A portrait about Daniel Babin – a young enthusiastic man from Canada
– Interview from the 3’rd of May 2019, Kandy, Sri Lanka –
1. When was the last time you felt happiness from the bottom of your heart?
Whenever I reconnect with nature I really feel deep happiness. A week ago when I was coming back from surfing and we were going on this jungle track path I was on a Tuk tuk. The sun was setting and I just see a giant elephant cross this field and go right in front of our Tuk tuk. It was an unbelievable feeling because it made me realize how small we are but how much of an impact we have on this world. A week before that encounter I was able to dive with blue whales. That was an incredible experience where I jumped in the water and I just see this massive animal in front of me swimming so peacefully. In that moment I felt very content with where I was, and a deep understanding of nature, being part of it and seeing it is natural surrounding was an incredible feeling.
2. What does it mean to you to life an intense life?
I suppose an intense life for me is waking up every day with a certain drive and a motivation to achieve daily goals while not necessary looking at the big picture. Every day, I constantly want to achieve those small goals: Providing for other people like my family, not thinking about myself, while constantly challenging my limits. Those limits could be things like focusing on guitar, my camera, reading, and writing etc. Never being satisfied with who you are what I would consider being an intense life. This would be very difficult to live in the moment, because you would never be content or satisfied with whom you are.
3. How would you describe spirituality in your own words?
I think to be spiritual is to have a sense of community, understanding other people, doing things for others without expecting something in return. Also being content and helping yourself before your help others. That’s a big thing in my opinion. To be spiritual means looking at negative things that can affect your life like temptation, doubt, cravings and being aware of that. Once you are aware of the negative aspects its about not allowing them to control your life. Being able to help yourself before you help others allows you to show guidance, and show the path for people that are struggling.
4. Do you remember a moment in your life you had tears of joy?
I did the Vipassana course, which is a 10-day meditation course. In that course you are not allowed to talk to anybody, you eat twice a day and meditate for about 10 hours a day. You wake up at 4:30 am to begin your day and you end around at 8:30 pm. This is the kind of course where I realized that my emotions are on the rollercoaster. I would ride the lows and highs of life and couldn’t find stability. I went through a lot of different emotions these ten days and there was one special moment I was sitting on the ground and I started to cry. It wasn’t because I was sad, or because of the silence. I was more so just so grateful for what I have and where I come from. I find when I was younger I was very stuck in my own ways and I didn’t really appreciate that things which were in my life. So I began to think about my parents and my family and what they have done for me. Who I am today is a big part of what my parents did for me when I was young. I wasn’t necessarily the easiest person to bring to adulthood. But during those difficult times my parents pursued that and overcame many obstacles with me. My tears of joy were being fully grateful for having such a loving family and parents they support every decision I make. They have helped me so much along the way but have also taught me to be independent and support myself.
I had tears of joy just because there are so many things I have to be grateful for. Canada is such a beautiful country with stunning landscapes, variety of cultures, and many seasonal activities. I am grateful for my many friends, which care about me and want to see the best for me. They are very interested in my life because I have taken a step out of my comfort zone. I have been travelling one year and a half and it’s a very difficult at times knowing that you are completely on your own. I had tears of joy knowing the past of I have come from wasn’t an easy one but it developed me into who I am today.
5. Imagine, the last day of your life has come and there is nobody who has any information about you and your life. All the information has mysteriously been deleted. If I would give you an empty sheet of paper and you could leave a message with the three most important wisdoms of your life, which three wisdoms would you write down?
Listen. Inspire. Independence.
I have always had the dream to travel the world. I come from a big family with six siblings. All of my family has traveled the globe and I have a family that lives in multiple locations. I have a brother in Vietnam and a sister in Australia. At the young age I saw my brothers and sisters leaving and coming back. This always appealed to me to go out and see what the world has to offer and learn from it. Seeing my whole family do the travel stint made me want to do it even more, because these were all people I looked up to at a young age and spent a great deal of time with.
