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Photo by Catherine Von Holt, Nepal Semester.

Where There be Legends

Introduction:

Four weeks had gone by before my suspicions boiled-over. Nothing about my instructors appeared to be out of the ordinary, relative to what I had previously read about them on the Yak Board. Yet something about the way the Nepali people would run up to my instructors asking for autographs, when we were in public, made me feel that something was being left in the dark. With this persistent sense of suspicion, I knew some research had to be done. Little did I know just what I was getting into when I began to navigate the highly-technical, and advanced server on my Colors telephone. Below I have typed a brief summary of my findings…

 

Bradford:

Heir to the Ford fortune, who abandoned a life of luxury and privilege in search of a life filled with meaning. His name, Bradley Elizabeth Ford, carries much weight and a history of fine automotive innovation. His great-grandfather, Henry Ford, instilled in him, from a very early age, all of the important qualities of a successful corporate CEO in hopes that he would one day take on the family business. Fed-up with the expectations and the heavy weight of privilege, Bradley fled his estate on Long Island after his junior year of university. Bradley found himself wandering the streets of Delhi, shortly after, in search of a guru who could set him on the spiritual path. After a year of searching, he finally came across one of the wisest, and most renowned, teachers in all of India. The guru, whose aura goes by the name Christy Sommers after achieving a spiritual awakening, ordered Bradley to meditate, for 11 years, in the great Himalayan Mountains. Bradley made his return 11 years later sporting a new look, a beard and a grey cap (said to have been worn by Oliver Twist), as well as the knowledge to bring clarity to a world clouded by greed and despair. Since his return, Bradley has been working diligently on his dissertation on the ever-changing, constantly-adapting geopolitical climate in Saudi Arabia. In addition to this, Bradley frequently takes time leading groups of students around Nepal, spreading his teachings and many philosophies on the wonders of life and how to navigate them.

 

Tseten:

Tseten Sherpa: “A man whose story is as great as the cheek-bones that define it”- as said by the New York Times in 2011. Said to have been raised by a herd of Yaks in the great mountains of Tibet, Tseten made a name for himself shortly after his descent from the highlands. After working several months cooking for a group of Buddhist monks in their monastery, Tseten was discovered. Jake Stein, a world-renowned film critic, modeling agent, and money-man discovered Tseten on a film expedition to Tibet searching for an area to film his highly anticipated movie, “Regington’s Fortune”. “I knew I had found the one,” said Stein in an interview with the LA Times in 2011. “This kind of talent is rare, and if treated right, has the potential to define generations.” Stein brought Tseten back to New York City, promising him a life of never-ending wealth, fame, and fortune. As was predicted, Tseten’s modeling career took off immediately, as his cheek bones became known across the world. With a brand new abundance of wealth and fame, Tseten’s dominating image and spirit stole millions of hearts across the world. One of the victims of his charm, was the one and only Bjorg Bjorkson, Icelandic super model and actress, who had recently made her Hollywood debut. After accidentally spilling a glass of Chardonnay 1868 (a fine year for the Chardonnay vineyard I must add) on Tseten’s shirt, at one of her movie premiers, she fell madly in love with Tseten, and the two bought a home together in the French countryside just a year later. As is common with most young prospects who are thrown into the spotlight early on, the money and fame got to Tseten. Photos of Tseten’s wild and unpredictable behavior made their way into the pamphlets. Images of wild parties, featuring a highly-intoxicated Tseten, began to depict the inevitable downfall of the once-adored model. An incident occurred shortly after these pictures gained attention, involving a fist fight between Tseten and his wardrobe designer. This incident signified the end of Tseten’s modeling career as he knew it. This was confirmed soon after, in an interview with Tseten’s former modeling agent, Jake Stein. “He [Tseten] had it all,” said Stein. “The money, the fame, the women… And he lost it. I knew he could never make it in this industry.” Tseten realized the true nature of his mistakes shortly after Bjorg Bjorkson filed for divorce, claiming his beloved Tibetan Mountain Dog “Snuggles” from him. “I had become what I despised the most,” said Tseten in an interview with the Nickelodeon Teens Choice Awards Interview Committee in 2013. “Between the drugs and the parties, I had forgotten the bright-eyed, sharp cheek-boned kid I once was. When I returned to my yaks in Tibet, they didn’t recognize me. When they refused to take me, I knew it was time to stop.” Tseten had been beaten down, but had not lost hope. He traveled to Nepal, vowing to do good by teaching students the value of a life of meaning, versus a life of fame and fortune.

