned to the love of the idea of getting a track you know, when I turned 16 And and I had that I did indeed I got a it was a Ford. What was it was a 96 Ford F 154 by four so was was lifted with big mud tires. And it was it was literally a 16 year old boy’s dream truck and you know fuel economy out the window You know, practicality, not a bit of it. It was just big, loud and could go in the mud and, you know, have some fun.
Michael Hingson ** 05:10
And the other side of that, of course, is though, with a truck like that, and being in high school didn’t impress the girls.
Kevin Lowe ** 05:17
Well, well, of course it impresses. Yeah. Why, of course it especially when, when you’d give anybody a ride in the tract, of course, they would get scared to death. Because when you chuck that high, as you’re making turns, they think you’re gonna topple over. And you know, and so, it gives that gives everybody a whole lot of fun, you know, but, so that was life, you know, was was great. Now, I did have, you know, some different issues, I would, I started to call them health issues, but we didn’t even really know that they were, quote, unquote, health issues. It was just problems I had had like headaches, I always had headaches, literally, from the time I was a toddler, and they were horrible migraine headaches. around kindergarten, I think it was I failed the eye test at school. And so I had to get glasses. And so I started wearing glasses and had the headaches and, and going up through those like middle school years and stuff, my mom would always tell my pediatrician, you know, you don’t understand he drinks more than any human you’ll ever see. You know, I mean, I can remember my grandmother, my Nana, she’d picked me up from school, I’d come home, and I would down an entire picture of tea, you know, and then go on to you know, glasses of water could never drink enough. And all of these were signs of something that we had no idea about. And coming up in my junior year of high school. So So now I’ve been driving for a year I work at Publix as a bag, boy, you know, things are going good. But here I am 17 years old, turned 17, about two months after the start of school. And yeah, I’m still this little kid, I hadn’t started growing. I’m only five foot three, still having these headaches. And finally my mom and my grandmother had enough and they’re like, listen, something has to be done. And so they got me switched to a new doctor. And that new doctor, he was just another family doctor, but he took one look at me will look at my chart and was like there’s something not right. And so that would kind of put forth this kind of just whirlwind of an adventure we would embark on. And that was discovering that I had a brain tumor. And my mom got the call from from the endocrinologist on a Friday evening to tell her that the results of the MRI came in, and that it was worse than he ever expected that it was indeed a brain tumor. It was a cranial Ferengi Oma. So thankfully, it was non cancerous. But literally, they said that I had six months to live if this tumor was not removed. And so it had completely encased my pituitary gland, which your pituitary controls all of your body’s hormones. That’s why it wasn’t growing. You know, that’s why I wasn’t going through puberty, all of those things. It was also in the crosshairs of my optic nerve, and had begun pressing against my carotid artery. And so it was horrible news, it was devastating. But we were assured by the leading pediatric neurosurgeon in the country, we were assured by him that it’s no problem. He’s like, we’re gonna go in, we’re going to remove the tumor, you’ll be back to school in about three to four weeks, and you’ll continue on with life. And, you know, I often joke and say that at that time, the most upsetting part of it was that he told me I would not be able to ride my four wheeler for six months. And so, you know, but life continued, you know, life was going to continue and I had fun with it. I named my tumor Bob Bob the tumor. And so we had a going away Bob party with me and my whole family.
Michael Hingson ** 09:35
And did you have siblings?
Kevin Lowe ** 09:38
I did a sister. Okay. Yeah, I have a sister My sister is five years older than me. And so yeah, so I mean it was was really set up to be okay and then you know, I’m, I’m back in high school telling all my buddies you know, haha, see you later suckers. Enjoy trigonometry. I’m out of here, you know, and we go in The surgery was October 28 2003 was surgery day. And I tell people that on that day my, my life stopped. And a new life began. Um, nothing went right from that point forward. I had the surgery, they, the doctor came out, told my family that everything, you know, went great that the surgery was a success. And that it was I mean, the tumor was removed, it saved my life. But I believe it was maybe the second day or third day after surgery. I’m still in intensive care unit. You know, I have no memory of any time after being wheeled into the operating room. My memory doesn’t pick up until months later. So all I know about this time is the stories that have been told by my family and, and my mom is the one who always tells the story that she was in the room at this particular moment. And the doctor, the neurosurgeon had made his rounds. And he’s in the room with my mom. And he was was talking to me, and apparently I was very combative. And apparently I had one of those pulse ox machines on my toe. Well, apparently I kept ripping the thing off. So the doctor, he was pointing to the pulse ox machine, and apparently it had a baby a little blinking red light on it. And he said to me, he’s like, Kevin, do you see this light? You don’t touch this? Do you see the light? Well, my mom said that I said, No, I don’t see anything. At that moment, he looked at my mom, my mom was at him. And he walked over and he flipped on the light switch. And he started flipping it on and off on orphans like Kevin, do you see the light? And I said, No, no, it’s just