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Project Pilgrim is my effort to work towards normalizing mental health.
Project Pilgrim is my effort to work towards normalizing mental health.
Project Pilgrim is my effort to work towards normalizing mental health.
138 backers pledged CA$ 11,215 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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CA$ 11,215

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Update: Strrreeetch Goal!

The $4000 Kickstarter goal has been met in only three days! I've decided to create a stretch goal of $10,000 which will allow for full paper upgrades, more pages in the book, and an open gallery night this summer in Vancouver, BC. Keep sharing this Kickstarter to help reach this stretch goal!

Project Pilgrim is my effort to work towards normalizing mental health.

This spring, I intend to walk the 1000km Camino de Santiago and along the way interview and photograph people I meet and engage them in a discussion around mental health. The outcome of my trip will be a website and printed book capturing the comments, insights, and portrait photographs of those that I meet. I hope that this collection of ideas can further the conversation that needs to continue around mental health. The book will be pre-sold through this Kickstarter campaign which will run over the course of March in order to offset the costs of this project. Donations will also be gratefully accepted through this Kickstarter campaign.

A Summary:

The Camino de Santiago, a famous pilgrimage route, hosts ~250,000 pilgrims a year as they walk from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. There have been multiple movies, multimedia websites, blogs, and several books done about the Camino which have all been very successful. I’ve decided to do something of my own.

This May, I will be walking this pilgrimage alone in order to work towards breaking down the stigma around mental health. On the Camino, people are walking (sometimes alone) for a month or more. They become very self reflective. I plan to tap into this introspection and inquire as to people’s thoughts regarding mental health. I believe that because the people I meet will be especially aware of themselves, they will have some very interesting things to say. My hope is that by collecting many people’s opinions and sharing them with you, we will all come to a better understanding of what mental health is and how to overcome issues we may face.

A picture is worth a thousand words, but a picture with an emotional connection to it is worth many times more. My goal is that by taking people’s photos and asking them about mental health, I can start a conversation that can work towards breaking down the stigma around mental health. Talking about mental health normalizes mental health and my hope is that Project Pilgrim can be one of the many stepping stones needed in order to make mental health an everyday conversation.

So...What Is It?

Project Pilgrim first and foremost is a collection of people’s responses and opinions towards mental health. Over December, 2015 and January, 2016 I took 120 of my friend’s photos which I have paired with their thoughts towards mental health. I will be posting these daily until the end of April (below are some select examples). In May, I will be heading to France and Spain to walk the famous 1000km Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. As I walk, I will take photos of the people I meet and combine their portraits with their thoughts and responses towards mental health. I will post these photos on the Facebook Page, Instagram, as well as on the website. The end result will be a consolidation of these photos and their captions in a website and printed photo book. This book will be pre-sold at a discount through this Kickstarter over the month of March. Several Canadian organizations are partnering and supporting this project in various ways. More information will be available soon as to who is involved.

Another aspect of this project includes the reason why I ended up dropping out of school last year. I was suffering from social anxiety which led to depression. My social anxiety was highly specific to the particular situation of meeting new people for the first time. After seeking help and going through therapy, I was able to overcome this challenge and I am now ready to use my circumstances as a testament to the benefit of getting help. On the Camino I will be walking alone and will be meeting new people multiple times a day. I will use this opportunity of meeting new people to ask them about their thoughts concerning mental health and take their photo. I hope that by me demonstrating how I am “facing my fears” I will encourage others who were struggling like I was to reach out and get the help that is available.

Test photos for Project Pilgrim. This selection was photos were all taken in Vancouver, BC in December, 2015. Click here to see more test photos.
Test photos for Project Pilgrim. This selection was photos were all taken in Vancouver, BC in December, 2015. Click here to see more test photos.

 What is the Camino?

The Camino de Santiago, specifically the Way of St. James, is a 1000km long ancient pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. For thousands of years, Christian pilgrims from across the world have made their way along this route to the city of Santiago de Compostela where the remains of apostle St. James are reported to be buried. Nowadays, people walk this route for many reasons. In fact, over the last few years only 40% of the people who have completed the Camino did it for religious reasons. 55% did it for "cultural and other" reasons and 5% did it for non-religious reasons.

The French Way of the Camino de Santiago. I will be hiking the Spain portion beginning in St. Jean Pied De Port and ending in Santiago de Compostela. I will then continue on to Finisterre on the coast of Spain.
The French Way of the Camino de Santiago. I will be hiking the Spain portion beginning in St. Jean Pied De Port and ending in Santiago de Compostela. I will then continue on to Finisterre on the coast of Spain.

The Camino is set up in such a way to accommodate for the ~250,000 people who walk it every year. There are auberges (pilgrim hostels) in most towns along the route allowing for pilgrims to walk anywhere from 10 to 40km a day. These auberges offer a dormitory style bed usually with a hot shower for ~€10 a night. Food can either be bought or carried (some auberges offer a shared small kitchen) but most people opt to eat in local restaurants for meals. For meals and accommodation I have budgeted €25/day for my 35 day journey.

