Seanna Fallon is an outdoors, adventure and travel blogger who feels most alive when discovering new things, immersing herself in nature or pushing herself out of her comfort zone for her next challenge. Whether hiking, kayaking or trying something entirely new, the outdoors helps her to be the best version of herself she can be. She also strives to empower other women to find adventure in her role as ambassador at Love Her Wild.
This is her prize-winning entry for the Wild Writing Competition:
Society taught me that if I ever got attacked it would be late at night, I’d be walking alone down a dodgy street, I’d be wearing something revealing and I’d be intoxicated. The first time it happened however, I was working in a coffee shop, wearing my frumpy apron, it was the middle of the morning and I’d only been drinking espresso, and I was attacked by a colleague when I was tidying the stock room.
It took me a long time to come to terms with what had happened. But do you know what my initial response was? Not to go to the police, or tell my manager, or seek support from a loved one. In my state of emotional turmoil, my gut reaction was to straight to the nearest outdoors shop and buy a camp stove.
I remember having no idea what I was going to do with this camp stove – I had never been on an adventure before, but the very act of buying it meant I had to do something. That evening I went home and furiously researched how I could get as far away from this life as possible (on a limited budget), and impulsively booked flights to Kiruna airport in Arctic Sweden with the aim of hiking a section of the Kungsleden.
A few weeks later I found myself making my way on to the trail in Nikkaluokta, wildly unprepared for over a week of solo hiking. I was out of my depth, but when I looked around, I knew I was where I needed to be.
Mountains, rivers and snow that was still unmelted in July, were my backdrop for recovery.
One thing that has stayed with me is the silence. While I tried to process the raging thoughts of the ordeal I had survived, that absolutely unfiltered silence helped my mind to quieten down.
My time in the remote and empty wilderness was better than any therapy I have had since.
I barely saw another soul, so I could live my emotions out loud. I cried like a child, I screamed, I laughed hysterically, I talked to myself, I sang Disney songs at the top of my lungs. I lead a simple existence, hiking 25km each day, setting up my tent by an icy stream where I would gather my water, cooking on my camp stove, writing my deepest thoughts in my journal and reading philosophical novels at night in the Arctic midnight sun.
Honestly, I can say that nature saved me.
Discovering the outdoors helped me to process something I should never have had to deal with. The trauma still affects me, and I’m constantly battling my mental health, but a decade on, I still choose nature as my medicine whenever times get tough.
Nature can’t make suffering go away, but it certainly helps me to cope. The outdoors has made me strong, confident, and ready to face my demons.
To mother nature I say ‘Thank you.’