February 2019 - 6 Minute read

HOW TO QUIT PRO SPORTS AND GROUND YOURSELF.

How ex-professional ice hockey player Tristan Cameron Harper conquered
new heights by reconnecting with himself through nature.

Step 1: Listen to Yourself.

There’s nothing quite like reaching the top of a windy peak. Tristan Cameron Harper, landscape photographer and mountaineer, captures this magnificent feeling on a regular basis, relaying it to his community of like-minded explorers. Montblanc recently traveled to “La isla verde” – the breathtaking green island of La Palma on the Canary Islands – with Tristan in order to go hiking with him in the warm winter sun. After retiring from professional ice hockey, Tristan found a way to reconnect with himself by exploring the beauty of nature. Back then, the demanding routine and the mental as well as physical stress of playing professional ice hockey had begun to take its toll on his well-being. So he did one of the simplest things a person can do: he started listening to himself.

“I began to ask myself what was working in each part of my life and what wasn’t. I made a lot of changes and I felt the benefits.” That meant going where he felt his mind was at its clearest – outdoors. Nowadays, he spends the majority of his time exploring and hiking all over the world. “Hiking definitely gives you a fresh perspective, and both your mental and physical health improve. I also feel that I become more productive and am generally much more inspired.”

“It started simply by listening to myself and to what made me happier.”

– Tristan Cameron Harper.

Step 2: Conquer New Heights

This winter, Tristan traded the wet, windy, rolling hills of the Scottish Highlands for the lush, green mountains of La Palma on the Canary Islands. Instead of Scottish rain hitting him from all directions, he is standing by a waterfall in a moss-covered gorge, with sun beaming down through the ferns onto the rocks. He is talking about a life-changing trip to Nepal. The term “life-changing” isn’t hyperbolic – in Tristan’s case, it’s reality.

“Playing ice hockey was my life. Ice hockey is a physically and mentally demanding sport in its own right, but things started to change. I’d spend some of my days off on the hills – and the more I did that, the more I wanted to spend time outdoors,” he says. So after exploring his home country, he decided to go further afield: Nepal. “Hiking in Nepal made me feel more human and filled my soul with joy. I had so much gratitude for the people of Nepal for allowing so many of us to travel through their villages, climb their mountains, and welcome us all.” It was in Nepal that he decided to leave the world of professional ice hockey for good.

“I wanted to take photos of the landscape, and I wanted to climb mountains. It was that simple – and life is short, so why not try?”

– Tristan Cameron Harper

Step 3: Reconnect.

Still at the foot of the waterfall, Tristan explains the process of mindfulness, which is an integral part of his everyday life. “It’s just as much a part of my daily schedule as other things that benefit my well-being – like having a shower, drinking water, eating, and sleeping. For me, it’s about keeping myself in a present moment of calm, focus, and awareness – no matter what’s going on.” He gives his travel companions some crucial tips on how to integrate mindfulness into their lives. “Everyone is traveling, everyone is busy, but everyone can find five minutes for mindfulness … it’s all about being aware,” he says.

He talks about how he himself started to be more mindful in his every day: “I started off with little things like brushing my teeth with the opposite hand, putting on clothes in a different order, hiking a mountain barefoot (i.e. going back to the basics), and doing something completely outside of my comfort zone.” Tristan encourages everyone to find what comes naturally and to start from there, be it paying attention to breathing or considering how to walk – for example, paying attention to which foot is put forward first. “There are so many ways to be mindful and to alter your state of consciousness,” he says.

“For me, it’s about keeping myself in a present moment of calm, focus, and awareness – no matter what’s going on.”

- Tristan Cameron Harper

Step 4: Inspire Others.

By documenting his adventures, Tristan aims to inspire others to explore nature and to reconnect with themselves. “Hopefully, this feeling will trickle down and the upcoming generations will end up being inspired by the outdoors even more,” he explains. He is quite pragmatic when talking about how to get started: “First you have to believe in it and in yourself. You can’t go anywhere if you don’t take that first step. You just have to be patient, determined, and trust the flow.” Simple, inspiring words like these are what makes Tristan unique – perhaps it’s the fact that he’s Scottish, but most probably it’s his level head. Because despite having his head literally in the clouds most of the time, Tristan Cameron Harper most definitely has his two feet firmly on the ground.

The products will be available in April 2019.