 

Tsering: An artistic mind, sculpted by a longing for creativity

Originally born in Tibet, Tsering made a name for herself on the streets of Toronto. Discovered by Drake, at the age of 14, Tsering was given the responsibility of choreographed the dances for each of Drake’s music videos. “Dance was fun,” she told Rolling Stones Magazine in 2011. “We [her and Drake] got along well, and our creative differences only pushed us more.” After several years of choreography, Tsering grew tired of being in the backdrop of Drake’s growing stardom, and decided to test her skills in the studio. Shortly after a dispute between the two regarding the dance moves set to be included in Drake’s “Hotline Bling” video, Tsering quit and vowed to showcase her talent behind the turntables. She released a diss  track shortly after titled, “The Queen of the 6” criticising Drake for claiming to be the best artist in Toronto. Sales of the track and the accompanying album reached the millions just two days after their release, surpassing Drake’s “God’s Plan” by nearly 10 million Canadian dollars. Word of her rising popularity spread across the music world, reaching big names such as Sean Paul and 50 Cent. Albums showcasing ingenious collaborations between the three artists flew off the shelves in the following months. After winning her second consecutive Grammy for Song of the Year, Tsering decided to focus on the development of the future of music, rather than tanning in the spotlight of it. She signed a couple of big names to her label, including 6ix 9ine, Lil Nas X, and Daddy Yankee. With a stroke of genius, these artists were able to take off in no time. Success was something that Tsering was able to guarantee, which led to an overwhelming sense of hubris and overconfidence in her prodigies. The lack of love for the art deeply frustrated Tsering, as she grew increasingly more impatient with the antics of the artists she had developed. The turning point in her career came after she violently shut down a party being thrown in her studio, by one of her artists, firing all of the names on her label in just one afternoon. She shut down her label the following day, declaring an immediate retirement from the music industry. “They [the artists] had lost their love for the music, which isn’t sustainable in this industry,” she told Time magazine following her unexpected retirement. When asked about her future plans she replied, “I want to make a difference for young people… Change the culture that has been created for them by social media. I want to show them that wealth doesn’t always equate to happiness, and that love for what you do trumps it all.” She has been in Nepal ever since, leading groups of students across the country.

 

As I sat staring at the screen of my phone in absolute awe of what I had just discovered, I began to wonder just what could have possible brought these 3 stars of another life together. How could it be that three people had wound up as part of the same travel group, in Nepal of all places? Was it pure coincidence? Or could it have been the work of a higher power…

 

Christy Sommers:

When I first began my search on this mysterious figure, I truly did not know what to expect. I had heard a selection of stories from both students and instructors claiming to have witnessed her aura before. People talked about her the same way they had about big foot, giving out vague yet mildly conceivable pieces of evidence towards her existence. Some claimed that she lives in India, and watches over her groups from a centrally-located area. Others scoffed at such a claim, and insisted that she lives in Boulder, Colorado, home base of the Dragons Program. Some, more complacent and spiritual followers, insisted that Christy’s spirit resides all around and cannot be triangulated to just one location. All of this speculation and yet no conclusive answers, led me to believe that what I was looking for was beyond my comprehension. Many nights I lied awake, just wondering what it was that I was searching for. After several sleepless nights and meaningless days, I convinced myself to continue the search. I continued to interrogate those around me, in hopes of uncovering some more information. Some claimed that the only way to communicate with her was by igniting a stockpile of wood, located just beyond the Everest base camp. Others insisted that the only way to communicate with Christy was through a state of delirious euphoria, achievable through dipping below a 1 on the poop scale for over a week (a task far too treacherous for anyone to actually attempt). I had even heard some of the crazier kids claim that they had heard her voice as part of a precourse webinar/information session providing “instructions” for the course. My search finally came to an end when my instructors all informed me, on separate occasions, that they were able to communicate with her regularly. This tidbit of information rocked my world completely, and turned everything I thought I knew about Christy Sommers into the speculation that I had grown so tired of. Amidst the chaos, I was able to reach a conclusion on just who, or what, Christy Sommers is. While her existence, whereabouts, and image remain unknown, one thing is very clear. It was through her will that this seemingly mis-matched group of instructors was united; their individual destinies on the thread of a needle, held by the master seamstress herself.  She guides us, organizes us, and in the end provides us with what we need when we are down. I hope this exposé on the people who we thought we knew best inspires you to seek beyond what is known, and to go fearlessly into your pursuits.

 

I would like to thank Time Magazine as well as several other sources for being so accommodating during my research.