FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne man with spinal muscular atrophy has dreamed of backbacking across Europe for two years. His friends carried him on their backs the whole journey to make sure his dream came true and they captured it all on film.
Kevan Chandler is the star of The View from Here, a documentary that features his 2016 backpack trip across Europe. A small group of travelling companions traveled across France, England and Ireland with Chandler, taking turns carrying him on their backs in a customized backpack.
Chandler said the adventure shook his perspective on life. While the 30-year-old writer is usually restrained to his wheelchair, he had new point-of-view in Europe.
“I was literally seeing the world from another perspective being higher up than normal,” he said. “The way it helped to shape my worldview and realizing that nothing was out of limits or out of boundaries with the help of other people around me.”
The wonders, drama and new understandings of life were all captured in the a documentary.
“I think a lot of it is about perspective and how you see the world and how you see those around you,” Chandler said. “Are you going to let your weaknesses dictate what you do and how you live and how you treat other people or are you going to really love people and live life to the fullest through that?”
The View from Here’s director, Luke Thompson, said he was personally impacted by their trip and hopes others will be too.
“I hope that people gathered that life is meant to be enjoyed regardless of your situation and that empowering other people to do that is such a fulfilling endeavor in itself for the person empowering and also for the person who is able to then experience those things they weren’t able to experience before,” he said. “Their lives are then touched and enhanced as well. There’s a duality to the experience.”
Chandler is currently writing the book version of The View from Here. He’s also launching a non-profit this year called We Carry Kevan, which will help people achieve their dreams.