An Irishman is hitchhiking to Australia to raise much-needed funds for several mental health charities.
On 14 January, Andy Howard, 28, officially set off on his Seeking Human Kind project, possessing just a rucksack and the clothes on his back.
Andy hopes that his endeavour to hitchhike to Australia will help to raise a lot of money which will be donated to suicide prevention charities and will also help with challenging the many stigmas that are associated with mental health.
Irishman hitchhiking to Australia to raise money for mental health charities – the Seeking Human Kind project
The Seeking Human Kind project, which was the brainchild of Irishman Andy Howard, involves Andy attempting to hitchhike his way from Ireland to Australia.
After losing his close friend Louis Caplis to suicide in 2018, Andy came up with the Seeking Human Kind project in his honour to help and save others from suicide.
Andy began planning the journey in November and officially set out on his mammoth trek on 14 January of this year. The Wicklow native has made staggering progress so far, as he has already reached the city of Milan in Italy.
Andy believes it will take approximately 18 months to reach Australia and aims to raise £100,000 on his journey, which will be donated to Samaritans Ireland, Samaritans UK, and the Australian charity Beyond Blue.
The kindness of strangers – helping Howard to cover travel costs
Speaking about the challenges he’s facing on his hike, Andy explained how the kindness of people was helping him, saying, “As you can imagine, I’m pretty vulnerable.
“I’ve literally become homeless in a sense, with no money and a backpack and some camera equipment, so I’ve just been relying on the kindness of people to help me with a place to put down my head and for some food and travel.
“I’m trying not to stress too much, and hopefully, everything will work out. There is a lot of good out there; you just need to keep asking to find it. So many people have been so nice.”
Andy’s endeavour has touched the hearts of many people, as many strangers have bought him ferry and train tickets to cover his travel from the UK to France, Switzerland and Italy.
The importance of looking after your mental health – help is out there
Andy said about the importance of looking after your mental health, “I think there is a stigma around it that people don’t suffer from mental health.
“We need to look after our physical health just as much as our mental health, and if I’m able to help out in any way to create more awareness for people to talk and to give people an understanding that there is a lot of help out there and that all they need to do is just look for it”.
To donate to Howard’s Seeking Human Kind – Suicide Prevention campaign, or to find out more, click here.