Well, it was actually a wrap just over a week ago, but I needed a few days to retool and refocus for my next adventure, which is teaching and attending classes at Fanshawe College (because one or the other simply would not have been enough!), getting back into my work with Project Enlist Canada, and getting started on planning next year’s ride!
So, what just happened? Maybe I’ll let the numbers tell the story…
33,806 KM – That’s not a bad bit of riding for one season. Also included in that number is over 400 hours of riding time, 10 provinces, 2 territories (#NunavutNeedsRoads), 2 oceans (TUK2024!) 4 tires and 2 drivetrains!
619 Connections – The message that “you are not alone in your struggles with PTSD” was delivered to over 600 veterans, first responders, their families, veteran/FR stakeholders as well as Canadians from all backgrounds. Some notable connections were a few Base/Wing Commanders and Chiefs; members of Child Services; members of municipal and provincial government; and the Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada. Thank you to everyone who came out to the presentations, came out to ride, or just shared a few moments on the trailside!
108 Days – Essentially, this was a deployment, albeit a short one (although long enough for this retiree!). Most of the time that wasn’t spent riding was spent making myself available to speak to anyone who wanted to talk about PTSD or filming The Messenger • Documentary. Like a deployment there was also a 96er thrown in there! A huge thank you to Patrice Beriault for arranging to have Mimi fly up to Whitehorse so we could spend a few days together exploring!
26 Speaking Engagements (or should I say, 26 Hosts) – Royal Canadian Legion branches, Military Family Resource Centres and CannaConnect Wellness Lounges all across the country as well as Le Sentier – The Trail (Montreal, QC) and The Military Museums (Calgary, AB) all answered the call and made the tour the success it was! Thank you!
11+ Amazing Sponsors/Supporters/Partner Organizations – None of this would have been possible without the support of the incredible folks at Bombshell Stella’s, CannaConnect, Aurora Cannabis, Spectrum Therapeutics Canada, Fox Harley-Davidson, Dualsport Plus, Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada, Project Enlist Canada, BSO Legion OSI, Fanshawe College, The Royal Canadian Regiment Association, plus all of the other people who pitched in behind the scenes. Thank you for believing in me and in this project!
2 Storytellers – Patrice Beriault and Gauthier Mignot. What can I say about these two? To start, I want to acknowledge that this project (The Messenger • Documentary) came at great personal expense to them, financially and in terms of time and energy. Despite this, they are both committed to the project and delivering their message to the world, and I cannot say enough about what that means to me. That dedication is what opens the doors between us, that is why you are able to connect with people who have chosen to serve their country and communities; we see it and we respond to it. They saw me at my best and at my worst during our time on the road together. The relationship wasn’t always an easy one (just as the process of filmmaking is not by any stretch of the imagination easy), but I cannot think of two people better suited to the work than you! Thank you for being a part of that journey, thank you for your dedication and selflessness, and thank you for taking it upon yourselves to tackle a project that I know will have a huge positive impact for people everywhere. I know our journey isn’t over, there will still be lots to do over the editing phase, but for now I will simply say it was an honour and a pleasure to have come this far with you, and I look forward to seeing the finished product.
1 Incredible Woman – Last, but certainly not least, I have to say thank you to Mimi Nyanin. She put up with the long hours I spent in front of my computer or on the phone planning this ride; the mornings, afternoons and evenings spent getting my bike and equipment sorted out; she kept our home running while I was away for 3.5 months touring Canada; she was understanding that I would not be available to talk all the time and that I often struggle with staying connected while I am away; she made the long trip to and from the Yukon just to spend a few days with me; most of all, she has supported and encouraged me every step of the way despite her desire to have me at home with her. I could never express how much it means to have you in my corner, so I’ll simply say that I love you and it is so good to be home!
Things are already in the works for 2023 and 2024, so please stay tuned!
Thank you all,