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Man and dog making cross-Canada trek for mental health pause in Truro

Bret Mavriik and Nymeria took a short break during their cross-Canada walk when they arrived in Truro.
Bret Mavriik and Nymeria took a short break during their cross-Canada walk when they arrived in Truro.

TRURO, N.S. – Bret Mavriik believes mental health issues need to be addressed while people are young and he’s walking across Canada to try to get the point across.

Mavriik, 49, and his husky Nymeria, 4, arrived in Truro with the blizzard and, although they often sleep in an "ice hut," he decided it was time for sturdier shelter and booked a motel room.

“Nymeria is the face of the walk and she keeps me grounded,” he said. “She’s gained quite a following and she loves meeting people. Sometimes she wants to walk up to cars at intersections because she thinks they’ve stopped to meet her.”

The pair, who live north of Toronto, began their walk September 2015 at the CN Tower and headed to Whistler in British Columbia. Mavriik then decided they should walk across the rest of the country. During their travels, he has met many people and learned many things, both positive and negative.

“Whistler was a downer; it’s all about money,” he said. “There’s a lot of greed and materialism in the world.”

Mavriik, 49, and his husky Nymeria, 4, arrived in Truro with the blizzard and, although they often sleep in an "ice hut," he decided it was time for sturdier shelter and booked a motel room.

“Nymeria is the face of the walk and she keeps me grounded,” he said. “She’s gained quite a following and she loves meeting people. Sometimes she wants to walk up to cars at intersections because she thinks they’ve stopped to meet her.”

The pair, who live north of Toronto, began their walk September 2015 at the CN Tower and headed to Whistler in British Columbia. Mavriik then decided they should walk across the rest of the country. During their travels, he has met many people and learned many things, both positive and negative.

“Whistler was a downer; it’s all about money,” he said. “There’s a lot of greed and materialism in the world.”

Bret Mavriik and Nymeria.

Mavriik says he thinks people have viewed so much violence they’ve become desensitized to it and communication skills have deteriorated. He also sees flaws in education.

“So many things have to change. Everyone is supposed to have the same rights and opportunities but if you learn differently you’re shut out.

“Children aren’t being taught to learn, they’re being taught to remember.”

He notes there isn’t enough mental health care available to meet demand, and when you see a "happy" you don’t know what’s going on inside. He receives a lot of personal messages from people following him online because they, or their children, are struggling with mental health issues.

He said the only way he’ll get his views out the way he wants to is to write a book and he will be putting together one that tells both a personal story and describes what he saw during his journey. He is also planning a second, one on his views.

Mavriik, who is 49 and used to work in artistic landscaping, travels with 176 pounds of gear in a jogging stroller that has seen better days.

“It was a hard battle pushing it through snow and ice,” he said. “Mentally, this has been going on a long time and I’m getting tired.

“A lot of people I meet share stories with me and that puts a smile on my face. So does seeing Nymeria run around being a goofball.”

He leaves Truro for Halifax on Wednesday and his finishing spot is in St John’s, N.L.

Mavriik and Nymeria’s journey can be followed online at www.facebook.com/followourwalk or www.facebook.com/groups/followmywalk .

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