The Backpacker's Guide to Earth
We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
Hello there my anonymous friend.
First off, slow down and relax. This isn’t going to be the only chance you have at travelling for the rest of your life. It may feel like it is going to be impossible once you start University and that when you are done you will be immediately pushed into full-on boring adulthood. But this isn’t the case at all.
If travelling is something you are really passionate about, there is always a way to fit it into your life. While in school you may just have to go on a few shorter, smaller trips to places nearby. And once you are out of school, you can work, save up money, and go on the trips you have been waiting all your life for. Even if you are lucky enough to get your dream job right out of school and don’t want to leave it to travel, you will have vacation time and other off time to make room for travelling.
The point is, it is never too late to start travelling, and you certainly don’t have to do it all before starting university.
As far as tips and advice for a new traveller, a while back I wrote a series of posts called ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Backpacking.’ It is a collection of posts about how to get started, where to go, how to save up money, and how to make travel a regular part of your life. Click here to read Part 1: How To Get Started.
I hope that was able to be some help to you, and good luck!
Our tours find the perfect balance of adventure, excitement, and well-being. Each tour lists the activity level and number of therapy sessions, so you will know which tour is best for you.
Well-being: Our tours have been carefully designed in collaboration with our mental health professionals, so the therapy sessions are seamlessly joined to the tours. They are fairly informal and nothing to be intimidated about, but they are a vital part of our service. Most of the therapy sessions will be done in group settings, though we also allocate some individual time with the counsellors. Sometimes the counsellors will have stuff planned on top of mountains, while eating lunch beside a lake, or around the campfire at night. It will be a safe and friendly environment for you to talk about your struggles with people who know what you are going through.
Adventure: We don’t just want you to improve your mental health while on our tours, we also want you to have an amazing time that you will never forget. That is why we fill our trips with tons of great and exciting things to do. Kayak in the Pacific Ocean, bike along the Columbia River, take a gondola to the top of the Rocky Mountains, walk on a glacier in Iceland, see Seattle from the top of the Space Needle. Don’t worry, we mix in some relaxation time too, but you might need it. From the moment our tours depart, we will keep you busy.
Nature: We believe that nature has natural therapeutic effects on all of us, that is why so much of our tours are designed with nature in mind. We get outdoors: walk through forests, explore canyons, hike mountains, and swim in lakes. Each tour has a recommended gear list, but good hiking shoes and some active clothing will always be encouraged.
When you go on a Halcyon tour, there are no extra expenses or hidden fees. When you agree to go on one of our tours, you know exactly what you are getting. Unlike some of our competitors, we don’t want you paying extra for things you thought were included. We tell you exactly what you are getting.
Meals: Each tour lists exactly how many meals are included in that tour so you won’t have to budget extra for food. When we are in camp, or out in the wilderness exploring somewhere, we will provide your meals. The only meals not provided are when you have free time in a city. Then you can choose from anything you feel like in that moment.
Attractions: If we list an attraction in the tour description, then that attraction is included in the tour price. We won’t take you there then make you pay extra just to enjoy it. If we are taking you there, it is on us. Each tour description will list every attraction included. The only attractions not included are when we have free time, then you can choose to do whatever you wish; though our tour guides will probably give you a bunch of awesome recommendations and the bus will drop people off wherever they want to go.
Accommodations and Transportation: All of your accommodations and transportation is fully included in the tour price. We list how many nights will be spent in a hotel or hostel, and how many will be spent in camp.
A good breakdown of what a Halcyon tour consists of.
When I am at home in my daily life, I am a recluse too. I don’t go out much and I enjoy my quiet time. But I have found that travel really breaks me out of that shell and forces me to be more outgoing and confident.
If you have never done much travelling before and are worried about how you may react to all the changes, just start off small. Go on a little road trip somewhere and test yourself. See how you react and build a little confidence. If you enjoyed the challenge and responded positively to it, try going somewhere a little further and more difficult. Push yourself little by little and see if it helps or harms your social anxiety.
It is normal to be scared before a trip. I still get nervous before I leave, even somewhere close. But I have the confidence that once I get there, I will become who I need to survive and thrive. Good luck!
A few days ago, I revealed Halcyon Backpacking Company, a new outdoor-adventure travel company for 18-35 year olds living with mental health issues. Today, I would like to share an example tour itinerary with you, showing you what a potential Halcyon tour could look like for participants. More info on this tour and other examples can be found here.
Day 1 - Arrival in Calgary
Participants will arrive in Calgary and check in with the tour staff at our hotel base camp. Any gear needing to be rented, will be sorted out as clients check-in. Participants will gather for a meet-and-greet dinner, where they will meet their fellow travellers and get to know the tour staff. After dinner there will be an optional guided tour through Calgary.
Day 2 - Calgary to Banff
After a quick breakfast at the hotel base camp, we will pack up and start making our way West towards Banff and the Rocky Mountains. After lunch in Canmore, we will meet up with a local tour company to take a scenic bike ride up the mountainous slopes. We will then head down the road and check into the campground in Banff. Once getting the tents up, we will jump on the Banff Gondola for a dinner atop Sulphur Mountain. It will then be back to the campsite for an introductory therapy session with the counsellors.
Day 3 - Banff
As we cook breakfast during our first morning in the mountains, a park ranger with Canada Parks will share their knowledge and expertise with the group. After cleaning up, it is off to our first hike of the trip, a moderately difficult trek up to the Castle Mountain lookout. Our counsellors will lead a brief group session over lunch at the top of the mountain over lunch. Once returning back to Banff, we will make dinner and the remainder of the evening is free time for participants to do what they wish.
