Moustafa Hamwi describes himself as an executive nomad - he lives life on the road. The best-selling author wants to show burnt out Aussies how travelling, working and living a healthy lifestyle from a small camper van is not only possible, but an achievable way to inject passion and fulfilment back into your professional life. Here, he tells Lifestyle News about his inspirational journey.
Q: You are travelling Australia in a camper van - when did your journey start?
A: In June I gave up my apartment, furniture and most belongings. Everything I personally own in life was downsized to fit in two bags, that’s it! I am a living nomad on a permanent working holiday, for now out of a camper van while doing a road trip around Australia to spread the message of living passionately.
I am not a blogger. I'm still running several successful businesses, including a publishing business with 140+ authors around the globe. coaching and speaking engagements; along with teaching yoga & meditation.
At the beginning, the journey was about covering as much distance as I could But the more I travelled I realised it was more about the amazing experiences I'm having, the mind-blowing places I'm visiting and the phenomenal people I am meeting along the way.
Its been one of the most inspiring things I have ever done in my life. It's nourishing my soul, expanding my horizon and even improving my mental health and physical wellbeing.
Q: Tell me a little about a day on the road.
A: A big realisation I had on the road is the importance of owning your day and every aspect of your life.
When we no longer have a steady “home” then our home becomes “within” - the way we achieve that is through rituals, routines and pre-planning the important aspects.
My mornings always start with prays and meditations. Regardless if you are spiritual or not, having morning daily rituals gives mental and emotional stability, which is crucial on the road with so many variables like waking up alone, in middle of nowhere,, and not being sure what you are doing next.
Sitting with my eyes closed to focus on my breathing, recentering myself and visualising how I want my life to unfold gives me great control over my day. Life unfolds day by day, some days are great and some are not, so resetting every day is a must.
Food is the next most important thing, otherwise its very easy to slip into a very unhealthy diet. Easy access to fresh food is one of the best privileges of being on the road.
I'm always visiting local farmer’s markets for fresh and cheap food. It's a great way to meet amazing people and experience local culture.
So I do my food shopping, then prepare my food for the day or for few days so in case I am driving. This ensures healthy, yummy and cheap food - does it get any better!
The next thing I do is take care of my business as I'm still working. Depending on where I am this could happen inside the van, on top of a mountain or in a local coffee shop.
One the highlights of my trip was closing a $US25,000 publishing deal with a new author while I was in the back of my van waiting for my clothes to dry in the laundrette.
Once I have the ball rolling to know I will have money to keep going, I shift my attention to the fun stuff.
This includes going for hikes in nature and doing yoga (which is a crucial element of staying fit while on the road), going to local events, festivals, markets and even finding any form of dance event - a great way to socialise and have fun.
It's also a great way to get insights and information. The best hidden places I have discovered are through conversations with people I met on the road and chats with locals.
Evenings are usually about shelter. I learned this the hard way on the beginning of the journey when I found myself dealing with minus 5 degrees unprepared in middle of nowhere with drenching rain, which also meant I could not set up fire to stay warm.
I could not prepare food or do anything aside from trying to stay warm until the morning. Another night, my only way to stay safe from freezing was to sneak my van into a horse shed on a farm since the wind was so strong the whole tent van was shaking.
So usually before sunset I slow down and prepare for the night. When living in such a small space and on the road, there is a lot of mundane things that are crucial, like figuring out where I will spend the night, how I will shower and setting up the rooftop tent, cleaning & tidying up the van and preparing to unwind.
It sounds simple, but when I'm in middle of nowhere and its raining, such activities become survival related and take way longer than one would think, and if anything, they offer a chance for reflection and slowing down to appreciate the little things in life.
Q: What is your advice to people unhappy with their life?
A: To start with, I believe the pursuit of happiness is making most people sad! In my book Live Passionately, I talk about how one should pursue passion and purpose. It's a much deeper drive that brings meaning to life.
Happiness is momentary and connected to external factors. No-one can ever be happy all the time. Purpose is a long-term journey that brings both happiness and sadness along the way, but most importantly it brings fulfilment.
Most people get complacent because we get comfortable even when things are not great. We become too “ok” with just “ok” - but when you remember that you only have one life that is slipping away one day at a time, with no guarantees that you will have another day, or even if you have one, it will be better.
Just ask yourself two questions:
If you had a cheque for one billion dollars, so you no longer have any financial worries, what would you do with your life?
If today was the last day of your life, what would you regret NOT doing.
Knowing that you have no guarantees to live another day, go pursue those things that make you tick. You might not get there as soon as you wish but you will get there sooner or later.
The other thing I would advise is get professional help, find a professional life coach that you believe in who is living the life you aspire to live and has a proven record of helping others do the same.
Q: Will you stay on the road forever?
A: I love the freedom to be able to do what I want, when I want. Being a nomad is not just about being in a van, it’s about a mindset of how you live life as a minimalist and how you are always open to what opportunities come your way.
My “nomdness” is not just about being on in a van on the road around Australia, its traveling the world. So in the next few months I will be doing several international trips while spreading the message of living passionately.
That simply means switching from a van to an Air B&B to a plane, to staying with a friend to again being in a van. I simply decide my agenda based on what I feel like doing and where I want to go next.
Q: What do people think about your journey?
A: Two interesting things happened on this journey.
Almost everyone I come across on my trip says what I'm doing is their dream. I always knew people want that freedom, but I also never realised how frustrated most people are with the way they are living life.
It seems most people have a dilemma between choosing the stability and normality vs. adventure and freedom.
I think the answer is a mix of both, and that mix depends on each person’s values, aspirations and is related to what makes them tick.
The second thing is when I coach clients now they became more excited because they see me walking the talk when I'm coaching them how to redesign their life and break free from the shackles that are holding them down.
Moustafa Hamwi is a bestselling author and coach. specialising in working with entrepreneurs and executives who want to reignite passion back into their lives.