Proust Nature Questionnaire – Brooke Garnett

BROOKE GARNETT is the founder of MAYAMAYA, which specializes in tailoring seamless, premium journeys around the world. MAYAMAYA is a small boutique company and they work intimately with a select group of loyal and discerning clients. With expansive destination knowledge covering over 50 countries and some of the most remote parts of the globe, Brooke has been recognized as a world leader in the travel industry and recently celebrated her fifth consecutive year on Travel + Leisure’s A-List. While Brooke’s travel adventures would take pages to relate, some of her more recent memorable experiences include learning to fish with an Aboriginal community in the Kimberley, a private weeklong helicopter tour of the Scottish Highlands, trekking with the Gorillas in Rwanda, and exploring the secret treasures of Jordan and Egypt. Brooke loves to cook, paint, and any sort of outdoor adventure. She has worked as a divemaster in Thailand and Honduras and is an accomplished photographer. Many of you have likely seen her GoPro video of an orphaned pelican flying over Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania which has gone viral with almost 6 million views on YouTube.

3 words to describe Nature? 

Powerful, fragile, harmony

3 things Nature taught you? 

Resilience, respect, true beauty

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Great Bear Rainforest, Canada

Hartmann’s Valley, Namib Desert, Namibia

Tasmanian Coast, Australia

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

Tiny

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

Clean

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

Nervous

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

Calm

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…? 

Excited

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

Alive

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

30% desert, 25% Mountain, 25% Ocean, 20% Forest

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

8

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

My grandfather had a large piece of land in the middle of nowhere in Western Pennsylvania. As a child, I went here for every school holiday and it was the best – playing outside all day catching frogs with no structures in sight. There were some buffalo on the property and one day we found a baby buffalo that was left in a ditch. We rescued the buffalo and bottle fed it back to health.

Nature Meditation – CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN

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“You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.” Rene Daumal

The backpack sits heavy on my shoulders. In front of me the mountain stands tall. Beyond its peak, a cloudless sky foretells the added struggle the sun will bring to the ascent. It is amazing how something so desirable can become so detrimental. On any other day I would welcome this bright star shining down on me, but right now, my mind is filled with fantasies of giant clouds rolling in from beyond the horizon, spreading themselves over my head and taking away this sunny encumbrance. I close my eyes and dream of shade. Its cool and refreshing embrace which would boost my endurance and somehow magically make the load on my back much lighter.

I take a deep breath and murmur: “It is what it is! Tonight, I will be closer to the stars, sleeping at the summit, with a breathtaking view of the valley and a front row seat for sunrise tomorrow.”

The beginning is always treacherously easy. My body is full of energy and my mind swimming in optimism. The trail is wide and the inclination barely steeper than a regular hike. From down below, the climb appears as an imaginary line traced over a terrain that makes no difference between a solid slab of granite or a loose patch of igneous rocks.

Another deep breathe, another murmur: “It doesn’t look too difficult. It should take me about 3 hours”

In reality, as much as I want to believe I am in possession of all the information I need, as much as I want to predict the outcome, my knowledge and understanding of the endeavor is simply speculative. The truth is that I can only prepare myself for the expected and be ready for the unexpected.

Over the next 4 hours, I will trip twice. I will stop to rest more times than my pride wants to admit. I will wonder on several occasions why I thought it would be a good idea to go sleep at the top of the mountain. Five times I will look at my watch and ask myself how much longer is it going to take. In the last hour, my mind will repeat over and over: “Just one more step, I am almost there.” During the entire ascent, I will analyze mentally the content of my backpack, inside out, and wonder what gear I could have left behind to shed some weight, or what I could have done differently to alleviate the challenge.

But as I reach the summit, my sight is suddenly free to fly across the valley and my feeling of struggle disappears. Exhaustion and pain become something of the past, and all this released tension slingshots back, filling me with pure exhilaration and a deep sense of accomplishment. “I made it!” – a whisper escapes my lips.

Barely rested and refreshed, I look in all directions and rejoice at the view with all the new possibilities laid before my eyes. Today’s goal might have been about completing this ascent, but for my desire in seeking new experiences, it is only an episode. For my relentless curiosity and unwavering need to learn, today’s challenge was a simple lesson about myself and life.

This week, let us reflect on the places we want to go, the things we want to achieve, the goals we want to fulfill. Are we focused only on reaching these destinations or are we fully aware and connected with the process of moving forward. Are we open to the lessons and discoveries that will present themselves to us, in sometimes the most unexpected ways? Do we truly understand that these goals, these objectives, these places we want to go are only the gateway to other new adventures?

“For life–which is in any way worthy, is like ascending a mountain. When you have climbed to the first shoulder of the hill, you find another rise above you, and yet another peak, and the height to be achieved seems infinity: but you find as you ascend that the air becomes purer and more bracing, that the clouds gather more frequently below than above, that the sun is warmer than before and that you not only get a clearer view of Heaven, but that you gain a wider view of earth, and that your horizon is perpetually growing larger.” Endicott Peabody

The Power of Nature to Nurture, Awaken, Transcend, Uplift, Restore, Elevate, the Human Spirit

Nature Meditation – ONWARD FORWARD LET IT GO

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“You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading your last one” Michael McMillan

I would like to start this year with an excerpt from my book – FEEL THE WILD

After years living in New York City I was still trying to find my place, my tribe, my purpose. I worked in an office and performed a job I had no passion for. Day after day, I acted my way through the part, feeling as if I didn’t have enough to give to my work. And I didn’t. I wasn’t energized by my work; I was drained by it. Like a stabled horse, I wanted out. I needed to find that child within, to be alive once more. So I called it quits. 

I sold everything, bought a camera, and persuaded some companies to help fund my equipment. I took out a world map, put my finger on New York, and started moving south until I reached Patagonia. This land had been many things to many people. For Magellan and Drake, it was the land of giants. For Darwin, it was a place that would change his life. For French author and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Patagonia was his muse. And for writers Chatwin and Theroux, it was their salvation. For me, this vast land, these million square kilometers of mountains, rivers, canyons, steppes, ocean coasts, and unbelievable skies, would perhaps bring me back from the depths of unhappiness. Patagonia is where my story began.

I was standing on a beach at Punta Norte, on the Valdes Peninsula in the Chubut Province, a place famous for orcas that beach themselves to snatch young, careless sea lion pups. Looking out and watching black fins knifing the shallow waters, I unexpectedly started to feel like I was choking. I don’t know why. I can’t explain what happened to me. Instead of giving in to the anxiety of the moment, I gathered my wits and took a really deep breath. I felt the south wind pushing its way into me. This cold air had traveled north from Antarctica, passed Tierra del Fuego, followed the rugged coast of Argentina, and now settled into my lungs. And with this new breath of icy air came a release. It was as if I was taking my first breath. My lungs opened up, like the petals of a flower stretching out to receive all the light around it. And I felt a sudden awareness, as if I was unexpectedly waking up after decades of hibernation…”

The part missing from the text is that none of it happened the way I had planned. In fact my trip to Argentina was so ill prepared that I had to cancel my original plan. I had overestimated the challenges and ridiculously overpacked. To say that I was in over my head is an understatement. Facing my foolishness and immaturity, I surrendered to my predicament. Letting my pride take the back seat, I reassessed everything and improvised. Six months later, I emerged transformed.

None of my expeditions have happened the way I wanted. In fact barely anything in my life goes according to plan. But every time I find myself in the unexpected, I let go, adapt, learn, and grow stronger. The truth is that my most cherish possessions, my most beautiful discoveries, and my most precious friendships have all appeared from these dark places where I thought nothing was working.

On December 31st, I was listening to Shankar Vedantam, host of Hidden Brain, concluding the story “Life’s Many Codas: Maya Shankar’s Path From Juilliard To The White House

“… all of us have chapters in our lives that close and when they do, especially if it is a chapter that we have known and love for a long time, it can feel like the whole book is over, that there is nothing left to do, maybe even nothing left to live for. But I think each of us has stories in our lives that reflect the fact that the people we are today are not the same people we were only a few years ago. We often underestimate our capacity to reinvent ourselves… the things that distinguished humans from other species is our remarkable capacity to adapt to different conditions, differing situations… it isn’t about our physical abilities, it is really about the mind and each year around this time, we need to remind ourselves that when one door closes, we have the ability to find other doors to open…”

Whatever has happened to us last year, the year before, 10 years ago, or even as a child decades earlier, we must let go. The goal of the Past is to learn from it, not to hold on to it. What I wish for you in 2016 is to shed the old skin, to let go of the unnecessary, to release the burden, the guilt and these negative attachments and march ahead, chin up, and confident. We are alchemists, we have the ability to turn iron into gold, to grow from the most challenging and painful. We are resilient! Onward and Forward!

