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From Combat to Campfire. 
A Journey of Resilience and Rebirth

Deep within the powerful embrace of nature, Nick Goldsmith, a former Royal Marine Commando, has found solace and a new life's purpose. In an intimate and revealing conversation, Nick speaks about his journey from the military's front lines to the tranquil heart of Hidden Valley Bushcraft. He delves into the transformative power of nature, the resilience required in both combat and life, and how he's channeled it all into a mission of empowerment and self-discovery.

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Tracey: Nick, from a rigorous 11-year stint as a Commando to the serene outdoors of Hidden Valley Bushcraft, your journey is nothing short of inspiring. How did your story with the Royal Marines begin?

Nick: Honestly, the seeds were planted when I was around 15. I grew up in rural East Sussex, always engrossed in nature—playing in the woods, building dens, and having youthful adventures. A career assessment at school pinpointed the Royal Marine Commando path for me. After a brief detour into rugby and coming so close to a professional career, I craved being a part of a high-performance team again. Speaking with a cousin leaving the Marines was the final push. By 21, I was in the Commando Training Centre and deployed on my first tour by 22.

Tracey: That's an intense transition. How did your experiences shape your perspective on life and challenges?

Nick: Those 11 years tested me, but they were also formative. The core lesson? Life doesn’t just happen to us, it happens for us. Earlier, I'd view challenges with resentment. Now? I see them as catalysts for growth. We'll all face adversity—be it loss, illness, or trauma. But our response is pivotal. Surrounding ourselves with the right people, environment, and mindset—much like the commando spirit—can be lifesaving.

Tracey: And from this, you founded your company Hidden Valley Bushcraft & The Woodland Warrior Programme. Tell us how the outdoors became your therapy and eventually your business?

Nick: After the Marines, there was this period of utter darkness. The aftermath of war isn't just physical; the mental scars, like my battle with complex PTSD, were just as real. But the outdoors, especially around a campfire, was where I found solace. It was instrumental in my recovery. Hidden Valley Bushcraft was born out of this personal revelation. If nature could heal me, it could do the same for others. My focus wasn’t on profits, but on preserving wilderness skills—food, fire, shelter—and merging them with the discipline and resilience I had honed as a Commando.

 

Tracey: That’s a powerful motivation. And this led to your book, Rewild Mind? ​ Nick: Absolutely. It's a crystallisation of my journey and the ethos of Hidden Valley Bushcraft. Whether you're in a city apartment or a countryside home, the book offers ways to rekindle that connection with nature. For anyone hesitant about stepping into the wild, Rewild Your Mind is both an invitation and a guide. ​ Tracey: As someone who's seen the extremes of battle and the tranquility of nature, what message do you want to impart to your audience? ​ Nick: It's about resilience. Both the demanding battlefront and the unpredictable wilderness taught me that life will throw curveballs. Yet, with the right mindset and the right environment, we can not only survive but thrive. It’s not just about enduring challenges but learning from them and using them as stepping stones. ​ Tracey: Your journey—from the Royal Marines, through trauma, and into nature's embrace—is truly remarkable. What's next for you? ​ Nick: My focus remains on expanding the reach of Hidden Valley Bushcraft and WWP, while also stepping into my own brand, to share the message of Rewild Your Mind. The world is becoming increasingly disconnected from nature, and sadly from each other, and I hope to be a bridge for many to rediscover that lost connection. 

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