Walking Toward Peace shares the intimate stories of veterans who, post-deployment, have wrestled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Through a process called “ecotherapy,” spending time in nature to promote healing and mental health, they have found new tools to deal with issues that have resulted from combat experiences: survivor’s guilt, nightmares, lack of trust, depression, hypervigilance, thoughts of suicide, and lack of purpose. Some veterans profiled here have gone to extremes, spending months on long-distance expeditions, like hiking the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail or canoeing the 2,320-mile Mississippi River. For many others, however, brief excursions in the outdoors offer an opportunity for healing. Author Cindy Ross examines current research and perspectives of professional therapists and provides information on organizations devoted to healing veterans in the outdoors. Each featured veteran is depicted in an illustrated portrait.
Veterans share their stories, frequently as they sit by a campfire, describing wartime traumas and their present lives. Through their collective voices what becomes clear is that anyone suffering from any form of PTSD may discover the powerful comfort and healing that can be found in the outdoors.