078 – SpiritualiTEA & the Wisdom of the Mountains
“Connectedness has built cultures, linked time, and continues to bind us to one another. It is in the telling of stories and the listening, that all stays relevant”.
For two decades, Fuchs’ life, photos, and stories have focused upon the Himalayan trade routes and the last generation of those who participated in the great journeys through the mountains. Mountains and tea were woven into Fuchs’ childhood in Canada, Switzerland, and later living in Taiwan and then northwestern Yunnan Province in the Tibetan community of ‘Shangrila’ (aka: Zhongdian and Gyalthang) for over a decade. Countless tea mentors convinced Fuchs that to understand tea, he must visit one of the heartlands: Yunnan. He went, he studied, he stayed, and he lived for over a decade. He is the first documented westerner to have traveled and trekked both main trunks of the Tea Horse Road (‘Cha Ma Dao’ or ‘Gya’lam’) – a journey which took over seven months and resulted in his book, ‘The Ancient Tea Horse Road – Travels with the Last of the Himalayan Muleteers’.
Fuchs was voted one of Canada’s 100 greatest explorers and was once described by feature writer Bill Roberts as a “charmingly volatile mix of Anglo-Hungarian genes,” after an expedition along a portion of the Tea Horse Road in northwestern Yunnan.
His written and photo work has appeared on three continents in publications such as National Geographic Traveler, UNESCO, The Huffington Post, Condé Nast, Kyoto Journal, Forbes, Financial Times, and the South China Morning Post, amongst others. He has served as the longtime Asia-editor-at-large at “Outpost” magazine and was an invited Scholar in Residence at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Fuchs work and life were the inspiration for the award-winning documentary, ‘The Tea Explorer’ (CBC Docs and 90th Parallel Productions), directed by Andrew Gregg which focuses on his continued work upon The Tea Horse Road and within the tea regions of southern Yunnan.
National Geographic Traveler named his guided journey along the Tea Horse Road with Wild China, one of their “50 Trips of a Lifetime. He continues to create, lead, and be a part of bespoke journeys throughout the Himalayas and tea regions and has been a part of over 30 Himalayan expeditions.
He has been an invited speaker at Universities and Institutions around the world, including the Explorers Club, Ketel 1 Vodka’s art space ‘De Ketelfactory’ in Schiedam, Netherlands, and at the Royal Geographic Society in both London and Hong Kong and was part of an initiative with the RGS Series to speak to inner-city schools about the importance of engagement and following an experiential passion.
Fuchs is the co-founder of Jalamteas, procuring Puerh tea, for clients around the world. He currently spends half the year on the road in the Himalayas, and the other half nestled on Big Island, Hawaii, where he is the Director of Outdoor Programming for the non-profit, Akahiao Nature Institute, which is dedicated to keeping a strong link between the natural world and youth. As part of the program, Fuchs offers up tea in his infamous “Tea Time, All the Time” sessions.
In our podcast, Jeff and Ivonne have a flowing conversation about the mentorship of the mountains, the power of accessible moments, the wisdom of mother nature, the unpredictable forces of informal strength and introduces us to the mystical teacher; Mr. Gao.
Fun fact about Jeff: He never travels without a stash of leaves…ever.
To learn more about Jeff and his work visit:
Akahiao Nature Institute, a learning center, embedded in place, dedicated to a sustainable future, here: https://www.akahiao.org
JalamTeas here: https://www.jalamteas.com
You can read his exquisite tea column here: https://bit.ly/TeaColumn
Learn more about Jeff on his website: https://www.jefffuchs.com
Or follow him on Instagram here: https://instagram.com/jefffuchsteaVisit
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