black. It’s just black. And it was at that moment that they found out that I couldn’t see. So I came out of that surgery to be left completely blind. So I have no light perception, no shapes or shadows, nothing of the sort. I also lost my ability to smell had short term memory loss for oh gosh, at least a good like six months after surgery. And literally just began this this whole new life. And, you know, for a long, long time, you know, I thought it was really the blindness that was my greatest disability. Well, I came to realize over the years that it’s really more than the blindness, it’s the effects that the tumor had on my my endocrine system or with my pituitary gland. Being now paying hypo pit where I have to take all these medications to try to replace and do what the body’s supposed to do naturally, which is always a very poor alternative. And, you know, it leaves me kind of struggling a lot of times, but I learned to to continue, you learn to adapt, you keep moving forward. And even though things were hard, I kept pushing forward. And I never went back to school, the rest of that junior year. Instead, I would have my mom would drop me off at my, my Nana’s house in the morning, she would go on to work. And I had a group of teachers who would come it was part of a program called hospital homebound. And I had Mrs. Scott who taught me my school subjects. I had Mrs. David who taught me how to read Braille and how to use a talking computer. And then I had Mrs. Toth who taught me how to start getting around with a cane. And those three women were literally like three angels who entered our lives. And they were amazing. And they were so good with me now. Luckily, I was really good in school, I was already pretty much set up to graduate. So that was made life easier. Especially because, you know, like I said I had short term memory loss. So, you know, here I would be learning about school subjects. They would leave and I’d say to my Nana, when is Muscat coming? Every round and I was like, wow, I can tell that that just really sank in real well what we just learned. But ultimately what happened is is through it all. I was able to make it back to school for the start of my senior year. And I just Just went back for one class a day, we had a block scheduling. So it was four classes a day instead of the normal six or seven. And so I went back for just one class a day. And the rest I did back at home with the same same teachers. Ultimately, I did what I had a goal to do. Now, I hated school, never liked it would rather be sick with the with the flu and get to stay home, they go to school, yet, for some reason, from the time I became blind, I kept telling everybody that I just want to be able to graduate with my class, I just want to be able to graduate with with my class. And I did it. I literally walked across the stage of my high school graduation. And I think that was a pivotal moment for me. I don’t think that I, I know I didn’t realize that at the time. And matter of fact, I didn’t realize it till years and years later. I think how impactful that moment was, but for myself, my faith is a big part of my my story. And, and I believe in all of my heart that God was the one who put that desire to graduate on my heart. And that God wanted to show me that even in this new life, even though things are different, even though things may be difficult, you can still do great things.
Michael Hingson ** 16:31
I’ll bet you got lots of cheers when you walked across that stage.
Kevin Lowe ** 16:35
I did. I did. It was pretty darn awesome.
Michael Hingson ** 16:39
Yeah, because you obviously went through a lot and people were aware of it and sensitive enough to it that when you walked across that stage, it must have been a wonderful thing.
Kevin Lowe ** 16:49
Yeah, yeah, it was it was. It was pretty cool. It was it was pretty cool. I must admit,
Michael Hingson ** 16:55
yeah. What kind of a grade point average did you have? Um, I
Kevin Lowe ** 16:59
can’t remember what I graduated with. But I was always on a roll. I mean, I was always right up there. And like the, you know, 3.8 You know, your GPA. So? Yeah, well,
Michael Hingson ** 17:11
so you graduated. So? That must have been? What in like, 88
Kevin Lowe ** 17:18
Oh, goodness, no, that was not 85 2005
Michael Hingson ** 17:20
I miscalculated. Sorry about that. How old are you? That’s right. You had a tumor surgery in 2000. Late 2003. So yeah, okay. Yeah. I was just listening to the story. All right. So you’re an old fellow. So when 85 You graduated? And, obviously, well, what happened to the truck?
Kevin Lowe ** 17:48
So so my dad, my dad kept my truck for, for a while, I can’t remember how long he kept it. And he, you know, it was so unexpected. No one ever expected this to happen. I mean, it wasn’t even in the cards. And so, I mean, it took it took a toll on on not just me, but my whole family. And for a long time. I wasn’t the only one who kept thinking that this was temporary, that there’s going to be a doctor, there’s going to be a surgery or procedure, a medicine, something somewhere in the world that’s going to fix me that I’m gonna get my sight back. And my dad, he, he kept my truck for a while and, and he would drive it and pick me up in it. And he always told me that he was keeping it for me. And finally, the one day I, I told him, I said, Dad, I said, Listen, I said, if the day comes that I can see again, I want a brand new truck. I said, get rid of this thing, sell it, let somebody else get to enjoy it. And then, you know, I told him, I said, You don’t gotta keep it from me. Because I told him I said, trust me, five, get the marillac miraculous recovery that I’m looking for. I’m going down to Ford and getting a brand new one. So there you go.
Michael Hingson ** 19:20
What did they decide actually happened that caused your blindness? So you had the surgery and they felt it was successful? I would think that they were a little bit surprised that you suddenly couldn’t see or were they?
