Dr. Royce Fitts, LMFT

Holistic, Spiritual Counselor & Dream Work

CPR Interview: How do you ‘stravage,’ and where can you do it in Colorado?

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By Nathan Heffel

I had the honor to be interviewed by Nathan Heffel with Colorado Public Radio regarding my book and the local opportunities people have to stravage on their own. Below you can listen to the interview, read the article, or you can access it on the CPR website.

Listen to an extended version of Nathan Heffel’s interview with Royce Fitts

When is a walk not just a walk? 

For Dr. Royce Fitts, walking became a way to open his mind and explore his deepest thoughts and feelings. And that meant the physical task of walking wasn’t the sole purpose.

The Scots have a word for this: Stravage. It basically means, “to wander aimlessly or to saunter.”

And it’s a concept that Fitts explores firsthand in his book, The Geography of the Soul: Dreams, Reality and the Journey of a Lifetime.”

“This is how we can grow … to expand beyond [how] we necessarily define ourselves. That’s too limited,” Fitts said.

Dr. Royce Fitts stands for a portrait in Denver on Friday, April 26, 2024. Corey H. Jones/CPR News

“Our world needs expansion and understanding. And out of that, we can invite healing and deep conversation.”

The book also draws from his professional experience as a psychotherapist. In Colorado, Fitts worked with service members and their families on the U.S. Space Force Base in Aurora as a specialized mental health counselor. And he still integrates his idea of stravage into his practice today with military members on the East Coast.

Fitts’ initial exploration of stravage came from an intense need to reset after significant change in his life.

“Part of that was ending a very long-term marriage and the trauma that went along with that, as well as looking at who I am and how I need to be in the world. There are opportunities where we need to say, ‘I need to shift. I need to change,’” Fitts said. “In all of my work and many years of being a clinical psychotherapist, I also felt a growing dissatisfaction. And it came to a place where I could not just put it aside. I had to make some deep choices.”

Dr. Royce Fitts holds a copy of his book, “The Geography of there Soul,” on Friday, April 26, 2024. Corey H. Jones/CPR News

So Fitts chose to step away — far away — and travel to England and follow the ancient 87-mile-long Ridgeway National Trail. The trail’s long history attracted him.

“It’s the oldest road in England and Europe, and before the English Channel existed this road was active and went all the way across Europe,” Fitts said. 

“As the ice age receded 10,000 to 11,000 years ago, this ridge began to emerge. So prehistoric beings and eventually humans began to use the road, and it became a major way of commerce as well as cultural exchange.”

And while Fitts traveled to another country, he said Coloradans can take their own journey right here in the state. With so many places to choose from, Fitts said it’s “the beautiful dilemma of Colorado.”

Here are some of his recommendations:

1. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

For Fitts, the Black Canyon is “somewhat isolated” and is, “intriguing with a kind of mystery of its own.” Located in southwestern Colorado near Montrose, Delta and Hodgekiss, its vastness yet areas of intimacy provide a great space to focus and open your mind.

2. Mesa Verde National Park

What drew Fitts to the Ridgeway National Trail was its connection to humans 5,000 years ago. And his love of Mesa Verde is for a similar reason.

“Those visibly ancient dwellings help me remember that in our arrogance of who we think we are in the present, there is amazing beauty and intelligence that’s come thousands of years before us,” Fitts said.

3. Great Sand Dunes National Park

“As I have loved and traveled across Colorado and lived here, one of my favorite anchoring points in the whole world are the Sand Dunes.

And one time, when I was going through a different kind of trauma, I was there at sunrise. And as the sun was rising above the mountains that are right next to the dunes, the coyotes were singing. And with all the pain and sorrow I had, I also had the joy of listening and being there.

So a stravage isn’t just going to another country. This is an out-of-the-box way of being, to invite each other to appreciate nature and also the other as we are engaging.”

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