The Power of Nature to Nurture, Awaken, Transcend, Uplift Restore, Elevate, the Human Spirit

 

Nature Meditation – SHADOWS

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“Life itself is but the shadow of death, and souls departed but the shadows of the living.” Thomas Browne

There is only a sliver of the sun peaking above the crest of the mountains. For the past thirty minutes, I have been watching this disc of light descend, slowly closing the gap between itself and the horizon. Within the next seconds this star that illuminates the world around me will disappear, taking along with it, the light that dominates and structures our lives. Colors will fade; what used to be a dynamic world of hues will turn into a monotone landscape. I wonder if perhaps the reason why the sky becomes so colorful during sunrises and sunsets is because it shows the migration of Colors. These particles of light fly with the sun and bond themselves to anything that vibrates at the same frequency. In the morning, they precede the sun and announce the arrival of the day. In the evening, they are the last ones to leave, making us long for their return.

Behind me, my shadow grows. Seemingly alive, this imprint of myself, this silhouette of my existence, expands, reaches across the air, and spreads over the land. While my physical presence is trapped within the confines of this body, it is its  shadow that goes beyond and connects with the world. With the sun now gone, my shadow merges with all the others and together, immersed within Earth’s shady embrace, we become one.

The light is powerful. It gives us the ability to see and define our environment. It warms and protects us. It allows us to control our path. With it, we can plan, analyze, create, and build. Because of it, we can breathe and feed ourselves. But light also carries a burden. It isolates. It categorizes. Instead of unleashing our consciousness, it buries it under an sea of judgments. We might be living on a planet that is part of a vast Universe, but during the day, when we look up to the sky, we see none of our connection to the Beyond. What we see is a blanket of fluffiness, a blue cover that appeases and hypnotizes us. What we don’t see is our place amongst the stars. What we don’t see is the Truth.

It is only when stepping into the shadow of the Earth that the Universe is revealed.

In the shadows we might loose our sight, but we gain more intimate senses. Our hearing opens up. Our smell tunes in. Control gives way to intuition. Instead of going outward, we must journey inward. Instead of reaching out and introducing ourselves, we must become vulnerable and let the world in. In the darkness we process, contemplate, and dream; in the absence of light, all and everything is equal.

Today, technology is the light – our lives are defined by it. While there are amazing benefits to its capacity, we must remind ourselves that the beauty of our species and the Truth about Life does not reside under a microscope or laid out in an algorithm. Lovecompassionfriendship, and community live in this place called Intimacy; in the shadow of technology.

We must ask ourselves: do we want to live in an emotional arid world much like a desert where the sun destroys everything and where shade offers you life and a sanctuary? Or would we rather choose a world that nurtures both intimacy and technology, each valued and protected, not one at the expense of the other?

As the year ends, lets reflect on our own intimacy and what lies beyond ourselves. Do we seek the light and let technology govern our lives because we are afraid of facing our humanity? If the stars are only revealed at night, if the Milky Way can only be seen in the absence of light, how much of ourselves are we missing by avoiding our own shadows?

I wish you Merry Christmas, a wonderful Holiday season, and an amazing New Year.

Find your inner fire, don’t be afraid of being alone, get lost, see what you want to see, exist through others, roar like a lion, breathe the world in, find your balance, celebrate life, and be vulnerable.

I will see you back in 2016.

The Power of Nature to Nurture, Awaken, Transcend, Uplift Restore, Elevate, the Human Spirit


PHOTO OF THE WEEK

WEEKLY DISCOUNT 15%. 

EYES IN THE DARK
ARGENTINA
25″ x 40″ Digital Photography
Archival Inkjet Lithography / Ultrachrome Pigment inks,
Printed on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl 285g
$750 (minus 15%) + shipping

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FEEL THE WILD – eBOOK!

$9.75

190 pages of wilderness and nature through the lens and words of storyteller Daniel Fox

10% of the sales go to the W.I.L.D. Scholarship Fund, a program that sends inner city youth to month long wilderness immersion camp.

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$8.75

A set of 30 photos to use as a screen saver for your iPhone or Android.

Resolution: 1334 x 750, 100dpi

10% of the sales go to the W.I.L.D. Scholarship Fund, a program that sends inner city youth to month long wilderness immersion camp.

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$9.75

A set of 40 photos to use as a screen saver for your computer, desktop or laptop.

Resolution: 2560 x 1440, 100dpi, each

10% of the sales go to the W.I.L.D. Scholarship Fund, a program that sends inner city youth to month long wilderness immersion camp.

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Nature Meditation – HYGGE

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“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Little Prince

There are thousands of them, sparks of ember rising from the fire and flying into the night sky. Their incandescence leaves traces against the darkness – erratic tapestry of temporary glowing streaks. My stare, previously locked on the burning logs, starts moving up. It picks up on a particular spark and follows it as it ascends and reaches to the stars. My imaginary mind can’t hold itself and creatively realizes that it has figured out where stars come from – millions of tiny embers from millions of campfires, over millions of years, that have flown high into the universe and settled. Once, these tiny Beings of Fire warmed our hearts, bodies, hands and skin; but now, hanging up above and out of reach, they warm our souls and make us dream about the infinite possibilities that lie beyond.

Around the campfire, friends are gathered. Through the grapevines, I hear many conversations. To my right, people are talking about the fish caught earlier, the same fish that we are now cooking on hot stones just inches away from the fire. There is a salty and crispy barbecue aroma lingering around that is tantalizing and torturing our hungry stomachs.

To my left, I can hear the excitement in recounting the day paddle of discovery, exploring two nearby bays – there was a great heron that was croaking at us, annoyed at having his secret stash of food disturbed. There was also the sight of a marauding mink, nearby rocks that were covered with seaweed and barnacles, sometimes going for a swim and diving for crabs. A family of deer grazing on a field, tucked between trees, was looking at us probably wondering why would any creature wear so many bright different colors and carry such a distinct plasticky scent.

In front of me across the fire, I can’t hear what the other people are talking about. I might not be able to hear their words but their bodies are speaking loud and clear. I can see the happiness on their faces. I see the glow of Life in their eyes. Their hands waving in the air with excitement.

For a minute, I contemplate at the impact fire has had on our evolution, not only transforming our eating habits, but also  – and I would argue even more importantly – transforming the way we interact. Beyond the purpose of hunting and security, it brought people together. Fire staged the birth for storytelling and laid the foundation to building communities. It created a place in time for people to bond, share, and connect. Here, in the outdoors, surrounded by a world that pre-existed me, I am connecting and bonding to my fellow humans and to nature in the same way that my ancestors did a million years ago.

The Danish have a word for the overall emotion that runs within my body: Hygge (pronounced ‘hYOOguh’), a deep satisfying state of well-being, a happiness that is rooted in being with others, enjoying life, living in the moment, eating, celebrating, and conversing. Looking around the campfire and seeing all of this love and happiness flowing, I come to understand how this word has become a cultural pride and the core of their identity.

Christmas and the holidays are a time to be Hygge. It is a time to stop and reconnect. A time to leave behind the worries and to celebrate life and the people that surround us.

This week, as we prepare ourselves to visit or receive our families and friends, lets take a moment to meditate on the joy and laughs these people have brought us, these memories of happiness that have happened over a good dinner or by a crackling fire in the chimney.

“Just living isn’t enough,” said the butterfly. “One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” Hans Christian Andersen, Danish Author

Read more about Hygge on NPR or BBC

The Power of Nature to Nurture, Awaken, Transcend, Uplift Restore, Elevate, the Human Spirit


PHOTO OF THE WEEK

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WEEKLY DISCOUNT 15%. 

MORNING ROTHKO
Summit Powder Mountain
25″ x 40″ Digital Photography
Archival Inkjet Lithography / Ultrachrome Pigment inks,
Printed on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl 285g
$750 (minus 15%) + shipping

BUY NOW

Normal cover

FEEL THE WILD – eBOOK!

$9.75

190 pages of wilderness and nature through the lens and words of storyteller Daniel Fox

10% of the sales go to the W.I.L.D. Scholarship Fund, a program that sends inner city youth to month long wilderness immersion camp.

DOWNLOAD NOW

iphone-screenSmart Phone SCREEN SAVERS – Bundle

$8.75

A set of 30 photos to use as a screen saver for your iPhone or Android.

Resolution: 1334 x 750, 100dpi

10% of the sales go to the W.I.L.D. Scholarship Fund, a program that sends inner city youth to month long wilderness immersion camp.

DOWNLOAD NOW

desktop-screenDesktop SCREEN SAVERS – Bundle

$9.75

A set of 40 photos to use as a screen saver for your computer, desktop or laptop.

Resolution: 2560 x 1440, 100dpi, each

10% of the sales go to the W.I.L.D. Scholarship Fund, a program that sends inner city youth to month long wilderness immersion camp.