Kevin Lowe ** 19:35
So yes, um, so apparently, I guess my optic nerve had already begun to atrophy. And there’s a consensus that what happened is when the tumor was removed, that it caused a trauma shock to the optic nerve. Another thing that is And I’ve been told about was that they feel as though the optic nerve had been tunneling blood through the tumor, it had basically become, you know, part of it. And so again, when that tumor was removed, it kind of cut off that blood supply, it caused trauma to the nerve, causing it, causing it to atrophy, causing it to die. As I said, my Oh, go ahead, go ahead. Um, you know, the biggest thing has always just been is I remember in all the, the after MRIs that I kept having, because when they took the tumor out, there had to be this one little piece left. And so I kept having MRIs afterwards to be sure that that wasn’t growing back. And it didn’t, it continued to die off. And, and I can remember in every office visit, I go into the, the pediatric endocrinology or the pediatric neurosurgeons office, and if I can remember that man, he always just said he, he would sit there, and he would literally cry with being my mom, this man who’s just at the top of the top in terms of the medical system, this leading, leading pediatric neurosurgeon to the country. And yet he would sit there and cry, and he would say, everything is there, everything is intact. I see from the results, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to see. And I always told him, it was a God’s plan. I don’t know why either. But I came to realize that, for whatever reason, it was a God’s plan. And that’s, that’s what I truly believe.
Michael Hingson ** 21:52
So you graduated high school, which clearly was also part of God’s plan. And then what did you do?
Kevin Lowe ** 22:01
So the years after graduating, where a lot of just honestly learning to kind of live again, you know, I tell people that, you know, I was, in an essence, almost, I felt like I was brought back down to a child, you know, here I was, you know, a quote unquote, child when it happened, but I had independence, you know, I had my own car could come and go as I wanted to do what I wanted, I was independent. And, you know, I lost that. And, again, just the health issues that I was dealing with, with, with the surgery and everything, it was a lot. And so a lot of those years after were spent at my Nana’s house, like I said, my mom, you know, my dad, they’d be working and, and I would stay at Nana’s. And while they are, though, I did some classes, thank goodness, where I live, right near Daytona Beach, is we have a huge blind center there, have a division of Blind Services Center for the visually impaired, have, I believe the world’s largest braille book library, all these resources that before this happened, never even knew existed. And so I was so fortunate that I mean, it was so easy for me to go in and take classes and get help. And so, so I started doing some different classes, learning more about technology, doing stuff, I would end up going to our local community college. And that, that was short lived. As I said, I wasn’t a fan of school to begin with now make it a little bit more difficult. And have me trying to line up aims to be in class with me, as notetakers was a total just train wreck. The aides wouldn’t show up, or if they didn’t show up. They were talking in class and doing everything other than than actually helping me. And so, you know, I would end up having to literally do classes with, with my family members. I mean, thank goodness, I had a cousin my same age who was in college, so I made sure to sign up for some of the same classes she was in, so that she could be my aide. And it was just, it was crazy. And finally, I just I’d had enough and so I’m like, Okay, I don’t leave this is the route for me. And, and, and so I can’t remember what really much happened like after that, but I just kept trying to live and not really sure what I was going to do. Like I said, I mean, it was such a blow because everything that I had ever thought that I might have wanted to do as a career with my life was was now out no more. Every, every just bit of me was just torn down. As I tell people that the only two things that I had, were were my faith and my family. And literally everything else I felt like was taken from me for a long time. And then finally, one day, I got asked to take part in a job readiness program that was offered through the local center for the visually impaired. And it was said that at the end of this job readiness program, they would set you up with an internship at you know, whatever business that you know, maybe interested you. So I’m like, Okay, I was a little apprehensive, but what I had signed up to do it, what the heck, yeah, exactly what the heck, let’s give it a shot. So I was in there. To be quite honest, the job readiness program was a little silly. I felt like some of the stuff was a little Elementary. But I had a good time, because I made friend with two old guy who were in there. One of them, which was a guy from Puerto Rico, I think is where he originally was from, was living here in Florida as a plumber. So we talked all about, you know, handyman stuff. And another guy was in there was like a former gangster out of New York. And he was a total character. And so the three of us would just kind of sit in the classroom and have a good time together. And at the end of it, though, and this job readiness program, I had the opportunity to get an internship at a job. And so sitting down with them, you know, trying to figure out what my interests were, I had an interest in travel, and radio. And so traveling was something that I did all growing up into love to travel. And I realized that even after becoming blind, that I still love to travel, maybe even more so because, you know, no longer can I just watch the TV and see the sights. Now I actually have to go places and experience though. And so, lo and behold, they set me up with an internship at a local travel agency, and an internship at a local am a radio station. And in so I began those internships and oh, my gosh, I love them both. Both at the travel agency, I got to literally gotten to start working, helping the owners of this company, you know, we were booking cruises and working with, with, you know, all their clients, which they specialized in seniors, they had their, what was it called sensational senior socials. So, so it’s all these old people coming in, and they were so sweet. And, and so I was doing that. But at the same time, I’m working at the am radio station. So I would have to be there from 6am to 9am. I worked on the morning drive, and they didn’t really, they didn’t really know what to do with me. Because at first they put me in a little side booth and, and I’m on my computer, and I’m supposed to find like local news stories for us to talk about, well, soon enough, they realized, let’s just bring Kevin in the studio. So I literally sat in the studio on the morning drive with the host of the show, the guy Dave who worked the controls, and then a co host. And literally, I got to be part of the show. And so, you know, they’d be talking about mostly political issues and stuff and and I always had an opinion on something and and I can remember the the host he would he’d see me over the corner kind of chuckle and laugh at and you Kevin you got some input on this and you know, I’m so I pipe in and be on the radio show. And I loved it. Absolutely loved it. And so though react Yeah, it was great. It was great. But into the internship are both places. They went nowhere.
