Born and educated in Germany, my story has all the elements of a classic immigrant’s tale. At age 28, tired of the stuffiness and conformist attitudes of my native Germany, I followed my father’s footsteps and moved to northern California in 1984.
I arrived in San Francisco with nothing more than what I could carry on a plane. Only a few weeks later I started my first business, a Bay Area based housecleaning service. It allowed me to make valuable connections and save up enough money to fulfill one of my long held dreams, that of “opening my living room to the public” by establishing a Cafe.
In 1990 the doors opened to the One World Café in San Francisco. It greatly contributed to the gentrification of a neighborhood now known as NOPA. The cafe was a hot spot for live music, art exhibits, and other community events. It was recognized as making one of the best cappuccinos in San Francisco. Renowned food critic Patricia Unterman called it “…an inventive expression of what constitutes a vital cafe.” It was prominently featured in the Food Lover’s Guide to San Francisco and some of the regulars included jazz great John Handy and Romeo Void singer and artist Deborah Iylall.
The success and subsequent sale of the café allowed me to embark on my next big adventure. During a retreat in 1992 I met Peace Nobel Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh, widely recognized as one of the leading Buddhist teachers alive. He invited me to join his publishing house Parallax Press. I still think about my first interview where he told me: “This sounds like it could become one of the classic immigrant story of “from the mailroom to the president.”
Well, it did and in 2013 after nearly 20 years at the helm of Parallax Press I had engineered and overseen the transition of the press from a small sole proprietorship into the 3rd most prominent Buddhist publishing company in the US.
During that time I was also ordained as a lay Dharma teacher and I’m authorized to teach mindfulness meditation practice in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh. I felt like the luckiest person on earth being able to combine my love for books with my spiritual practice.
I worked closely with Travis in his many years as Publisher of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings at Parallax Press. He is one of the best dharma minds and publishers and we were lucky to have him to work with. – James Gimian, Executive Director at Foundation for a Mindful Society
However my story doesn’t end there: As the old adage goes “behind every great man is a great women” and I had the great fortune to meet such a woman in 2010. Born in Yellowstone National Park and raised by wolves and bears 🙂 Lynn Hinck had recently re-located to the Bay Area in search of her own fortune (she is now the associate director of the nationally recognized Point Reyes Seashore Association). Based on her advise to follow my passion, I left the publishing world behind and founded Chateau Le Bark, a Bay Area institution that provides boarding services for dogs in a home like setting.
Now, 4 years later and well into my “third act” I have cared for and trained hundreds of dogs and as part of Rover.com became one of the top dog hosts in the country.
In addition to fulfilling my immigrant’s dream, I have been blessed with so many things:
The joys of fatherhood – I am a devoted dad to my 19 year old son – and I’m not done parenting.
I have “walked the path” together with one of the great spiritual leaders of our time and still have much to learn and share.
I am a passionate traveler with many more places on my “Bucket List”
I treasured seeing Lynn’s girls grow up and I’m not done being a steady presence in their lives
I’m a life-long reader who has left many pages unturned
I’m a movie connoisseur who still dreams of one day attending the Oscars.
I have a very close relationship with my soon-to-be 80 year old mother.
All it takes for these things to continue is finding a new kidney for me. Will you help to make that happen? More here https://wordpress.com/page/kidneyfortravis.com/2