By Antonio Curiel
In the early hours of February 1, 2012, Cole Peddie was on his way to use the restroom when he found his brother Nigel unconscious on the floor.
“I was panicking”, Peddie said. “I tried to wake him up but he wasn’t breathing. When I stared at his face, I knew it was too late.”
This event would trigger Peddie to walk thousands of miles around the country. And he started a charitable foundation to help others.
After the incident, Peddie felt depressed and confused of his brother’s accidental drug overdose. “I would just sit in my room and replay that morning in my head over and over again. I was driving myself crazy.”
Peddie was faced with an ultimatum; the death of his brother affected him so much Peddie gave himself two options, he could take the easy way out and end his life so he could “forget” what happened or face his depression and find a way to live with the tragedy.
“I had this weird urge to get out of my dark room where I replayed my worst nightmare over and over again, and go see the world. To go see that there’s more out there. Meet people with similar stories, but mainly to explore,” he said. “And since it was so new at the time and I knew Nigel always wanted to travel but never got the chance, I brought his ashes with me as I traveled.”
Peddie and his mother Gidget then hit the road and traveled to no destination, driving just to drive. Peddie and his mother eventually ended up in Nebraska and decided to pull over for some food at a Taco Johns. When Cole went to order and an employee commented on the pendent he was wearing that contained Nigel’s ashes,
Peddie explained to the employee that he felt depressed and suicidal about his brother’s death but had the urge to try and make the best of the situation. The employee then cried because he was able to relate to Peddie.
“She told me that her brother died of a heroin overdose six months earlier, and was feeling the same thing I was.” Peddie said. “The difference from our stories is that her mother killed herself because she didn’t want to live with the pain of losing her son. She was working at the taco place as much as she could to distract herself from the pain of losing her brother and mother.”
After meeting the employee, Peddie was convinced that they were in the same place emotionally. And he realized she was just distracting herself. “The same way I was driving around without a destination was like the same way she was just working. We were just trying to distract ourselves from the pain that we had shared.”
After the encounter, Peddie made the decision to share his story with everyone he crosses paths with, to share inspiration and hope that even in the darkest moments, there can be light again. That is how, with the help of his mother, he made his non-profit organization, Recycle Your Possibilities.
The objective of the organization is to connect with people, communities and businesses across the globe sharing messages and raising awareness about rethinking one’s own possibilities and contributions to humanity and the planet.
“What better way to spread my message around the country than to walk around 18,000 miles?”
“My mom began mapping out the journey for me,” he said. “She mapped 18,541 miles, allowing me to walk through 48 different states. This time around, unlike our first travels, my mom and I know why we chose to do this, the inspiration we have behind it, and the divine presence which was driving us to do it.”
Peddie and his mother wanted to personally connect with communities, schools and other forums, and figured, what better way to do it, than to walk into the community itself.
On March 14, 2015, their journey began in Central Park in Saugus, with many people joining them on his journey.
Peddie would walk while his mother would follow him in a Winnebago so he could sleep there over night.
Now, it’s been a year since he embarked on his journey to promote Recycle Your Possibilities and Peddie walked an unbelievable 758 miles up the west coast before obtaining some unsettling news.
“I planned to go a lot more but then life happened and my dad’s mom got sick. She was in the final stages of life and if I wanted to say my last goodbye, this was my chance. Even though I wanted to travel, I knew that death is something I experience that led me into this journey in the first place.”
After his brief return to Santa Clarita, Peddie wanted to return where he last left off, only this time, he made adjustments to his plan, opting for a bike.
“I walked about 15 to 19 miles a day, the goal was to walk 30 miles a day. So because of that I knew with the bike I could ride a bit longer and make the journey quicker.”
It got to the point where Peddie’s mother was unable to follow him on his journey anymore so Peddie switched from the bike to a car. He was kept company by his dog.
“Her and I ended up driving around about 20,000 miles around the states we haven’t been through and that was how the journey continued. It evolved so much from the beginning being this walk, to riding a bike and driving a car. I had to be flexible with what life was throwing at me, and I wanted to continue the journey spread the word and meet new people. I knew that there was more to this journey than I could’ve ever planned out. It’s led me to where I am now. Four years ago I lost Nigel and was in rock bottom and I ended up having this urge to travel all 50 states and I’m 44 down. I can’t believe I’m almost there. It’s been a wild year, it’s been great.”