Ben Sanford snowboarding down Newton Pass, with Pioneer Ridge, Haast, Lendenfeld, Tasman and Torres as a backdrop

Book release date

I have decided to delay the release of Seeking the Light until 2022, due to numerous factors. Producing a piece of work this size requires generous amounts of research, writing, editing, photography, and then to top it all off, videography. In case you weren’t aware, I’m trying to produce a book and a film/ documentary.

In 2018 the impetus to produce this book became so strong that I took the steps necessary to make it happen. I thought I would take about 2 years to make it happen. I underestimated the time required. What transpired is a whole bunch of important learnings that need some extra time to be realised.

The book will feature photographs from all 24 of New Zealand’s Highest mountains, my own experience on each mountain (specific to the climb I photographed and filmed), a brief climbing history of each mountain, and finally, some insights from my personal findings and research on the subjects of nature therapy, wilderness therapy, forest bathing, self awareness, breathing techniques (there are many), cold water immersion, discomfort, and not forgetting wild and wonderful topics such as biophilia, psychoterratica, psychosomatic therapy and Ayurveda. All of these could be summarised into the title ‘the power of nature and adventure on our mental health’. Maybe there’s a separate book that needs writing! This final area is the one that stimulated me the most to produce this work, and it is the one that needs the most attention to get right, now that the main body of writing is complete. 

The film/ documentary will contain plenty of visually inspiring footage of the Southern Alps, and the specific climbs, but will also contain interview excerpts with experts and wise observers of the topics I mentioned above. I mention ‘wise observers’ because there are important examples of people who know instinctively how beneficial nature and adventure is for our mental health, who do not hold degrees or have acquired ‘expert halo’s’. In some cases, science has studied them and their findings to prove new understanding. It’s an exciting area to explore and investigate. 

Safe to say, extrapolating all of these valuable resources into easy to read inserts will be challenging. But I do love a good challenge. What I now know is that it was ambitious and optimistic of me to expect to get the book completed in time for release this year. But where this feels mildly disappointing, the ability to finalise the writing properly gives me far more joy.

The publisher is still interested, but now with the extra window of time I’ve turned my attention to self publishing. It will grant me more autonomy on the content, layout, publication date etc. plus potentially a better return for my four years of effort. 

The Autumn months are a time of transition, and would often go overseas to climb in Australia or guide in Peru, Bolivia or Nepal, but I will now focus on finalising the writing. This winter I’ll be able to capture some more photographs, time lapse and videos in areas I’ve identified gaps in my work. Plus, in the process of compiling lists I realised that I only have a few more summits to reach until I complete the longer list of 32 high peaks. There are two main lists: 24 highest peaks, and 32 peaks that include the sub peaks of the highest 24. But don’t worry, I explain these lists, and the many more I uncovered in more detail in the book. 

Wim Hof Method Ice Bath photo copyright
Wim Hof Method Ice Bath || Photo:

And in other News, but also relating to my research, I finally had the pleasure of trying the Wim Hof Method. Wim, known as ‘The Ice Man’, is one such character that has been on my radar for a long time. Some of his self discoveries changed the course of science. After listening to a particularly stimulating podcast conversation with Jordan Peterson, I realised that it was time to test out his method. Wim’s approach resonated on so many levels and the practice, once again, drives home the benefits of interacting with nature as we have done for thousands of years. I used this method to overcome one of my fears (being cold), and to embrace the pain and discomfort of it, and move into a place of acceptance.

I expect to send another update once winter activities kick off.

Thanks for sticking with me. Until the next time.



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6 thoughts on “Book release date”

  1. Simon Blanchfield

    You’re an inspiration Gavin. Thank you! Can’t wait to read the book, whenever it’s ready – take your time.

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Simon. Glad you like it… and are anticipating the book as much as me!

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