Reviews, Podcasts, and More

Mountain Life Review

Check out this review

Jim Banks, Hemispheres

In September, 2016, I did an hour-long interview with Jim Banks at KGNU radio in Boulder, Colorado, on his "Hemispheres" radio show.  To listen; 
http://www.kgnu.org/forcedownload.php?mp3file=Hemispheres/2016/Hemispheres_2016-09-27.mp3

Nancy Soares: Tsunami Rangers Extreme Sea Kayaking Adventures:

To me, it’s all about connection and compassion…Once we lose one or the other, or both, the world becomes a much less pleasant place, and a more dangerous place, to live in. – Jon Turk

After reading this book the first thing I thought was Wow. This book should be read.

Why? For one thing, it’s a really good read. But as I started to write this review I looked at my notes and then at the blurb on the back of the book. One word caught my eye: sanity.  Read More:

Tell Us Something Podcast

Don't Do Anything Stupid

Deep Wilderness Podcast

I'm running a podcast series called “Deep Wilderness”, with Spaghetti on the Wall Productions.  This is ongoing.  A new podcast goes up once a month or so, and the old ones are archived.  So check in anytime.  As of mid-March, 2016, we were on Episode 16.

Excellence Reporter:  The Meaning of Life

So, I get an email asking me to write a short essay on "The Meaning of Life".  Nina, characteristically, tells me that there is no meaning to life.  Fair enough.  Well, plumbers fix pipes; writers write essays.  It's games played by our think-too-much-know-it-all brains. Read Here. 

Life Out Loud with Junie Moon


Had a wonderful 45 minute conversation in March, 2016, with Juni Moon on her site "Life Out Loud with Juni Moon".  We talked about The Tundra, The Hunter, and The Shaman and the importance of these archetypes in the Koryak worldview:  Listen here.

Future Primitive Interview

In the summer of 2013 I did an interview with Joanna Harcourt-Smith, one of the most insightful conversations I have had in a long time.  It is now posted on the site Future Primitive.  Just the name of their organization is so thrilling and evocative.  I hope and believe that we will work together repeatedly in the future.

Hemispheres Radio Show

I did a great radio show with Jim Banks at KGNU in Boulder, Colorado in January, 2015. From the KGNU website: “On Hemispheres this week host Jim Banks interviews Jon Turk, world explorer, kayaker, and skier. Jon discusses indigenous cultures in northern Siberia, the Soviet era destruction of these cultures, and the shamanic spirituality that still survives on the frozen Siberian tundra.


From my readers

I urge you all to share your ideas, your own experiences, and your visions, with me and all of my readers.

