Quite a few years back while doing some initial research on Bhutan I became intrigued with this tiny nation’s intangible benchmark for success—Gross National Happiness (GNH). With Bhutan long residing on my ‘must experience’ list, my intrigue turned to mild obsession as I began a several year process of sorting out how I could intricately and thoroughly explore this land. Most people I’ve chatted with about Expedition Bhutan have never even heard of this place let alone that it is located on the eastern end of the Himalayan mountain range next to its famous neighbor, Nepal. But for a few of us gripped with exploring GNH in a stunning location, Bhutan’s mystical persona packs a Texas sized punch.
My initial plan was to cross the country solo on foot followed by the ‘escort’ and crew mandatory per Bhutan’s tourist regulations. But I found out quickly that to experience The Dragon Kingdom thoroughly while creating a quality film of the experience, I would need to develop a team.
Coming from individual sports into adventure racing I realized that some of our greatest moments sprout when we finally get that we are never really in “it” alone. That by easily accepting our interdependence we can gain the latitude to step up our individual game—exponentially. And we can then focus on supporting the greatness of the team collective. So in this light and with the good fortune of knowing some super bright and really tough people, I’m psyched to say I’ve ‘hired well’. These guys play big. Lucky me (and lucky you).
Meet the Team!
- Greg Thomas and I met 20 years back through excessive training hours while doing triathlon before we both jumped head first into the sport of adventure racing. He has been a brother ever since. No matter what kind or how much time has passed, Greg is always present in his quiet, intelligent, successful, caring manner. Powerful yet unassuming. Incredibly tough and equally sensitive Greg is game for any adventure thrown down and always engages meticulously for the betterment of the team.
- In addition to days on end of backpacking, running, swimming and climbing together Tony Lillios and I have closed down our share of restaurants and coffee shops during intensely curious conversation. Over the years as I’ve quietly (or not so quietly) supported Tony’s expansion of his physical game, he’s always responded by exceeding all expectations. While thriving in creating something big from nothing, Tony is as playful and enthusiastic as he is humbly brilliant. And I never stop learning about him and about myself through our interactions.
- My background with David Ferris includes a long list of physical endeavors; peak bagging around the world, backpacking, running, and adventure racing. But what I covet even more about David is that he is thorough, engaging and a refreshingly open thinker. Though he is highly adaptable, talented, easy going, and a stellar conversationalist and tent mate when stuck in a tiny space at altitude in a blizzard, I am more so intrigued by David’s uncanny ability to stare off into space for extended periods of time.
Besides being interesting and curious as well as having particular skill sets, another gauge for knowing I’ve hired well for a long and tough expedition, is when a teammate is—hesitation-less. After ONE conversation about my expedition idea with each of these men. They signed on. Bingo!
Thanks to James Fitzgerald of Bhutan Ventures, our team will be partnering with the Bhutan Olympic Committee for in-country sponsorship. We’re excited to develop our relationship with these groups.
But the ongoing test of affirming I have formed a stellar team is when each teammate continually asks me to raise the bar for what I (and they) can offer the team and its mission. These guys have asked me the big questions from Day 1: “What is the question this expedition is looking to answer?”, “Blue sky thinking—how would the making of our film play out?”, “What companies can we partner with who will support and mutually embody the persona of Happiness?”.
So by bringing together a few big thinkers plus a quiet and supportive group from the reputed happiest nation on the planet, we are looking to offer YOU a powerful virtual experience; prior to, during, and after our journey. Over the next several months we’ll be planning and sharing our expedition on this blog and our Facebook page, looking for companies to partner with, interviewing film makers, and solidifying our relationship with the country of Bhutan. All the while pondering and discussing the concept of Gross National Happiness.
We’d love for you to virtually join our team!
What is happiness in your day to day life? What would National Happiness look like in America, in your State or your neighborhood? Is it possible to quantify Happiness? We want to hear from you.
Join our team. Check out our Facebook page. Come along on our journey—lets explore together.
Back at you soon,