Purpose and passion:
It’s not just about the money.
In fact, it never is about the money.
I was recently invited to share my view, on behalf of The Mindful Tourist, with the research team during a zoom group discussion organized by Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University on the topic of “Forest Bathing guidelines in the tourism context in Thailand”. There were a little over 80 participants from Forest Bathing research team, nature-related business operators, educators, local and regional tourism authorities and stakeholders.
The words “economy” and “ecology” come from the same root, oikos (home and community — where we live — the earth), logos (knowledge, logic, words) and nomos (to manage, to distribute).
In Greek, “economos” meant stewardship, thrift, or good household management, and was the agent of oikonomia, the wise use and distribution of resources. I was a business student and in my economics classes back in the university, “wise use” implies “productivity” and how to get more out of the limited resources we have, generally and solely in the interests of human. We were also taught to turn resources from nature into commodities with the least amount of input. In modern times, some aspects of economics appear to have involved uncontrolled exploitation of natural resources. But that was never part of the original meaning of the word.
Today’s global reset has not only focused a spotlight on the response of companies and governments in relation to society and their stakeholders, but also where we stand in relation to that impact personally. For many, the unprecedented events of 2020 have caused a pivotal shift of the way we live our lives, bringing our core beliefs into focus, and offering a rare opportunity to decide how we might ‘build back better’ as the world opens up once again.
With The Mindful Tourist, Milena and I made a pledge to focus on our purpose and passion (for us and our team), value and inspiration (for our students/clients), sustainability and inclusion (for the environment and the community) and we agreed never to make business-related decisions based on financial reasons. We also will remain boutique and personalized.
Being frugal and intentional with our daily expenses and being creative with our strategies allow us to keep our costs very low and, as a result, we do not need a massive number of students to be profitable. Not having to pay rent for an office space and not having advertising budget enable us to offer affordable quality education. Not advertising means you find us with intention and we do not spend our money to promote more distractions in the world to put our content in front of those who do not need to see it. We choose to grow slowly, steadily and organically.
Not being driven by money empowers us to reject the clients we do not want to work with, because their values do not align with those of ours, and instead welcome folks like Phil and Steve from Expedition Empower, a nonprofit organization that provides experiential outdoor programs and outdoor educational resources to individuals living with a disability, because we are inspired by their vision. More on that on our Instagram, so stay tuned!
We are nature
This Tedx Talks is probably one of the least watched videos, but, in my humble opinion, is the real message for humanity. Satish Kumar talks about the need to care for our planet. Ecology, social justice, spirituality science and economy are all related. Protecting the soil leads to protecting the human being.
Nature for All
Expedition Empower and The Mindful Tourist Collaborate: “Towards the tail end of 2020, on one of our hikes, Steve and I got into a deep discussion about the healing power of nature, our passions of being outdoors, and accessibility in the outdoors movement. This discussion led us to one question. How can we provide more opportunities to people living with a disability to get outdoors and experience nature’s health benefits?” – Phil Berenz
TMT Forest Bathing Instructor Training
“Because we believe that a Forest Bathing session is more than just a hike in the woods or a hug of trees, our sessions are usually used as a tool to connect with clients on a more profound level. When this connection happens, it is a golden opportunity to use your passions to transform lives.” Milena A. Guziak.
Visit the link below to meet TMT instructors in training, Kate from Singapore, Priscilla from Brazil and Iwona from Poland and their why’s.
“I Live with Nature”
Be transported to Japan and enjoy the sense of mind-cleansing calmness and simplicity. This 12-minute video brought me back to Japan and I spent the next half an hour reminiscing about the time we went camping in Nara prefecture. Follow モリノネ for a healthy dose of Japanese outdoors art de vivre (and coffee making).