Staring out the window to a small green garden abundant with life in the middle of Santa Cruz I wonder what it must be like to live in this cute flat for one. Six small birds to each seed house, two six foot tall, orange flowering aloe vera plants, hydrangeas, a meandering possum, a skunk on a jolly jaunt, a weeping willow look-alike tree and an array of other Californian greens I’m unfamiliar with, it’s a small garden of Eden amongst many, I suspect, in this part of the world. But there’s a few things in this Santa Cruzian flat that are a little out of the ordinary.

Look a little closer and you’ll notice low door knobs on all the cupboards and a bicycle-like contraption. Foster Andersen has been a quadriplegic for over 30 years. He had a motorcycle accident at age 17, suffering spinal cord injury that has left him temporarily bound to a wheelchair since. I write temporarily because Foster is no average person. You name it he's done it, from skydiving, bungee jumping out of a hot air balloon, canoeing, scuba diving, kayaking, sailing, rock climbing... the list goes on.

What's so impressive is that he did it all after his accident, wheelchair bound... until he gets in that parachute of course. 15 years ago Foster started the not-for-profit organisation, Shared Adventures, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life of people living with disabilities. It's based on the belief that 'recreation, fun, challenge and access to the outdoors are an essential part of a healthy and fulfilling life'.  Foster trained as a computer graphic engineer however spends most of his time working on the events hosted by Shared Adventures. Day at the Beach and Day in the Sky are two of the annual highlights. In addition to the list of things Foster himself has done, the organisation offers a whole range of activities for people with disabilities including camping, horse riding, sailing, flying planes and plenty of social gatherings like the Halloween Dance Party, Frozen Yoghurt Sketch Circle and Bowling by the Boardwalk to get the local community involved. He's also the regular Santa Cruz'ian celebrity. Take one look at his office wall and you'll see articles that span the state, all featuring Foster's achievements from his early 20's until now. He is without a doubt one of the most inspirational people I've ever met and... if one can be so bold... one of those 'ideal' members of society that we would do well to follow his example by for living a full and giving life. For more information on Foster and Shared Adventures visit