Michael Hingson ** 29:11
They went nowhere. Nowhere before we go on how was your your Braille so you did learn braille and so on. How How did you end do you do it Braille because you know, you didn’t learn it as a very young child.
Kevin Lowe ** 29:24
So I learned braille really quick, really fast. My my teacher even told me that I learned braille faster than anyone she had ever had. And so I did really good with Braille. But then, of course, if you don’t use it, you lose it. And so welcome technology, good or bad. I stopped using braille. And I mean, today I know my grade one Braille but the contracted form, you know, headache, so
Michael Hingson ** 29:56
Kevin Lowe ** 29:57
yeah, of course.
Michael Hingson ** 29:59
But you did travel? Um, well, you you were able to get around and and how did you get like to the travel agency into the radio station every day?
Kevin Lowe ** 30:07
Yeah, those were primarily I did primarily, you know, a family member. Generally, it was one of my grandparents, either my grandfather, the radio station was right near his work. So he would drop me off in the morning. And then my grandma would pick me up, or I would also use transport, like service like, I don’t know, we didn’t even have like, Uber and stuff back then. But we had some different transport. Yeah, yeah. But so those internships ended in. I’m back at square one. I’m like, What the heck do I do. And so I come to find out about this idea of starting a home based travel agency. And so that’s what I did. So January of 2013, I opened my own home based business, it was called better days travel. And I grew and operated my own home based travel agency. And I did that up until 2020. And I loved it. Now, I won’t say that I felt like it was probably what I was, you know, maybe say, quote unquote, meant to do. But I didn’t know what else I was supposed to do. And I knew that I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed getting to, for one thing, get to grow a business. You know, I grew up with, with my parents, both being entrepreneurs owning their own businesses. And so to have this opportunity to get to be an owner of my own business as well, operating right out of my home was amazing for me, what kind of businesses did they have. So my, my dad, he had when I was was really young, he had a big massive construction company with all kinds of employees and stuff, he then downsized had a bearing shops, and so the ball bearings, bolt saw that the hoses and, and you know, all kinds of different stuff like that. And then he ended up switching over to just operating himself with a bulldozer, so he’s a heavy equipment operator. Then my mom, my mom is had had the whole time as a, as I was a teenager, she had her own property management company. And so, so I grew up with him, you know, he said with having their own businesses, and so getting to start my own business was was really something that was amazing for me, and I got to build this brand, build this company. And like I said, I saw I really did really well with that rockin and rollin up until 2020. And, you know, of course, you know, the story hasn’t 2020 was going to be my best year on record. And then, of course, March of 2020 came, and everything fell apart.
Michael Hingson ** 33:06
So I’m curious as a travel agent, not so my wife was a travel agent for a number of years. She was a travel agent when we got married. So while you are a travel agent, and I don’t know whether it happened as an intern, but certainly once you built your own home business, were you ever able to go on any fam trips and go to look at places?
Kevin Lowe ** 33:26
Yes, yes, I did. I did. Yes. Probably one of the most impactful trips that I’ve ever been on was was one of these trips that you’re talking about, that was with another guy who I had been working with in the in the travel industry, and he invited me to go with him on a fam trip to Jamaica. And so it was my first time traveling out of the country. I had been on cruises before, but this was my first time like actually flying somewhere out of the country. And it was my first time traveling without a family member with me. And so, you know, but I I you know, had a really great relationship with this with this guy. And so I jumped on the opportunity. And so we went to Jamaica, and oh my gosh, we got to tour the whole island. We went to all the different resorts. The resort we stayed It was absolutely incredible. Which one Had we stayed at? We were at. Oh, my goodness. What is the name of Moon Moon Palace? Yeah, yeah, it was a Yeah, what is it? Yeah, Moon Moon Grand Palace, something like that. So I know that they have a they have a same kind of property over in Mexico. And I think that’s called like moon and I think the one in Jamaica has maybe called a moon grant or something.
