Living with chronic pain is beyond challenging. It can also be a barrier to getting outside, embracing nature and its benefits to wellbeing. I have a deteriorating genetic condition that is rapidly making me more immobile, but I don’t give up easily. I recently felt the need to combine the things that I love with achieving the things that are important with me: driving, nature and mountains. So with lots of ambition and very little planning, braces and crutches were packed and I flew into the unknowns of Canada and my own mobility.

For me this trip meant making memories and experiencing that which I might not again. What stayed with me most, was the drive to reach the top of Whistlers Mountain. A single chance/opportunity, a single day with clear skies, two crutches, braces for most joints and more pain that I could imagine.

What I found at the top of that mountain was silence. A silence that only my own being could sit with. A space away from wifi, mobile signal, the noise that we are often surrounded by. Sitting up there I cried, realising that this may not be something that I would experience again, but then I realised that nature surrounds us every day.

The mental health benefits of green spaces and ecotherapy are well proven, and you don’t need to literally climb a mountain to benefit.

The silence exists if we dare to embrace it. Dare to turn off the mobile and computer. Dare to unplug the phone and venture outside, to the coast, the park or into the garden. To allow the silence that gives us the space to be, to feel and to see that which exists beyond our world. In my case it was seeing that beyond my pain existed a rainbow.