Footnote N°08

Vasha, in many ways, is a modern-day philosopher who draws upon age-old practices. She is interested in practical wisdom gained through life experiences, viewing physical activities as a means to gain insights into the human condition and foster a more well-rounded understanding of the world.

Photos: Aaron Babylon & courtesy of Vasha

NEAR EARTH — One of the Vasha trademarks is - you’ve been everywhere. You’ve been around when the original urban run crews formed, you ran races everywhere and have been active behind the scenes on more things people know. Please give us a bit of a highlight reel of your journey.

Vasha — My life is too whole to make the story bite-sized.

Therefore, I like to introduce myself and my purpose by starting with my name. Naivasha is the name given to me by my father after serving in the Peace Corps in Kenya. The name means "rough water," or a body of water large enough to heave action. It is one of the few freshwater lakes in East Africa where land, sea, and sky species live harmoniously. My sisters adorn more common names, but mine carries a weight and purpose that has always steered my vessel. I've had numerous jobs merely for the art of learning skills, but my sole purpose has been in alignment with my name. I am actively resourceful, refreshing, and a reservoir where many find peace. A fresh body of water—thunder in the desert.

In my lifetime, I have been a pageant kid, make-up artist, club promoter, thespian, display designer, music video director, wellness magazine creator, holistic nutritionist, ultra-marathoner, corporate media creative director, agency owner, event producer, and farmer. Instead of waiting my turn to play a part on TV, I learned how to turn my life into a sitcom. Each day is a new lesson, and I do my damnedest to document every piece to tell the story of an alternative journey.

"Each day is a new lesson, and I do my damnedest to document every piece to tell the story of an alternative journey."

NE — What are you currently working on?

Vasha — I'm shifting my industry to a space where AI does not threaten my livelihood or peace. My future is in farming. I'm eager to get back to the real world. Studying trends has remained a constant in my life. I'm keen on what is coming and aware of the limits of our artificiality. My wellness journey began after my parents were both diagnosed with Diabetes. I thought it was their bad habits only to forego the challenges and confusion of watching my training partner fall victim to the same diagnosis. At that time, nothing made sense. I began to study more about the body and fell in love with what I was learning. This includes taking as many online classes as possible to be certified to regurgitate the information I am consuming. My goal is to be a commercial farmer and find multiple ways to diversify my crops and produce offerings. I'm working to get more red foods onto people's plates while finding new ways to synthesize food education to make it more palatable.

"I've never received the truth as a final act- I've always rushed the stage to look behind the curtain."

NE — You’re living on an island now, you’re having a very active lifestyle and now you’re farming too. Whenever I speak with you it feels like I'm talking to a modern version of one of the great Greek philosophers. Aristotle emphasized the unity of the mind and body. He argued that physical health and mental well-being were interconnected, and a harmonious life involved the balanced development of both.

Vasha — Curiosity is a major driving force in my life. I've never received the truth as a final act- I've always rushed the stage to look behind the curtain. On the concept of working, I was never able to comprehend why so many adults were unhealthy due to their careers. The math of that equation didn't add up. The same outlook that prevented me from procuring student loans is the same force that refused to let me work myself to death. If my everyday job is a passion, why would I sacrifice my health to have it? If I'm to work in this body forever, why would I compromise peak performance for a deadline? The mentality around this became a simple response to anyone insistent on getting me to work overtime, "I can't work if I don't work." This concept holds strong in all areas of life. If life is a battlefield, defeat is inevitable if unequipped. If each day is a chance to chase my dreams, I must show up ready to run. If the foundation is not staunch, the building will fall. Form is more important than strength. I've always looked at the scale of my why and use that to keep balance. It's greater than mental and physical endurance- emotions and spirituality equally fill spokes in my wheel of progression.

"Chaos is my friend"

NE — The Near Earth brand story is inspired by the Egyptian tale of Apophis, recounting his ceaseless conflict with the sun god Ra and symbolizing the cosmic struggle between order and chaos.

I’m sure you know the feeling of trying to be consistent and then all of a sudden getting attacked by the god of chaos.

Vasha — Chaos is my friend

“Get your house, get it in order

In your life, make God first

Keep your lamps burning bright

Make a stand, stand up for what is right”

By one of Detroit's greatest gospel groups, Commissioned, these lyrics have been on a loop in my brain since juvenescence. It took me years to put the advice to use, and the doors started to open once I did. When my mother visits me, her favorite observation is how clean and orderly my home is. I'm from a generation that did not get diagnosed with attention disorders in my youth but actively had to learn how to navigate the waters of being "different" from others. Though I have never been diagnosed with OCD or ADHD, I accept that they've been my best friends since childhood. My need for control is chemical and a substantial part of my decision-making. My greatest strength is my ability to stay calm during the storm. I spend my free time obsessing over the order and organization of my life so that chaos has an open room to play when she comes to visit. Chaos holds no power over me in my house. Instead, I've prepared a guest bedroom for her in my mind.