Michael Hingson ** 34:51
My my wife took a fam trip to hedonism, which is I think, in Jamaica was yeah, some sandals invited me along. But we did go on some some fam trips together she let me come on. Yeah, a few of them, which was really great. And then we we did do cruising. Yeah had some opera she actually went to cruise because she had booked a number of cruises on what was at that time sit Mar, which became part of princess but she had some limited options because being in a wheelchair the early days of well, and I wouldn’t say early days of cruising, but back in the 80s, and so on. There weren’t a lot of accessibility options on ships. And that did change over time. But you know, we did go even on a ship that was inaccessible, the fare sky was a Sigmar ship. And there were like six inch sills, you had to go over to get into the cabins and so on. But again, since I was with her, then I could wheel her over those. And then the next ship we we were on was, I think called the Fair sea. And that one actually had an accessible room. And so that was one of the reasons we got to be on that ship. And to do the fam trip on that, because it was totally accessible. It was great. Yeah,
Kevin Lowe ** 36:12
yeah, absolutely. And I tell you, I mean, cruising, I fell in love with cruising, you know, with my family, and then, but it’s just traveling in general. Experiencing just the world, the people, that’s what made me fall in love with Jamaica, was the people. And I’m the person who, who I remember the day on that trip to Jamaica, where we were touring, all these different resorts we are out, like, all day long, well, well, there was a couple of them that I really didn’t have any interest in, you know, for one reason or another. And so, I had made friends with our driver that day. And so I, you know, told a couple of times, I’m like, Hey, I’m just gonna sit in here, you know, and me and him, and we would talk and I learned all about, you know, their culture and how they pressure cook, go, and, you know, all this stuff. And, and, you know, that’s what did when, when I would book travel is that is I tried to get through to my clients was booking travel to experience a destination and not just going to see it. You know, and so yeah, that was
Michael Hingson ** 37:22
why I asked the question about taking a fam trip, because yes, that way, you really had the experience.
Kevin Lowe ** 37:28
Michael Hingson ** 37:31
So 2020 came, March of 2020 came, and those little things from wherever they came from, came along and invaded all of our world. Yes, so what? So what happened to you, then what, what did you do? Because that clearly had an impact on you? And what you were doing?
Kevin Lowe ** 37:55
Michael Hingson ** 37:56
unless you can sell a lot of virtual travel. But
Kevin Lowe ** 38:00
exactly, well, well, it didn’t need so. So as I had said, that was gonna be my best year on record. And yet, inside of one week, everything disappeared. All the bookings cancelled. And it was at that point, you know, we’re all now in lockdown, were in quarantine. And I didn’t know what I was going to do. You know, of course, none of us did. We didn’t know how long it was going to last we thought it was temporary. And so you know, luckily, I had built you know, this amazing, you know, community in the travel industry. And, and so we’re just all trying to rally each other together. Well, finally, I decided, You know what, it’s, you know, what, this is the perfect opportunity for me to finally start that YouTube channel I’ve been thinking about. And so I get my sister together, and Mike. And so start going on Amazon and start ordering equipment to start, you know, being able to film YouTube videos. Well, finally, the one day it kind of hits me as I’m starting to order stuff, I’m starting to get stuff in the mail. Is it just kind of had that that light bulb moment was, Kevin, if Tiffany is not here to help you. You can’t do this on your own. You’re not going to be good filming yourself walking around doing whatever. And so I kind of had that moment like, Oh, crap, what am I going to do? And, and my YouTube, you know, stardom, you know, is just dashed. And so I’m telling my sister about it. And she says, you know, why don’t you do a podcast and I’m like, What is a podcast? So she tells me and I’m like, Tiffany, that sounds like a really lame alternative to a YouTube channel.
Michael Hingson ** 39:47
You know, little did I
Kevin Lowe ** 39:49
know, I start listening to podcasts. And it didn’t take long for me to realize, Kevin, you just found your space the world of Audio, where everybody who listens to podcasts gets to be blind. So now I will see the podcast about how to start a podcast. And so low Behold, May of 2020, I launched a podcast. And I called, it was called the lowdown on life and travel. Because at the time, I still thought that I was going to be a travel agent. And so the podcast was going to talk about me, as a blind travel agent, it also just focusing on travel, keeping the dream alive for people is what my intention was. And so I kept running with that. And I’m starting to release episodes. And you know, I mean, if you go back and you listen to any of your beginning ones, now, you cringe like nobody’s business, and you think to yourself, how did I ever think that was any good? Yeah, at the time you thought, Man, this is this is how to really good? Well, I kept getting really good feedback. And as I was going along, I kept getting really great feedback, especially the interviews I was doing. And so 2020 is marching along. And we’re coming into, I guess, probably like the fall of 2020. And I’m starting to get people inquiring about travel again. And I didn’t know what this podcasting journey was going to do, where it was going to leave. But all I knew was at this moment, I didn’t want to book another trip, to then have to cancel it. And so I found myself kind of turning people away. And then I realized, you know what, I have to have to do something different. I don’t want to do travel. And so the podcast, I kept having these interviews with people, and I was having these really in depth interviews. And I think by this point, I had rebranded the podcast for the first time. So it went from the lowdown on life and travel to the lowdown with Kevin Allah. And I was focusing on just, you know, inspiring stories and, and, you know, personal growth, development, stuff like that. And so, I’m having these interviews with people. And I keep having people tell me, at the end of our interview, that I asked them questions that no one ever asked them, or that I see part to their story that no one else ever sees before, or all these different little things like that I even had one lady told me, she said, the only person who’s ever fit those two pieces together before, you know, was my psychiatrist. And I kept having people talk to me about, you know, you should really think about being your coach. Well, again, kind of like podcasting. I had no idea what coaching even once, and only coaching, I never heard of what’s the PE coach. And so I started kind of learning about that. And times marching on, we’re now obviously, on moving down the months. And I don’t even know what year it was, I guess, now 2021, I started exploring some different options, didn’t really know the coaching thing, was doing some different little work with the computer and didn’t really sure what was happening. And then then things finally kind of came together. And I finally realized what I loved. And it was being able to work with people talk with people, just like I do on the podcast. But now I actually really get to help them, not just interview them. And so it led to me being a transformation coach, which is what I do today.