The Idea:

My idea for Project Pilgrim came by combining three of my passions: Photography, Mental Health, and The Outdoors.

Photography: Photography is one of my greatest passions. Project Pilgrim will consist of portraits of the people I meet along the Camino de Santiago. These photos will be shared on this site, the Facebook Page, as well as Instagram. Afterwards, these photos and the subject’s mental health response will be turned into a book.

Mental Health: Mental health is something I hold very close to me. In November of 2014, I was forced to withdraw from school in order to address my own mental health issues. Now I want to give back. My hope is that Project Pilgrim will start a conversation around mental health. As I walk the Camino, I will talk to the people I meet about their thoughts and opinions towards mental health. Their responses will be included with their photo as I post along the way. To read more about me and my mental health journey click here.

The Outdoors: The outdoors is where I find my therapy. In my down time, you can almost always find me climbing, hiking, kayaking, or trying something new outside. The Camino consists of walking 1000km across Northern Spain - it’s perfect for me. To read more about the Camino click here.

The name Project Pilgrim comes from the Camino de Santiago. The Camino is a historic pilgrimage route starting in France and ending in Santiago de Compostela in Northwest Spain. Historically, pilgrims have walked this route from all over the world as a spiritual journey to see the reported remains of the apostle St. James. More recently, this pilgrimage has been done mostly for cultural rather than religious reasons. To read more about the Camino click here.

Okay...So Why The Kickstarter?

Book printing companies require a minimum bulk order to print at discounted rates. I will be pre-selling the book through this Kickstarter in order to ensure I meet that minimum order as well as cover the money I have already put into this project (design, website, etc). The $4000 minimum goal will cover all of those costs (there is a cost breakdown below).

Trip Cost Breakdown:

I have done my research for the Camino and found it appropriate to budget $20/day for food and $15/day for hostels over the 35 days I will be walking. The Kickstarter goal only covers the Design Costs for this trip. The other costs will be covered if the Kickstarter reaches a stretch goal of $10,000.

Cost breakdown of my trip. $4000 is what I expect to be the total cost.
Cost breakdown of my trip. $4000 is what I expect to be the total cost.

Book Cost Breakdown:

In order to remain transparent, below is a breakdown of where your money will be going if you choose the book as a reward. Please note that shipping is not included.

Cost breakdown of where your $33 will go towards for every book pre-ordered
Cost breakdown of where your $33 will go towards for every book pre-ordered

The Book:

A mock up copy of the book Project Pilgrim I made.
A mock up copy of the book Project Pilgrim I made.

The book Project Pilgrim will come in one size (7in x 7in) and feature high quality Proline Uncoated 100lb paper which is durable and is heavier than regular paper. Depending on how much the Kickstarter is funded, the book will contain anything from 36-42 pages. The inside of the book will be simple. It will feature the pilgrim's portrait along with their response to my mental health question for them.

An inside look at the book Project Pilgrim
An inside look at the book Project Pilgrim

Timeline:

An estimate timeline of Project Pilgrim.
An estimate timeline of Project Pilgrim.

Above is an estimate timeline for Project Pilgrim. If the Kickstarter is a success, I will open an online bookstore and donation site on projectpilgrim.org for those of you unable to get a book or give during this Kickstarter. However, donations and books are encouraged to be purchased through the Kickstarter as they will help me reach my Kickstarter goal.

Something else of note is the date you will receive your rewards. Current estimates point to late July or early August for delivery of your books and prints. The portrait sessions will happen sometime in the summer of 2016 with a deadline at the end of August.

The Catch:

Here comes the bad news. If this Kickstarter does not reach it's initial $4000 goal, this trip won't happen. All of the work and money I have put into this project will have been for nothing and I will have to make up my lost costs by working instead of doing the Camino. Please make a pledge towards this Kickstarter to make this dream of mine become a reality.

How To Follow Along:

Anyone can follow along without making a pledge towards my trip. Please follow my Instagram and Facebook page dedicated to this project. As well, I have a website (projectpilgrim.org) that I will be posting my blogs and photos on.

Reward Levels:

Please note all levels of rewards are set at the minimum amount required to receive. If you would like to give above and beyond the minimum, simply change the amount of your pledge after selecting your reward.

Donation: $1 or more

This level of reward is meant for those generous individuals (or organizations) who would like to see Project Pilgrim come to life, but are not interested in having prints, the book, or portrait sessions. Simply select this reward and choose which amount you would like to give. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

Three 4x4 prints: $5 or more

This reward level includes three 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino. Because I have not walked the Camino yet, the options are obviously not available; however, you will get to pick the three photos you'd like after the trip is completed. 

