The Happiness Quotient

Thom Pollard

Thom Dharma Pollard hosts inspirational, intimate and unfiltered Stories That Inspire with guests and drawing from his own adventures around the world. The Happiness Quotient: connected, engaged, passionate people who inspire us.

Laura Dekker, at Age 16 Became Youngest Ever to Solo Circumnavigate the Globe
Sep 16 2021
Laura Dekker, at Age 16 Became Youngest Ever to Solo Circumnavigate the Globe
Can you imagine achieving at the age of 16 what other dream their entire lives of doing and even then never take the first step toward embarking on the journey of their dreams?Our remarkable guest today knew from a very early age that she wanted to sail around the world, alone...in her own boat. It appeared as if everyone in her sphere were conspiring against her, to dash her dreams….well, I should say that her parents were very supportive, and encouraged her to put her thoughts into action. In fact, she was born in New Zealand, during a seven month sailing trip by her parents, spent the first five years of her life on at sea...was given her first boat at age six, a small dingy made for children…  She named her boat Guppy, all her boats have been named GuppyHer name is Laura Dekker. She’ll be 26 on September 20th….she has a Dutch, German and New Zealand citizenship...truly a citizen of the world. At age 14, with a solo trip to England …..and back - departing from her home in the Netherlandsunder her belt and months, even years of experience alone aboard a ship….she announced her intentions to circumnavigate the globe, solo.Now, you know when you were a kid and you had this amazing idea and someone told you how dumb it was and somehow you agreed and gave up that dream, and suddenly the years go by and you wonder why the hell you ever listened to the doubeters in the first place?Well, Laura had many doubters, in fact the government f the Netherlands got involved, the Child Welfare Office objected, a family court judgment was obtained that placed Dekker in shared parental custody with the Council for Child Care who intended to stop her departure.Dutch naval law said a person under 16 wasn’t allowed to captain a boat over seven meters long…. the Dutch court ended supervision of Dekker, and decided it was "up to the girl's parents to decide whether she can make the trip."[34] Dekker reported that she would depart "within two weeks".[35]Laura later commented about the authorities in an interview, saying "They thought it was dangerous. Well, everywhere is dangerous. They don't sail and they don't know what boats are, and they are scared of them."   14 years old!Well, she made, at the age of 16 became the youngest person ever to solo circumnavigate the globe….it took her two years, threw her into the international spotlight, she was awarded prestigious sailing awards, and everyone it would seem wanted a piece of her. When I caught up with her this summer and Laura Dekker agreed to this interview I wanted to ask her about her true calling….her now...and not trap her into telling the story of sailing around the world alone yet another time….there are dozens and dozens of videos and interviews on YouTube and beyond….and she has a book...Fast forward 10 years from her remarkable accomplishment and now Laura has devoted her life to inspiring children and youth with her LAURA DEKKER WORLD SAILING FOUNDATION. Aboard her new ship, also called the GuppYa 21 meter, 53 ton Scorpio 72 (stay tuned in this interview for the fate of the Guppy that she sailed around the world), The foundation provides programs for young people to develop life skills like team work, self confidence, responsibility, creativity, and leadership. The challenge of expeditions in foreign lands and long distance sailing aboard the foundation’s training vessel provide a uniquely powerful and extremely effective environment for the personal development of children and teeSupport the show
Dr. Peter Hackett - Think You Have What It Takes To Climb Everest? A Conversation with the Doctor of the Death Zone
Aug 25 2021
Dr. Peter Hackett - Think You Have What It Takes To Climb Everest? A Conversation with the Doctor of the Death Zone
