Guest blogger Stephanie GrahamFebruary 1, 2008Can you remember the last time your DNA experienced a good ole' fashioned "download"? The sort where it's as if the "Chef of the Universe" has cooked up some kind of delicious quantum soup, feeding it right into your bones. Where every cell stands at attention calling out "Incoming!" and with that experience your life is forever changed and you just know you are in for a powerful ride ahead. Two such "downloads" have come my way, and one of them happened during the Telluride Mountainfilm festival in 2007! But first the catalyst....I knew before I flew to Nepal for the first time in October 2006 with Backwoods Adventures to trek to the base camp of Mt. Everest that it would change my life. I just wasn't sure what form it would take. During the entire trek I felt like I was hovering 5 feet off the ground and long before it was all over I was already visualizing my return and wondering how I could be of support to the amazing people of Nepal. Download #1 successful, off and running!
After returning home I was flipping through the latest National Geographic Adventure magazine and my eye caught the ad for Mountainfilm in Telluride. I immediately called and registered to attend! I had previously lived in Telluride, but never attended the festival, so here was my chance! I knew it would be a great venue to connect with like minded people and those who would know the best way to be of use in Nepal!As I sat in the audience watching one incredible film after another and hearing the likes of Wade Davis, Paul Hawken and Brot Coburn speak....and so many others over the weekend, I felt as if my DNA had lifted out of my body, acting like a spiraling magnet capturing all the magical gems of the event, and coming alive like a newly decorated Christmas tree plugged in for the first time...in a long time. Download #2 successful, off and galloping at full speed!As a result of those two experiences, it gave me the courage to ACT on my desire to be of help! Overcoming my usual shyness I introduced myself to Brot Coburn, told him what I was looking for and he said "you should call Liesl" and I did!Eight months later I am once again in Nepal (right now as you read this!) and this time as a volunteer for the Magic Yeti Children's Library Project. This amazing endeavor has been launched by 14 year old Phoebe Coburn (Brot Coburn's daughter), award winning filmmaker Liesl Clark and her husband Everest climber Pete Athans early last year.
With no previous fundraising experience but with a great deal of enthusiasm and "yes I can" attitude I was able to raise $19,367.00 (THREE libraries worth!) in three short months to help contruct and stock libraries for the Magic Yeti Project! And I intend to keep going until I raise my total goal amount of $50,000.00.But it doesn't stop there. In late March 2008 I will launch my newly redesigned website www.mteverestmindcamp.com to inspire more people to TAKE ACTION and get involved in something that ignites their passion, their imagination and natural strengths. Each month we will have a featured guest discussing topics such as teamwork, goal setting, philanthropy and outdoor adventure and the value we gain from connecting with the power of "travel"...both in body and mind. From leaders in mountaineering to leaders in psychology, it will be a powerful source for all.In the meantime you can guarantee that I will be attending the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival in 2008 for more "downloads"! Just look for the girl from Oklahoma wearing a happy smile, running from film to film in between stops at the Steaming Bean!And if you haven't yet attended the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival...buy your ticket and start packing!Namaste!Stephanie S. Graham