I came of age in Nepal somewhere in my early twenties. The tiny Himalayan nation, home to many of the world’s highest mountains was my proving ground, where a people who live close to the Earth taught me a better way of life, where conservation and exploration became fodder for my storytelling dreams.
When 10 people died on Mount Everest on a single day in 1996, the events that led to Jon Krakauer’s best-selling Into Thin Air, I was reporting live daily on the web with a satellite phone, a camera, laptop, and microphone, for NOVA Online. Our genre,at the time, was called, “Webumentaries,” or “Online Expeditions.” The world had to get their news about the events as they transpired, through me. It was baptism by fire, online reporting well before blogs even existed.
I carved out my niche as a filmmaker able to work in the world’s most remote places, making 15 films, now, for NOVA and National Geographic, including one about our team’s discovery of George Leigh Mallory high on the north face of Everest 3 years after the tragic deaths on the south side. That project, too, involved live blogging, as did films I directed in places as far-flung as Antarctica, Easter Island, and Alaska. I’ve been writing, filming, and photographing ever since, as well as developing new platforms for reaching out to people willing to take on new social experiments about sharing, community, and connection.
The Buy Nothing Project, with nearly 150,000 members and 1300 groups in 19 nations, was born out of this yearning for a back-to-basics, stop buying new, use and reuse what you have, ethic that we keep returning to in Nepal. The lessons learned, about living simply and mindfully, like the Nepalese and Tibetan people I have come to love and work with year after year, punctuate every creative product I work to produce.
We are a family who resides each year in both the USA and Nepal, living an experiment to return to a life more simple: Free of plastic, everyday toxics, and commercialism. We’re far from reaching that goal of purity, but are enjoying the journey immensely, tiptoeing down that long path, sometimes barefoot, inching closer to how our pioneering great great grandparents once lived, ever closer to the land and the rhythms of the Earth.
Pioneering The Simple Life is our family’s creative space, our little publishing house, where we can interface with the world to share what we’ve learned. We’re thankful that you’re on this journey with us and look forward to hearing your feedback as we continue through life’s joyfully-earned lessons.