Michael Hingson ** 43:59
So tell me a little bit more about what it means to be a transformation coach.
Kevin Lowe ** 44:04
Yeah, so being transformation. Yeah, of course. So the biggest thing would be being a transformation coach is working with people who are kind of at that point in their life when when they want something more, they want to make a change, but they’re scared to do it. They’re maybe thinking about what lies on the other side of turning that page, starting a new chapter in life, and they’re just haven’t done it yet. And so I get to work with my clients. They’re mostly women, who I work with. And, you know, as I say, I helped them to, to create, to embrace and ultimately step into their next best chapter of life, helping them to transform into this new life that they’re wanting this new just stage of life. And that’s that’s what I do as a coach
Michael Hingson ** 45:02
And so have you have you seen some great successes at having done that love to learn, you know more about it and kind of hear some stories if you can about what, what you’ve been able to accomplish and so on with it.
Kevin Lowe ** 45:16
Yeah, absolutely. So, so I have had some really great experiences with clients, I developed a coaching program. So I don’t just do like, say, one off sessions or whatever, because I did that at first. And then I realized that it really just doesn’t serve the client to work with them one time, and then you know, them go on about life. So I do a three month coaching program, with each each client. And yeah, I’ve had some great success. As I said, most of my clients, if not, I think all of my clients so far have all been women, all women who are kind of later in life who are wanting to maybe explore a career change, that’s most of them who they’re in this season of life where they’ve, they’ve been through some stuff that has kind of opened their eyes, and where they just kind of want more out of life. And so helping them to realize that recognize it, and to see what needs to change in their life, for them to find that fulfillment. And a lot of times that is a career change. Or sometimes it doesn’t have to be, it’s just adding something to their life, that fulfills them, they have their work that you know, brings in the money and that they enjoy. But now adding on maybe it’s a hobby, or maybe it’s starting a you know, organization or taking up a craft making a side business. Something though that draws on their own experience. And you know, and that’s, that’s the biggest thing is helping them to really find fulfillment in this kind of new chapter of life that they’re creating.
Michael Hingson ** 47:03
And one of the beauties of doing what you do, I assume is that you can do it virtually they don’t need to come to where you are. Exactly, which clearly has to help. So what what kind of, you know, you’re a blind guy, which is great. And so I’ll ask this sort of principle, but what kind of technology do you use? How is technology helping you to do your job better?
Kevin Lowe ** 47:30
Yeah, so I, I’m a JAWS user. So I have
Michael Hingson ** 47:34
people who don’t know, JAWS is what’s called a screen reader. It’s a piece of software that verbalizes whatever comes across the screen,
Kevin Lowe ** 47:41
exactly. So I rely on Jaws, which is installed on on my just normal Lenovo laptop. And then and then between that, and my iPhone, you know, with VoiceOver, literally, I feel like you can take on the world with with those two, two combined, you know, and so I mean, literally, can run my full business right from between my phone and my computer, the entire podcast that I produce, which, you know, I mean, I have a habit that goes out twice a week, every week, is literally what used to be a walk in closet is now a full blown recording studio. And, and that’s the technology I use, you know, it’s funny, after I went blind, I remember getting all different kinds of equipment, stuff that we would order or stuff that we would get through, you know, Blind Services, all these different things. Well, now with like the iPhone, oh my gosh, like, I just have a couple of apps on my phone, and it can do all kinds of stuff. And it just It blows my mind. Technology, as it advances is really, really incredible how, how now literally, with one app on my phone, you know, I can tell what color my shirt is, or I can, you know, read a barcode off the, you know, cat of soup to see what kind of soup it is. I mean, it’s really fascinating. And, you know, technology is one of those things that you know, I I was never a big fan of say technology, you know, growing up, which I mean, I think I was blessed to the fact that there really wasn’t, quote unquote, technology when I grew up. But you know, I never saw myself as somebody who, who would be so into technology, but becoming blind in with the advancements of technology. It’s literally kind of a lifeline where it makes such a world of difference. And I mean, you know, it’s it’s just really awesome.
