When we first announced that we would be working towards making Wilderness Tribe a reality, One question that was asked multiple times was ‘what inspired you?’.

So I thought it made perfect sense for my first blog, to talk about what first ignited my passion for the woods and wellness.

Ok, so it was 2017, and my 4 year old son had just been diagnosed with Autism, other than the word ‘Autism’ and the photocopied leaflet that the consultant had given to us, we knew very little about what it was, or what was in store for us as a family.

Our son was almost completely non verbal and really struggled to make sence of the world around him.

His school which was a mainstream setting at the time did not allow him to partake in their ‘outdoor provision’ as they were concerned that he would ‘escape’ or accidentally injure himself or another child, so instead his outside time was spent in isolation in what can only be described as a pen.

I had always spent a lot of time in nature and outdoors and thought it was a great shame that he was missing out and decided to take matters into our own hands… and so it began.., Pigeon day…

Like all parent carers at the beginning of their journey my wife and I planned the 2 hour trip with military precision.

“PEC cards… check”, “chew block… check”, ” timer… Check” All present and and correct, by the left, Quick, March

We arrived at the local woodland, and after walking along the roadside with his reigns, we got safely into the heart of the woodland and took them off.

We walked for a while looking at plants, pinecones and other woodland treasures, but then we lost sight of him for a second. To our releaf we turned around to find him sat on a rock… hands still, and calm.

What happened next will stay in my heart forever, unprompted, and without intervention he started to have a conversation.
coo COOOOOOO coo, coo COOOOOO coo, he said… and waited patiently for a response. coo COOOOOOO coo, coo COOOOOO coocoo COOOOOO coo he would reply.

We were both stunned and a little bit choked up being witness to our son making friends with a wood pigeon in a nearby tree. He happily sat there mimicking the bird for what seemed like ages (it was probably about 5 mins in reality)

From that day on I knew that there was something very special about the woods and it’s ability to filter out the white noise of modern life, and connect with us at a deeper level.

From there I started a journey of learning and experimenting with approaches in the wilderness that help him to connect, some worked and some didn’t, this then lead me to looking at the wider benefits of the wilderness and undertaking formal training with wilderness therapy which I am looking forward to starting in September.

I hope this has given some insight into my personal journey and experiences.