I’m going back over parts of The Raven’s Gift again, appreciating your capacity for friendships across time and space and landscapes. I’m enjoying the podcasts and thinking deeply about the energy and drive of physical adventures and the energy and drive of spiritual adventures. I am grateful for your willingness to write about both kinds, to ask questions and to wonder out loud. Storytelling makes a wonderful bridge. Blessings on all your journeys and seekings.
— Amy Deneen
As ever, I have enjoyed reading all that flows from your magic pen. I don’t ski, but I have loved reading all of your articles for Powder Canada. Full of good advice to those who do ski or trek the great outdoors in winter. Doesn’t matter what you write, whether they be the heart pounding moments of danger, the exhilaration of personal accomplishment, or quietude in moments when you are at one with nature, your talent is in the words you choose that magically carry the reader along on your adventures as if we are there with you (again, and why, I have read and cherished every book you have written).
— Christine Crosby, Weston, MA
The mystical connections with the shaman elder woman were fabulous. Thanks for this evolution in your story telling which has taken you and your readers, including me, beyond adventure and into wholly new realms….into the mystery and not just the mysterious. thanks, Jon!
— Frank J. Sasinowski, Washington, DC
Thanks for writing The Raven’s Gift. The book is a gift of mystery, wildness, and reconnection. Made me realize that I have become domesticated, and I don’t need to be. I’m surrounded the wilderness of Colorado mountains, Anasazi mesas, and live in the strange Navajo desert land of Shiprock – now I feel like I am free to be myself in those places, and to be happy with what I have and where I am. Gratitude to your teachers!
— Joanne Chambers, Shiprock, NM
I liked how you projected your spiritual message of taking good care of the earth, enjoying solitude more and being more connected with ourselves and the earth. And I loved how you started off your talk with the logic and magic signs. I hope to live my life with magic daily no matter what I am doing. Thanks again for spreading an inspiring message.
— Connie Webb, Fort Bragg, CA
Jon, I have just finished your book, The Raven’s Gift, and I am still wiping away the tears. It is one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read and I want to thank you for letting the world know about Lydia, Moolynaut, Goshe, Misha, Oleg and the others, and the reindeer people. My heart is filled with love for Moolynaut and Lydia, and their people, and I don’t even know them.
— Barbara Schult, Concord, NH
I finished The Raven’s Gift breathless. What a wonderfully compelling and personal account! Parts beautiful, parts profound, parts spiritual. You are a model of an unconventional life and now with this testimony of one who follows a path with heart. I used to muse while hiking of walking out of the 20th century into a time and place inhabited by Native Americans say 700 years ago. Aspects of The Raven’s Gift felt as if you’d done that with the Koryak people. Thank you so generously sharing this with us all. Maryon Attwood: Somewhere in Email-Land Jon, I finished your book, The Raven’s Gift, this morning. I cried all of the way up the side of the mountain with you and karen as you took your wife’s ashes up to float on the air currents with the raven and the essence of the spirit of the bear. Your world of adventures in the cold and the snow are very different from mine but there was a lot that felt familiar.
— Michael Bergman, MD, Hamden, CT
I have 42 pages dog-eared (thank god it is my book and not the libraries) that I want to read and highlight! I truly believe that the only way to save this magnificent earth is to get more people back to “wild nature”. We need to lead simpler lives connecting us to “the magic” of the everyday. The reindeer people had it, Moolynaut had it – because they lived simply – and talked to the animals, got energy from the sacred stone and kept the native healing work alive.
— Terry Ruggles, Darby, MT
Your work to bring your book into the world is very inspiring. I know that it is hard to travel so much, but your message is important, and your stories are a call for people to wake up to the world in a different way than they perceive it now….We humans are so out of touch with what we need in order to sustain life, but there are some of us who will go down continuing to turn towards what is real, holy and good. I think your stories point people to a deeper meaning. It encourages people to accept and embrace the thing they are encouraged by our culture to deny. I can’t tell you exactly what that thing is, but your stories are pointing to it the way a compass points North. From Russ Lawrence: Chivay, Peru The Raven’s Gift made me think of the gift I received as a child, though I didn’t recognize it as such at the time. Of course I read incessantly, and in the course of my reading I naturally came across stories featuring magic, elves, fairies, and other features beyond the realm of my experience. I found it confusing, and always wondered, did they really exist? I was a stubborn, proud kid, though, and I never talked about these things with my parents or teachers, reasoning that I could figure it out for myself. I just kept reading and encountering more, so my powerful 10-year-old intellect reasoned that magic must be possible, or it wouldn’t be so present in so many forms. Since that time, the only unshakeable belief that I’ve carried is the belief in the possibility of nearly anything. Magic? Sure. UFO’s? Could be. Moolynaut, Kutcha, and the spirits from the Other World healing your pelvis? If you say so.