Michael Hingson ** 49:43
Well, I love to talk with people about technology, you bring up a very interesting thing. And one of the things that we talk about a lot on this podcast and that I do with people in general is that we have such a wrong concept of the term disability because Disability should not anymore mean a lack of ability. Disability is a characteristic. And I think you would probably agree with me if we discuss sighted people that they have a disability to, namely, that their disability is light dependence, they gotta have like affection. Yes. And Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb in 1879. That was, as the Americans with Disabilities Act would say, a reasonable accommodation to help light dependent people be able to see in the dark. And the reality is that there is so much technology around lighting and so on, that disability is mostly covered up, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s there. And so, I try to help people put blindness in perspective, because we don’t have that problem. And so we don’t worry about that. We use other kinds of technologies. But the fact is, we all use technologies to mitigate the disabilities or carry some of the characteristics that we have. And so it’s no different for you than anyone else. And I do love the fact. And I agree with you that the more you can simplify and not use too many things, the better it is, there are several blind people who I know will talk about going to school into college in the 80s, and well into the 90s and early 2000s. And we’re Braille readers, but also use technologies for other things. And it was almost like you had to carry this, at least this big, huge rolling suitcase, to carry all the technology around with you. And now, of course, as you said, an iPhone with VoiceOver, which is the screen reader that Apple builds into it, unless you use an Android phone. And then there are a couple of options for that. But the fact is that the technology is going to get simpler, and there are things that we can do that we never thought that we could do before. But the reality is that technology is making that more possible to do. Yeah. And that’s what we really want. So we we continue to grow with that. And we do what we have to do. So what is your podcast today?
Kevin Lowe ** 52:22
Yeah, so the podcast is called Grit, grace and inspiration. And basically, the whole point of the podcast is to be that place of of inspiration, of encouragement of empowerment, trying to remind people that you’re not the only one who’s going through stuff, that we’re all going through stuff, and we can all get through it. And so I get to feature interviews with, with as I call them, the real the real superheroes of the world, the people who are overcoming life’s challenges to keep living life. And I just find so much pleasure, so much joy and getting to share their stories with the world. And you know, and so so I do that. So, every week on Tuesday, I released an interview, and then every Thursday, I released a solo episode, in which, you know, it’s just just be talking to just you. And both of those are related to a lot of just mindset stuff, or some different tactics to help somebody overcome some problems. Or it might be something that was kind of related to that week’s interview, something that I wanted to expand on. So yeah, yeah, like so the podcast is called a grit, grace and inspiration. And I mean, I’m getting ready. At the time of this recording, I’m getting ready to release my 200th episode. So
Michael Hingson ** 53:55
that’s pretty exciting. When did you start it?
Kevin Lowe ** 53:57
So this is the same podcast, I started back in May of 2020. So so it’s been three years, and it was rebranded twice.
Michael Hingson ** 54:06
But it’s 200. From back in 2020. Yes, yeah. Cool. Yeah. So do you do all your own behind the scenes work, like editing and all that sort of stuff with it?
Kevin Lowe ** 54:15
No, sir. No, I, I, when I started the podcast, the editing thing was, was something at first that I was trying to figure out, and I kept trying some different, you know, programs. And I’m like, This is so frustrating. I’m not going to do it. And so I went on to Fiverr Have you ever used Fiverr? I have. Okay, so I went on Fiverr. And I searched for, you know, podcast editor. I found podcast editor. And I still wish to work with her today. It’s so so as I say that, you know, I record the podcast, and then she makes it sound good. So
Michael Hingson ** 54:55
we got to meet through a company called amplify you and Debbie who Is there their support person, and they also do podcasts work, so I actually work with them. But I started out when we began unstoppable mindset. They did the hosting, and so on. But I tried to edit the podcasts. And I use a digital audio workstation or editor called Reaper, which actually is very accessible. But as you would attest, it’s time consuming. And I decided it really didn’t make sense. And so using their services anyway, they did the editing and all that makes it a whole lot better. And so I don’t have to worry about it. I do rely on using decent equipment for doing the recording. What kind of microphone do you use?
Kevin Lowe ** 55:47
Yeah, so I use a with the Rode RODE Procaster Oh, okay. Yeah. And then that goes into I have the interface of the Focusrite vo caster as my interface, which I mentioned it specifically because I can’t remember what the what the interface I was using before it because this is an XLR microphone. So can’t plug right into the computer. So I have the interface? Well, I have to say that the focus right vo caster is so amazing. Because it has tactile buttons on the device that are super easy to use nice tactile knobs. And then it’s app that installs on your computer works with JAWS. And so I’m able to easily navigate through it and change the different settings. Be sure that my mic level was all set, which literally just means like, it’s like hallelujah, it’s accessible. And it works. And
Michael Hingson ** 56:46
it has gotten more accessible over this past year. They’ve done a lot of work to improve the interface, which is great.
Kevin Lowe ** 56:52
Yes, yeah. So yeah. And like you said, Man, I just I the podcasting thing yet, you know, I just fell in love with it. And I fell in love with it. For the simple fact that I’m like, if it wasn’t for having a podcast, I never even would have known that all of these amazing people exist in the world. Yeah, you know, and I feel like I feel like in the world today, we’re so inundated with, with drama with trauma with everything we hear is the doom and gloom. And to be quite honest, it’s easy to feel like the world is falling apart, and there’s no hope anymore. And so when you instead get to fill your day, by talking to people who are amazing, it just reminds you that there is hope in the world, that everybody is not out to get you that everybody’s not killing one another, that there’s some amazing people in this world. And you know, and I say, you know, the, when I knew that this was the right thing for me to do was what I kept finding myself being in different interviews. And I kept finding myself, just pray in thanking God for putting me in this position. That’s what I knew. I’m like, Kevin, I don’t know where this path is gonna lead. But you’re on the right path. So keep following it.
