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Belief

We believe that people are increasingly tethered to their devices and what’s comfortable or familiar, often detached from the natural world. We believe wilderness is the ultimate space to untether and get out of one’s comfort zone to promote personal growth and mental well being. We believe a Guided Wilderness Experience that promotes calm, clarity of thinking and confidence can be restorative and potentially transformative. We believe mediation is a powerful tool to help replicate that calm, clear contemplation uniquely found in the wilderness. We believe that peer-supported and confidential communities help promote connections, courage, accountability and ultimately, new positive rituals that can lead to a more restful and present mind.  

Origin Story

The kernel of the idea for Sherpa of Souls grew out of my experience trekking to the top of the African continent and its tallest free-standing mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro.

I thought what better way to memorialize a half-century of living than to invite a team of fifteen friends and family to climb Kilimanjaro.  It was a diverse group ranging in age from 12 to 72, and we were first time trekkers to experienced mountaineers.

One of the trekkers, "Keith", was originally feeling a little apprehensive about joining the trip. First, he had never climbed a mountain of this size and he is afraid of heights. Moreover, while he enjoyed the occasional bike ride and yoga class, he was not particularly athletic or physically fit. Kilimanjaro is approximately 19.3 thousand ft. above sea-level.  Keith also suffers from depression and is someone who generally stays within his comfort zone. In other words, this trip sounded a bit risky, physically demanding, and for him, a big stretch.   With a lot of love and persuasion he was convinced to join the team. While everyone on this trip agreed that reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro was the most challenging and rewarding thing they had ever experienced, it was the impact of Keith's accomplishment, in particular, that resonated with me most. Not only did he successfully reach the summit of Kilimanjaro, but he did so in style. That is, he was one of the few who best managed the high altitude and tough conditions during the ascent. It was a remarkable success story captured in some of his post trip testimonial: 

“I must admit that climbing Kili is the gift that keeps on giving: part of me will never be the same and I have changed for the better! I went in with fears, and I was able to conquer them!”

Keith's testimonial, among others, so resonated with me that I realized how fulfilling it would be to more broadly share this type of transformative experience.   Serendipitously, Keith’s wife commented in the context of reflecting on her husband’s experience on Kilimanjaro, ‘Peter, you know you are kind of a Sherpa of Souls for Keith". The light bulb went off and the decision was made to bring Sherpa of Souls to life.   

About the Founder

Sherpa of Souls was founded in 2022 by Peter Alternative. While Peter is originally from the flat land of Long Island, NY, he grew up on the Great South Bay, which is where his love for nature began.

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Peter at Mt. Kallapatour Summit with Mt. Everest in the background 

Peter was introduced to the mountains when he attended the Berkshire School in western Massachusetts. The school is situated at the base of Mt. Everett which is the backdrop of everyday life at Berkshire.  Mountain Day, a free day from classes typically enjoyed up on the mountain, cultivated in Peter a growing thirst for wild places. 

After graduating from Hobart College with a BA - Poly Sci, he moved to the Yampa Valley of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, where for two years he immersed himself in the mountains before returning to the East Coast.  After several years of following his passion for live music, and working in the music business, Peter got the opportunity to be a student at the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS).  This four month experience in the Rockies would cement Peter’s love for wilderness and back-country travel.  In addition to learning several technical hard skills, he learned a host of soft skills, such as developing an awareness that effective leadership is not only done from the front but also from supporting the growth of others from behind.  Following his NOLS training,  Peter earned his MBA from Bentley University outside of Boston, selected in part for its proximity to New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Upon his graduation with High Distinctions,  Peter joined a boutique investment bank, Mirus Capital Advisors. 

He spent more than 20 years working as an investment banker and entrepreneur. Interestingly, while trekking in Nepal, Peter's guide, a former M&A attorney, pointed out the link between the critical skills of a successful outdoor guide, such as expectation and relationship management skills with many of the core soft skill sets needed in becoming a successful merger and acquisition professional.  Peter was a member of Entrepreneurs Organization (EO) the Boston chapter, and has remained active in his forum for almost 20 years. This experience taught Peter about the power of sharing experiences in a safe and confidential community.

At the conclusion of his investment banking career, Peter fulfilled a lifelong dream of moving his family to Milan, Italy for two years. Shortly after his arrival, Peter joined the Milan Alpine Club, where he was trained in Alpine backcountry skiing, including avalanche training. Over the last 30 years Peter has enjoyed wilderness travel experiences, including several summits on four continents and throughout the Pacific Northwest and Northeast, climbing most extensively in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, where he has summited 30 of the 46,  4,000+ ft. peaks.

Upon his return from Italy,  Peter decided to pursue a more purpose-driven professional path, which included meditation and mindfulness training.   Peter completed a mindfulness based stress reduction (MSBR) course through Mindful Leader.  While trekking in the Himalayas, Peter was reminded of the unparalleled calmness, clarity of thinking and feeling of wonder inspired by wild places.  During that expedition up to Everest base camp, he made the critical connection between his time spent in wilderness and its transformative and restorative power. This connection led to the creation of Sherpa of Souls.  

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Meet The Team

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Meet Leila Pellegrino. A Solon, Central Maine local. She comes from an extensive background in wilderness adventure, from her go-getting parents who took her and her brother on a variety of outdoor excursions to receiving a degree in Outdoor Leadership at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. During her time there, she was able to dive deep into leadership skills, the healing properties of wilderness, and the psychology of group dynamics & relationships in the backcountry. Some of her accomplishments include completing a 70-day Instructor Development Course through the North Carolina Outward Bound School, where she was able to hone her skills in education and instruction in the backcountry. Her college summers were spent working as a Registered Maine Whitewater Guide, on Maine’s Class 4 and 5 rivers; the Kennebec, Dead, and Penobscot. 

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