— Debby Takikawa, Santa Ynez, CA
I read your book, the raven’s gift and i was…in love, and so thankful to have had the opportunity to meet your story, live is such a magic…i bought your book ‘occasionally’ in Brazil just looking for something to read in a travel and after a few days i was there with you in tundra, you just teleport me to this hole new world and after read all of it i felt more than never that our life is bigger and more so much more that we think. With all respect i never heard about you but that book just caught my attention at the first sight, it seems that i was supposed to read you book anyway…i really just want to say thank you! thank you…And i wish with all my heart that you have love and peace for that rest of your eternal life!
— Camila Ferrari, Brazil
I read The Raven’s Gift in planes, in airports, on the beach, in coffee shops, bars, and living rooms. I got chocolate on it, red wine, and tears. I wept when I read the chapter that took Chris from you and this world. I was awed at your ability to turn those events into that intensely emotional piece of writing, and happy to know that the Raven also helped to heal your heart.
— Ali Squire, Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia
There are moments in your life, when everything just comes together, the answer appears to a question you’ve been pondering for awhile and then the peace washes over you, where before there was conflict and strife. Simon’s story about the albino deer changed my perception so profoundly. If you see him, please tell him it brought peace to my soul. Your book is changing my perception…again and I am so grateful.
— Darci Stewart, Melrose, MT
I have just finished reading “The Raven’s Gift” and I cannot tell you what an impact it made on me. It was the most beautiful books I have ever read. I was so moved that it stayed with me for days, I just kept reviewing it in my mind… The wolf is my favorite animal and when you spoke of how the Koryak people “spoke” to the wolf, I just wanted to cry.
— Karen Goldsmith, Bayside, NY
Your book, The Raven’s Tale was a joy to read. A book filled with true magic and wonder. It deeply affected me, and taught me much. I found your writing to be pure and from the heart. One now filled with magic and wonder. To me, this is the only way the world works.
— Bob Lang, Durango, CO
It was a honor hearing you talk today. I myself am trained as an engineer and to be frank my training and logical mind make it hard for me to believe some of your interactions with Moolynaut and the Raven Spirit. However, my skepticism aside, I know that seeing is believing and I perhaps have to undertake a journey/experiment of my own to verify for myself the existence, beauty, and power of the – for a lack of better term – the metaphysical world.
— Guru Pradhan, Somewhere in Email-land
Thank you for having Jon Turk come to ACES. His presentation shook me to my core. Laughter and tears cascaded through my soul. His stories and images ignited memories, stirred up feelings from unexpected places, and touched my heart. His talk inspired a deep sense of wonder.
— Jody Cardamone, Aspen, CO
The first thing I notice about ‘The Raven’s Gift , is that the book has the quality of lightness … it feels like a feather. Thank you so much for adventuring , and exploring and sharing the magic and logic, internally and externally . We humans are all indigenous people. We are all deeply connected to nature. Those who feel differently are hallucinating. Your work is helping us move out of Hallucination into Dreaming again.
— Erin Greenberg, Somewhere in Email-Land
You should see my copy of The Raven’s Gift. The spine is bent out of shape from reading the book in bed; some pages have food stains on them from reading the book in restaurants (nachos and books should never be enjoyed at the same time); and the book’s cover is worn from being stuffed in and pulled out of my travel bag. In other words, The Raven’s Gift has been a great companion! I assume people reading this review will already know, in general, what The Raven’s Gift is about, so I’m not going to repeat that information here. Instead I’ll say this: The book will surprise you. It will make you care about a culture you’ve never heard of before. It will challenge your belief system. You’ll never look at a raven the same way again. You’ll definitely laugh, and you might even cry. Jon Turk is a wonderful writer. His words flow off the page, making it easy to enjoy the story without being distracted. Even readers in warm climates will find themselves reaching for a sweater as they follow Jon on this unusual and touching Arctic quest. Highly recommended!
— From Marty Essen, Author of “Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents”
I read about one book every two years, some I don’t even finish, but I’ve been reading your new book and can’t put it down. It has opened my imagination in many ways. Ben and I went for a cross country ski and I kept imaging I was crossing the Siberian tundra! It is also nice to read about Chris and be reminded of her gentle nature.
