Author Archive

Doing Good – A Myanmar Floating Hospital

06/02/2019

Maurice Machoud is doing good work, really good work. He’s a retired Swiss chemist and has had a 15 year dream to convert a luxury barge in Myanmar, into a floating hospital. And it’s happening! Marurice was a recent client of ours on Lake Wanaka Yacht Charters, where we went out for an afternoon sail. Learn more about his dream and his project below. (Image of the Floating Hospital to be added soon.)

 

 

Mountain Spirit New Zealand – A Video Snapshot

26/01/2019

Check out our new video which gives you an overview of what we’re up to, our goals and dreams to make Mountain Spirit a place where people can connect to nature, themselves and each other. The video was done by “The Master” *Ashley Leung. Ash did the ground work, all editing and production. Keep the good work Ash! Randall did the aerial footage, and Ash made magic with it.

*We feel very fortunate to have Ashley, his wife Autumn and their new daughter as family friends. We miss them them and look forward to their return to New Zealand.

Turning Down the Family Business

26/01/2019

Decisions on the Life Path
Felix is from Bavaria. He had a choice to make – Follow in his father’s footsteps, or follow his heart. Learn what he and his fiance decided to do!

 

NZ Crown Jewels for Sale to the Highest Bidder

22/01/2019

Half a Million Hectares, Sold
From Stuff.co.nz
New Zealanders have paid $65m to get rid of some of our most treasured landscapes, through an obscure process critics have described as a vast wave of privatization. Wealthy foreigners are snapping up valuable land once owned by the public, who in some cases paid to dispose of it. As gated estates and manicured golf courses spread through our wild places,  Charlie Mitchell investigates for Stuff.co.nz: Who owns the high country? Read more here…

Damper Bay, Paddock and Glendu Bay

Not far from the site of a new development for the very wealthy, golf course included. Here’s a shot prior to all that.

 

Editor’s Note: A bit of disclosure – My wife is South African, and I’m a Yank, and we bought an existing house and small bit of land in Hawea. So I’m guilty by association only in that I’m American. I believe in living lightly. We have an off-the-grid home and retreat centre, with gravity fed water and a small house. The scale and rate at which foreigners are snapping up New Zealand’s high country is appalling, and appears to be changing the very values of the country, by gentrification.

In Support of Time Out – The Kiwi Way

22/01/2019

In a busy world where taking time off is a difficult thing, it may be the most important thing.

I come from the Northeastern U.S., where there’s a strong “New England work ethic”, where if you’re not busy, you’re not amounting to anything. OK, a slight exaggeration, but there is an expectation of achieving, of going to one of the Ivy League Schools, and getting a respectable career with benefits.  Instead, I became a mountain guide. After graduating from the University of Utah, and an early career in the ski boot business I took a sharp left turn into the mountains and never returned, except for leading corporate team building programs for Outward Bound for a few years.

I’ve been living in New Zealand for over 10 years but a few exchanges on the phone last week really rocked me. I finally got an unexpected peek into Kiwi psyche about healthy priorities, of balancing work and spending quality down-time with family and friends,  taking a time out.

We’re really busy during the summer holiday season here in the Wanaka area. We run an off-the-grid Secluded Sanctuary called Mountain Spirit, which includes a BnB. We’re ramping up to run health and wellness programs on our land, and we run Lake Wanaka Yacht Charters. So the Christmas season is full-on for my wife and I and our 7yr old son as well.

We decided to block off  a couple of days right after Christmas, and take an  overnight on the charter boat to Lake Wanaka’s Paddock Bay to unplug. The inevitable happened when we got a few inquiries during that time for boat charters. When I explained we were taking some much needed time off, despite the holiday season being our busy time, without exception the callers responded with, “Good on ya, you need to pay attention to that family and take that time off. We’ll check in with you later.” (Which they did). Correct me if I’m wrong, (you Americans, from the NorthEast), if you were the caller would you not be surprised that a vendor was taking time off, and wouldn’t you think he was expected to be open and available when you call.? Instead of the “Good on ya”,  if my memory serves, the first response would not be one of support, rather: “Are you sure you can’t be available for tomorrow”? or, “Why are you not open?”

It was an eye opener. Three separate callers actually took it in stride and said “Of course you’re taking time off, have a good one.”

Not to slam Americans or anything, but it’s almost a cliche at this point – And God love Americans for all that we are, but taking a slow long holiday is not one of them. The American system is set up for a two week vacation, max. And that does not do justice to the country in which you’re visiting. It’s a bit of an insult actually. 

Time off during the busy season

Spending time with family on the boat when our To Do list is growing. Damn the torpedoes and head out anyway.

