Rollin’ With Zach is a travel show featuring Zach Anner, who has cerebral palsy and uses a motorized wheelchair to get around. Finally, a real life hero to people with disabilities, who shows that travel and exciting activities during travel are possible, when you’re in a wheelchair, when you’re solo and when you have limited use of your limbs.
Zach Anner won his own TV show by submitting a video through Oprah Winfrey’s Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star in June of 2010. Rollin’ With Zach is the outcome of this win. The premise is that Zach visits a new city and chooses his top five picks of activities or places to visit. Don’t expect Zach to sit back in his chair and watch people have fun while he travels. In the first two episodes, dancing, water skiing, surfing and taking a ride on an adventure park ride swing are all included.
Rollin’ With Zach is fast paced and funny, in big part due to Zach’s personality. He has a wonderful sense of humor and isn’t afraid to show when he’s afraid of trying something new, especially something out of his comfort zone, such as surfing. The five picks are given a short amount of time each, in this 30 minute show, but just enough to learn what is involved, how Zach reacts and a bit of information about each stop. And that’s my issue with the show, there’s not enough focus on the sights.
A travel show needs to be more in depth about the details of the places visited. Perhaps, links on a website are good enough for some, but then what’s the use of watching the TV show? I’d like to see more details about the places visited. Perhaps cutting the top five down to the top three would help out here. But, Zach’s personality shines through and I can’t get enough of that. The theory may be that people will tune in to watch him and the places he visits are more of a background. That can work, even for me, but a bit more details would be icing on the cake.
I also see the show treading a fine line by wanting the public to know that travel is accessible to persons with disabilities and not making that the focus of the show; however, there are some lingering questions. Is the swing ride at the Navy Pier in Chicago accessible to everyone? How did Zach travel from place to place? (He did provide information on the Los Angeles Metro rail system) What type of assistance is available to persons with disabilities at some of the sights he visited? Two organizations that enable people with disabilities to take part in activities, Life Rolls On and Adaptive Adventures, were featured. I hope more will be in the future.
All in all, Rollin’ With Zach is a fun TV show because of the star, not because of his disability or because of the places he travels. I think we’ll be seeing more of Zach Anner. Maybe he’ll put his knowledge about travel with disabilities into another form.
Connie Roberts is a professional blogger who makes it her mission to advocate for people with medical issues. Travel with a disability is not a struggle, but an opportunity to see the world and let others see that it’s possible and a lot of fun. Tweet with her @ConnieFoggles.