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.

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