Proust Nature Questionnaire – Praveen Varshney

PRAVEEN VARSHNEY has been a principal of Varshney Capital Corp., a Vancouver based merchant banking, venture capital and corporate advisory services firm, since 1991. He is a director or officer of various publicly traded companies including Mogo (Co-Founder) and BetterU Education Corp. He is a Co-Founder of G-PAK and former CFO of Carmanah Technologies Corp. which became Canada’s largest solar company. He was Co-Founder of a predecessor of Mountain Province Diamonds who’s Gahcho Kué in September 2016 became the world’s largest new diamond mine since 2003 & De Beers’ second-largest producer behind its Jwaneng mine in Botswana.

Mr. Varshney is a Toniic member and a long-time member of both EO Entrepreneurs Organization & TiE (Founding Director). He’s on a number of non-profit boards such as The Varshney Family Charitable Foundation, OneProsper.org and a Founding Member of instrumentbeyondborders.org. Mr. Varshney is a SVP Vancouver Partner, a Vancouver Police Foundation Trustee, and on the Advisory boards of Room to Read – Vancouver and The Thomas Edison Innovation Foundation in New Jersey, USA.

Mr. Varshney is a past recipient of Business in Vancouver’s 40 Under 40 Awards.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Amazing, beautiful, wonderful.

3 things Nature taught you? 

To be grateful for the things in life that are free & can provide so much happiness – grass, flowers, trees.

Can also be a force to be reckoned with so to be respectful of that & situations that can arise.

There has to be a God, who else & how else could all this have been created!

3 most treasured Nature spots? 

Any beach on the planet, especially in Pt.Roberts, WA, USA where we have a small cabin by the ocean.

Walking through Pacific Spirit Regional Park near our home in Vancouver with our labradoodle dog, Ozzy.

Anywhere in Hawaii like on the Big Island where we have a home.

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…? 

Wonderful!

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…? 

Alive!

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…? 

In awe!

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…? 

Thankful to be alive & happy.

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

A bit scared & a bit in awe.

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…? 

A bit scared & a bit in awe.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person? 

Wow tough choice, I’m going to go with Ocean.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 

10 but 12 if you’ll let me go with it.

Share with us a childhood nature memory? 

Growing up during the younger years, because our parents didn’t have much money, we did a lot of picnics so I have vivid amazing memories of all the various parks in the city & neighboring areas we’d visit, my siblings & I would toss a baseball around & even play hockey on the grass with street hockey sticks!

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Julie Pointer Adams

JULIE POINTER ADAMS is an artist, floral designer, and most recently, author and photographer of a book on hospitality called Wabi-Sabi Welcome: Learning to embrace the imperfect and entertain with thoughtfulness and ease. She lived in Portland, Oregon for a number of years where she developed and directed the international community events for Kinfolk magazine alongside Editor Nathan Williams. Julie currently resides in Santa Barbara, California with her husband, Ryan.

3 words to describe Nature?

Healing, calming, worshipful

3 things Nature taught you?

To let go of worry; to be still and listening; to find beauty in unsuspecting places.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Sauvie Island, Oregon; St. John River, New Brunswick, Canada; beaches along the Santa Barbara, California coastline

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Powerless and grateful

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Quiet

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Small and temporal

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Happy-sad and hopeful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Grounded

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Alive and reflective, as if a change is coming.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Ocean

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10!

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Most summers as a child were spent visiting my mother’s extended family in New Brunswick, Canada along the St. John River. I remember long days spent outside swimming, canoeing and exploring, but I particularly recall one day sitting hidden in the midst of tall grasses on a sloping hillside, shaded by birch trees. I felt in that moment that nature would always be a safe hiding place—a place to retreat to and be cradled by.

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Kengo Kuma

KENGO KUMA was born in 1954. He completed his master’s degree at the University of Tokyo in 1979. After studying at Columbia University as Visiting Scholar, he established Kengo Kuma & Associates 1990. In 2009, he was installed as Professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, University of Tokyo.

Among Kuma’s major works are Kirosan Observatory (1995), Water/Glass (1995, received AIA Benedictus Award), Noh Stage in the Forest (received 1997 Architectural Institute of Japan Annual Award), Bato-machi Hiroshige Museum (received The Murano Prize). His recent works include Yusuhara Wooden Bridge Museum (2010), Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center (2012), Nagaoka City Hall Aore (2012) and Ginza Kabukiza (2013). Outside Japan, Besancon Arts and Culture Center, FRAC Marseilles and Aix-en-Provence Conservatoire of Music were completed in 2013. Currently, about 100 projects are going on in Japan, Europe, USA, China and many other Asian countries. Kengo Kuma & Associates are also engaged in the designing of the new national stadium in Japan.

