Hi. My name is Connor McCracken and I am a chemistry student, mental health advocate, and photographer based out of Vancouver, Canada. I got into photography in my first year of university when I was living in residence. At the time, I was dealing with depression and anxiety which was causing me to isolate myself in my single dorm room. I had a camera there and because I tended to be bored and alone, I eventually picked up my camera and started taking photos. I ended up taking portraits of friends I knew at school and my photos seemed to be well accepted. From then on, I used photography as a way to meet people and capture moments.
In November of 2014 my depression and anxiety were reaching their peak and were begging to be addressed. I made the difficult decision to withdraw from school and move home on the basis that I would enter into therapy and find help. With having school off the table temporarily I was able to enter into photography much more deeply. I begun taking photos everyday and it became a creative outlet and almost a therapy for me. In the nine months that I had off of school I shared my photos everyday and my talent grew (I look back nowadays and shudder at the photos I use to take. My learning curve was huge!). Entering back into school in September of 2015 I kept up with my photography while studying and used it as a de-stresser. I came up with the idea of Project Pilgrim in December of 2015 and launched into research and action immediately.
Nowadays depression and anxiety are not as big of an issue for me. Obviously there are still some bad days, but I am able to be in school and am much happier than I was.
Over the last few years, I have been very involved with mental health organizations and initiatives around Canada. I've been a Kelty Youth Ambassador and Mentor, attended the Jack.org Summit twice, been an executive on the Canadian Mental Health Organization Edmonton Region Student Group, and spoken at several events and panels including the CYMHSU Collaborative and Balancing Our Minds. As well, I have written a few articles that have appeared in the Edmonton Journal, Prostory, and I was featured on Global News for a short interview.
Lastly, not all that I am doing is theoretical. I actually cycled the Camino as part of a larger family vacation in the summer of 2013 so I do have some exposure as to what it is like and the lifestyle that is associated with it. As well, I have done my research. I have looked at countless websites, talked to many friends, and contacted numerous people who have done the Camino before.
If you're wanting to get in contact me with for any reason you can do so here or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.