Kevan has spinal muscular atrophy, and most days he gets around via wheelchair. When Kevan decided to travel across Europe, he didn’t want to miss out on the more rugged areas where his wheelchair wouldn’t go. So he and a few friends came up with a brilliant idea: Kevan’s friends would carry him on their backs.
Making it happen
The group raised funds for their trip and purchased a child carrier that they modified to fit Kevan. Then the adventures began. “On one of my favourite days,” shares Kevan, “a few of us went out walking through the fields and woods outside Westerham, in England.” And because Kevan was on the backs of his friends, he got to see some really spectacular scenes up close and personal – sights he’d only ever before seen in films or from a vehicle on the highway.
Of course Kevan’s adventures weren’t without a few challenges given his and his friends’ unique traveling style. “The gates at the subway were a bit thin, so we had to watch my knees,” shares Kevan. And when his friends would hop fences out in the countryside, Kevan says they “had to remember they were a bit top-heavy” given the added weight of Kevan on their backs. But all in all, Kevan and his mates met their challenges by being creative and working together.
Making a scene
At times, Kevan and his friends were no doubt the recipients of curious stares from other travelers. Kevan says that while they weren’t necessarily approached by others – as it was pretty obvious what he and his friends were doing – he could tell that people were impacted by his unique journey.
“I loved being on the subway and seeing someone on the other end of the car glancing at us and seeing a smile come across their face. We made their day without a word, maybe impacted their life more than we know.”
Because of his unique piggyback travel setup, Kevan was able to experience things like climbing to the top of an Irish monastery, and visiting an underground cemetery in Paris. He hopes his adventures encourage others living with disabilities to have more freedom in travel.
Are you a creative traveler like Kevan? Share some of your travel adventures with us, and you could be featured on AbleThrive!