DOWNLOAD NOW

Nature Meditation – GETTING LOST

“ “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” Henry David Thoreau

The irony of the situation is hard to miss. This week’s meditation theme is about “getting lost” and here I am, writing these lines, lost in a world of in-between, in an unwanted place, away from my tribe, struggling to find my bearing. Yesterday, my life was structured and somewhat stable; I had plans, a schedule, confirmed engagements, and I had just celebrated the passing of a major personal milestone. And today, well, all the cards have been thrown up in the air and where they will fall is still unknown. Hours ago, my compass was bearing straight ahead, steady and holding course; now I look at the needle and it is pointing to all directions, going everywhere but the place where I want to go, leaving me in a twilight zone of torment.

How many times have, each one of us, felt this way? How many times have we faced uncertainty, the feeling of powerlessness creeping from the inner depth of our insecurity? In all my years of solo wilderness expeditions and in my personal life, I have always been able to look back at those moments of feeling lost, and, with the acquired wisdom, to see how positively transforming those truly unfortunate events turned out to be; how much I grew personally and spiritually. Despite knowing in my core that it was going to be ok, that I would make it through, I had been there before and that I had all the tools and capacity to find my way again, this chaotic present is still a burden of monumental proportion. And that is ok.

Erika Harris has a wonderful quote: “It is good to feel lost… because it proves you have a navigational sense of where “Home” is. You know that a place that feels like being found exists. And maybe your current location isn’t that place but, Hallelujah, that unsettled, uneasy feeling of lost-ness just brought you closer to it.

Besides reaffirming our sense of belonging, these forced detours are always filled with treasures, if only we let ourselves be open to being able to see them. I have lost count of the times when I have found the most beautiful places, met the most amazing people, lived the most incredible moments, and discovered my most cherished possessions, more often after finding myself lost and surrendering to the moment, letting the flow of life carry me, and my intuitions guide me.

There is an undeniable sadness and anxiety when faced with uncertainty. Let’s be honest, who really takes complete pleasure in being at a point in time and space that seems to be disconnected from everything? A location that has no name, no clear direction, no obvious way out? Should I go this way? Or that way? What if the solutions are in the opposite direction? Am I making things worse? Am I walking towards a precipice or closer to home? The answers, as distant as they may seem, reside inside of us, inside our “inner fire”, that place made of energy which is connected to everything and everyone. It is that place that feeds our intuition, that whisper which only wants to protect us. My fears and doubts will often be the loudest and quickest to react, urging me to flee and find shelter. But in those moments where my sense of orientation disappears, the bearing to find my way through the heavy fog, the path that will take me back home, the clarity that will illuminate my world once again and lift away that opaque shroud, all appear when I surrender and open myself first. The key is to accept the predicament and understand that I have no power over the past but I do hold the keys to the future.

Meditate on the times in your life where you’ve lost yourself not to the events, but to your fears and doubts. In the future how can you make sure not to give in to these negative feelings? We all get lost from time to time, it is an inevitable part of life. But whether these moments make us grow spiritually, happier, wiser, and richer, is within our control.

The Power of Nature to Nurture, Awaken, Transcend, Uplift Restore, Elevate, the Human Spirit


PHOTO OF THE WEEK

WEEKLY DISCOUNT 15%. 
Kayak Triptych. Taken in Baja California and Alaska. Signed and Dedicated, Archival Inkjet Lithography / Ultrachrome Pigment inks, printed on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl 285g

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NATURE RETREAT

Weekend Nature Retreats, Day Hikes and BeSpoke Adventures – a mix of nature & philosophy with a purpose of gaining a better perspective on life & taking control of your personal narrative.

Reserve now for Cavallo Point on February 26/27/28 – 12 places left!

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NEW BOOK!

FEEL THE WILD “What makes Daniel’s work special and important is that it stirs us deep inside, where his story meets ours, his dream overlaps with yours and his curiosity become contagious” from Wallace J. Nichols, author of Bluemind

On Sale for $40, plus shipping

ORDER NOW

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Nature Meditation – ALONE ISN’T LONELY

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No man (or woman) should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself (herself) depending solely on himself (herself) and thereby learning his (her) true and hidden strength.” Jack Kerouac

My childhood memories are vague and distant, like glimpses of a movie played behind a smoke screen. When I look at photos from my past, my brain is able to recognize what they represent; it recognizes the places where they were taken, it recognizes the people it sees. But beyond that, the images seem strange, disconnected, and impersonal. I can’t seem to be able to attach a feeling that ties me to that moment; I look at my younger self captured in a picture, a place in time that I can confirm and remember, but I have no emotional memory of being there. I want to remember the specifics, but for some reason, my past has become a timeline divided in themes, periods defined by an emotion that summarizes those particular years, thousands of memories put together, merged into a single block and stamped with a single word, an emotion that overrides all the others. Of those themes, the emotion that stands out is loneliness.

My life was for a very long time filled with a feeling of loneliness. For decades, I didn’t know where I belonged. My parents moved a lot. By the age of 12, I had already moved 10 times. With every move, I had to leave behind whatever world I had been able to create with the limited time that I had been given, and focus on recreating a sense of belonging to wherever I was then finding myself. Houses changed; friendships vanished as quickly as they were born; cities became backdrops for momentary plays. While the world around me was in constant motion, sweeping away any hint of foundation that I was trying to build for myself, one place remained constant and offered me salvation, peace, and a purpose ⎯ nature. Everywhere we moved, there was always a local park, a forest where I could roam and get lost; trees I could climb, creeks I could explore, dirt I could dig in. That loneliness that dominated my world was nowhere to be found the minute I stepped into the wilderness. There ⎯ in this world of silence ⎯ I found solace. I was alone but I was connected; I felt part of something that was bigger than me. Within that silence, I found comfort; within those trees, I found a tribe that listened; within nature I found the family I was looking for, the structure of values and insights that would teach me about life, about what it is to be human, and what is like to live on this planet.  That deep connectedness has never left me since, I carry it with me everywhere I go, where ever I find myself, whether I am alone or not.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.” Mahatma Gandhi

The irony of our time is that despite being constantly connected and surrounded, actually never really being “alone”, there is a deep loneliness that permeates our lives. It is a loneliness that is overshadowed by pride; a pride that isolates us and infringes on our need to deeply connect; a pride that is based on the fear of facing our inner silence and solitude; a vulnerable and intimate place where the beauty of being human is revealed.

Face the silenceembrace your solitudecelebrate your vulnerabilityconnect with the beyond (whatever that may be for you), and find the lightwithin and around you.

The Power of Nature to Nurture, Awaken, Transcend, Uplift Restore, Elevate, the Human Spirit


PHOTO OF THE WEEK

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WEEKLY DISCOUNT 15%
Patagonian Winter. Taken in the Province of Santa Cruz in Argentina. Signed and Dedicated, Archival Inkjet Lithography / Ultrachrome Pigment inks, printed on Hahnemuhle Fine Art Pearl 285g

BUY NOW

NATURE RETREAT

Weekend Nature Retreats, Day Hikes and BeSpoke Adventures – a mix of nature & philosophy with a purpose of gaining a better perspective on life & taking control of your personal narrative.

Reserve now for Cavallo Point on February 26/27/28 – 12 places left!

RESERVE NOW

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NEW BOOK!

FEEL THE WILD “What makes Daniel’s work special and important is that it stirs us deep inside, where his story meets ours, his dream overlaps with yours and his curiosity become contagious” from Wallace J. Nichols, author of Bluemind

On Sale for $40, plus shipping

ORDER NOW

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HALLOWEEN SALE!

Several prints are currently exhibited at CIBO, in Sausalito, California. For anyone who walks into CIBOand emails the password “Pumpkin”, standing in front of their print of choice, will receive a 20% discount.

And don’t forget to taste their coffee!!! It is a MUST!

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SPRING NEWSLETTER

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“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” John Muir

Spring – the time of the year that is synonymous with new beginnings. Trees that have been dormant for months start coming to life. Minute by minute, the sun stays longer every day, finally pushing our dark evenings away. The air is getting warmer. This warmth is fueling this increase of energy we feel everywhere. The other animals sense it too. Our bodies are becoming more active, itching to return to the open landscapes. It is the call of the Wild, reaching out into the depth of our unconscious and connecting with the ancestral bond we share with the planet and with the natural world.


FUJIFILM

I am extremely proud and honored to announce that I am now a FUJIFILM X-Photographer. It is not everyday that one of the most recognized photography brands in the world decides to include you in its team of “Expert Photographers“.

I have been using the X-T1 and you can read below my testimonial.

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“The XT-1 is my new weapon of choice. It is everything I need and much more. Having used DSLR for many years, I had always felt that going more compact and opting for the benefits of mirrorless cameras meant loosing in quality and capacities. But those days are now gone and over with. The XT-1 is the future, my future! It gives me the power of technology in a camera I have no worries taking it along with me either while kayaking the burning hot Sea of Cortez, backpacking the wet and windy spring days of British Columbia, or biking the cold winter wilderness of Alaska.

