My name is Sol Sebastian. I’m the founder of a program called The Alchemy of Man which is a man’s work and it covers a wide range of things but especially in relation to hormonal health, sexual health, relational health and just being a man, being a dude in this world trying to live at his best. And my work takes me to very many parts of the world and I travel and have traveled for quite extensively for the past, well since the mid-90s.
But especially the past decade or so I’ve been quite traveling a lot and since meeting my partner, my partner in crime and my wife, Saida Desilets who does work with women, we’ve been sort of on the road for many years and really consider the world our own that it’s hard to sort of pinpoint one particular place that is home for us. So the idea of conscious nomads is something quite close to my heart as well as my wife’s heart because we are quite nomadic in the true sense of the word. And yes so I have to love to share all that.
Bram: Can you give us an idea of what your travel’s been like over the last several months or longer? Where have you been? What you have been doing?
Sol: Last several months we’ve been in Bali which is where we back to here. But in the past few months we’ve been in South Africa in the middle of the some of the most game-rich, some of the most predator-rich game reserves in Africa. Hanging out with lions and hyenas and elephants like very, very close, you know, this same distance from you to the camera in fact, and been really loving that. That was amazing experience. We’ve also been in Amsterdam where we spent two months putting together some online content.
Part of our work has an online component so we spent quite some time in Amsterdam where the Internet was good. We managed to put together quite an extensive program. We’ve been… Mostly throughout been a little bit more settled this year in terms of what we used to. We used to travel very rapidly. My partner has been in many more places this season. She’s been in Australia, in Canada and the Europe. I mean it’s a little hard to track actually where we have been this year. But I think the highlight for us was South Africa for sure. That was one place who really stood out for us this year.
Bram: Did you become mobile is a necessity for this business or this type of business or regarding your business around being mobile?
Sol: The business was planned around being mobile because we’re both [0:03:17.0 inaudible] at heart. And we always love to travel and it’s something I think I really love about being with my partner because we both have this passion to be mobile to see as much, to really eat in as much of this world as we can. And we have no children. We’re sort of pretty footloose and fancy free in that aspect and so we’ve really made the most of that. And we have an appetite, let’s say, we have a very big appetite to see as much on this planet extremely possible.
Bram: And what are some of the things you find attractive about this kind of lifestyle?
Sol: I think to get a little bit, you know, deep when you hear that. The most attractive thing to is that you don’t get too—you can’t force sleep when you’re moving around. You can’t settle into one place for too long that you start to take things for granted and you start to get a little bit localized in your thinking. You consistently having to step back from the way you perceive the world and in sort of appreciate your surroundings directly and not take things too for granted. You may take continually ask yourself “Where am I and who am I?” And that’s a very deep existential question, where am I, who am I and how’s the world seeing and how am I seeing the world. And even the place you go to, you’re really confronted pointblank with that question and you do put your foot on your mouth often.
You know, when you go to new places and you do intend to bring your old motive perceiving the world into a new place which is completely different. And you sort of get waxed. You get a few slaps around the face sort of, sometimes on a heavy level, sometimes on a very subtle level. But it makes yourself and you realize that the world is not how it seems to be. The world is not how it’s portrayed on CNN. The world is not how it’s portrayed on Facebook and any media, any sort of electronic media that was so in plugged into these days. You need to experience the world on a limbic level. That is you need resonate.
You need to feel a visceral physical resonance with what’s going around you to really understand the truth to this world. You know, we see so much stuff on the TV, Internet, and what’s happening in the Middle East, and what’s happening in Europe, what’s happening in America, the financial situation and it’s just so much of this bull shit compared to what’s actually happening on the ground. And I think people need to relate to what’s happening on an immediate community level as opposed to the geo-political level which is very manipulative, let’s face it.
Bram: What are some of the most important skills or abilities that you have that enable you to maintain this kind of lifestyle?
