Welcome to That Blind Woman’s Website

Find out why Julie Woods is called that blind woman and why she’s been dubbed the “Queen” of Cooking Without Looking!
Julie Woods is an inspirational speaker and coach who has visited 50 countries by the time she was 50, including the Seven Wonders of the World! So, is it really true she’s refereed three games of nude touch rugby and now has a dream to write 1 million names in braille? Read on more to find out about this extraordinary woman with her why not attitude……

Help raise awareness by donating whatever you can to our goal of 1 Million Names in Braille. Become part of the 1 Million Names in Braille Movement!

About her


Known by her family and friends as Julie Woods, one day Julie realised that to others she came in contact with she was remembered as something different. “Returning to a shop one week later” told Julie, ….


Born in the “Edinburgh of the south,” Dunedin, New Zealand, (http://www.dunedinnz.com) Julie gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Otago University in 1987.


Julie gets asked loads of questions all the time about being blind. Here’s just some of the most frequently asked, along with some of her most common answers.


Julie’s husband, Ron Esplin, is an artist who has created a collection of “braille art” pieces inspired from Julie.

One million names in braille is a dream of that blind woman Julie Woods to transcribe into braille the names of one million people she comes into contact with.

In 2012, after having the reverse side of her business card printed with the braille alphabet, Julie began writing in braille the names of people she came in contact with.
Julie and her husband Ron Esplin then set themselves a goal to visit the Seven Wonders of the World.It was while travelling overseas that Julie began writing the names of their guides in braille, when one day a young porter in an Indian Hotel burst into tears and said “Words cannot describe how I am feeling right now.”

So that got Julie to thinking…… why don’t I transcribe the first name of one million people into braille….. to connect the world with dots.
Julie set about chasing her dream when, on the day she had been blind for 20 years, she wrote 1
million names in braille on a small piece of paper,  in the code itself and popped it in a jar in her office.
So she’s off…..
And thank you for helping her.
If you know anyone who would like to be part of Julie’s dream and have their names transcribed into braille you can do so by clicking on the SHOP button below.

As a coach, Julie believes that when you set crazy goals crazy things can happen
“If people don’t laugh at you when you share your dreams, then you’re not dreaming big enough!”
Tavis Smily!

What is it?

Its Julie’s personal development game she has created based on those two small words that took her from the couch after going blind in 1997 to visiting 50 countries by the time she was 50!

She begins the game by sharing her story of being asked to go cross country skiing to which she said no!, After realising that she wouldn’t make a very good blind person if she turned down opportunities that came her way, Julie then tells how she decided to turn her no into WHY NOT and gives 20 of the best questions she said WHY NOT to in her first 20 years as a blind person…..

“Do you want to speak to our club?”

“Do you want to walk a half marathon?”

“Do you want to go to Samoa?”
Each participant is given a hot pink envelope to open which contains their very own WHY NOT question. They then trade questions until each person ends up with a question they are willing to say WHY NOT to.
Julie starts the game by showing them how to meet and greet a blind person and finishes by asking them what’s one thing they will do to move towards what they’ve just said WHY NOT to.
The 90 minute game is played in a team with up to 20 players. The game can also be played one on one, it takes less time, on average 45 minutes.

The aim of the game is for people to be

· Motivated to get out of their comfort zone
· encouraged to be open minded
· supported to build collaborative teams
· Exposed to blindness, braile and diversity
· Helped to see the potential of blind people
· Inspired into action!

What do people who have played the game think?

“Thank you for introducing the team to the concept of WHY NOT – two very powerful words.”
Brayden Murray
Manager Student Success Team, Otago Polytechnic
“I loved your why not game. I’ve been talking about it all day to people.”
Karyn Chalk

Department of Corrections

And here’s someone who didn’t want to be identified but look at what he had to say –
“I wasn’t in any mood to engage with this game tonight but soooo glad I did! . Super engaging, thoroughly enjoyed it. Brilliant!
If you have any more questions about playing this game then please don’t hesitate to contact Julie on 021 913 513.

Inspirational Speaking

Julie Woods is an Inspirational speaker who has made thousands of people all around the world imagine, laugh and cry. Whether it’s climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower, walking a half marathon or refereeing nude touch rugby, Julie’s adventures will, as one participant put it, make you think “If Julie can, I can!”

Julie’s two small words that took her from the couch as a newly blind mother to living life as a daring adventure can be applied to any setting; life, work or business with amazing results! Julie’s infectious message spreads like wildfire – You will be left so open to new ideas it will be outrageous!


“I was very fortunate to hear you speak yesterday at our leaders workshop – there were tears and lots of laughter from me, to hear your amazing story in person was so inspirational. The Blind Foundation is very lucky to have you as our ambassador!”

Lyvie King

Braille producer at the Blind Foundation

“Julie, a brief note of appreciation for what was a fantastic function, made by your captivating talk. Everyone is buzzing this morning. You have left an impression. Thank you.”

Richard Whitney

CEO Mercy Hospital

“I am using the phrases “Why Not’ more often thanks to you. I have even passed them on to my daughters one of which is feeling very homesick whilst doing an internship at the Hilton in Malta. I have encouraged her to embrace the “why not’ approach to help her through.”

Christine Jones

Enjo NZ Ltd

“You moved so many of us to tears what an inspiration you are to all that meet you. I will forever be proud to say that you have crossed my life and made a difference to me”

Jill Oliver

Early Childhood Education Conference



Earlier this year Julie got the opportunity to co-facilitate the SEED leadership programme run through the Blind Foundation for its members. This is the third time Julie has been…..


Watch this short documentary explaining how I got involved in the Dunedin Fringe Festival. While at the same learning about my life on the way…..


17/02/14 – Join Paul Brennan on nights on Radio NZ at 7.10 pm on Tuesday the 18th February as he discusses Julies latest trip to India when she visited her 4th Wonder of the…..


In February 2014, the Blind Foundation held a Leadership programme in Dunedin for blind people. As part of the three day programme, dreams were dreamed and goals were set by both…..