One of our goals at Hike the World is to shine a light on the faces behind the hikes. We want to share real stories from real people. People who have had their own struggles, mentally and physically, and used the outdoors as a way to heal. It's possible to overcome problems, stress and grief by getting outside and hiking with a supportive community.
We are excited to introduce the latest ambassador to the Hike the World family, Rachel Cavanagh! She immediately felt drawn to our mission and we felt drawn to her dedication to volunteering and immersing herself in different cultures. She is from Australia but is currently in Costa Rica with Máximo Nivel, helping with a program that keeps kids off the streets while their parents are at work. For the next few months, she will be traveling all throughout North and South America. She also took on the Quarry Trail (a three-day hike in Peru) with no prior experience and instantly fell in love with the peace that hiking brought to her.
The thrill of adventure was what first drew me to hiking. I love being outdoors and in the sunshine, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and discovering new places. Back home, I only ever did very small hikes that weren’t too challenging. I was nervous about my ability but with a huge change in my life, I decided to book a trip to Peru and take on the three day Quarry Trail to Machu Picchu hike. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life and it was what really sparked my passion for hiking.
My new found love for hiking has brought so much happiness into my life. I have found that hiking has helped me overcome many of my mental struggles. The challenge of hiking and getting mentally prepared to push through to the end is very rewarding. It strengthened my endurance and encouraged me to practice self-motivation. Focusing on the present has always been a struggle and I feel like hiking keeps me grounded.
I feel at absolute peace when I complete a hike or get to a breathtaking viewpoint. It enables me to stop my mind from racing, even just for a second and step back and realize how beautiful our world is. There is nothing like disconnecting from society and getting in touch with nature. It is really quite humbling. Through traveling I’ve also seen how damaging we can be to our environment and so now I challenge myself to leave a trail cleaner than when I found it by collecting plastic on every hike.
I definitely started small and worked my way up. I also tried to train a bit before my big three-day hike but I know other people of all ages didn’t prepare at all and still made it to the end! I believe hiking is half physical fitness and half mental strength. The more practice you have the better you get. You always surprise yourself when you look back and see how far you’ve come, especially when you thought you couldn’t do it.
Eager for more of Rachel's adventures? She will be providing us with updates as she travels the next few months. You can also follow her on IG @rochelle_caviar. Interested in becoming an ambassador for Hike the World? Click here for more information.