Book Review

A Story of Karma by Michael Schauch

Finding Love and Truth in the Lost Valley of the Himalaya

Michael Schauch is a brave mountaineer, traveller, and explorer. His phenomenally inspiring tale is an emotional roller coaster, which at the end will leave you smiling for his success and achievement especially at the peaceful calm atop the mountain.

Title: A Story of Karma

Author: Michael Schauch

Publisher: Rocky Mountain Books

Genre: Travel, Adventure, Memoir

First Publication: 2021

Language: English


Book Summary: A Story of Karma by Michael Schauch

In 2012, Michael Schauch and his wife, Chantal, undertook an expedition deep in the Himalaya of northern Nepal, into a remote valley that had been closed off to outsiders for decades. They led a team of artists (a photographer, a musician, and a painter), with the objective of capturing a moment in time through their unique lenses. As a mountaineering fanatic, Michael had a second (and less conspicuous) goal to climb an unknown mountain he had only identified through a photograph. What unfolded in the mountains forced him to question his values and his own identity, and eventually resulted in meeting a little girl, which was the most profound encounter of his life. Little did either know that from that moment they would completely change the trajectory of each other’s life.

A Story of Karma recounts this journey, and the years that follow as Karma (the little girl), and Michael and Chantal grow their lives together amidst the confusing dichotomies and backdrop of Karma’s 17th-century Himalayan village; the impoverished and polluted Kathmandu; and the modern world of Vancouver, Canada.

A Story of Karma by Michael Schauch

Book Review: A Story of Karma by Michael Schauch

A Story of Karma is an unforgettable travel memoir that crosses two distinct worlds: a Himalayan village and Vancouver, Canada – while exploring alpine adventure, family connections, and spiritual encounters. As hikers and travelers, Mike and Chantal enjoy exploring different landscapes and mountains, so n 2012, they embarked on the greatest adventure of their lives in Nepal. Their expedition took them deep into the Himalayas of northern Nepal, to a remote valley that had been unaffected by outside influence for decades.

The country’s unique features, such as its culture and scenery, as well as the people that they met along their travels, astonished them. They were affected by this encounter on a spiritual and cultural level. Although the trip didn’t go as Michael planned, they met a bright little girl named Karma and that meeting affected all of their lives in positive ways and changed the course of their lives forever. For Michael Schauch, a mountain trek transforms into a quest to ensure that Karma and her sister, Pemba, will receive the best possible education in Nepal or Canada while remaining true to Tibetan Buddhism and never forgetting their roots. It is reasonably well written, gripping in parts and has a few heart-stopping moments.

A Story of KarmaIn his memoir ‘A Story of Karma’, Michael Schauch reflects upon the personal experiences he faced during his journey to Himalaya. Michael’s accounts of his experience, both the sensations and their accompanying thoughts, are remarkably genuine and accurate throughout the book. He describes the highs and lows of such a journey, both literally and figuratively as he travels into valleys. Michael Schauch’s memoir will definitely make you think of life in a different way and challenge the “normalcy” in your day to day life. It puts things into perspective and shows what questions you’re asking wrong when considering adventure and what questions you should or could be asking instead.

The book gives a realistic impression of a journey often endured rather than enjoyed with the stories of simple families and their everyday lives. Not to be humbled by the magnitude and dangers of the travel – it is after all, walking the length of the Himalayan ranges – but, the book does stand out with its breath-taking narration, dramatic writing style that leaves a reader gasping for more and the spiritual abundance Michael Schauch encounters across his journey.

Michael Schauch is a brave mountaineer, traveller, and explorer. His phenomenally inspiring tale is an emotional roller coaster, which at the end will leave you smiling for his success and achievement especially at the peaceful calm atop the mountain. Michael Schauch seems an easy-going character, meaning that he fits in easily as he meets some of the toughest and nicest people, drawing their stories and lives out into the narrative.

What struck me while reading this book was the mellifluous cadence and accessibility of language that Michael Schauch employs throughout his book; he doesn’t try to dazzle you with vernacular or prose, it’s simply inherent in the story itself. And to me, that’s the message the book is trying to impart upon us; that an ordinary person can achieve extraordinary things. It reminds me of a quote by Margaret Mead: “Never underestimate the power of a small group of dedicated individuals to change the world, it’s how it always happens.”

I have been reading this off and on throughout the past week and I have enjoyed everything about this amazing adventure story. Though it turned out to be so much more. There is a little something for everyone in ‘A Story of Karma’, and it doesn’t take a philosopher or scientist to piece together the puzzles that Michael lays out for us. I left this book with a feeling of empowerment, in a way that was spiritual, yet non-denominational.

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