Also really important, I never feel physically disconnected from the process of photography – which is something that is happening today because of technology – you gain new advantages while loosing connection. The XT-1 is the opposite. Its simplicity and its tactile controls connect me with my art, with the photos. I feel in control, not controlled and dependent of a machine.

The XT-1 is a no fuss, extremely powerful, weatherproof and compact wonder! And it is the only one I carry with me.”


WILD FOUNDATION

The WILD Foundation has been at the heart of the global wilderness community for over 40 years. It is the founder and steward of the World Wilderness Congress, the world’s longest–running, public, international conservation program.

Starting in June, I will be joining their Marine Wilderness 10+10 Project as LEAD WILD EXPLORER. Together, and with other organizations, we will work at preserving the wilderness values of a targeted selection of regions around the world.

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“Daniel brings to us the wild tales of the ocean we need to help a variety of stakeholders envision the values they commonly hold – ‘marine wilderness,’ which benefits communities, fishers, recreationists, tourists and all of us.” Julie Anton Randall, Vice President for Programs, The WILD Foundation


W.I.L.D. SCHOLARSHIP

W.I.L.D. (Wilderness Immersion for Leadership & Discovery) believes that immersion in nature is an important part of our development, especially during our early, formative years when it is so critical to discover who we are, develop strong self-esteem, begin to adopt leadership skills, challenge our physical well-being and acquire the capacity to live a balance life in a world dominated by technology. Knowing the importance of today’s youth in shaping the future, W.I.L.D.‘s initial effort is targeted on giving youth, especially under-privileged teens, the opportunity to experience first-hand the positive impact nature can have on their lives through wilderness immersion camps.

Originally, the funds raised during the first  W.I.L.D. campaign were just enough to support only one teenager but thanks to N.O.L.S., their scholarship program decided to get involved and matched the donations. Making it possible to fund 2 teenagers instead of one.

So it is with great pleasure that I am announcing the first 2 W.I.L.D. Scholarship recipients, Gavrielle Thompson and Kedyn Sierra.

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Both Gavrielle and Kedyn have been previously involved with ETC (Environmental Traveling Companions). Their applications clearly illustrated their passion for the outdoors and their deep desire to experience and learn from being immersed in nature. As part of their adventure, they will be documenting their journey and sharing their discoveries.  Look forward to their report later this fall.

For their month-long sea kayaking wilderness camp in Alaska this summer, Kedyn & Gavrielle will be geared up by Sierra Designs,  Kokatat,  Mountain KhakisMiirIcebreaker,  Aquapac,  Deuters,  Confluence Outdoors,  Rocky S2V,  Guayaki,  Optimus Stove and Smith Optics.

A huge thank you to everyone for your support!


BAJA CALIFORNIA

I recently spent 2 months in Baja California where I paddled around Isla Espiritu Santo and Isla Tortuga. While Santo is a famous island close to LaPaz featuring incredible landscapes, Tortuga is a remote volcanic crater 20 miles offshore only visited by fishermen. You can see the recap of the two expeditions on PINTEREST and the MINUTE OF NATURE videos filmed on location here.

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Whale shark outside LaPaz, Baja California Sur, Mexico

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The Tortuga Rattlesnake, a species endemic to the island.

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Campsite on Isla Espiritu Santo


STORIES

From the blog – 3 new stories were added: an encounter with a black bear, the insights received during a paddle in Baja, and the challenges explorers face when they come back home after traveling for so long.

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THE POWER OF THE VOICE

The black bear stood tall, mounted on his hind legs, only 15 feet away from me. Its nose was covered with long grey hair, some remnants of a deer carcass it was just feeding on. Its front paw claws hung in front of him while the ones on its back paws were firmly dug into the ground… READ MORE

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SOLITUDE + SILENCE = CLARITY & PERSPECTIVE

The beach was made of this creamy white sand – powdery granules made of crushed shells and limestone eroded over millions of years, moved with the tides, currents and wind, slowly and gradually pushed back against the shore, grain after grain, and now forming the soft cushion I was resting on… READ MORE

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A CHALLENGING RETURN

The road is my home. It is where I feel alive. It is where I breathe and nourish myself. The road feeds my craving for discovery. It calms my restless mind hungry for new experiences. My dreams are blank canvases that paint themselves as I move forward towards new destinations. I am like a mountain river that needs the movement to fill itself with air… READ MORE


PUBLIC SPEAKING

The end of 2014 and the beginning of 2015 was marked by several public speaking engagements with presentations at REI stores throughout the Bay Area, at the San Francisco State University and at the well known Commonwealth Club in San Francisco.

Dates and locations for future events will be announced this summer as the schedule for Fall 2015 / Winter 2016 is being confirmed.

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FEEL THE WILD – BOOK

My new book – FEEL THE WILD, is in the works and the first Draft Edition will be ready for the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show this August. With close to 200 pages, the book is a collection of stunning photography, inspirational stories and new material.

If you want to be notified when the book becomes available please click this link

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ONLINE STORE

We are getting closer to the online store being operational. Products from Icebreaker, Miir and Mountain Khakis will feature the FEEL THE WILD & THE POWER OF NATURE TO RESTORE THE HUMAN SPIRIT branding. Products so far being offered will include: Coffee Mugs, Merino t-shirts, Neoskin journals, Growlers, Tote Bags, Insulated bottles, Water bottles, Greeting cards and prints.

If you want to be notified when the merchandise becomes available please click this link

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MEDIA

See below a recap of some of the major media coverage recently published. I would like to thank the publications and magazines for believing that my work is newsworthy. Click on the image to access the article.

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WHAT’S NEXT

Plans are always the most complicated and challenging reality I have to face, as they constantly change. Right now, I am heading to British Columbia where I plan on biking and padding the Canadian Wilderness for the next 2 months. With nothing set in stone, the best way to keep in touch with my adventures is through my social media – which you can access by clicking the icons below. If you hear that I am passing through your neighborhood, don’t hesitate and reach out, it is always a pleasure to connect and share stories.

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May the Wilderness Be with You.

STOP . BREATHE . RELAX . LISTEN

A Challenging Return

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The road is my home. It is where I feel alive. It is where I breathe and nourish myself. The road feeds my craving for discovery. It calms my restless mind hungry for new experiences. My dreams are blank canvases that paint themselves as I move forward towards new destinations. I am like a mountain river that needs the movement to fill itself with air. Let me dawdle in a pond and I start to suffocate. It is not that I can’t stay in one place it is just that my energy vibrates to the rhythm of the unexpected and continuous change – endless journeys filled with discoveries.

But two months ago, my 9 months of traveling came to an abrupt end (Alive and Stronger) and since then I have been feeling the weight of inertia. It wasn’t until last week, while trying to find clarity on a beach that I realized just how much of a recluse and grouch I had became, overwhelmed by loss (camera equipment stolen) and sensory overload. It was not only that I felt my energy stuck in a perpetual loop of nothingness, but that my vision and optimism had became clouded with a dark and asphyxiating curtain, like algae chocking a river until nothing lives, transforming a once thriving ecosystem into a dead zone, leaving behind this empty liquid – a ghost.

And these last few months, I have been nothing but an angry ghost, snapping at everything and every one.

So returning from the beach after Thanksgiving, I decided to write about it. I needed a catharsis. I needed to feel the sun again and find peace in the moment. I needed to be grateful for what I had and stop chocking on the things I was missing. I needed to STOP . BREATHE . RELAX and LISTEN. So nature brought me back from the dead.

On that same day I started writing, Becca Skinner posted on Facebook the following:

“There’s a part of me that woke up this morning with a wild heart and restlessness in my bones. And I craved the road and traveling to the point of near tears. So I sat down and wrote about it, drank cups of coffee and told the restlessness to hold on a little bit longer. After spending so much time traveling, it’s often difficult for me to stay in one place. It’s something I’m working on.

Reading her intimate thoughts made me realized that most of us who explore and seem – judging from all our social media feeds, to be living a life of dreams and adventures, all come back and crash. So I reached out to my fellow travelers and explorers and asked them to share with me their thoughts on the topic.

Scott Rinckenberger, is a professional photographer and adventurer specializing in capturing the most wild and pristine places his legs, skis and bikes will carry him. His commercial clients include REI, Patagonia, Red Bull and Intel.

“There is something that we earth-bound explorers share with those who venture into the open reaches of space. We have both experienced altered gravity. Theirs is a physical experience, ours is mental and spiritual. When adventuring I feel more energy, more strength, more speed and more clarity. For a time I attributed this to how my body was reacting to the environment, but I’ve come to realize that it’s my mind reacting to the change in constraints. It’s become clear to me that daily life in the city has a density that can weigh down and suffocate those who have tasted a lighter way of being. Our lungs expand less readily, our eyes see less distance, our minds have less clarity of purpose, and our bodies struggle under the increased burdens. It is so easy to succumb to the pressure, to opt for depression or escapism. Sometimes I let myself settle for this weakness for a short time. But I strive with all of my being to keep my ears open to the voice that reminds me how fortunate I have been, how much love I’ve been blessed with, how minor are my burdens in comparison to so many. And I force myself to go to my office, fire up my computer and update my status to read: “Stoked to be back home with family and friends.” And I try with all I have to really mean it.”

