Alexander Seling is an Iraq War Veteran, and now he’s a man who has hiked the entirety of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Seling set off on the 2,600-mile journey on March 28, raising awareness and funds aimed to help prevent veteran suicide. A 2016 VA study found 20 veterans die every day by suicide.
After seven months of travel, he made his way through Seattle where he talked about the motivation behind the mission.
“I thought that if I did something huge, like walking from Mexico to Canada, then that would get some eyes on this issue,” Seling said.
Seling was a combat medic, and he too dealt with depression after his experience overseas. His depression also played a role in his desire to do the hike.
“I was going through a really rough time in my life. Things got pretty dark. I was getting suicidal. And I just realized I needed to do something radically different to thrust my life into a totally new direction,” Seling said. “And just dive into something new that is beneficial not just for healing for myself, but for awareness for all the Veterans that are suffering.”
He has a message for all vets that are struggling.
“I just want them to know that their life can change dramatically, and if they feel like they are in a dark place that they can’t get out of, they can. They 100% can. And it requires commitment to healing,” Seling said. “It’s OK to talk about it.”
He also wants to share something with civilians that have vets in their life.
“I would really just want them to be as understanding and compassionate as possible for whatever behavior their loved one may be exhibiting,” Seling said. “Know that their struggles that they are facing you may not fully understand. And just accept that and maybe try to talk to them.”
Seling just arrived in Canada a few days ago. You can look back at his admirable adventure on social media by following @AlexanderSeling