A coast to coast BMXing journey has almost wrapped up for Mat Fee, who’s been riding since May, as he finishes his final leg of the trip in Victoria on Tuesday, ending at the Legislature building just after noon.
Fee, born in Duncan, set out on the Canada-wide trip in support of the John Volken Academy – a therapeutic recovery community with locations in Seattle, Vancouver and Phoenix – where Fee learned coping tools to overcome his own addiction.
Fee told Black Press Media the end of the trip has been exciting but also bittersweet, as he tries to figure out what to do with his life next after six months away from home.
Fee has ridden about 7,200 km since starting on May 1 in Halifax, meeting with people along the way and sharing stories of strength and recovery as he travelled.
“I’m starting to wrap my mind around what the heck I just did,” he says. “So, that’s pretty crazy.”
Documenting along the way on social media, Fee shared the ups and downs of his trip and his relationship with recovery, inspiring hundreds. While Fee says it was hard to always be strong enough to stand up and fight the stigma that goes hand-in-hand with addiction, he tried to be open and honest about all the bumps in the road.
“I’ve always struggled with self-doubt … so I’ve really learned I can basically do anything that I want to if I put my mind to it and focus,” he says, adding that is the same message he wants to instill in anyone struggling.
Fee says that as a child he was sexually abused. Too young to comprehend what had happened, he blocked out the memories.
“I ended up falling in love with drugs and alcohol and that became my life,” he told Black Press Media in June.
Trying various treatment centres, it wasn’t until the seventh time he found a way back to himself at the John Volken Academy.
Before finding the academy, Fee describes a labyrinth of walls with constant, overpowering anxiety that made his life “hell.” During his two years at the academy, Fee recalls writing a letter that changed everything as he began to realize the importance of human connection.
Fee says that while he’s not sure what will come next, he’s already thinking about setting out on another coast to coast trip, this time in the U.S. For now, Fee is focused on getting home and is looking forward to reuniting with his electric guitar and playing heavy metal music as a form of meditation.
“I’m going to turn my guitar amp as loud as it’ll go and I’ll probably play for about five hours straight,” he says with a laugh. “Everyone is going to hate me in the building, but it’s okay.”
For more information on the John Volken Academy visit volken.org.
Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.