Jeremy Collins, is an illustrator, storyteller, film director, exploratory rock climber and founder of Meridian Line

It has a name. I call it the PTD, or Post Trip Depression. It comes on soft, posing as nostalgia or phantom warmth, then WHAM it hits like a glass wall. I crash through and land back in real life, whatever that is. I check the mail, mow the lawn, or whatever normal people do to play the game. It’s never easy, coming home. The landing is rough, the tarmac crumbled, and I land in the bed with a blazing heap of metal, luggage and memories.”

Sarah Outen, a British adventurer, ocean rower. She is currently part way through her multi-year expedition ‘London2London: Via the World’ – an attempt to row, cycle and kayak a continuous loop of the planet, starting and finishing at Tower Bridge.

“I work with a psychotherapist and we identified after my Indian Ocean row in 2009 that transitioning back into ‘normal’ life was really hard – and then through L2L that each transition in and out of different phases is the same. The biggest challenge for me came after my rescue from the North Pacific in 2012. Suddenly there was a huge trauma to deal with as well – I had experienced something very intense, threatening in total isolation and lost my boat in the process. People expected me to be happy and to slot right back in at full speed. In fact, I really, really struggled and it took a while to realize the depth of that struggle and seek proper help. It’s something that I have spoken about with many fellow adventuring pals and I would say that many are not that open about it. And I guess that’s not just in our adventuring expeditioning realm either – there is such a stigma around mental health that struggled often get brushed under the carpet or hidden from sharing. I wrote a blog post about my depression post Pacific 2012 and it was one of the most heavily commented posts of my entire trip. I think that acknowledging there may well be a settling in period after a trip is important. We often prepare for the going away, but thinking about the coming home is useful too and how to structure what happens next. Or even just acknowledging that it is OK, it is normal and we don’t need to charge back on with ‘normal’ stuff right away. Be gentle with yourself – that’s one of the best things I have learned on my trip.”

Krystle Wright is an adventure photographer, Canon Master, Red Bull Illume Top 50 finalist, F-Stop Gear Ambassador, SanDisk AU, and global traveller in search of unique images

“I am a child of the universe, officially a non resident of any country. My camera leads me to the far corners of the earth as I try to fulfill my insatiable desire to document expeditions and disconnect from civilization. I crave the escape. I thrive in the extremes, seeking the freedom and liberation that comes with completely disconnecting from modern luxuries. Yet at the same time I am more connected than ever to just being in the moment. Though inevitably I’ll return periodically and jump into the city scene for brief moments. I can only handle it for a short space of time before I feel the urge to get going again. I haven’t had a home for 3 years now and I have come to just embrace the nomadic lifestyle. It’s not that I hate cities, I just know that its not where I belong. There are many wonderful things that can happen in all types of scenarios including the hustle and bustle of the city, my biggest concern is that people become lost and engulfed and probably forget to disconnect and just simply be outside. Ultimately, it’s all about finding balance.”

Cristian Dimitrus, a cameraman, photographer, biologist and tv personality specialized in wildlife and natural history, his work has been featured on major television networks, including the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, TV Globo, History Channel and Animal Planet.

“Some people say that a true adventure means “get out of your comfort zone”. But when I am back in the city I am definitely out of my comfort zone. So for me being back in town is an adventure in its own way. Not the most enjoyable one but its the place where I have the opportunity to dream out loud, visualize and plan new adventures. This is the way I found to cope with the craziness. My mind takes me wherever I can imagine and sooner than I realize, I am there, back in the wild, where I belong, in Flesh and Blood.”

Catherine Yrisarri, is a documentary storyteller who has produced environmental, political and social stories in over 40 countries. Her clients include National Geographic Channel & Creative, PBS, Oprah, New York Times, The North Face & many others.

“I’ve lived in New York City for the past 6 years which is a strange dichotomy to my life & work on the road where I typically pilgrimage to places of immense natural beauty like the Himalaya, Indian Ocean, Peruvian Andes to capture stories about the culture or environment. In these places, you feel the majesty of the diverse ecosystem that exist in this fragile, beautiful world. It is spectacular. Then I return home to an epicenter of culture and diversity where humanity exists so closely knit here, but there’s a lack of nature. It’s a hard to return to and reconcile at times especially growing up in Colorado so closely tied to rivers and mountains. I find myself pushing toward projects that bring me back to these spaces because they lack in my daily life at the moment. There’s definitely a need in us all for the wildness, untouched beauty. I feel lucky enough that I get paid to escape to these recesses of the world that are slowly closing in by population dynamics and other human impact needs like mining and resource extraction.” 

Skip Armstrong, an award-winning director and cinematographer. His client list includes Boeing, Air New Zealand, National Geographic, Camp4 Collective, BF Goodrich Tires, The North Face, New Belgium Brewery, NRS, Patagonia and many more. His films have been awarded at major film festivals including Banff and Telluride.

“I’ve always been struck by the perfection of undisturbed wilderness.  The plants, animals, rivers – they are all in a state of balance.  I’ve found that after a few days I can’t help but personally take on the same feeling, of being balanced.  When returning to cities and the busyness of day to day life the stark contrast between the two worlds is remarkable. I wish and hope that we all prioritize and embrace the value that only wild and undisturbed lands can offer.”

Winston Ben Wolfrider, a British explorer who just returned home after traveling coast to coast across the USA for World Land Trust. He covered over 25,000 miles on just $6 a day, via a hoard of natural checkpoints.

I call it Re-entry. It’s hideous, and often welcomes me “home” or dumps me somewhere after a journey whilst handing me “plane flu”, a man-cold or a repetitive strain injury, at the same time as most people are ignorant to the fact that I might be jetlagged or in a version of shock. Ending any trip is the most awesome feeling of elation and accomplishment, yet immediately after the smiles, it’s possibly the biggest anti-climax and strongest feeling of loneliness I have ever felt. Many Olympic medal winners feel the same, so I’ve heard. There’s only one thing for it… start seeking the next one!

Sarah Menzies, a filmmaker based out of Seattle currently working on Afghan Cycles, a feature length documentary about the brave women riding bike in Afghanistan. Sarah founded her production company Let Media in 2012.

“Since I was a young kid, I knew I wanted to see the world. I’ve figured out a way to make those dreams come true when I became a filmmaker. My job takes me all over the world and I love it. The first few years of this work had me living on the road, out of a bag. I felt free. I’m actually renting a place right now, which I’m still getting used to. I’ve never looked at drawers the same way. I can actually unpack my bag now! While life with a home base has been an adjustment in and of itself, my recovery time from trips has totally changed. Life used to be one big trip that I was on. I like the balance of renting because it allows me to nurture a community and my relationships. I just got a dog! But I lack balance in the coming and going. When I get home from a production, it takes me a few days to find my normal again. I miss the sights, smells, conversations that I have when I’m on the road. It’s hard to tell stories from those experiences to my loved ones who were not with me, so I often feel lonely after a trip. Loneliness also comes in the form of missing all the people I met on those trips. My brain easily wanders as I think about those new friends and wonder if I’ll ever get to see them again. But as a filmmaker, I’m in a unique position because I get to relive those experiences (again and again!) as I work through an edit and share the final piece. As I edit something near and dear to my heart, I can almost feel those places, people, and even smells wrap around me and give me a big hug. It lessens the blow of re-entry, and helps give me closure with a trip and strength to move on to the next one.”

Cristina Mittermeier, is a Mexican-born photographer and conservationist, former President of the International League of Conservation Photographers, and a SONY Artisan. Her work has been featured in museums, art shows books and magazines, including National Geographic. She was recently assigned as a judge for the World Press Photo Award.

“The work of the photojournalist is exciting and stimulating but make no mistake, it also requires tremendous sacrifice. It demands infinite energy, tireless enthusiasm, a spirit of adventure, the ability to survive under difficult circumstances and the courage to confront danger. It can be all consuming, which makes for lonely spouses and neglected children. So, I confess. After so many years of being a nomad, all I want these days is to be home. Without a doubt, when the next assignment comes, I will be as excited and ready to go on another adventure, but for now I crave the comforting routine of a small, uncomplicated existence. I know it won’t last long and pretty soon I will be packing again, so while I am here, I like to pretend that the rest of the world doesn’t exist and I savor the beauty of the simple, everyday stuff.” 