Michael Hingson ** 58:14
So there are a lot of coaches in the world, what makes you different and a coach that people should relate to and use?
Kevin Lowe ** 58:23
Yeah, so you know, I think my biggest thing is the fact of, I just, I’m just a human, I’m just a friend. And that’s the kind of people who I like to work with is the people who don’t view me as a coach view me as the best friend who doesn’t know you isn’t judging you. It’s just there for you, to help you to be your guide. And, you know, I mentioned that, you know, I work primarily with women. Well, you know, a lot of people asked me, Well, why is that? And they said, Well, I feel like I finally figured out what the purpose was of me growing up with a older sister and, and a single mom for a lot of the time and, and watching nothing but chick flicks and Ella men movies and hanging out with all of their girlfriends. Obviously, it was for something and I came to realize it’s because it may be a guy who realizes that I’m able to just work with women better than I am with it. And, and my style of coaching I think does lends its hand better to you know, working with women where we’re able to just kind of really go deep and figure out the underlying issues of what’s going on what they really want, and, you know, work together to get them to where they want to be.
Michael Hingson ** 59:42
So do you have a significant other in your life?
Kevin Lowe ** 59:45
I don’t, I don’t, the closest thing I have is my 10 pound Shibu named Sophia.
Michael Hingson ** 59:52
Well, that’s something to work toward. That’s
Kevin Lowe ** 59:54
a yes. Oh, trust me. Yes, yes, yes. Yes. And that would be that would be amazing. Yeah. us
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:01
that too shall come at the appropriate time, I
Kevin Lowe ** 1:00:03
am sure exactly, exactly. Well, if people want to
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:07
reach out to you would like to talk to you about working with you, and so on. How do they do that?
Kevin Lowe ** 1:00:13
Yeah, the the best place to go is my website that will have all my contact information. And that is literally just grit, Grace inspiration.com. And so if you go to that website, grit, Grace inspiration.com There, you can check out the podcast, but you can also easily get in touch with me, there’s a contact form, find my contact information. So that’s probably the easiest place to start.
Michael Hingson ** 1:00:38
Grit Great Grace inspiration.com, I will tell you, he is also a great interviewer. And you can tell he is quite a good talker, which is good. So I urge you all to seek Kevin out. I think that, that there’s a lot that he has to offer. And I am so glad that we got to do this today. Because there’s a lot of life lessons to learn from everything that Kevin has talked about and talk about having an unstoppable mindset, no question that that Kevin has that now we do have to find them a girl or a woman actually. But you know, that’s, that’s a process we’ll get there. But But definitely, I really appreciate you being here. And I am glad that we had to do this. And I hope that you listening also enjoyed this. And I would love it and appreciate it if you would give us a five star rating wherever you’re listening to our podcast. I would also love it and appreciate it if you would reach out to me with any thoughts or if you happen to know of anyone who might be a good guest for our podcast, Kevin, you as well. You can reach me at Michaelhi at accessibe.com. That’s m i c h a e l h i at a c c e s s i b e.com. and would love to hear from you. Also, you can go to our podcast page, which is www dot Michael hingson m i c h a e l h i n g s o n.com/podcast. Where you can just go to the website, Michael hingson.com. We’d love to hear from you. We have a contact form there. And by the way, if you ever need a speaker and Kevin, if you know anyone who needs a speaker, we do that traveling has started to pick up and so we’re back to talking about September 11, and teamwork and trust and other things and would appreciate any any opportunity. So I want to thank you all for considering that. But mostly today. Kevin, I want to thank you one last time for being here. We really appreciate your time, and all the insights that you brought us.
Kevin Lowe ** 1:02:37
Well, thank you so much. It was a pleasure to be here.
Michael Hingson ** 1:02:44
You have been listening to the Unstoppable Mindset podcast. Thanks for dropping by. I hope that you’ll join us again next week, and in future weeks for upcoming episodes. To subscribe to our podcast and to learn about upcoming episodes, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com slash podcast. Michael Hingson is spelled m i c h a e l h i n g s o n. While you’re on the site., please use the form there to recommend people who we ought to interview in upcoming editions of the show. And also, we ask you and urge you to invite your friends to join us in the future. If you know of any one or any organization needing a speaker for an event, please email me at speaker at Michael hingson.com. I appreciate it very much. To learn more about the concept of blinded by fear, please visit www dot Michael hingson.com forward slash blinded by fear and while you’re there, feel free to pick up a copy of my free eBook entitled blinded by fear. The unstoppable mindset podcast is provided by access cast an initiative of accessiBe and is sponsored by accessiBe. Please visit www.accessibe.com. accessiBe is spelled a c c e s s i b e. There you can learn all about how you can make your website inclusive for all persons with disabilities and how you can help make the internet fully inclusive by 2025. Thanks again for listening. Please come back and visit us again next week.