Do you think you have what it takes to climb Mount Everest? Did you ever think about what it might be like,  and if you did it, would you kill a bunch of brain cells and come home…..different? Or, maybe not at all….?  Fact is, today’s guest feels that a person of moderate physical capacity could take on The Big E given the right conditions, with the use of bottled oxygen.... He also says to climb Everest it really helps to have been born with what he calls The Stupid Gene...the quality of being able to suffer for long periods of time, even willingly, in order to achieve a goal.Today’s guest on The Happiness Quotient is Dr. Peter Hackett….he LITERALLY wrote the book on altitude sickness….it’s called Mountain Sickness: Prevention, Recognition and Treatment (American Alpine Club Climber's Guide).Peter is no ordinary doctor...he’s a mountaineer. He climbed Everest in 1981 as a member and doctor on the American Medical Expedition...when he summited he was the 111th person ever to summit….it was well before the first guided expedition changed the game on the Mother Goddess of Mountains. It was also before more than one team was allowed on the same route….I first met Peter in 2000, we were working on a documentary for PBS Nova called Deadly Ascent, a film endeavoring  to solve the mystery of high-altitude deaths on one of the most dangerous mountains on Earth: Denali.   I was the high altitude cinematographer and Peter was the doctor, the main character. We were there to chronicle the season, ready to capture on film daring mountain rescues and emergency medical evacuations….In 2007 Peter found the Institute for Altitude Medicine in conjunction with the Telluride Medical Center and the University of Colorado to provide clinical care and consultation, conduct research and develop educational programs to optimize health as well treat medical issues affecting people who either live at, or travel to, high altitudes. Fast forward to 2019….I was on Mount Everest, filming Lost on Everest for National Geographic and Disney….while at 21,000 feet, the evening before leaving for our tam’s final summit bid….I began to show some signs of an altitude induced TIA….a trans ischemic attack, or a minor stroke. The symptoms were minor, numbing of the face.... More than 7,000 miles away Dr. Peter Hackett was summoned via Mark Synnott’s text messages. Peter was at a medical conference at the time...and he consulted with other physicians about my condition...many texts went back and forth. Basically he said this: 50-percent chance it’s really nothing, a migraine thing that will disappear and have no impact on me at altitude. The flip side is that if it IS a TIA and it re-appears on my summit bid….I die. He and the doctors suggested I remove myself from the summit team. That afternoon I was in Base Camp. Maybe I don’t have as much of that Stupid Gene as I used to….So, do you have what it takes to climb Everest? What happens up there when someone climbs into the DEath Zone?  A few facts:Let’s take the 2019 season, the season I was there on the Chinese side, as an example There were 11 deaths….eight of those deaths are basically unexplained, the cause of death listed as either altitude sickness (3 of the climbers) or exhaustion during descent,...listed for six of them….and of those 11 deaths, six of those were climbers in their 50’s or 60’s, where the possibility of dying at altitude increases. What is going on at altitude and how is the body responding to the extremes of the death zone?Here’s my conversation with Peter Hackett, Doctor of the Death Zone… We spoke in May of 2021, at the end of the climbing season on Everest, during thatSupport the show
Shrink Wrap for Crap: Diana Yousef CEO and Founder of change:WATER Labs
Aug 2 2021
Shrink Wrap for Crap: Diana Yousef CEO and Founder of change:WATER Labs
It never ceases to amaze me in the way people are brought into your life - today’s guest I discovered when I began researching the garbage and human waste problem on Mount Everest and the KHUMBU region of Nepal - In Episode #90 and in a recent streaming event about the garbage and human waste problem on Everest I discussed how Everest has been referred to as the HIGHEST GARBAGE DUMP ON THE PLANET.   Among the many guests on the program I spoke with entrepreneur and businesswoman Diana Yousef of CHANGE WATER Labs, a new company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts working to help the human waste problems affecting much of the world’s population. Consider this: HALF OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION has no running water or flush toilets. Change Water Labs has developed an incredible toilet called the I-Throne, which removes the water content from human waste…change:WATER Labs a low-cost, compact, waterless toilet for non-sewered households and communities.CHANGE WATER Labs’ Mission To Develop & Deploy Safer, Smarter, More Dignified Sanitation. Globally, 3 billion people lack safe toilet access, and 1Bn defecate openly. Chronic under-investment into sanitation infrastructure means people in many poor and vulnerable communities live with their sewage. With no toilets or pipes, there is no way to flush.I spoke with founder and  CEO  Diana Yousef about their work, and posited if it might be a viable option on Mount Everest….If you’d like to learn more about Diana Yousef and the I-Throne, visit  share this episode with anyone THAT MIGHT FIND THESE WORDS INSPIRING or helpful or educational.I RELY ON THE KINDNESS OF MY LISTENERS ----YOU ------TO SHARE and to Subscribe to The Happiness Quotient on Apple Podcasts Please CLICK SOME STARS AND LEAVE A REVIEW.=====================I'd like to thank Oliver and Chris Wood, Jano Ricks and The Wood Brothers management, as well as their publicist Kevin Calabro for granting us the rights to use HAPPINESS JONES for our theme music. We are deeply honored. Find The Wood Brothers at:  Wood Brothers on YouTube: Jones video can be seen here: more about Thom Dharma Pollard, about personal coaching or his inspirational presentations, virtual or in person, look for him at eyesopenproductions.comTo join his mailing list for A Course In Happiness, email him at thom.dharma.pollard@gmail.comSupport the show
