Nature Saved Me

The trail is where the healing began and the water surrounding a dock is where I found the comfort in my choice to remain alcohol free. Growing up I was raised in the city but I am very much a country girl at heart. I was naturally an outdoorsy kid and could be found riding my bike from sun up to sun down and climbing trees. My grandparents had a farm in the middle of nowhere Saskatchewan, Canada where I swam in the creek, “hiked” in the bush, fished with my grandpa, helped with barn chores, and puttered in the garden with my grandma.

I lived two separate lives as a teenager. My rebellious soul kept my wild guardian angels on their toes and I was also a member of the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets. I truly believe that the cadet program kept me safe on many weekends when I would have been involved in destructive behavior. It was also during the time of my teenage years that I began to experience depression.

I am now over two years sober, my depression and anxiety are well-managed, and I am thriving with a work – life balance that allows me plenty of time to focus on self-care. I aim to change the way people stigmatize mental illness. I aim to inspire people to craft the life they want. Backpack Chronicles documents my journey on the trail as well as off of the trail as I make my way through the web of mental illness.

Nature has saved me. Nature has also challenged me to continue putting one foot in front of the other, day after day. Depression has a way of smothering me with a darkness and a heaviness. I give my mind what it needs when I go outside, whether it is pushing myself to hike 30 km or hiking 2 km to sit under a tree.

I have an abundance of bliss soaring through my veins when I return home from a hike. I am motivated to do more and what I do is done better. My day to day goals are clear and I ride the wave of good times. I still have bad days but the good ones far outweigh the bad.

I submitted an application along with a video to become a Hike Like a Woman Ambassador. My goal is to connect with other woman who enjoy hiking and camping who are also struggling with mental health issues. The video took me about 15 takes to finally just keep talking while I recorded. There has been no editing done. Pure, raw, and authentically me in my bare feet walking on soil in my front yard. Hike Like a Woman has asked that we add the video to our blog if we have one and to send them the link in addition to completing the questions on the application form.

Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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