7. Do you believe in a god, a higher power or even nothing?
No, I don’t think I believe in a higher power. I do like what religions have brought to this world for example the 10 commandments of Christianity. But I don’t see myself worshipping in someone above me. I believe everyone is equal and there are certain people they can achieve enlightenment or liberation, but that’s only because dedication to whatever practices they are doing. As of right now, I don’t know if I believe in a god. One religion that would appeal to me most is Buddhism. The story of Buddhism is a very beautiful story and I did really enjoy the Vapassina course and how it brought stability to my life. But I don’t see myself believing in a god. I feel like these gods were just created in the past and were written by historians believed in those practices. I think many individuals have blind faith in these gods and expect them to change their lives for them. You have to work hard and be dedicated to whatever path you chose in life, if you don’t put the time and effort into what you are doing you wont see results.
8. What was the most life changing insight so far and do you connect it with a certain key-experience?
The 10-day meditation course was a very life changing experience for me because it allowed me not only to concentrate my mind, but also to realize what’s holding me back like cravings such as like alcohol and drugs. I was able to cut back drastically to the point where it is not apart of my life anymore. I took a big step with my diet as well and went vegetarian. That was big step for me because I very was relient on meat in the past. Another experience was when I was in Australia, I arrived in this small town called Byron Bay and I wanted to surf but I didn’t know how too. There I was working in a hostel, the hostel owners really liked my outgoing and enthusiastic personality. The surf school that is affiliated with the hostel was hiring people. So I decided let’s try to become a surf instructor and they hired me even though I had no idea how to surf. That was a situation I was put in where I had to learn quickly. It showed me that I am capable with doing things that are incredibly difficult and all depends on how much you are really willing to put in to. For two weeks I surfed every single day and surrounded myself with the best surfers, who were all surf instructors. I learned as much as I could from them, by sitting in their classes and watching their style of teaching, and asking questions.
There is another story as well when I was younger. I was working on a summer camp and I wanted to become a stuff member. But I needed one more year in training before I could officially become staff. I called up the owner of the camp and said: “Listen, I want be a stuff member this year, because I don’t think I need this extra year of training.” So he answered: “It’s very brave of you that you call. I know your brothers are all into the waterfront. Would you want to do wind surfing instructing?” I thought yes I do that. “Do you know how to windsurf?” I said: “Yes, of course I do.” But I did not. I just committed myself to learning this new skill and put time and dedication into what I was practicing. The same thing occurred when I was initially offered the job to teach surfing. I went to this windsurfing club and I wind surfed for a few weeks before I went in this camp. I called up all the windsurfing instructors and found out ways they taught and went out and windsurfed a few times. It was a very heart warming moment when I realized that you are capable of doing things you wouldn’t think you could do. Obviously the lying fact is particularly not the best, but showing confidence and dedication gives you opportunities you otherwise would not be presented with. I think it’s throwing yourself in an uncomfortable position is critical. If you think about it you learn a lot more when you are uncomfortable than comfortable. Life is easy when things are going well, but when things go wrong you truly learn a lot about yourself.
9. Do you pay attention to your night dreams and do they have a special meaning for them?
I write down my dreams. In my dreams they’re wildlife that appear frequently and other things that appeal to me in life. There usually are two individuals in all of my dreams. One individual has a face and the other one has no face. They have a body structure but no face. They are always really interesting and sometimes little scary.
10. If an artist would draw a picture about your life, what animal would he choose as a symbol for you? What would the landscape around you look like in the drawing?What kind of weather would it be there?
I would say killer whale. I think that would describe me because they work together in a team to achieve their goals and they adapt to the environment all around world. Constantly challenging themselves to learn new hunting techniques and adapt to where ever they are fascinates me. I feel the community factor and the social aspect of them. They want to have fun and play, but they also understand when it’s time to hunt and work together. So they have a strong bond with each other and I really want to have this in my life as I often mentioned in this interview. Being together as one. Community. Working together as one to achieve a goal. Knowing the path isn’t always easy but you take a step on that path to achieve the final goal. Let’s say a killer whale somewhere in Norway with a cloudy sky. Sometimes your vision isn’t clear, but you have to stick to your path and your previous knowledge. His head is popping out the water and he is looking in for the direction, his path.
Additional information: 23 years old, Bachelor of Arts in Geography, currently traveling around the world, from York, Canada//6