Name: Jonathan Derksen
With which business or organization are you involved? Kelowna Secondary School/Art of Adventure Productions
What is your role with that organization? Video Production for Grades 11 and 12/conservation documentary filmmaking
What is your favourite thing about living in the Okanagan? I’m always blown away by the stunning variety in our natural environment. I live on the edge of the Okanagan Highlands, a fragile ecosystem where several life zones collide. On a given day in the summer I might see a rattlesnake, quail, deer, elk, bear, moose, bald eagle, bobcat or even a flying squirrel. Over the course of a day I can hike to the top of Big White mountain (7,608 feet), bike the Kettle Valley Railway, do a wine tour in Peachland and then hit Lake Okanagan for a late swim. It’s unrivalled in terms of beauty and proximity.
If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why? His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. I had the chance to meet him some years ago in the Indian Himalayas, and I was profoundly moved by his message of peace, compassion and inclusivity. When he greets you, it’s like at that moment you’re the only human being the whole world. To his adherents, he’s a living saint.
What’s your go-to happy place? Either doing something adventurous outdoors with family and friends or sitting with my wife having coffee before the rest of the world has woken up.
What are you most proud of? As a Mennonite I’m not supposed to be proud, but since you asked … working on Dangerous World for National Geographic and Tattoo Hunter: India for Discovery Channel, and publishing Monsoon Baby, a travel memoir about life in the Indian Himalayas.
What are the top three things on your bucket list? To make a documentary that inspires people to treat the natural world around them with respect; to motorbike through the Andes; to come through this life saying, ‘I tried the best I could.’
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? Jungle rat in tribal country in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
Latest movie or book? Stephen King’s The Green Mile about human decency in the face of grim humanity.
What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? My children, Akela and Kai.
If today were your last day, how would you spend it? Saying thank you for this little pfffft! of an existence with loved ones by my side, somewhere wild and spectacular.
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