Welcome to the Wild Way: conversations on the wild way to heal your soul.

I wanted to give you a little background on why this project is important to me. No one who knows me would ever claim that I am a natural outdoors-woman despite growing up and now living again on rural Dartmoor in the South West of England. However, a transformative event several years ago changed my relationship with nature profoundly.

In 2013 my car was hit head-on by an out of control car on a rural moorland road just over a mile from my house, I was left with serious orthopaedic injuries, a brain injury and a diagnois of PTSD. 

It took me nearly three years to walk unaided and during this time I had very little independence and almost no exposure to nature. The moors were inaccessible in a wheelchair and when I was walking with sticks, the risk of a fall was too great on the uneven ground.

The PTSD felt equally limiting. Intrusive thoughts, hyper vigilance and anxiety affected my daily life. Despite a course of EMDR therapy removing the immediacy of the trauma, still the anxiety and fear lingered.

By 2017 my physical health was improving, I was driving again, walking unaided albeit with some difficulties, but I was finding it hard to stay motivated and get myself back to any kind of real independence. So, I did what any sensible person would do. I got a dog. 

Day after day, I started walking on the moors. In all weathers and in all moods and what I found was that the simple act of walking was the closest that I have ever come to meditation. It really helped. 

I don’t walk as an endurance sport, I am not conquering mountains. I just walk my dog,  but I have become more connected to the landscape near my house in these last few years than I have ever been before. Walking helps calm that fluttery feeling I get in my stomach when my flight response of PTSD kicks in. Now when I feel jittery and anxious, I go outside and I walk, and it has helped me immeasurably.

Finding solace in nature is nothing new and it is definitely not unique to me, but I want to have conversations with people who have used nature to heal some part of themselves; physically, emotionally or spiritually to figure out how it works. I want to talk to people who use the natural world to help others with their mental and physical health, to hear how they feel their practise works. I want to talk to people who have discovered like me, that being outside is the thing that makes them feel better; whether it has helped manage their depression, or grief or quelled their anxiety. If indeed it has had a physical benefit beyond that which you would expect of exercise. 

I think it is a fascinating subject and I hope you are as interested in these stories as I am.