It has been 10 years since Napier-born Sequoia Schmidt has been back to New Zealand.

Now she is on a mission, a mission that began in the South Island riding a bicycle around the country visiting places that hold special family memories. These stories are captured in her acclaimed book Journey of Heart; A Sojourn to K2.

Part of the cycling journey includes a trip back to Napier, her birth town. The 26-year-old now lives in Los Angeles, after moving to the US when she was 16, and has her own publishing and online company.

Tragedy struck the family four years ago when her father, Kiwi mountaineer Marty Schmidt, and her 25-year-old brother Denali Schmidt, were killed in an avalanche while climbing the world's second-highest mountain, K2, in Pakistan.


That tragedy ultimately sparked her return home - to talk about what she went through and her remarkable quest through the rugged and treacherous wilds of Pakistan.

In the wake of their deaths she embarked on a mission to K2 to follow the path taken by her father and brother, and to ultimately recover their remains.

It was ambitious and as she later wrote in her autobiographical book it was also, at times, risky.

She encountered a country embraced as an Islamic state and hammered by terrorist attacks, suicide bombings and a general distrust of westerners.

But she achieved her goal, climbed K2 and began the recovery of the remains of climbers who had perished there.

More than 80 people have died trying to reach the 28,251 foot summit.

She collected DNA samples and ensured the remains she had uncovered were given a respectful and proper burial.

None of the remains turned out to be those of her father or brother but that did not deter her and she continued to look after those she did find.

"It is about respect for those who died on K2 and closure for their families," she said.

"They deserve a proper burial instead of being left on the mountain exposed to the elements."

She said leaving the comforts of home to travel to a remote part of the world to "respect the mountain and the climbers who came before" her was all part of discovering more about not just the world but also herself and it firmly became a "journey of the heart".

There was never any doubt for Ms Schmidt about how she would travel her home country to tell her story.

"No matter how I try to tame it my inner spirit will always tell me to go," she said. "My 'home' is adventure."

So she is cycling through the South Island (having started at Queenstown on April 11) and will visit eight other centres, wrapping up her journey on May 4.

She is scheduled to arrive in Napier on April 24 and will give her talk, and sign copies of her book, at the Napier Public Library from 5.30pm.