Day 4 - Banff to Jasper
We will rise early for our departure from Banff as we will have a long day ahead of us. Breakfast will be in Lake Louise, after which we will go on a walking tour of the mountain town. Then it is back on the bus for the afternoon until we arrive for a short hike to Pyramid Lake to stretch the legs, before checking in to our campground and pitching camp. After our dinner around the campfire, we will have a relaxing evening soaking in the natural Miette Hot Springs under the stars.
Day 5 & 6 - Jasper
This is the first day of our individual sessions with the counsellors, so after breakfast the group will get split into two smaller groups. One half of the group will go on a day hike to Mt. Edith Cavell with the tour guides, while the other half will stay behind in camp to have their solo sessions with the counsellors and to explore Jasper. On the second day, the two groups will switch. Those who went hiking the first day will remain in camp, while those who did the individual sessions with the counsellors will go off on their hike.
Day 7 - Jasper to Kamloops
Our longest travel day of the trip won’t be without breathtaking sights as we head through the Rocky Mountains and into the British Columbia interior. We will have several lovely stops along the way to stretch our legs before nestling into the campground outside Kamloops for the evening. Our counsellors will run a group session in camp to summarize the individual sessions from the previous days.
Day 8 - Kamloops to Kelowna
Today is our relax day from the long bus ride and hikes the days before. In the morning there will be an optional city tour for those interested, but otherwise the day is yours to do what you wish. Sleep, eat, shop, whatever you need. We will also be spending the night in a hotel instead of in tents, so you can catch up on some sleep.
Day 9 - Kelowna to Hope
Back on the road as we head closer to the Pacific Ocean. We will traverse the Coquihalla Pass and experience one of the prettiest section of highway in the world, before arriving in Hope, British Columbia. We will pitch camp in the early afternoon and go off to explore Kawkawa Lake and Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. There will be some hiking, so have your boots on. We will unwind after dinner in Harrison Hot Springs, and head back to camp for an evening session with the counsellors.
Day 10 - Hope to Vancouver
Into the big city! We will arrive in Vancouver in the early afternoon, perfect timing for lunch in Stanley Park and a walk along the Sea Wall. The tour guides will have some recommendations for activities in Vancouver, before heading downtown for a nice dinner. We will spend the night camping along the Pacific Ocean, with the sound of waves crashing outside the tents.
Day 11 - Vancouver to Victoria
In the morning we will get on the ferry to Vancouver Island and Victoria. After a lunch in Victoria, we will head north to explore the island and find our campground. We will explore Pacific Rim National Park by day, and by night we will hike into our secluded campsite with a nature lesson by a BC Parks ranger and another group session with the counsellors.
Day 12 - Victoria
After breakfast in camp, participants will have a wide range of activity choices. There is sea kayaking, zip-lining, hiking, surfing, whale watching, and many more. The bus will have a drop off and pick up time for whatever option you choose. Once everyone is back in camp, we will head out for our farewell dinner. The counsellors will lead their final group session, wrapping things up and leaving you ready to face the world when you get home.
Day 13 - Victoria to Vancouver
Departure day. After packing up camp, we will head back to Victoria where participants have two choices for drop off. The first stop will be at the Victoria International Airport for those flying out of Victoria. Those flying out of Vancouver International Airport can remain on the bus as we take the ferry back across to the mainland.
**This tour is just an example to show potential trip layout and planned service offerings. There will be a much greater variety of tour locations and options once tours actually become available, with tours making stops in as many desirable locations across North America as possible. Final tour details are subject to change.**
I am extremely proud and excited to reveal Halcyon Backpacking Company, an outdoor-adventure travel company for young adults who live with various mental health related issues.
The development of this company has been a long time in the making, with today marking the official public launch of operations. In the coming months and years we will be working tirelessly to bring participants an important and valuable life experience. There are a lot of people who dream of travel, but travelling can be an extremely intimidating idea, especially for someone suffering from a mental illness. We want to make travel more accessible and allow everyone to chase their travel dreams.
What Is Halcyon Backpacking Company?
We are a guided tour company who provides outdoor-adventure themed tours around the world for people between the ages of 18 and 35 who suffer from mental illness and mental health related issues.
How Do Tours Work?
Each tour is led by a certified tour guide, who will lead participants through unique and exciting tours that have a bit of everything: sight-seeing through world famous cities, outdoor exploration in breathtaking locations, and memorable, once in a lifetime adventures. Each tour guide is also accompanied by a mental health professional who will hold counselling sessions throughout the tour and strive to improve participant’s overall well-being.
Who Can Participate In A Tour?
Anyone. You don’t need a formal medical diagnosis in order to go on one of our tours. Everyone suffers differently and we all deal with our struggles in our own ways. We want our tours to be available to as many people as possible, so we don’t require you to get a doctors referral or prove your condition. We want to help you, so all we ask is that you are willing to participate in the counselling sessions offered on tour.
When Do Tours Start?
We are aiming to have the first tours depart in 2015. We currently have example tour itineraries on the website which provide an idea of what tours will be like. You can also join our mailing list to be notified as soon as tours become available.
How Can I Support Halcyon Backpacking Company?
There are a number of ways you can help us develop and spread our business message to those who could benefit from our service.
I am so happy and excited to be sharing this news with you. This is something I have been working hard on for a long time, and I am so glad I finally get to share it. Please do not hesitate to stop by and ask me any questions you may have about Halcyon Backpacking Company, or anything else. This community of people here on Tumblr has helped me grow and evolve over the years, providing me nothing but kindness and support. With your help, I hope we can make Halcyon Backpacking Company an extremely successful business that helps people realize their dreams and improve their well-being.