In 2017 we completed the 2,189-mile Appalachian Trail and it ruined our life… In the best possible way. It showed us another way of living. A simpler life that was closer to nature that gave us more purpose than anything else we’d done and we started to appreciate how much walking helps our mental health. So, we want to walk for our minds and raise money for the charity Mind – who support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
The hardest thing was the best thing
We went to University. We worked 9 – 5. We rented a flat. We travelled the world. We started and closed a successful business. We got married. We were on track to buy a house. But… the thing that made the biggest impact was the hardest thing by far – walking the 2,189 miles of the Appalachian Trail. An awful, amazing, life-changing journey.
A change for the mind
After fighting a battle for balance we decided we needed to make a change for the sake of our mental and physical health.
Our upcoming adventures and our Walk for Good 2020 will raise money and awareness for the charity Mind; to promote getting out in nature to everyone but it’s also for our own mental health.
When we’re out in nature and walking, whether it’s a couple of miles or a weekend of hiking, it’s our form of therapy. It clears the dust, moves the body, refocuses the mind and forces us to surrender to a slower pace of life, even for just that moment.
For us, it gives us time to appreciate the small moments and to talk through life. We reminisce, get serious, imagine and make plans. And when you get to the end of the day, you’ve exercised and released stress from both the body and mind, and it’s right there, in that place of content exhaustion we find perspective – walking restores our balance and gives us purpose.
“I (Tom) chose the charity Mind because mental health is something that has affected me as well as the people closest to me, which may be a surprise to some. I’ve not talked about it a lot, but I, like many, have experienced times of depression and anxiety which can be truly debilitating, stripping you of your personality. You can’t see an escape and the negative thoughts lead you to a dark place full of questions, about life and your place in it. I truly believe that today’s culture only adds to this anxiety, with intense pressures to ‘succeed’ which inevitably means a life of stress.”
Mental health is as important as physical health and issues such as anxiety, depression and PTSD are very real illnesses, so we need to keep talking about it and supporting charities like Mind who help and support those in need.