I had the opportunity to meet Bassam through Mikey because they co-founded the Nomading Film Festival together with two other friends and also because apparently they are brothers from another mother. Pretty sweet! I dove into Bassam’s story a little bit and I was totally hooked, the guy has done so many great things that it would take more than a simple paper-interview to discover them all. From reaching Everest Base Camp to meeting Fidel Castro, playing golf at St Andrews to working on reactors at Pearl Harbor, Bassam is certainly one of the most adventurous guys I’ve came across in my life. Don’t wait another minute and discover a piece of his story now! You can also connect with Bassam on Twitter @BassamTarazi or on his online home.
If you could describe yourself in few words, what would they be?
Spirited. Competitive. Humbled. Curious. Honest. Traveler. Always hungry.
When is your birthday? June 29, 1980
Where do you currently live? Brooklyn, NY
What do you love and not-so-much about Brooklyn?
I love that when I go home I can still feel like I’m in New York City but I don’t have to feel like I’m in New York City. Fort Greene, Brooklyn offers up everything I need (24 hour stores, bars, cafes, restaurants) but also some peace and quiet. I don’t love having to get there at 2AM from Manhattan!
What do you do for a living?
It’s a bit of a three-headed monster at the moment.
- I’m the Director of Operations for a construction management firm: Omnibuild
- I’m a co-founder of the Nomading Film Festival
- I teach via my motivational methodology that I created: Colipera
How does a typical day look like for you?
I get up around 6:30AM and I do creative work for about 45 minutes, that raw, get-something-on-paper stuff. I’m in the shower at 7:20AM and at Omnibuild at 8:30AM. The typical day at Omnibuild is anything but. Some days I’m on a job site, in the mechanical room of a hotel maybe and sometimes I’m in the office putting the finishing touches on a proposal for a client. I’m a bit of a Michael Clayton in the office. If someone needs something done, they come to me and I figure out how to solve it.
I’m usually home by 5:30-6:00PM. If I’m working out that day, I’m working out in Fort Greene Park. After that, I’ll make myself dinner and then I’ll have about 4 hours of free time to work on stuff for the festival (press releases, chatting with sponsors, reviewing submissions, prepping for the event in June) and stuff for Colipera (finish editing website, finishing touches on my e-book, prepping for a class and getting back to potential clients).
Sure, I always find time to hang out with friends, catch parts of The Daily Show as I get ready for bed, but that is a typical day for me. If it we’re talking about a weekend day, I’m probably working about 12 hours on the film festival and Colipera stuff between Saturday and Sunday. The rest of the time is spent kicking back.
Oh, I also give two random compliments to strangers everyday.
As a co-founder of the Nomading Film Festival, we would love to know how you came up with this idea?
I have been lucky enough to travel the globe and I’ve always had experiences where I thought, “Gosh, imagine if someone else could see what I’m seeing right now.”
I never did anything with that thought, and then one day in late October 2010, my good friend, co-founder of the festival and current roommate, Josh Wolff, wrote an email that said, “What about a film festival for travel films?” At that point, I pretty much lost my mind because I couldn’t believe we hadn’t thought about it earlier.
I had been recently recording my journeys on video as I have always been interested in film. Josh is a documentary filmmaker and an avid traveller so the idea was inside of us, it just needed a way out. Recently I wrote about the thought process behind it in an article for revolution.is. But in essence, we didn’t know what we were doing; we just believed that everyone had a story worth telling. Armed with that, we just forged ahead.
When and where will the NoFF take place this year?
NoFF will take place at Hostelling International (891 Amsterdam Ave) in New York City on June 23, 2012.
43 countries in 31 years, it’s very impressive! How do you find the time and money to travel that much?
As I like to say, there is time if you want there to be time. But being the only member of my family (and entire extended family at the time) born in the United States meant that I had family all over the world. My father was born in Palestine and grew up in Lebanon, while my mother was born and raised in Holland. Growing up, travelling was just part of life. My parents had seen the world, I had family around the world, so we travelled.
When it got time to earning my own living, I was never someone who liked “things”. In fact, I don’t buy much of anything. I spend most of my money on experiences and not stuff. I know it sounds cliché but it’s true. Over the past 10 years I’ve lived in 7 different cities so I was forced to not own too much, thankfully. All the money I don’t spend on stuff, usually goes towards the next trip.
The time was found in between jobs or using up all my vacation days at jobs. I live to travel. I love going to a new place all by myself and being completely vulnerable. That’s when I feel most alive, when I don’t really matter to the people around me. It forces you to truly be in the moment.
Tell us more about Colipera…what is the concept behind the word? How does it work? What we can do to help you spread the virus?
Colipera is a free 4-week goal setting & execution methodology that allows you to lean on us; It’s the social virus for getting things done. Colipera = Collective Inspiration + Personal Accountability.
In essence, it forces you to make a tangible goal public to a group of 3-6 people. The other members of the group are also making their 4-week goal public. Everyone then creates weekly goals and the group meets once a week for a month updating each other on status, snags and such while the rest of the group offers up help, support and feedback.
Why face-to-face? Because it’s a lot harder to give an excuse when you have to say it to someone’s face instead of email. In the end, the number one thing we want in life is the respect of our peers. Knowing that, you won’t want to show up to a meeting having done nothing towards your goal while everyone else worked on his goal. We hate that feeling.
On the flip side, nothing makes us feel better than helping someone else reach their goals, so…collective inspiration + personal accountability.
What is your most unforgettable and you-still-can’t-believe-you-did-it travel memory so far?
Meeting Fidel Castro, shaking his hand and having him sign his name in my passport with a Sharpie. That, and reaching Everest Base Camp.
What are your plans for:
- Finish editing my e-book…finally!
- Go for a run
- Appreciate the day in some form or another
- Laugh, a lot
- Give two random complements to strangers
- Call one friend I haven’t chatted with in a while
- Nail my half-day goal setting workshop at General Assembly
- Be there for the birth of my nephew
- Gain three new coaching clients
- Have at lease 50% of my income come from coaching, speaking or teaching
- Plan the next big trip (Kilimanjaro?)
- Sell out tickets to NoFF this summer
- Have NoFF go to its third city (we’ve been to Portland, OR too)
- Have special edition of e-book in a hardcover edition
What do you want to get out of life?
What everyone wants, fulfilment. I want to give back as many smiles as I have been lucky to have. I want to end my days with a life story I am proud of and that I don’t have any regrets with.
Your favourite quote?
I have 3 (sorry):
- Live an interesting life. No one wants to talk to an old man with no stories to tell. – My grandfather
- Dream but don’t daydream. – My father
- The best time to get to work on it was yesterday. Failing that, today will do. – Chris Guillebeau
Last but not least, what is the dessert you couldn’t live without?
Sadly, I’m not a sweets guy so there are no desserts that I die for. That being said, I would be a little upset if I never had chocolate cake again. And if you’re ever in Cape Town, South Africa, find a restaurant called “Four Quay” and order the “Chocolate Nemesis” for dessert. That was the best cake I’ve ever had in my life.
Merci beaucoup Bassam !