Q&A: Jonathan Walker
Jonathan Walker, from San Diego, California, served in the US Army. Last year he rafted down the Grand Canyon with a group of veterans, we asked him some questions about his experience and this is what he had to say.
Q: During the experience, what was the greatest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it?
Over the years, I’ve been challenged with slowing down and being mindful of what is happening in the moment. During my time in the wilderness, I gained new insight, perspective and control in this area. Instead of worrying about the following month, week or even the next hour, I cultivated a more profound respect for what is in front of me at any moment in time—even in those intricate details that we sometimes take for granted, such as listening to the sound of leaves rustling in the breeze or feeling river rocks beneath our toes. I now realize that everything, no matter how trivial it may have seemed in the past, was not trivial but amazing in its own way. Everything has its purpose in our world. Overcoming this challenge, like many others we face, started with that very first step onto the trail.
I know that I have a past. I know that I have a future. What’s important to me is knowing that where I am in a specific moment and what I experience in that moment is helping shape who I am as a husband, father and human being.
Q: Has life changed since your experience?
Since my experience with No Barriers, I have a deeper appreciation for the world around me and for people in general. When I experienced the dedication and respect toward veterans from people I had never met, it gave me a newfound sense of hope for mankind. Nowadays, we see so much negativity in the world and it can be difficult to realize the good that is happening all around us. Reaching out to help our fellow human race, to me, is the greatest respect one person can give to another.
Q: Have your relationships improved with your family, friends and spouse? Do people see a change in you since you returned? If so, please tell us about it.
“Don’t sweat the small stuff” — this is something I keep telling myself. Also, I try to appreciate the good in friends, family and strangers alike. I tell myself to share what I learned while roaming the beautiful wilderness, so it spreads like wildfire to each and every person I meet, and consequently, the people that they meet and so on, until we see a shift in consciousness and overall demeanor in everyone. Those in my personal “tribe” seem to realize the impact that the expedition has had on me and those around me.
Q: What does the “No Barriers Life” mean to you? Can you tell us more about how you believe this experience helped you to live a No Barriers Life?
To me, the “No Barriers Life” means many things. First and foremost, it means that what we might perceive as a roadblock in life is merely making us stronger. I met a lot of amazing people on the expedition who all have their own stories. In each of those stories are lessons they’ve learned and those lessons have taught them to persevere through whatever life has thrown in their paths. Being able to come together and mentor each other through the challenges we’ve faced, made us all stronger.
Q: Looking back, what means the most to you from your time on your No Barriers Warriors Expedition?
What means the most to me is the amazing effort put forth by all involved. The No Barriers team has created a program that inspires veterans to move beyond physical challenges and mental perceptions to realize what they’re truly capable of achieving. No Barriers brings together people from all walks of life, and with absolute devotion, promotes a healthier lifestyle.