Mount Everest is a Mess! An Investigation Into The Garbage and Human Waste Problem on Everest (PS, It's Getting Fixed)
Jul 23 2021
Mount Everest is a Mess! An Investigation Into The Garbage and Human Waste Problem on Everest (PS, It's Getting Fixed)
I recently hosted a live streaming event for the Musa Masala organization, who in their multiple capacities of forwarding safe and ethical mountain travel are raising money for the Wongchu Memorial Hospital….a good cause indeed. Our event talked about the garbage and human waste problem on Everest and the KHUMBU region - if you look for episode #87 of this podcast you’ll remember my interview with Peter Hillary about the current situation on Everest….he gives us a good picture of the Khumbu region but not so much of a good picture on the mountain, Everest, itself. Many of you have I’m sure heard has been referred to as the HIGHEST GARBAGE DUMP ON THE PLANET.   It’s shocking image for someone who has not visited there to conjure up the idea of Everest, the unknown frontier, the far reaches of our planet, being tarnished by overuse and carelessness at the hands of those who come there seeking adventure and, let’s face, ego gratification. In this episode I’m going to share some short segments of interviews taken from the show itself…...which will link in the show notes if you would like to watch it on YouTubeIMPORTANT LINKSDonate to Musa Masala: Shop with Us to support our ongoing work: the GoFundMe Page in honor of our friend, Gary McLean. All funds raised will go to the Wongchhu Sherpa Memorial Hospital and the Musa Masala Nursing Scholorship Program, projects Gary was actively involved in. Contribute here: Hillary:      Liaño Gonzalez - 7-time submitter of Mount Everest      Doma Sherpa - of the Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee      Benegas - Benga's Brothers Expedtions      Mazur - Summit Climb owner and board of the Everest Biogas Project      Yousef - founder and CEO of change:Water Labs      like to thank Oliver and Chris Wood, Jano Ricks and The Wood Brothers management, as well as their publicist Kevin Calabro for granting us the rights to use HAPPINESS JONES for our theme music. We are deeply honored. Find The Wood Brothers at:  Wood Brothers on YouTube: Jones video can be seen here: more about Thom Dharma Pollard, about personal coacSupport the show
Chris Carter LIVE From the Continental Divide Trail and the Adventures of Jim and Tim (His Feet!)
Jul 9 2021
Chris Carter LIVE From the Continental Divide Trail and the Adventures of Jim and Tim (His Feet!)
Today we welcome back our inspiring and intrepid Pacific Crest Trail Thru Hiker and filmmaker, CHRIS CARTER, who I caught up with on a LIVE Instagram session on July 9, 2021….where he was camping in Jackson, Montana….(population of about 111)….The first time I spoke with Chris was in Episode 67 to talk about his beautiful and moving documentary about his Pacific Crest Trail through hike called TO MEASURE A MILE…At that time Chris was in the nascent stages of planning a double thru hike of the Continental Divide Trail and the Appalachian Trail, a journey of six months, give or take….and that is what he is doing now.He is on the second half of the Continental Divide trail and today when I spoke with him he was getting ready to pack up and head back out for another 30+ mile day give or take….INSANE!TODAYS EPISODE IS a slightly edited version of an INSTAGRAM LIVE CONVERSATION CHRIS AND I HAD, You can find on my Instagram page here: magnificent film To Measure A Mile can be found here: Carter on Instagram: like to thank Oliver and Chris Wood, Jano Ricks and The Wood Brothers management, as well as their publicist Kevin Calabro for granting us the rights to use HAPPINESS JONES for our theme music. We are deeply honored. Find The Wood Brothers at:  Wood Brothers on YouTube: Jones video can be seen here: more about Thom Dharma Pollard, about personal coaching or his inspirational presentations, virtual or in person, look for him at eyesopenproductions.comTo join his mailing list for A Course In Happiness, email him at thom.dharma.pollard@gmail.comREADING LIST:Wild, From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed A History of Walkingby Rebecca Solnit the show (