Category Archives: Canada

Generating Hope: using travel to heal trauma

This is the first of many blogs I plan to write on the topic of travel and post-traumatic stress. They will all be posted under the “mental health” category on the left and tagged with “ptsd” if you wish to search for more in the future. 


AWARENESS. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT. MINDFULNESS. 

 3 ways I use travel to reclaim hope for my life and recovery from PTSD.

Awareness: Being grounded in your present reality. Fully encapsulated in the present moment: your environment, thoughts, and human experience. 

Being in a new place, a new culture, requires that I be fully engaged in my present moment. I wont find my way through a foreign airport or metro station if I am stuck in my past fears/experiences.  There is not a lot of room for flashbacks or dissociating in these situations. 

Traveling forces me to be present and aware. I use these moments to reinforce my ability to stay present in all moments. This reinforcement generates hope for myself, and my ability to function in day-to-day life.

Acknowledgement: Fully accepting who you are and where you are. Your strengths and limitations. Your progress and your struggles. 

There are many things I love about traveling. The biggest of those is how traveling always teaches me new things about myself. Travel pushes me to my limits. Physically (hiking, cliff jumping) and mentally. With every trip I learn more and more about who I am as a person: how I engage in my values, where my strengths are, where my limitations lie, and where I can still experience growth. It gives me the opportunity to step-back and re-evaluate my experiences.

This space to re-assess and learn comes only when I am able to acknowledge myself and my current existence. It allows me to generate hope for my future and the process I am on. It challenges all the negative/false beliefs that come with a PTSD diagnosis such as I have no future, I don’t deserve a future, I am weak. You know what I am talking about.

Mindfulness: the ability to focus on your current external and internal experiences. Its the ability to navigate thoughts and emotions in healthy way.

Mindfulness is similar to both awareness and acknowledgement in that it requires both awareness and acceptance. The difference is that mindfulness is more about the ability to focus inward, to focus on thoughts and emotions that are empowering.

One of the things about being a “good traveler” is learning to be in touch with your thoughts/emotions/intuitions and following those as much as possible. When are you somewhere new, you don’t know where the “safe” and “unsafe” places are- you have to rely on internal hunches. Traveling also creates space for empowerment and validation of self.

Travel allows me to 1) practice being mindful of my internal ques/emotions and 2) gain trust in those internal ques and emotions. 

This generates hope in my recovery because it develops a stronger, and more trusting relationship between my body and my emotions: a relationship that gets damaged with PTSD. 

 


*I plan to write a blog in the future on travel developing trust in self as a means to healing. Stay tuned.

**this blog is inspired in part by a post from the younique foundation

***photos are from Dawson City, Youkon. See more about this location here

Yukon Forests

Canada is home to the Boreal Forest. I could copy a bunch of information about the forest from its wikepedia page, or I could just post you the link.

So here you go —–> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boreal_forest_of_Canada

It is actually quite fascinating if you are wanting to learn more- only 14% of the population resides with the Boreal forest ring.

 

Canada is also home to the Sign Post Forest; literally an area of poles with signs. There was even some Iowa and Rayton, Mo signs for those of you local followers.

Yukon, Canada

On our drive to Alaska from The USA we spent a few a days going through the Yukon. I have a couple of blogs to highlight some amazing experiences we had along the way. The Yukon is absolutely beautiful.

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Enjoy these great photos and check out the other posts on Dawson City, and the Yukon Forests.

 

 

British Columbia, Canada

I cannot have a post on British Columbia and not include Vancouver- so below are a few pictures of the city. We only drove through so not much to say on what to do, or things to see.

vancouver

Like I said, we only drove through.

In other news while in British Columbia, I saw my first group of Parasailers, the worlds largest fly fishing pole, and Northern Lights in Dawson Creek. I also got my first henna tattoo.

 

We also took a dip in the Radium Hot Spring where we were greeted by some elk.

And last but not least, some pictures of the BC foliage

Alberta, Canada

Fall 2009:

On my return drive from a trip to Alaska we spent some time in Alberta. I just want to start off by saying Alberta is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in my life thus far.

Alberta is home to Jasper National Park. Within Jasper is the Athabasca Falls, a beautiful 300 ft waterfall resides.

Being the Campers that we were, we spent our evening in Alberta on Fox Lake. It was one of my favorite camp sites on our trip.

The blue waters in Canada are stunning and I recommend finding camp sites on the water- it is worth it.