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Authentic Adventure + Spiritual Exploration

What is Zen?

Zen is the practice of awakening and connecting to the simplicity of your truest self.

What is a Zen Master?

A Zen Master is someone who has embraced an ongoing practice of awakening self and who approaches life as an intentional and focused journey of seeking enlightenment.

What is a Zen Master?

A Zen Master is someone who has embraced an ongoing practice of awakening self and who approaches life as an intentional and focused journey of seeking enlightenment.

What do Zen and Adventure have in common?

Adventure pushes us out of our comfort zone to embrace risk, excitement, effort, and the unknown. Adventure can unlock self-actualization, self- discovery and growth. Adventure – like Zen – connects us to what matters most inside ourselves.

What is Zen Masters?

ZEN MASTERS™ offers multi-week outdoor experiential education programs to teach adults new skills, empower self-confidence, and discover personal tools to support a lifelong practice of self-discovery, learning and fulfillment.


ZEN MASTERS™ is a serious commitment to learning new things. The program enrolls students, not clients. Experiences are participatory, not guided. Responsibilities are shared and the growth is yours to earn in a safe and fun environment.


ZEN MASTERS™ delivers world-class, physical, adventure based instruction in the mountains and on the rivers including classroom lectures, in-field learning with experts, gear selection and safety training. The program also introduces students to readings, guided meditations, workshops and conversations to ignite the equally important “inner” journey of embracing Beginner’s Mind.


Fellow Adventure-Seekers,


Welcome to Zen Masters. This program is the culmination of everything I’ve learned from a lifetime exploring this planet. From expedition kayaking and adventure guiding 30+ years in the Himalayas across Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bhutan; from heli-skiing in Alaska to filming river giant otters in the Amazon; from overlanding across Africa and filming two summits of Everest…I’ve experienced firsthand the exhilaration, the fun, and the power of adventure to transform who we are.

But the world’s grown a lot more complicated in my lifetime and I can’t help feeling it’s getting harder and harder to hold on to what matters. But that’s exactly why I believe embracing Adventure – and what it can teach us – is more important than ever. I believe Adventure holds an important key to making the world a better place: Adventure always reveals to us who we really are and adventure always inspires us.


We created Zen Masters as an homage to the old-fashioned adventure experiences that I cut my teeth on as a young guide in the Himalayas – the kind you have to lean in to learn from. Authentic adventures are a far cry from vacations. They’re not the full- service guided trips people have come to expect these days from outfitters. As my mentor Tony Jones, a true pioneer of overland adventure travel in the 1960’s once said, “You can’t buy an adventure…you can only buy the opportunity of an adventure, and it’s what YOU make of it.” This sentiment is the core philosophy behind Zen Masters. Our goal is empowering you. Teaching you, not guiding you. As a Zen Masters student, you are a full participant in the experience of learning and leading. Because Adventure, like Life, is what you make of it. Learning to embrace risk, excitement, effort, and the unknown is the magic of adventure…and of living well.


We want to challenge you with new experiences, teach you new skills, drop over new horizon lines together, and give you a hell of a fun time in the process. We also want to help you embrace uncertainty and move forward – to honor “Beginner’s Mind”. Not just on the river or the mountain, but in everything you do, every day.


I hope to see you out there.


Namaste and Awra Best,

ZEN MASTERS is a trademarked outdoor education training program of Thunder Dragon Fund, a registered 501c3 non profit and Thunder Dragon Adventure Institute, an Idaho for-profit adventure education corporation.