Sol: First is mind, the ability to stop. Ask questions. Ask yourself, “Is this really what’s going on, today?” To really check in with your emotional state when you’re in different situations and understand, you know. Are you jet lagged? Are you triggered? Are you suffering from an environmental issue? Excess heat or humidity or what’s going around you that’s causing all the stuff to come up within you when you go into places. And just learn to there to stop and assess the situation. Stop and receive in a very receptive, openhearted frame of mind. I think that’s the number one thing. It’s what happens in the mind and the heart. The attitude would bring you to each place you go. Physically, I would say that for me and my partner I mean we’re both very physical. We’ve gone a lot of physical training and where at some instance that we’re good at and so we used to maintain our souls in different countries. Just staying strong, staying physically strong, staying strong in terms of your core, your digestion, your digestive strength, your physical and postural alignment, your… I mean, these are like—these has saved our asses in many situations where we’ve been in really bad travel situations where flights were shut down or, you know, travelled for hours and hours and hours and spent days travelling to from one place to another. If we have not maintained or done some exercises beforehand, we’d probably come down some bad illness or something that would knock as out for a few days. So physical health is super important for us and maintain that before and after we arrive somewhere. Also, just really creating space on the… You know, after you arrive somewhere especially if you have a jet lag issue to really create a few space in a few days to help acclimatize to the environment before teaching or before... We teach overseas. We make sure we don’t run any events or having to do any some major workish thing online issue while we’re sort of like half-zombie mode, you know, coming from one end to the world to the other. Jet lag is always an issue to deal with. It’s something that quick that takes quite a bit of conscious work dealing with them. One of the ways we deal with that is we don’t eat when we’re flying. Generally, we don’t eat. We just drink fluids so our bodies in sort of a suspended state. And when we come to the new place, we start getting on a new cycle by eating at the regular cycle we normally would. That’s one way. Acidophilus is always like with a high grade acidophilus like every day is really cool. There’s a lot of medical sort of little tip since the other things we did, acclimatize to it. We use to keep you sort of healthy so you don’t have to go any doctors. I mean, we pretty much avoid doctors at all cost. That’s our motto is be your own barefoot doctor. I think there was a really cool book awhile back about that, about the barefoot doctor. There’s a book like this. Yeah. Anyway, there’s a book I remember which is all about how to take care of yourself while travelling. I didn’t really get to read that book but I can understand the necessity to really be your own doctor. That’s a huge one for me. It’s a mind, your mind, your emotions, your health and then it’s only had a logistical sort of things, the customs. It’s a whole mindful in itself.
Bram: It sure is. Do you feel like what you’re doing is currently the highest expression of this offering or do you envision it going to other places and doing other things?
Sol: What we’re actually doing…
Bram: Yeah, I mean the actual form of what you’re teaching and what you’re offering.
Sol: Okay. Yeah. There’s always higher. There’s always a new idea. There’s always a new inspiration that expands you. I think it forces me in one place, doing what I do. I would still be giving my highest offering. You know, I would still be—if I was a sort of person would be just really homebound and like to stay in one place for a very long period of time and I was doing what I was doing in a more local.
Sol: Yeah, I would still be offering my highest offerings. I think travelling for me isn’t much a selfish act, you know, as it is in giving. I mean, I give a lot when I travel. I give a lot to the communities I visit. I give a lot to the people I meet, the locals especially like the locals here in Bali I’m just really, you know, I recline with the deep humility with the people here. I really respect their work and what they give you in here and it’s just the beautiful people itself. I’m really conscious of that but my highest offering is done wherever I go and whatever I do. But I think for travelling, I’m the student. When I travel I’m the student. I’m always reminded of being in beginner’s mind and being able to stay in that state of continuum, mystery, innocence. The great mystery of life is around in every corner and that’s what feeds me and feeds my wife. And that in turn inspires us to offer more innocence when I fall asleep and get lazy with our offerings. We continually updating what we offer and what we teach and what we provide based on our learning.
Bram: It’s a good advice, good perspective. Do you feel that living a location-free lifestyle as you do and as you have been contributes anything significant to the world at large or in the bigger picture?
Sol: Yeah, look I think it does. And this is a really interesting question and I think nowhere in history has there been this much prolific travel of human beings around the world. Like it really is interesting to see how the world is. Right now it’s like one of those little things you used to buy with the snow and like you shake it up and things are just everywhere. And this is like you get one of those things with little people in it and a little globe and shook it up and that’s really how it is right now. The world is shaking up. The world is being shaken up in such a messy way in good ways and bad ways. But definitely human beings are… If you trace the migration parts of it, the earliest human beings from Africa, you trace these, these different parts around the world and see where they all settle land and started to develop their communities and their way of living. And now it’s coming back. Now we’ve got, you know, China taking over Africa or we’ve got always different countries going back to Africa, the roots, and start to change the whole matrix of Africa, just an example of how things have come full-circle in a very strange way. All the Greek colonies are being taken over by international. If you look at that, that’s the amazing thing that the Greeks fended off as the eastern port or the ports from the east for so many years, decades or centuries and then now it’s just being completely taken over by based on interest, completely different vehicle. It’s pretty wild when you think about migrated parts. But I think as a traveler, what I think… So I