Chris Burkard, is a photographer and World Explorer of cold, remote places. His clients include American Airlines, Nikon, Volkswagen, Apple, Fuel TV, Burton, Volcom, RVCA, Poler Stuff, Pacifico, among others, as well as having work published on over 35 national and international covers of magazines including Surfer Magazine, The New Yorker, National Geographic Adventure, ESPN.com

“I live for some of these adventures.  It is what gets my blood pumping and the hair on my skin to stand up. At the end I am happy to come home to see my family, but there are nights where I am kept up thinking about my next journey or dreaming about where I just was.  Sometimes I’ll go to a rock climbing gym to clear my mind, but I’m always thinking about my next step.” 

Flemming Bo Jensen, official Fuji X-photographer, traveler, filmmaker, has lived as a nomad for the past 5 years.

“It is always hard to come down after the high of a long road trip and adventure. The freedom of roaming through stunning landscapes, having new experiences and a new horizon every day is bliss for my soul. But after many years as a nomad I have realized everything must happen in balance. The time between adventures is equally important. It affords time to organize and fund the next adventure, time to have a daily routine, time to reflect and recharge. And most importantly, it reminds me how fortunate I am to have the freedom to do these adventures.”

Cody Howard from Huckin Huge Films

“Coming back from an adventure or trip of a lifetime to the hustle of the city always reminds me of an important mantra: everything in moderation. Moderate your time away from city and moderate your time in the city, you’ll grow to appreciate both. Burning out is real, moderation and healthy balance is what I strive for. Back to hills for me!”

Roei Sadan, is an Israeli adventurer that cycled around the world.

“Crossing the world on a bicycle for 5 years and coming back to the same place was the hardest part of the journey. I felt like it was a dream and that I would wake up. But ultimately I didn’t have to because the journey was inside me. The world is inside me, every challenge I faced, every desert or high mountain range I crossed became a part of me. Every project that we do stays inside of us and makes us better people. I feel like I know a secret that not many people know. But I will tell you my friends, you don’t have to do a big journey or a great challenge to feel great with yourself, the things that make my day are the things that are free and open for everyone. A great day is a day that you can enjoy the miracle of the sunrise and the magic of the sunset, simple and special. You can enjoy that if you are in the middle of the city or in the middle of a wild place. Enjoy the simplicity and dream with open eyes!”

STOP . BREATHE . RELAX . LISTEN

STOP . BREATHE . RELAX . LISTEN

FALL NEWSLETTER

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Happy is he who is awakened by the cool song of the stream, by a real voice of living nature. Each new day has for him the dynamic quality of birth.

Gaston Bachelard, French Philosopher.

ALIVE & STRONGER

My first attempt to kayak a 1,000 miles, from Victoria, on the Island of Vancouver in Canada to San Francisco, was unfortunately put to a stop on Cannon Beach in Oregon at the end of September. The story ALIVE & STRONGER has been featured on the Canoe Kayak Magazinewebsite and will be appearing in the upcoming printed issue. This ocean story is about the power of nature to shape your character; about how being able to STOP . BREATHE . RELAX . LISTEN can make all the difference in any given moment. It is a story about hope, humility and focusing on the things that really matter in life.

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W.I.L.D. SCHOLARSHIP

It has been just over a month since the end of the first W.I.L.D. fundraising campaign. With 86 funders, enough money was raised to send one under privileged teen to a month long NOLS sea kayaking immersion camp in the summer of 2015, airfare included.

Since then, I have been busy organizing the perks and looking for the lucky teen. Collaborating with ETC (Environmental Traveling Companions), an amazing organization based in San Francisco, that enables people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth to access the wilderness and develop an environmental stewardship, I can proudly say that before the end of the year, I will announce the recipient of the first W.I.L.D. Scholarship.

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NATURE VALLEY

I am extremely proud to announce that December will mark the beginning of my new partnership with NATURE VALLEY. NATURE VALLEY understands the power and reach it has to promote a healthy lifestyle and the value of stepping out into nature to restore our human spirit.

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Their campaign #GetOutThere, their project TrailView and their recent involvement with Erik Weihenmayer is only the beginning of their expanded focus. I am extremely honored to have been invited to be a part of it.

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THE POWER OF NATURE TO RESTORE THE HUMAN SPIRIT COLLECTION

I am presently working with an amazing San Francisco-based designer and master calligraphy Nobuhiro Sato to create a beautiful collection of WILD IMAGE products that will include t-shirts, merino hoodies, mugs, greeting cards, tote bags, water bottles and more.

The inspiration for the collection comes from the simplicity of a brush stroke to illustrate the purity and serenity of nature. The collection will soon be available through my online store – built by Coffee and Magic, and various distribution locations across the country. If you want to be notified when the collection will be available, please contact me.

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SALSA CYCLES

One of the beauties of sea kayaking is the pace – fast enough to cover some distance, yet slow enough that you can feel and experience all that this world has to offer. There is something primal and satisfying about feeling the elements, the rain, the wind, the sun. You can smell the fragrances of the ocean, the distinct aroma of a bay, the seaweed, the breath of a whale, the stench of ammonia from a bird colony. There is also something exhilarating about experiencing the vulnerability felt when encountering wild animals that are bigger than you, in a vessel that offers almost no protection.

Biking is kayak’s earthy equivalent – in every way possible. It is a lifestyle and a way of experiencing life. It is the desire to slow down… STOP, BREATHE, RELAX, LISTEN and honor the beauty around us.

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So it is with great pleasure that I am announcing my new partnership with SALSA Cycles. I plan on spending as much time on the water as off and my new Fargo TI is the perfect vehicle to explore the remote roads of North America. Equipped with my THULE gear and photo equipment I will be able to share my experiences with you wherever I go.

As a modern-day explorer, it’s hard to differentiate yourself; Daniel Fox, through his unique lens, has found a powerful way to do just that. His vision is innovative, his passion palpable. It’s exactly these characteristics that speak to (and inspire) his audience, which at Salsa Cycles, we feel is the same as ours—adventure enthusiasts, addicts and ambassadors. His talents, particularly in the photography department, match his lofty ambitions, and we’re excited to see what next peak he can summit!” Justin Julian, Salsa Cycles


PUBLIC SPEAKING

If you find yourself around the Bay Area in December or January, I will be speaking at the REI stores in San Francisco, San Jose, Berkeley, Corte Madera and at the Commonwealth Club of California. Click here to find out the dates.

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MARINE CONSERVATION INSTITUTE

I am truly honored to have been chosen as a Partner for the Global Ocean Refuge Systems, a contributor from the Marine Conservation Institute and for the IUCN. My photos have already been used for various projects like the Institute’s new SEA G20 STATE 2014 report and their campaign awareness cards for GLORES and MPAtlas. My work was also featured at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Sydney this November.

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“Daniel artfully exposes the beauty of the oceans for the rest of us to enjoy and is able to capture all the beauty and splendor of marine animals in their natural environments. We look forward to working with him to help make GLORES visually accessible to people all around the world.”  Caro Dratva, director of development of Marine Conservation Institute.

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1st PRIZE ALASKA MAGAZINE

Every year, Alaska Magazine awards the top photos that capture the spirit of the Frontier State. For this year’s Annual Photo Contest, the magazine has given my Steller sealion photo taken at Middle Pass, Inian Islands, Alaska the 1st prize in the Wildlife Category.

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MEDIA

A quick summary of recent media coverage.

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HAPPY HOLIDAYS

With December around the corner, it is amazing that already the year 2014 is about to end. Looking ahead to a promising and exciting 2015, I wish you wonderful and joyous holiday season. Be sure to take the time to STOP, BREATHE, RELAX and LISTEN.

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.The very reason why we exist is to explore, connect, and experience.” The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

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#GetOutThere Nature Valley

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I am extremely proud to announce that December will mark the beginning of my new partnership with NATURE VALLEY. Reaching beyond being a simple company of granola and protein bars, NATURE VALLEY understands the power and reach it has to promote a healthy lifestyle and our need of nature to restore our human spirit.

Their campaign #GetOutThere, their project TrailView and their recent involvement with Erik Weihenmayer is only the tip of what they have in plan for the future and I am extremely thrilled that I am going to be a part of it!

By becoming one of their official contributors, NATURE VALLEY gives me an incredible platform from which I can expand my mission of bridging the teachings of the wilderness to the public and my campaign STOP . BREATHE . RELAX . LISTEN.

Make sure to follow their INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK page as my content will appear on their feed periodically, starting in December.

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W.I.L.D. – Update

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It has been a little over 3 weeks since the end of the first W.I.L.D. fundraising campaign. With 86 funders, enough money was raised to send one under privileged teen to a month long NOLS sea kayaking immersion camp in the summer of 2015, airfare included.

Since then, I have been busy organizing the perks and looking for the lucky teen. Collaborating with ETC (Environmental Traveling Companions), an amazing organization based in San Francisco, that enables people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth to access the wilderness and develop an environmental stewardship, I can proudly say that before the end of the year, I will announce the recipient of the first W.I.L.D. Scholarship.