Kuma is also a prolific writer, including Anti-Object, translated into English. Most of his latest titles have been published in English, Chinese and Korean and have won wide readership from around the world.

3 words to describe Nature?

Integration, interaction, softness

3 things Nature taught you?

Kindness, warmth, calmness

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Kanda River near my house, cemetery near my workplace, & the blue sky

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Why could it appear so different every day?

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Calm down and relax

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

The axis, the verticality that connects the earth and the sky.

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Peaceful

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Memory of summer holiday in childhood

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Sound of the glass trembling in my old house I lived as a child.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Forest

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

There was a bamboo bush behind our house. I often changed into rain boots to explore the nature there.

Photo credit: The Courier

Proust Nature Questionnaire – Maita Barrenechea

MAITA BARRENECHEA is a pioneering and leading luxury and experiential Travel Specialist, based in Argentina. She is the founder of MAI 10, one of the world’s most prestigious Luxury and Experiential Travel companies. Travel+Leisure has awarded her, for several years now, as one of the World’s Top Ten Power-Brokers, Most Informed, Well-connected and Influential persons in the travel industry. Town & Country magazine named her “The Travel Goddess”. She is a Case Study at Wharton University as the most successful women entrepreneurs in South America and is featured as one of the main characters in the book “Women Entrepreneurs – Inspiring Stories“. The leading luxury travel association Virtuoso, which gathers the top travel and hospitality companies in the world, awarded her with the Best of the Best Travel Award, Best Event Planner, & Best Voyager Club Event. Her clients include U2, Jimmy Buffett, Caroline Kennedy, Jane Fonda, Mick Jagger, Michael Keaton, and many others.

3 words to describe Nature?

Marvel

Life

Glory

… oh and Creation

3 things Nature taught you

Humbleness

Wonder

Gratitude

(but then also Respect, Care, Patience, Appreciation, Imagination, Silence)

3 most treasured Nature spots

A mountain stream

A glacial lake

A coral reef

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

Freedom, Rapture, Musical, Harmony, Melancholy, Respect

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Secluded, Happy , Solace , Accompanied, Moody

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Awe, Restlessness, Uncertainty

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

Love, Romance, Emotion

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Respect

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

Courageous, Desolate

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Mountain with forests (or the green valley between mountains)

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

The memories of camping and listening to the silence of the night and the sounds of nature are very dear to me. I remember the breeze at the top of the trees, the calling of birds when they start to serenade the day, the break of dawn and the glory of the morning, all of it brings magical memories to me.

The first time I looked underwater a coral reef, I was marvelled by the magic of life found under the sea.

I fly-fish and feel there is a profound connection with nature. When I am at the river, I can sit by the bank for hours, listening to rushing water and the breeze in the trees. I love to peruse at rocks and driftwood, and walk downstream watching the bird life around and the insect hatches.

I enjoy the theory that surrounds the art of fly-fishing, learning to read the river to guess where the trouts are lying, understanding the cycle of nature, the food sources we try to imitate, more so if you tie your own flies. You learn to look out for surface activity which will become the target of your fly presentation so as to draw the attention of the fish, you search the ripples to anticipate the direction of their moves, you sight birds collecting insects in the air or off the water, and watch the rolling rise of a trout. The purpose of fishing may be to outsmart a fish, but soon you learn how selective they can be.

There is also the innate beauty in a fly cast. The rhythm and graceful curves of the line in the air and the constant aim of the perfect loop. Fly casting has a poetic nature of its own. But what I enjoy the most about fishing is being immersed in nature, feeling the sounds and the silence, the murmur of the river, and discovering the surrounding wilderness. I’ve learnt to bird-watch and am infinitely intrigued by the behaviour of birds, I enjoy studying the wildflowers and identifying animal tracks.

When you fish you interact with nature. You feel the water, the wind, the strength of the current. I can still feel the thrill of a trout taking the fly and relentlessly fighting to get away. It is quite magical to cast a dry-fly and let it drift along the surface, and alas, see the actual bite and feel the adrenaline that follows. But there is so much peace when you are enveloped by nature that I many times find myself wishing a fish will not bite, so as not to disturb its life nor the tranquility of the spectacle.