Invermere entrepreneur starting up therapeutic backpacking

An Invermere native is working to offer backpacking adventures as a method of therapy for people living with mental illness

David Thompson Secondary School graduate Logan Anderson

An entrepreneur who grew up in Invermere is working to offer backpacking adventures as a method of therapy for people living with mental illness.

“The main reason I wanted to start Halcyon (Backpacking Company) is that I’ve had my own success stories from travel and backpacking,” said Logan Anderson, whose father Greg Anderson was recently re-elected as a councillor for the District of Invermere. “For me, personally, it was the one thing that worked.”

Halcyon will cater to 18 to 35 year olds living with depression, as well as disorders involving moods, anxieties, attention deficit, personality, and eating. The tours are meant to help anybody with symptoms of these disorders, and formal diagnoses are not required in order to participate.

“Even though individuals can be living with mental illness and the symptoms, it doesn’t stop people from doing regular things,” Anderson said.  “It doesn’t stop individuals from doing the things they want to do or chasing their dreams, things that may play a big role on their well-being in the future.”

The company is currently soliciting financing through a crowdfunding campaign and private investment.

“We’ve only been live for a couple months, but the response from the public has been quite humbling.”

Anderson said Canadians represent about 60 per cent of the interest shown, while Americans make up 25 to 30 per cent and the remaining interest is from the international community.

Now based in Victoria, the David Thompson Secondary School graduate said the Halcyon Backpacking Company will begin with tours in Western Canada. As it grows, the service will cover more of Canada and, eventually, international tours.

“Halcyon means peaceful, tranquil, good memories from a good time,” Anderson said. “I felt like that really fit well with what we’re trying to provide to our clients.”

With a tour guide, an assistant and a mental health professional on each trip, Halcyon puts full effort into making the trips as carefree as possible.

“When it comes to any travel, but especially for people who are new to it, anything can be a stress,” Mr. Anderson said. “By having a tour guide mixed with the healing side, you don’t really have to focus on anything other than enjoying yourself and learning from your experiences. We will provide it all.”

Based on clients’ self-reporting, a non-intrusive method will be used to co-ordinate and manage the travellers, and ensure a good size and mix for each group.

But the project still has to overcome a major hurdle.

“It’s great to have these goals and ideas in mind, but you need to find the finances.”

To help Halcyon’s quest, visit their fundraiser on Indigogo at tinyurl.com/pxj6pn4. To find out more about the company, check out their website at halcyonbackpacking.com.