I am also working with an amazing artist, Nobuhiro Sato, on creating the brand identity for the Power of Nature to Restore of Human Spirit – STOP . BREATHE . RELAX. LISTEN, that will be featured on a new series of mugs, t-shirts, greeting cards, tote bags and much more.  These are the mugs that the ones who have donated $50 and more will received.

For those who have contributed $20 and more, your THANK YOU postcards will be mailed next week.

The prints, which were part of the $250 and more contribution, will be sent before the end of year.

A big thank you to Next Adventure, Icebreaker, Voltaic Systems and everybody who has contributed to the campaign.

Alive and Stronger

I have a story to share with you.

It is a story about the power of nature to shape your character.

It is a story about how being able to STOP . BREATHE . RELAX . LISTEN can make all the difference in any given moment.

It is a story about hope, humility and focusing on the things that really matter in life.

After completing my paddle on the coast of Washington State and stopping in Portland to talk with several groups about my W.I.L.D. campaign, it was time to continue my journey to San Francisco.

In the days prior to my departure, I was keeping track of the weather. The forecast now was the same for the week ahead … strong southerly winds would blow 15 to 25 knots, rain would be consistent and the swell from the West would increase as the week went by. The weather system was due to calm down beginning the next weekend.

I had my waypoints marked down and even though I had many challenging paddling days ahead, I was excited to get back on the water. In my head, the song “Against the Wind” by Bob Seger was already playing on repeat.

My departure time from Astoria was set by the tide. I didn’t want to fight the tide coming in and leaving with the ebb tide meant that I would get a double push – the river and the tide. So at noon, slack time, I left the marina.

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The conditions were much different than when I paddled in the Columbia River several days ago. I was now doing 6 knots in speed and to my right there were big breakers stretching for miles. The Columbia Bar was living up to its reputation.

Keeping my distance, I rounded the danger zone and passed the South Jetty. My plan was to tuck in right after. The jetty would offer that protected path I needed to land on the beach. But the swell was coming dead on and pounding my landing spot full force. I had two choices: to go back into the Columbia River against the current, avoiding all the breakers and finding my way to the shore or to keep going.

Seaside was 17 miles away. There was a little spot that offered a possible landing; then after that, about 6 miles from there, around Tillamook Head, was Indian Beach. It was a protected cove that, after looking at the marine and aerial maps, offered a safe stop. In the worst-case scenario, I would most likely be landing in the dark, but with the current conditions, a West swell, the cove would be fairly flat … or so I thought. I decided to go forward and paddle.

It was a hot day. There was not a cloud in the sky. The sea was almost metallic due to the absence of wind. Sooty Shearwaters flew all around me, gliding over the water with ease, the tip of their wings just slightly touching the surface. These birds have truly evolved to become a perfect oceanic flying creature.

It was 7pm when I reached Seaside. The swell was still pounding the shore with massive surf and now my chances of landing before sunset were disappearing. I looked for an opening somewhere – anywhere. I saw one. Not too far, there was a place where the surf seemed to be dying down. After timing the sets, I started paddling in. And then at the last minute, just before reaching the point of no return, three massive waves appeared, breaking just 10 feet ahead of me. I looked at the clouds of white seawater rising up into the sky, the roaring of the waves crashing and suddenly it became clear to me that there was no way my feet would be touching sand this evening. The sun had disappeared over the horizon and in about an hour it would be totally dark.

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My next waypoint, Indian Beach, around the Tillamook Head, was about two hours away. I reached behind and opened my day hatch to get my headlamp out. The thought of spending the night on the water was starting to be a reality. It was the last thing I wanted to do but my chances of finding my way into a sleeping bag were fading.

With still no clouds, the sky was filled with stars. The Milky Way was intense and imposing. A shooting star crossed the sky. And then another. The bioluminescence was showing strong. The kayak left stark glowing white trails on the black surface. My paddle cut through the water and created explosions of glitter. Every time a drop of water fell on the kayak, it scintillated. I wonder for a second if I really wanted to get to shore. If I was to spend the night on the ocean, these were the be the dreamiest, prefect conditions. This could actually turn out to be one incredible night!

I checked my phone and I looked at my location. The cove was only a mile away now. I would be there around 9pm. The weather forecast had predicted 20 knots winds but up until then they seemed nowhere to be found.

As I approached the area and shortly after dreaming of a nice night landing, staying up late doing photography of this magical bioluminescent evening,  I passed the point and found myself battling the expected headwinds.

One more check on the map and my safety zone was supposed to be right ahead. But the only thing I saw and heard were the glowing whitecaps of thunderous surf. How could this be? The swell was coming from the west and the sheltered bay entrance faced south. How was it that the swell was now heading straight into the cove? Aside from this waypoint, there was nothing around for at least 20 miles that could offer relief. I remembered from the map that there was a path into the cove, but it was dark. I couldn’t see anything but the crash of waves. I looked at the map again and oriented myself. There was a series of rocks ahead that should offer protection. So I went for it.

Just a minute into my push, I heard this massive roar behind me and within seconds, I was upside down being pummeled from all directions. Suddenly, my paddle snapped in two. I come back up in time to take a breath before another one came over. I capsized again and this time I couldn’t roll back. The beating and the broken paddle left me no choice but to wet exit.

Lucky to have a break, I managed to get back in, grabbed the spare paddle from my stern, tucked the skirt over the now-filled-with-water cockpit and pushed my way forward as hard as I could. Now more than ever, I knew I would have to spend the night on the water and the under the Milky Way, but by at this point the stars and glowing oceans were the last things on my mind.

Out of the surf zone, I pumped the water out and assessed the situation. I had been paddling for 10 hours, covering about 38 miles. I was tired and my hands hurt. Despite the drysuit, the cold from that unfortunate dip into the Pacific waters was seeping into my body. I had to keep moving. I had to keep my muscles, my body producing energy and heat. I hadn’t had dinner – besides the food I had consumed during the day. I had an emergency ration of jerky and bars but in these conditions I could hardly stop to eat. So I pushed forward. I looked ahead and the irony of the situation hit me. Lights of Cannon Beach were almost within grasp, perhaps no more than half a mile. I pictured the people in their houses, watching television, enjoying a glass a wine, and kissing their children goodnight. And here I was, in a totally different world where my life, my existence was on the verge of being questioned. How could this be? Within such close proximity to be finding such extreme different realities?

I had no choice but to keep paddling. Even if I was barely making progress, the options were simply not there for me. How would I make through the night? I didn’t know and I couldn’t stop to think about it. My only way to survival was to take one minute at a time, find comfort in that minute passed and focus on passing the next.

And then my worst fear happened. I started to shiver.

I know my body. I have always been pretty tolerant of the cold. I grew up in Quebec with winters in the minus 20’s. But the moment that my body shivers, it is only a question of minutes before I start to tremble and loose control of my shaking muscles. The option of spending the night on the ocean was no more viable. There was no way I could stay in this kayak for another 7 hours and not go into hypothermia.

There are risks you can afford if you are with other people. But when alone, the last place you want to find yourself is in a cornered place with no exit, no possible call for help. I did have my SOS button, a cell phone and a VHF as a lifeline but I felt I I hadn’t yet played all my cards.

Looking over to my left, I noticed a campfire on the beach and was surprised to see how close I was to it, perhaps just 40 yards. Despite the light of the houses further away, I was really not that far from land. Still, between the beach and myself was a wall of crashing waves. Between my current predicament and the safety of landing was a world of horrible possibilities, each with the power of turning my situation to the worst. There was no way for these people to see or hear me. And even if they had, there was nothing they could do. For me, there was little I could do but start looking into confronting the surf.

My eyes focused on the silhouette made by the water line, trying to figure out the rhythm of the sets. To be honest there was not much to decipher in the dark. I took a deep breath and relaxed for a second. I closed my eyes and asked the ocean to keep an eye on me. I started paddling toward the surf. A wave crashed. I stopped. I hesitated. I went again. And like a “deja vu”, I heard the roaring mounting behind me, like a giant monster rising from the depths and about to engulf me with one bite. Grasping for the impact I filled my lungs with as much air as I could.

The weight of the Pacific landed on my back with such tremendous force that I felt the kayak breaking in two. It was not like trying to rip a piece of fiberglass apart. The kayak literally snapped in two halves like a dry twig. The ring of the cockpit was broken but my skirt was still around it. I was in the water being ravaged by the surf, tied to the waist with a piece of the kayak on each side of me.

All this time I was thinking I had to get out of there as soon as possible. I didn’t like the idea of finding myself in between two loose 8-feet long pieces of broken fiberglass tubes filled with gear. It wouldn’t take much for them to crush my ribs and cut my waist. I tried to pull on the handle of the skirt but it was not working. I was simply pulling the loose cockpit ring toward me. Still, wiggling it non-stop I finally managed to get it off.