— Melanie MacVoy, Fernie, British Columbia
I just wanted to thank you for your time upon this planet and your marvelous life. I was taking a road trip from Santa Barbara up to Glacier NP and I came upon your book. I read it when I got back and was transfixed. I leave it on my coffee table so that everyday I have a reminder that I am in a lucid dream. That the “awake” world and the night dreams are really all one story in the never-ending story of our lives. The inner and outer worlds are one! I loved loved loved your story and your bravery and your insights and your grasp on your own lucid dream now, especially through watching the loss of someone you loved so dearly. We are all one, and as we each continue to awaken, mother earth will radiate peace. For we are dreaming this into existence!
— Leela Ward, Santa Barbara, CA
The Raven’s Gift is a remarkable combination of travel/adventure, anthropology, history, and a very personal account of your own spiritual journey. I applaud your courage to discuss very personal aspects of your trip and your life as it really makes the book a work that touches other lives. In my opinion, this is among the top ten books that I have read in my lifetime.
— Michael S. Henebry, Springfield, IL
Heartfelt laughter and tears. The Raven’s Gift is the gift of your heart and soul to all who will listen. I listened and you touched my soul deeply. I laughed when I read your comment on the ravens “shooting the shit.” A comment my father so often made. My heart danced when you mentioned (more than once) that Moolynaut told you that all you needed to do was “believe.” The night after my mother transitioned her voice came to me with a message. That message was so gentle, so clear, so reassuring: “Bren, it’s wonderful. Just Believe.” Thank you so very much for sharing your heart, your soul and your wonderfully inspiring adventures.
— Brenda E. Domyan, Kanab, UT
I wanted to thank you for morphing my perceptions of death into something that is simpler for me to comprehend. Im sure you’ve heard the word “inspirational” once or twice throughout your writing career but you truely are an inspiration for me to continue my life without regret and forever with the influence of my father always at my side.
— Rachel Hatch, Midway, UT
These Comments in response to a workshop at The Peace House on April 24, 2010 I received a beautiful message the next day from one participant thanking us for this offering. In one comment, she said she loved the way you listened with your whole body! And she said her whole next week was so balanced and happy. Another wrote a note saying that her “inner child” was overjoyed and that she found the whole experience very healing and helpful. Both indicated they would like to expand on these experiences and so I am exploring the idea of an more ongoing series. For me, it was a joy to just “play” with the teachings and as you said…the day was easy. Perhaps a closer resemblance to our tribal families who just “live” these experiences every day. One of the highlights was seeing, feeling and hearing everyone dancing in the dusky light of the new evening…really a riot of a moment…still makes me giggle.. Thank you Jon for your offerings…it really was a joyful moment…
— Su Dowling Slover, The Peace House, Killingworth, CT
I have just finished reading your book, and am still under its spell. Thank you for putting your experience into words. It was both moving and reaffirming to read –and yes, entertaining–as well as very much in synch with my state of mind lately, which may be encapsulated in two quotes I found recently: One from Einstein roughly paraphrased, “There are two ways to live life, one as if there are no miracles, and the other, as if everything is a miracle,” and the second from Pema Chodron, “Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality.”
— Jan Botwinick, Boulder, CO
The mix of the content and the genuineness of your delivery system made for a delicious evening for everyone.
— Len Barron, Boulder, CO
When I think of a religion, cosmology or whatever, that has people drawing on walls rather than going to war, that reveres and enters the spirit of birds, bears and trees, that to me seems perfectly logical! Though I experience magic, I find it hard to put in words. I think most people of our culture somehow just can’t admit to magic, so the universe did us a favour by putting you and Moolynaut together!
— Jenny Munro, Port Hope, Ontario
In all my years of reading books, your style and content is by far my favorite. This book is astonishingly great. I love your word choice, how your string the past and the current narrative together, we are right there with you all and our souls stir with a deep sense of remembering with each flip of the page.
— Julia Pyatt, Taos, NM
My wife says we call storytellers bards –
but they have to sing –
you were singing!

Traveling Salesman?
traveling talesman?
talesman like – talisman
talisman like – touchstone…
like touch – magic – stone
or

touch feather?
touching feather – touching wing –
other wing touches other world –
brings back something from the mystery –
only that makes the mystery somehow more mysterious
even if more personal.
— Charles Mabbitt, Darby, MT