The only way to get more time off from the American workplace is to quit, or set up a longer travel itinerary between jobs, or be a CEO. So we can’t find fault with individual Americans, or can we?  I’m not sure – all I know is I was surprised to finally experience being given permission to take time off. I’ve been conditioned not to take time off.  To have someone say “it’s OK”,  is a eye opener for an American.

For those of us that made recreation our jobs, and travel came with the territory, we were lucky enough to be exposed to different perspectives in the world. It’s not just the Kiwi’s who value taking time off , more than do Americans. Most of the world does.

It’s All About Connecting

05/01/2019

Our mission at Mountain Spirit is about “facilitating connection to one’s self, each other and the natural world.” Yesterday, here in New Zealand,  I Children at Mountain Spirit, enjoying chicken energysnapped this shot of my son and couple of our guests cradling one of our chickens in the nearby hammock. The hammock happens to be next to the “chicken tractor” (movable chicken house) so at the moment so makes for fun relaxing hangout with chickens all underfoot.  The guests loved the chickens and were were visiting with them every spare moment. Connecting with nature is vital for children, whether it’s going for a walk in the woods, on a mountain ridge, taking them sailing or just spending time helping them collect the chickens’ eggs.  A good book about children and nature, mentioned quite a few times in this blog is Last Child in the Woods, by R. Louv, but there are also newer titles in print as well.

Back in the Saddle – Mountain Spirit’s Blog

02/01/2019

Kirtana Performs 1st Time on New Zealand’s South Island

08/02/2015

Kirtana photo for Art of HealingMountain Spirit near Wanaka, will be hosting Kirtana, a California-based singer/songwriter will be who performs at events with speakers such as Eckhart Tolle, Gangaji and Geneen Roth. She comes to the South Island for the first time to share her contemporary, sacred songs. She will be performing at St. Columba’s Anglican Church on Sunday, 12th, April from 3:00pm-5:00pm in Wanaka

Described as a ‘brilliant poet, marvelous songwriter and accomplished guitarist’, Kirtana best describes both her music and her purpose in sharing it is to “celebrate divine love and the truth of who we are.”

Randall and Amanda Richards, of Mountain Spirit, the newly created retreat centre, say, “We’re really excited to have Cover unseen graceKirtana come to the South Island and share her music with us. It will be our first event. We’re still working on infrastructure  on our land and permitting for other programs, so we were not quite open to host the event on-site.  So when the Anglican Church agreed to have the event at their church, we knew it would be a great venue.”

Kirtana says she is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her music and divine exploration in concert with Kiwis. She will be performing songs from her newest CD “Unseen Grace”

Says Onethemagazine.com, “Kirtana has become one of the most highly sought after modern-day minstrels of non-dual awakening. Her voice and lyrics reach with vulnerable longing for the heart of God, while at the same time transmitting the discovery of that, the opening to that, and the final consummation within it.”

Kirtana bwTickets are $30 in advance, ($35 on the day). With a “Group of 5 offer” at $125 and can be purchased over the phone at Mountain Spirit 03-443-5669 or online at Eventafinda.co.nz  For more information call 03-443-5669 or go to the event webpage at mtnspirit.co.nz

El Albergue grows into Organics/Sustainability

13/12/2014

Joaquín Randall, owner of El Albergue in Ollantaytambo, shares, in the recent video, the latest developments evolving around  experiential educational stays, sustainability, organics and cultural sensitivity at his lodge in the Sacred Valley of Peru.  Mountain Spirit collaborated a bit with Sr. Randall some years ago, so we can recommend a stay at El Albergue. Keep up the good Joaquin.

El Albergue, in Peru delivers a good stay, experientially based ed, and sustainability.

El Albergue, in Peru delivers a good stay, experientially based ed, and sustainability.

The End of the Everest Myth

28/04/2014

By Katie Ives
From Alpinist Magazine
We all know the Myth. We’ve heard it told and retold hundreds of times, in “motivational” speeches exhorting audiences to “climb your personal Everest,” in press releases announcing the latest person to summit for the latest reason, in corporate metaphors hailing the qualities required to overcome whatever obstacles stand in the way of “success” on the world’s highest peak.

Everst Myth

Everest – Khumbu Icefall

As climbers and as readers of mountain literature, we’re also familiar with attempts to communicate the realities behind the Everest Myth. We’ve seen decades of accounts about the crowds of clients on the normal routes and about the extensive reliance on the ropes fixed, the camps placed, the oxygen bottles carried and the loads hauled by local workers. Some of us have argued in print and online that this form of “totally supported” ascent is not “climbing,” Read the rest of this story at Alpinist’s site…

IMAGE: Mark Rosen/Wikimedia Commons