Free from the kayak’s entrails, I swam around it. The kayak was still held together by some rope and some stripes. My last paddle was now gone. Putting myself in-between the in-coming surf and the boat, I started swimming and pushing one of kayak pieces forward. You never want to find yourself with a kayak, or a board, behind you in the surf! There has been too many accidents where people were knocked unconscious by flying objects. Every wave pushed me and the kayak closer to the beach. About 15 minutes later, I felt the sand under my feet.

I got up and grabbed the bow handle in one hand and the stern handle in the other and started pulling the wreck as far up passed the tide line as I could before collapsing. I opened the back hatch, pulled out the bivy and sleeping bag. Slipped out of the drysuit and into my sleeping quarters.

It was midnight. I didn’t care for food or anything else. My hands were bloody with cuts all over. All I wanted was to lay still and warm myself up. I was safe, in one piece and that was the most important thing at that moment.. Nature had reminded me of the fickleness of life and how little control we have over it.

Over the last 5 hours I had experienced sheer beauty, joy, happiness, deception, pain, frustration, and had faced the indifference of a world that was bigger than me. Laying on the sand next to my wrecked kayak, I was not angry nor was I afraid. I was simply grateful to be alive. As I pulled the zipper up leaving blood marks on the fabric, I thanked the ocean for its protection, closed my eyes and went to sleep.

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These experiences, as unfortunate as they may seem, are defining moments in your life. They form your character and change your perception of the world around you forever. My crash happened on Sunday the 21st at midnight, exactly one month to the day after I departed from Victoria. I can’t help but smile at the fact this paddle was for my W.I.L.D. Campaign raising money to send under-privileged youth to a “month” long immersion wilderness camp.

Life is not about avoiding the crashes but rather finding ways to get back up and transform these seemingly negative events into positive, productive experiences.

These are the discovery and leadership lessons nature provides us when we open ourselves to the experience.

Although this 1,000-mile paddle to San Francisco has come to an unexpected, abrupt end, the W.I.L.D. campaign is far from over; my commitment to the campaign is stronger than ever.

More to come on that in the following weeks.

Summer Newsletter

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As I am about to embark on a 2 1/2 month long paddle, I am reminded of a quote sent to me by a friend. In her poem Stanzas, Emily Blonte writes:

“Often rebuked, yet always back returning to those first feelings that were born with me… I’ll walk where my own nature would be leading. It vexes me to choose another guide… The earth that wakes one human heart to feeling. Can centre both the worlds of Heaven and Hell.”

I spent the last 3 months exploring the wilderness of Alaska, letting nature be my guide and mentor. Always grounding me to what is essential in life, I experienced profound insights, humility and was welcomed by love everywhere I went.


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Our connection to nature is deeply rooted but if it is not experienced at a young age it is most likely that it will never find an anchor on which it can grown. Wilderness immersion camps are for me one of the most precious ways to ignite the bond we have with the planet.

I believes that immersion in nature is an important part of our development, especially during our early, formative years when it is so critical to discover who we are, develop strong self-esteem, begin to adopt leadership skills, challenge our physical well-being and acquire the capacity to live a balance life in a world dominated by technology.

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W.I.L.D. – Wilderness Immersion for Leadership and Discovery, aims is to give youth, especially under-privileged teens, the opportunity to experience first-hand the positive impact nature can have on their lives. The goal is to motivate them to explore and discover the natural world and understand how experiencing the beauty and challenges inherent in nature can lead to enhancing their self-confidence and developing valuable leadership skills

Our wish is to have their testimonials and experiences reach ​ ​and positively impact other teens and their families and inspire them to Experience the W.I.L.D


1,000-MILE FUNDRAISING PADDLE

For my first W.I.L.D. campaign, I will raise the necessary funds to send a small group of under privileged teens to a 30-day Sea Kayaking camp in Alaska in the summer of 2015. The wilderness immersion camp will be given by the internationally known and extremely well reputed National Outdoors Leadership School (N.O.L.S.).

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Launching in the third week of August, I will paddle from Victoria on Vancouver Island to San Francisco, a journey of 1,000 miles. The 2 1/2 month paddle will be at the core of a Indiegogo campaign. Click here – INREACH tracking & FACEBOOK, to follow this amazing journey!

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Find out more about how you can contribute and the wonderful rewards you can get. These teens will be changed forever, transformed and more deeply connected with the planet. Lets make this happen!

“The most rewarding part of this course was getting out of my element, and experiencing nature at its fullest.” Thomas W. Southeast Alaska NOLS Sea Kayaking Grad

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STOP . BREATHE . RELAX . LISTEN

Over the course of the next 6 months I will be announcing the launch for my new line of merchandize. Partnering with my sponsors, I will be offering tote bags, merino hoodies, t-shirts, mugs and much more with the mantra STOP . BREATHE . RELAX . LISTEN on one side and The Power of Nature to Restore the Human Spirit on the other.

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STOP . BREATHE . RELAX . LISTEN – The Power of Nature to Restore the Human Spirit is the foundation of my narrative and the message behind my work.

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SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL PHOTO GOLD AWARD

August 9th was the opening of the San Francisco International Photo exhibition. My photo LO won one of the GOLD awards. Judged by Paula Tognarelli, Executive Director and Curator, Griffin Museum of Photography, the winning photos are on display at the Gallery Photographica, in San Francisco, 3265 17th Street, near the corner of 17th and Mission Streets, until August 24th.

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ALASKA 2014

It is now my second summer in Alaska. Last year I paddled from Sitka to Hoonah, from Tenekee to Hoonah and hiked around Mendenhall Glacier. This time I decided to return to Juneau and visit the famous brown bears of Pac Creek.

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I then went back to the Mendenhall Glacier but this time kayaking the lake and exploring the icebergs.

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Next stop was the Taku Glacier, up the Taku River. The highlight of this paddle was kayaking at night with the orcas, humpback whales and the plankton blooming. Listen to my radio interview on KTOO, public radio in Juneau.

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Finally, I spent 6 weeks on the island of Kodiak. The first paddle was to the island of Afognak and the second one – a 150-mile paddle down the Pacific coast south of Kodiak. Listen to my radio interview on KMXT Kodiak Public Radio and watch my tv interview on KTUU Alaska channel 4 NBC. Check the KODIAK & JUNEAU PINTEREST for a wonderful photo recap with many bears, minks, glaciers and much more.

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Explorer and Storyteller, Daniel Fox, Believes in the Power of Nature to Restore the Human Spirit – on ABC

On August 7th, while in Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, I was invited to pass by ABC’s studio for a live interview and talk about my work and the photography I did on Antelope Island.

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OUTDOOR RETAILER 2014

Every year I do my best to attend the Outdoor Retailer trade show and reconnect with all my sponsors. This year I had an even bigger reason to attend as my main sponsors Wilderness Systems and Adventure Technology had a big wall with my photography and excerpts from my stories. The photos were a great success and comments poured in. From the Press Release:

“…At the Outdoor Retailer trade show next week, we are displaying some of Daniel Fox’s work (see the example in the montage above!) at our booth. It not only serves as a beautiful reminder of why we love to get outside and play, but it just might touch you in ways you wouldn’t have expected. Our goal is to inspire you to explore a world without boundaries and ask you to think about this:  “Isn’t it time you looked at life with a new perspective?…”

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KOKATAT also featured my photography – which appeared in this year’s catalog. Their booth’s front banner had my Owl (top middle), the Morning Reflection (middle center), my photo of professional kayakers Kate Hives (bottom left) and Paul Kuthe (bottom right)

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Voltaic Systems which has been supporting me with solar panels and long lasting batteries had this shot for their full backdrop. What a great presence at this year’s OR!!

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MOUNTAIN KHAKIS

Mountain Khakis has been believing and supporting my work since the beginning. I am honored to be featured in there 2015 catalog! So great being part of such a wonderful team of dedicated people, working relentlessly at delivering the best products. Thank you MK!

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MORE MINUTE OF NATURE

The series now has 24 videos. Watched by thousands, the videos have been the perfect platform to share my insights and the material I find inspirational. Promoting the need to disconnect by being in the moment – even just for 60 seconds, the series is a call for action to find balance in our ever-connected lives.

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MINUTE OF NATURE – CAPE ALITAK
Woody, plant manager at the Alitak Cannery and author of the book “Cape Alitak Petroglyphs: From the Old People” writes about a life changing event as a child while paddling with a whale

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MINUTE OF NATURE – THREE SAINTS HARBOR
The benefits of wilderness immersion, a quote from Casey Lyons at Backpacker Magazine and a myriad of moon jellyfish at Three Saints Harbor, Kodiak Alaska


STAY TUNED & THANK YOU!

I hope to get your support for the W.I.L.D. campaign. Don’t forget to follow the expedition via InReach and Facebook. And most important, find the time in the day to STOP . BREATHE . RELAX . LISTEN.