Frequently Asked Questions


Considering coming?

Anyone who is over eighteen, has been treated for cancer and is looking for a chance to rediscover their zest for life. As a guide, a participant should be able to climb a flight of stairs and walk approximately half a mile.

No, and we won’t ask you to talk about your cancer. Odyssey is most certainly therapeutic; it is noticeable how people are affected in a profound and deeply beneficial way without the need for lengthy and probing discussions. Naturally participants may choose to have such conversations but we won’t start them. A glass of wine and a good meal is what you need at the end of a great day!

No, in fact – it’s free. There are no charges for the course, the only cost you’ll need to cover is travelling to and from the location of the course, along wth a bit of spending money (there might be a visit to the pub and we sell ‘T’ shirts and sweatshirts as souvenirs at the end of the week).

All other costs are borne by Odyssey through our fundraising activities and donations.

Odyssey currently runs in Kent, Wales and Oxfordshire, however we aim to expand other areas in Britain over the next few years and are actively seeking funding to make this possible.

Not very. You need to be able to look after your personal needs and manage stairs. As a guide, if you can walk, say, half a mile you should be fine. If you are worried that this would be too much for you, but are still keen to come, contact us to talk about it as a lot depends on your individual circumstances.

We don’t want to invite someone who will find they are excluded from large elements of the course, but we aren’t working with athletes either!

Yes, anyone who is still under a consultant is eligible and many of those who get the most from Odyssey finished treatment a while before. Come and join us once you feel ready.

It really depends on your individual circumstances. If you are able to wait until you are far enough out of treatment that you are not feeling unwell from it, then you are likely to get a lot more from the week. However, for some people that is not an option. If you are unsure, get in touch with us and we can discuss what is most appropriate for you.

If you’re still having doubts, we recommend you talk to your oncologist.

Although we recognise there would be potential benefits to including carers on the course, at this stage we just haven’t got the resources to spread the net wider. Other organisations may be able to help though eg. ‘Sail4Cancer’ offers help with joint sailing and activity holidays, and ‘Balls to Cancer’ also offer holiday breaks.

Yes. Odyssey can really help people in your position get back on their feet, regain control and get on with enjoying life.

If you are being treated at a hospital, practice or hospice which is involved with Odyssey then please have a word with them. An Odyssey referrer will be able to check the dates of courses, the availability of places and enrol you onto a programme. If they do not know about Odyssey, please direct them to the website and suggest they get in touch to find out more.

No. Odyssey has been designed for adults and we only operate with people over the age of 18. We are not licensed by the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority to work with younger people and it would be impractical to do this without working from a fixed base. Other organisations may be able to offer something appropriate for children. These include the Institute for Outdoor Learning, PGL and Outward Bound.

Of course. Just let us know what your requirements are when you apply for the course.

You would of course be free to leave early if you wished. However, this is a very rare occurrence. Over the last 25 years, more than 1,000 people have been on our course with very few ever having left early.

We would generally say that part of the adventure lies in meeting new people whom you know nothing about. From a practical perspective, this kind of arrangement may be difficult, however we are able to consider any such request.

You will receive some information including a kit list as soon as you are signed up to attend a course.

It is unlikely that you will need to buy anything you don’t have. You will spend a good deal of time outside and the sort of clothes you might wear for a walk in the country should be suitable. If you have Wellingtons or walking boots then you may want to bring them, but trainer type shoes will do perfectly well. Odyssey will provide you with a good set of waterproofs in case of bad weather and of course any specialised equipment you may need.

Information about the course is limited as the unexpected is a key element to the success of Odyssey. You can find all the details available in the Course section on this website.

Odyssey is designed as time out, a precious chance to be away from ordinary life with all its routines and pressures. There will be no television and little or no contact with the outside world. We cannot stop you from using mobiles, nor the internet although we know the 5 days at Odyssey are usually a unique opportunity to take a break from technology. We’ve also found that people don’t miss these things for a week and they return home with their batteries fully charged and ready for anything.

You will not have to carry any heavy loads. We will give you a little day sac and you would typically use this to carry your lunch, waterproofs, camera, a few extra clothes etc. Even this you will never carry any great distance.

Probably not, we have had several participants in their eighties. Age itself is far less significant than other factors such as how well you feel and how game you are.

Yes, of course. Please give us a call on 0345 363 2207 and we’ll be happy to talk to you about it.

Yes. Many terminally ill people have attended Odyssey over the years and gained a huge amount from it as well as enriching the course for others. As one such person said not long ago: “Yes I have an incurable and progressive cancer; yes I’m dying and I may die this year or next year, but Odyssey made me realise that there was still some living to do and I should not ‘die’ before I’m dead.”

We are quite used to people in your situation and it need not prevent you from participating fully. If you find yourself doing something which seems to need arm strength just make the staff aware of the situation and they will help you find a way of doing it without discomfort.

If they need to get in touch urgently it will be possible to get a message to you by ringing Emma Thomas on  0345 363 2207. Part of the point of Odyssey however is to get away from the pressures of everyday life, one of the greatest of which is created by our habit of permanent availability. This is why we suggest you leave the mobile at home if you can bear to and concentrate for a few days on being here, now, in this moment.

Our staff are well trained and hugely experienced and can deal with any imaginable emergency. If you needed full medical care then we would ensure you got it; an appropriate decision would be made depending on the circumstances.

Yes, most of the time! You may find yourself experiencing a slightly less conventional arrangement for a night or two but as with all aspects of the course the unpredictable can be amazing in ways you never dreamt possible. If you are not happy about a situation, talk to a member of staff about it.