There are many forms of P.T.S.D. and every person who is affected by it, has their own way of dealing with it. Some constructive, some destructive.

I, personally, went down the destructive path, after leaving the Marine Corps in 2006. I didn’t realize it then, but I was trying to not deal with reality. I had, and still do have, a hard time fitting in with civilians, as a veteran. The “transitioning” period never really comes to a stop. I was running from my problems. Faking it, that I had a “plan” in life, but really, just winging it, like I suspected others were also doing it. Nothing I did, after the military, ever felt fulfilling. I felt like I was just doing menial tasks in exchange for money. I looked for happiness in alcohol, hobbies, materialism, everything the city of Houston, Texas, has to offer. But I still felt unsatisfied.

Something about growing up in a big city, you get stuck in it, in the “repeat cycle” of “wake up, eat, work, eat, work, eat, do things, sleep, repeat, get 2 days off, repeat forever.” Especially growing up beside all the refineries and chemical plants in this area. Work and money are there. But work and money isn’t what helps someone with P.T.S.D.

We’re not saying we have the answers. We’re not saying this is going to work for you. But, as a “city slicker,” who only got to explore because of military deployments, I was not aware of the terrain that is contained within our United States of America. I just went to work, and went home. On the weekends, I’d go to some event. Sunday, get ready for Monday. 1 day off, really.

I saw a news story about an army veteran who’s P.T.S.D hit so hard, they left their wife. Not in marriage, like the man disappeared and didn’t tell anybody where he was going or where he was at. They thought he was missing. He called his wife, days later, saying he had to hike this trail, in the mountains, and spent months just hiking. And somehow, that helped him. I never got to that point, but what if I did? How did walking in nature, help this man?

The V.A. told me I screened positive for P.T.S.D.. So I tried to apply for benefits for it, because I am not aware what that means. The V.A. said “who said you had P.T.S.D.?” “You did” and let me talk to a psychiatrist once, and then a social worker for the next appointment. Both times, I just told my life story. Both times I opened up about things I didn’t want to open up about. Both times I cried like a baby. Both times, nothing was said to me. They just heard my story twice, and sent me home. I was asked “what do you want prescribed?” as if, I was the doctor, and I knew all the depression medication options. Since I didn’t respond with an answer, that was all that was done for me, at the V.A. This was the extent of help I got, along with the veteran suicide hotline numbers. …Just in case. Is this why that other veteran ran away from everything? Because even when he finally looked for help, no one helped him? He seemed okay, after his experience. So much so, that he was now helping others. Hmm.

So, seeing that, I decided that I was going to do it one day. But I didn’t really know much about where to go, what to do, what exactly is “hiking,” and the things I should bring with me. I learned the hard way, that you have to bring things with you, in advance, like bottled water of some sort, because there aren’t corner stores at every corner, like in the city, where you can just stop and get something to drink and be on your way. Or that there are wild bears at some national parks, and you should research areas instead of being surprised by a “caution bears” sign, 2 miles into a 5 mile hike.

Yellowstone National Park bear warning sign
This sign was found 2 miles into a 5 mile hike, in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

After putting myself in needless danger, numerous times, I decided someone needs to tell people random things. Like a debrief of some sort. Because that’s what I’m used to, that how the military operates. “Here’s the debrief, this is how it’s going to go down, what you need, what you may encounter, what to expect, what to do, any questions? no? alright, lets do this” type of information exchange. I’m not the type of person, who goes up to a stranger and just asks “hey, sir.. what do you know about travelling and hiking? I feel like travelling myself.”

And yes, there’s guided tours, resorts, planes, cruises, but I feel like you miss out on the actual freedom of travel, if you do anything other than a road trip. I have done a number of road trips, From Houston, Texas, to San Francisco and back. Portland, Oregon and back. Baltimore Maryland and back. And all over in between. All these road trips, I had my kids with me. Toddler and Elementary school-er. Not only did I understand the land more, it was SO MUCH CHEAPER than flying, taking a cruise, booking a resort stay.

King Feezy
Travel blog writer for Hike4PTSD username “kingfeezy” skiing in Breckenridge, CO

I don’t think people know how cheap travelling is, or the actual benefits one gets from leaving home, and literally, aimlessly exploring this land.

And this is what this site is… an accumulation of tips, not only from me, but from a variety of travelling bloggers. Each with their own preferred method of travel, destinations, and travel requirements. From hidden local free tourist areas to check out, to tips on what type of make up to wear for an outdoor photo shoot. From our team’s personal experience.

All in hopes that our unprofessional stories, tips, and perspectives inspire you enough to explore for yourself. It really is not as expensive to travel as people think it is. And we believe that hearing common people, explain their personal experiences, as opposed to a targeted ad for the location, might encourage you to follow in our footsteps.

I will say this, directly to the reader: “There is something you feel in nature. I don’t know if everybody has the same location, but there is a reaction, a feeling, a rush of emotions, from bewilderment, from awe, from shock, that something to beautiful could exist without the help of the human hand. I was awe struck at an overlook outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. Never had I seen so much land, physically in front of me, with my own 2 eyes before. On an airplane, your view is obstructed to the window you’re looking out of. But on that over pass, I was on top of a mountain, and saw a valley before me, at the other side, a mountain range, and I thought that was it. But that I thought were low clouds, above the mountain range, was actually a valley of land, that I could see for, what seemed, forever. It was just a perfect visibility day. It was cold and icy, but no clouds, no rain, no fog. I had never seen so much land, and variety of it, in front of me, ever. This was the first time. And this ‘feeling…’ …there were no words for it… but I know I liked it, and I want to experience it again. It was happiness. I don’t know how, but I felt innocence, happiness, and joy. All my problems went away for that very moment. And all I was doing was looking at the planet. You have to see it for yourself. You HAVE to.”

-HIKE4PTSD Founder