Ten 4x4 prints: $10 or more

This reward level includes ten 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino. Because I have not walked the Camino yet, the options are obviously not available; however, you will get to pick the ten photos you'd like after the trip is completed. 

Early Bird Book: $30 or more **LIMITED TO 20 BACKERS**

With this reward you get a copy of the book (7in x 7in) at nearly 10% off! As well, you get three 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino. Because I have not walked the Camino yet, the options are obviously not available; however, you will get to pick the three photos you'd like after the trip is completed. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

The Book: $33 or more

This reward level is what this project is all about. You will receive one copy of the book Project Pilgrim (7in x 7in) and three 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino. Because I have not walked the Camino yet, the options are obviously not available; however, you will get to pick the three photos you'd like after the trip is completed. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

Pack of 2 books: $55 or more

At a 17% discount, this reward level will get you two copies of the book Project Pilgrim (7in x 7in) and six 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino. Because I have not walked the Camino yet, the options are obviously not available; however, you will get to pick the three photos you'd like after the trip is completed. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name or organization featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

The book and portrait session: $120 or more *LIMIT OF 7*

With this level of reward you will receive one copy of the book Project Pilgrim (7in x 7in), a 1 hour portrait session, and three 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino. Because I have not walked the Camino yet, the options are obviously not available; however, you will get to pick the three photos you'd like after the trip is completed. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

NOTE: This reward is restricted to Metro Vancouver only. Only covers price of digital files. Any prints will be extra cost. **Only for single or double person photos only (no weddings/family photos)**

Sponsor a page: $200 or more *LIMIT OF 20*

This reward is meant for organizations (or generous individuals) who would like to make a larger contribution towards this product. In return they will get their logo (or name) included one of the pages in the book. A copy of the book Project Pilgrim (7in x 7in) is also included in this reward. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name or organization featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

Bulk order (10 books): $300 or more

This level of reward includes 10 copies of the book Project Pilgrim (7in x 7in) for your business, friends, or organization. Sold at a 10% discount just for you. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name or organization featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website. (Other sizes of bulk orders are available too. Contact me for other quantities.)

Sponsors, Supporters, and Donors:

Thank you to all of the organizations who will be supporting, sponsoring, and donating towards Project Pilgrim over the next few months.

Sponsors, Supporters, and Donors
Sponsors, Supporters, and Donors

Lastly, a huge thank you to Jordon Hon Photography for the video and photos. You can check him out here.

Risks and challenges

Like any project, Project Pilgrim does come with some risks. My trip on the Camino has not happened yet and countless things could go wrong while I'm in Europe that are out of my control. I am planning on backing up my photos to my computer, a external hard drive, and Google Drive every few nights to ensure they do not somehow get deleted (or stolen!). Other than that, I have created a mock up book to prove to you (and myself) that I can fully design this book and know all the costs involved. I do not foresee any other challenges.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About $0.74

    Donation (any amount).

    This level of reward is meant for those generous individuals (or organizations) who would like to see Project Pilgrim come to life, but are not interested in having prints, the book, or portrait sessions. Simply select this reward on the right and choose which amount you would like to give. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

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    Pledge CA$ 5 or more About $4

    Three 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino.

    (You get to pick which. Selections will be available in June 2016)

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    Ten 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino.

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    Pledge CA$ 30 or more About $22

    Early Bird Price of the book!

    You will receive one copy of Project Pilgrim (7in x 7in) and three 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino (You get to pick which). All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

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    Pledge CA$ 33 or more About $24

    The book!

    You will receive one copy of Project Pilgrim (7in x 7in) and three 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino (You get to pick which). All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

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    Pledge CA$ 55 or more About $41

    Pack of 2 books!

    At a 17% discount, you will receive two copies of Project Pilgrim (7in x 7in) and six 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits from the Camino (You get to pick which). All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

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    Pledge CA$ 120 or more About $89

    The book AND one hour of me taking photos of you!

    I’ll take as many photos as I can in an hour and you get all of the digital files. As well, three 4x4 prints of your favourite portraits (You get to pick which). To take place between June-August, 2016. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

    Note: Restricted to Metro Vancouver only. Only covers price of digital files. Any prints will be extra cost. **Only for single or double person photos only (no weddings/family photos)**

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    Pledge CA$ 200 or more About $148

    Sponsor a page!

    This reward is meant for organizations (or generous individuals) who would like to make a larger contribution towards this product. In return they will get their logo (or name) as well as a description featured on one of the pages in the book. A copy of the book is included in this reward. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name or organization featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.

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    Pledge CA$ 300 or more About $222

    Bulk Order! 10 copies of Project Pilgrim for your business, friends, or organization. Sold at a 10% discount just for you. All contributions over $20 will include the option to have your name or organization featured in the Thank You Section of the book and website.
    (Other sizes of bulk orders are available too. Contact me for other quantities.)

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Funding period

- (30 days)