If you’ve ever heard me talk about our experiences you’ll have heard me say this, a lot. But it’s true, they do.
A comment I regularly hear is, ‘you’ve made me think about our world in a totally different way’, or ‘I never realised that!’ Or when talking about ‘quantum mechanics’, yes we do! The comments are often quite staggering: ask me!
Like anything in life, it depends on what you bring with you, an open mind will bring its own rewards, but it’s wonderful to watch people get drawn in as we explore the countryside, the way it works and the way that we are connected to it. To discover the way it has affected those that come then you need look no further than to go and read the increasing number of what are the most amazing reviews. Our participants talk about freedom away from our busy world and our mobile phones, peace, wonder, time out, happiness.
But it works both ways, the benefits I get from taking people on countryside odysseys are pretty awesome too, both currently and for most of my life.
I love watching people get drawn in as we go through the experience, we’ve had all kinds join us and everybody with an open mind will find the experience profound, our most recent review described the experience as an ‘epiphany’. We’ve had the just plain curious who have become massive devotees. That’s wonderful. One even stated, ‘what happened next I can only liken to Avatar’. What a comparison! We’ve those come along who were scared out of their wits about just being out, in defiance of their anxiety. But found the reward massive. ‘I’ve found the first few hours of peace I can remember for a long time’ Speaks for itself.
It is so rewarding to help people find what they need.
But I get so much more than that.
I’ve written and blogged about my anxiety and massive benefit I get from spending healing time in our own fresh air many times, but the last few months have been profound for me too. It was taking a group on an experience that allowed me to realise what I’ve struggled with all my life was anxiety. I never had a name for it before, but so many of the incidents in my life made sense with that realisation. I mange my anxiety pretty well these days and know how to manage it. Generally, the first step, is out into the countryside.
As a result of that I am also now a qualified, Mental Health First Aider. It was a participant who suggested to me I should be, I never knew such a qualification existed before. I listen better to people who come on our experiences now and can put them in contact with those who can help them further if need be. That’s special.
When people realise how powerful the experiences are, they want to help spread the word and that is just awesome too. I am now on the Board of Directors for Educational Life CIC, The existing members came out and realised to potential of our experiences and are now helping to apply grants so that we can really help those who need us and can’t afford to come along themselves. That’s powerful and it came from a walk.
We have great contacts with Dover District Council, Social Enterprise Kent, Land owners, two have actually contacted me about setting up experiences on their farms which is amazing, check out the events at Frasers Egerton as an example. Can’t wait for our first experience from there. The lovely people at Kent AONB are also helping us to get the word out and we are currently in negotiations with a TV celebrity.
That’s all come from walks and the contacts that have been made.
That is all pretty special, but maybe that has come from the belief and drive that has come from the experiences themselves, and that has come from the wonderful people who have come on the walks themselves. Thank you to all of you.
That’s the payback from helping people all over the world find a little peace and happiness. That’s our strapline and that’s come from walks too.
When people come on our outdoor experiences, things happen!