think when you travel I think your conscious does generally change and while it may sound pretentious somehow, it’s very true to say that you do change, you’re conscious does change. It definitely happens to you. You start seeing the world as a true cosmopolitan, as a true man or citizen of the world which I think the word actually means, right? Cosmopolitan. Is that right? Citizen of the world right? That’s what the word means. And what that looks like is that you don’t identify with—like I’m an Australian born citizen so but I just don’t identify with Australia anymore. I don’t see myself as this patriot Australian or, you know, not really… You know, well I love Australia in its own right. I don’t identify myself as an Australian. I truly identify myself as an earth-being. I really… I don’t know. I get it a sense like some New Age sort of, you know, crock. But I think that’s the way the world going. Let’s face it. When we stop identifying ourselves as this nationality or this nationality or this nationality, we start to go, “Okay so if we are citizens of the earth, how the hell are we going to co-exist? How the hell are we going to do that whilst maintaining biodiversity, culture diversity, spiritual diversity? How are we going to do that we are creating a moral culture? How am I going to keep the richness of this planet without making it all like a Wal-mart?” It’s a very—it’s interesting things. I think there’s two sides though. I think becoming a world citizen and travelling and bringing yourself all around the planet and straightening yourself out has a bright side and it helps to make connections between things that would normally be considered very opposing. But it can also bring—so it can bring that altogether but they could also bring a lot of—they could also inject a sense of a very insidious spread of mono-culture around the world that can actually cause havoc to the richness of each culture, you know. And I think even in really well-meaning travelers, even in people who are so-called eco-tourists go around going to different cultures, I mean. It’s hard to say what effect we’re having on the world when we come to place like Ubud in Bali for example and bring yoga culture to Bali or bring, you know, raw food to Bali for example. What actually goes on in their culture? I mean sure it’s these helpful alternatives but how does it affect to the actual richness of its culture, the deep, deep riches of its culture? This is an example. So I wonder about what effects we are all having and I’m not convinced. Well I think there’s a really healthy aspects of it, I’m not convinced that we’re having also a judgmental fix on the culture diversity in this country, of this planet. I think when someone like me or anyone really travels a lot and brings different attitudes to different countries, they need to be really mindful that they are not just stepping into a new environment. They are stepping into a whole matrix of the section that can change for the better or the worst and what they bring to it. So when I come to a place like Bali, I’m always humbled by the people and not always really defer to them as the people who lead the situation in all the cases. And just an example with that, let’s say where going to see a healer and that healer can look at you and can see everything about you that is out of whack. When will many western doctors can see? I can see you as this is exactly what’s going inside you and I know exactly what’s wrong with you. But you might be someone who’s really like some brash American or Australian guy who’s just coming to say, “Oh and I’ve given you money and I want to be healed.” You’ve got this sort of transaction, transactory deception of what’s meant to go down. So I’ve given you money now you’ve got to heal me. You have this sort of expectation that now they’ve got to do something to you or something for you. And so this is sort of—I often see when westerners comes to a place like Bali, for example, there’s a greedy… There can often be a certain greed or certain fixed agenda of what needs to happen and what should happen when it actually reflects what the person should be doing. So it’s just shutting the hell up, relaxing, and just opening its heart to what the situation really requires and letting the people, that culture to lead that experience and just open himself to whatever happens. Not be too fixed or too much an agenda or preconception of what should and shouldn’t happen. I think to me that’s the most important thing any person should bring to any nomadic lifestyle. You just shut up, sit back, relax into the situation and just let the environment lead the situations. Make a choice for sure. Make a choice to have a great experience but don’t be too much an agenda to what’s actually going on. I think that t will be my number one advice, you know.
Bram: My next question is kind of similar to that, riding on the coattails of that. What specific advice would you give to someone wanting to follow a similar path that you’re following? Not just the travel but specifically, you know, somebody who has something that feel that they wanted to teach, they wanted to go out into the world and bring it to people in various countries.
Sol: My advice is learn to be a student first. Get what you get down. Know what you are teaching. Know well. Know your offering to the world well whatever that is, whether it’s teaching thing or two, it’s a support role, whether you cook well, whether it’s like you look after kids well, whether it’s your community spokesperson. Whatever you do whatever skills that you bring to it whether it’s a really complex computer skill or it’s a simple healing modality, whatever it is, whatever you have to offer, I think you need to go into any places as a student first. You need to go in and consider yourself more of a student than a teacher and just so you get learn to do that first. And then when you feel like it’s appropriate, then bring your tales to bear. Show what you’ve got to offer. And to come in all guns blazing, say “I’m here to save the world” sometimes the world doesn’t need saving, you know, and I think a lot of people forget that. People come in with these really fixed assumptions on how the world is in, how much they need to save the world when there’s a lot of places that don’t need saving actually. As bleak as sometime it appears, it still percept—there’s still a lot of perception involved and you need to sort of, you know, pull off that perception for a moment and just look at what is in. Just open yourself to being a student of the world, as opposed to somebody’s who’s just running around to save the world. I think that’s a good advice.
Bram: It is great advice. Well thank you for taking the time to talk to us today.
Sol: My pleasure.
Bram: Bye. Take care.
Sol's site: http://www.alchemyofman.com