After leaving her entire life behind to escape an abusive relationship, Jillian found herself living in a tent in the woods.
Confused, depressed and feeling a lack of control over emotions and herself, she learned of her diagnosis of PTSD.
Refusing medication, she shifted PTSD to fuel her drive to connecting back to fitness, health, nature, adventure and herself.
She is now particularly known for her niche of integrating her imagery and story telling in powerful presentations, offering healing and connection for others.
She has also reframed her definition of PTSD to - Perseverance - Trust - Strength - Determination
In the past few years Jillian has pushed herself to achieve a world first: Paddling a tandem sea kayak down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon and becoming the first Canadian to paddle across America; a journey of over 6,500km completed in 150 days. This involved going through 16 states with 23 portages (carrying the kayak), including 675kms over the Great Divide, which she did on a broken foot.
“Nothing is placed in front of us, that we don’t have the strength to overcome. It’s just believing in ourselves enough.”
* Content Warning - Abusive relationships are discussed as well as PTSD - we don’t go into specific but it is mentioned and talked about.
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Who is Jillian What does she do Growing up and spending half of her life in Winnipeg How did her love for the outdoors and nature start Growing up in an island with her entire family Discovering and finding their own hobbies and activities in the woods Wanting to be a naturalist and being creative as a kid Taking photos and having camera in hand since 10 years old Making plans of going to specific school or university to study photography Struggling in university studying fine arts Getting into Prairieview School of Photography Feeling stuck again after finishing the program Returning to the island in northwestern Ontario to reconnect with nature Falling inlove with the mountains and oceans Packing up and driving to the west coast with her dog Landing a photography job Becoming a live-in nanny Getting fitness while doing photography Having a musher partner and friends Starting their own team and a dog sledding company Having an abusive relationship and leaving everything behind Living in a tent in the woods with her dog for seven months Living in the best home she could ever have that moment Dealing with trauma Becoming concerned about her negative thoughts Meeting a counselor and being diagnosed with PTSD Believing a counselor is not for her Discovering her own healing tool out in nature Having a supportive family Doing a solo roadtrip across Canada Wanting to reconnect with her passions and family Not opening up about her abusive relationship to her family Writing an article published in the Canadian Women's Foundation Talking about her solo travel experience Having others inspired by her article and her story Shifting her mindset around PTSD "I've been able to basically utilise that kind of diagnosis and what we affiliate as a negative to be my fuel to accomplish goals and allow me to accept saying yes to things, new experiences, and push myself. I believe wholeheartedly that nothing is placed in front of us that we don't have the strength to overcome." Perseverance, Trust, Strength, and Determination Being a CEO and lead guide of a camp Being able to share all of her knowledge to help others get through life's challenges Becoming the first Canadian to paddle across America How she started the journey with Jaime Sharp @jaimesharp_adventures Her journey on paddling a tandem sea