Praise for A Story of Karma: Finding Love and Truth in the Lost Valley of the Himalaya:
"[Michael] Schauch has a lively and involving narrative voice, and he’s adept at conveying the combination of detail and wonder that one looks for in the best travel writing. He draws the reader smoothly into his dual narratives, and he handles both of them with skill. Fans of travel writing and family narratives will appreciate this work.
"A Story of Karma is an engaging travel book and an interesting tale of people finding each other in the most unexpected of places. It will prompt readers to consider issues such as tradition vs. modernity, preservation vs. change, and fate vs. destiny. The book also includes a selection of photographs, including some impressive mountain vistas, which serve to enhance the reading experience."
—Erin Britton, San Francisco Book Review
“A Story of Karma is an inspiring story about life, love, compassion, and determination. It’s also about sacrifice and humility. Karma depicts beautiful imagery that pulls the reader in, making the scenes come alive. [Schauch’s] work is also ripe with raw emotion and insight. Feelings… radiate through the pages.”
—Jennifer Padgett, Seattle Book Review
“Each word ushers you deeper into an external journey to the Himalayas and an internal journey to the heart. Schauch’s masterful storytelling transports you to a healing realm where external and internal distinctions dissolve in the beauty of embodied love. Not only is this a tale of transformation for Schauch, the reader too is transformed.”
—Paula Arai, Ph.D., author of Painting Enlightenment, Bringing Zen Home, and Women Living Zen
“A man’s mission to climb a mountain in the Himalayas turns into providing education for children in the most remote region of Nepal. A Story of Karma is a heartfelt and inspiring story about nature and human connection, and the amazing things that happen when you open your heart and mind to the unknown world.”
—Dorje Dolma, author of Yak Girl: Growing Up in the Remote Dolpo Region of Nepal
“Schauch writes a moving story of personal growth and transformation in his encounter with the indigenous peoples of the remote highlands of Upper Manang, Nepal. The desire to climb a peak drew him there, but what changed him forever was the unexpected and extraordinary creation of family ties in Nar-Phu and the role that Tibetan Buddhism played in helping him transcend differences of culture to nurture that family. Read his story with an open heart and mind – it will touch you deeply.”
—Mark Aldenderfer, distinguished professor of anthropology at University of California Merced, and National Geographic Explorer
“Michael Schauch’s vividly descriptive writing will transport you to a remote Himalayan village and leave you with the taste of yak butter tea on your tongue and the odour of dung-fuelled fires in your clothing. A Story of Karma is a thoughtful and passionate meditation on privilege and poverty, consumerism and spirituality, fate and chance, individualism and community. Above all else, this story is a testament to the power each and every one of us has to generate meaningful and lasting change in our beleaguered world.”
—Jan Redford, author of End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood
“In this book, Michael Schauch shares the words of the Dalai Lama when describing the Beyul – the sacred, hidden valleys of the Himalaya – as places of multiple dimensions where the physical and spiritual worlds coalesce. ‘From a Buddhist perspective [these] sacred environments… are not places to escape the world, but to enter it more deeply… Such places often have a power that we cannot easily describe or explain.…’ Schauch’s story introduces us to many hidden places and the people who inhabit them. It is a fine example of how the human spirit can face even the toughest challenges, and by overcoming them, change the lives of ourselves and others in a profound way.”
—Martin Parnell, author of Marathon Quest, Running to the Edge, and The Secret Marathon: Empowering Women and Girls in Afghanistan through Sport
"A Story of Karma speaks to an inward journey of purpose, a quest for meaning and connection - something to which we may all aspire. In pursuit of a long held dream to scale an unknown peak in the Himalayan mountains, Mike Schauch discovered, by chance, something far more fulfilling, more deeply enriching in the innocence and love of Karma, a little girl in the remote mountain village of Nar. What began as a test of strength, determination and grit, a monumental goal by any measure, became an invitation to the awakening of the heart, a softening of the human spirit. Ambition drives us to great achievement, conquest and power. But along the way something or someone may appear...unexpected and unknown which invites us to go deeper, to the essence of our being. That is what this book is all about. Mike's writing has an insistent rhythm that pulls the reader forward. Descriptions of time, place and space touch all of the senses. There is that rare combination of lyricism and raw honesty throughout. This book is a must read!"
—Peter McCoppin, International Orchestral Conductor, National Host/Broadcaster
“Beyond snow capped peaks and lost Himalayan temples, Buddhist shrines and deep dives into the dharma, Michael Schauch’s A Story of Karma is a version of that one great story we all end up living, whether we meant to or notabout going off into the wide world in pursuit of whatever we desire only to find whatever we don’t realize we need. In Schauch’s case, the former has to do with grand physical adventure; the latter, with the wholeness of heart earned only through love. The result is at once humble, elegant, and, like all great stories, deeply transporting.”
—Daniel Duane, author of Caught Inside: A Surfer’s Year on the California Coast
A spiritual travelogue sparked by a voyage of discovery in the Himalayas.
Canadian author Schauch’s nonfiction debut opens in 2012 in the high, snow-swept wilds of northern Nepal. There, he and his wife, Chantal,and their two Nepalesefriends and guides, IC and Ngawang, were hiking and exploring when Schauch spotted a peculiar mountain on a map and was immediately fascinated. This wasn’t just any mountain, he assures his readers: “It was the mountain. A perfect pyramid from its southwest aspect, with sheer faces and a striking ridgeline that snaked its way to a spear-tipped summit piercing both cloud and sky. It was a mountain out of a storybook.” Schauch and his wife led a small group, including a photographer, a painter, and a musician,into the Himalayas, but their expedition was far more than work to the author, who’s always considered Nepal a mystical place: “I didn't want to escape intensity but to dive into it,” he writes, “and the mountains were my portal.” In the seldom-visited valley of Nar Phu, they met a 7-year-old girl named Karma whose intelligence and inquisitiveness impressed Schauch and his wife, prompting them to help her get a formal education. This turned out to be a complicated procedure involving not just finding a Nepalese school, but also the right school—one that, among other things, would honor Karma’s traditional Buddhist beliefs. The bulk of the book goes on to tell the combined stories of the couple and the child.Schauch has a lively and involving narrative voice, and he’s adept at conveying the combination of detail and wonder that one looks for in the best travel writing. He draws the reader smoothly into his dual narratives, and he handles both of them with skill. His choice to ground a good deal of the story in the relatively mundane environs of his home in the Vancouver area is ultimately a wise one, as it gives the more extravagant details of his overseas travelogue more color by contrast. The account of the long and complex process of securing an education for Karma is unexpectedly compelling, as are Schauch’s broader observations on the subject: “We in the West remain ignorant of how fortunate we are,” he writes at one such point. “Our children are taught to dream as big as they want.” Along the way, the author manages to work a large and well-defined cast of supporting players into the story, and he places the bulk of the narrative between two mountaineering-adventure tales, which works effectively. In addition, he shows that he has a good ear for intriguing conversation and a fine sense of pacing, and although some of his social insights can be a bit narrow—for example, he never notes that, even in the most prosperous countries, there exists even greater poverty than what Karma experienced in Nepal—his sweeping sense of adventure never deserts him. Fans of travel writing and family narratives will appreciate this work.
An intriguing tale that entwines exploration and education.