THE FREESOUL PROJECT

Surf - Photography - MTB - Run - Travel - Van Life - Art - Humanism


ABOUT:

My name is Dan Nicholas, born in Newport, South Wales in 1980. I was fortunate to grow up in an era when a mullet was a perfectly acceptable haircut and it was worn with pride. I have always been passionate about music across any and every genre. I grew up idolising the Beastie Boys and late 80's / 90's Hip Hop groups like Run DMC, Naughty by Nature, De La Soul, Public Enemy, Tribe Called Quest and Wu Tang Clan to name a few.

This combined with my mother's excellent taste in music, I grew up on a healthy diet of Hip Hop, Soul, Funk, Disco and Motown music which would later evolve into all areas of dance music, metal and everything in between. Starting at the age of 14, I DJ'ed at my school discos in the hope of one day being a succesful DJ. Moving to Cardiff in 2001, I went back to my roots and started playing Soul, Funk, Disco and Hip - Hop. I was incredibly lucky and managed to land a 6 year residency at the legendary and notorious, original Soda Bar in Cardiff. This break would lead to me playing at various clubs and festivals around the UK before retiring four years ago.

I have also studied music technology at degree level and taught music technology, ICT and creative media in secondary school education for over 10 years. I also raised over £14,000 to setup a music studio for the pupils at one of my previous schools to learn music production, DJing / MCing as well as traditional musical instruments.

Young Dan with Mullet hairstyleBusiness at the front, party at the back...

Young Dan surfing in Daytona Beach, Florida.Repping the speedos in Daytona Beach, Florida, circa 1990.
Young Dan surfing in Daytona Beach, Florida.Cardiff Half Marathon 2018, in memory of my friend Mel Butler.

I got into the skateboarding scene early on and was helped along when my dad built me a ramp one Christmas. I'd skate down the slight hill outside our house and fly off the ramp on my Turbo Two skateboard every day. Wearing a different color shoe on each foot to show how cool I was and dreaming of one day owning a Powell Peralta or Santa Cruz board.

As I got older and my family relocated to West Wales, where we were closer to the sea. My father, a self-proclaimed 'good surfer back in the day' (although there is absolutely no evidence to prove this) taught me how to surf. After losing touch during my late teens, I rediscovered surfing again in my twenties and haven't looked back since. I've been fortunate enough to travel around the world doing what I love.

Being the 'stereotypical' surfer, I have owned a few VW vans over the years and have travelled far and wide looking for waves in all seasons and weather conditions, a lot of the time with no success, but hey that's the way love goes. In the past five years as well as surfing I've taken up running and to date have ran six half marathons and I aim to run a full marathon as my next challenge. I've found that running helps with both my physical fitness and mental health.

I am an active campaigner for mental health and issues related to it. After working in both mental health and education (for teenagers with social, emotional and behavioural problems) sectors for most of my adult life, I have witnessed the wide spectrum of mental health conditions that so many people suffer with every day and most often in silence.

Myself included, I have experienced family and friends who have suffered from mental health problems and have sadly lost friends to suicide. I'm very open and honest about the issues I have suffered personally and hope to continue to do my bit to help people who need it. Over the past few years, through running I have raised quite a bit of money for different mental health and children's charities and will certainly continue to try and encourage people to speak more openly about their problems. Sadly, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men between the ages of 20 and 49 which is both astonishing and shocking.

The Freesoul Project was born during a bad time in my life which has now thankfully passed. I aim to grow and develop the site and make links with people on who are doing good things in the world, as well as sharing my van life adventures with you and those people who are close to me as well as those I meet along the way.

In the last two years I have worked hard to re-invent myself and through both good and bad experiences I have gained a whole new perspective on life, with new goals and dreams in place. I'm really enjoying my life again and always looking forward, whether it be planning my next adventure or learning new skills. The process of changing your life is long and takes alot of effort but through the people I've met and some inspiring friends I have learned that anything really is possible. Just keep pushing forward.


Dan with his daughter Martha and Madeline.My beautiful girls.
Dan Surfing Uluwatu, Bali 2011.Surfing Uluwatu, Bali 2011.

The Freesoul Project 2019 - Made in Wales