After the Agrarian revolution, the nomad lifestyle was no more a driving force on the world map. Few people and nations remained connected to the old ways of living, and much of the knowledge was lost over the years of constant change. One place that remained true to its roots and millennia-old traditions, however, is Mongolia. In its rural areas and population, the old nomad ways are ever so vital for the survival of the people. It is exactly this heritage and wisdom of the surviving man that gave birth to Nomad Heat. The embodiment of these virtues we found in Philip Lhamsuren, who is the inspiration behind our product line and brand vision. In this article, we will explore who Philip is and dive further into the mind of one of the last standing nomads.
To find out more about the relationship between Home of Wool and Nomad Heat feel free to check out this article.
Who is Philip Lhamsuren?
Philip Lhamsuren crossed the Amazon alone, relying only on his bicycle, canoe, and spirit. He spent a year in the French Foreign Legion and worked as a wolf hunter in Mongolia. His body is adapted for the steppes, deserts, jungles, and mountain peaks of the world. The journeys he takes on often have Biblical proportions, yet he remains humble before Nature and himself.
“I do all of this because I’ve grown with it and I love it – I don’t do it to make myself feel important. This is at the heart of my lifestyle,” Philip says.
Philip Lhamsuren is an explorer and an artist. His free spirit and desire for wandering are the result of his upbringing, life’s hardship, and fate.” I grew up on the road. All is important, everything is part of man’s fate and karma,” Philip says.
From a young age, he clashes with life’s adversities. After spending a year and a half in a Chinese refugee camp, Philip meets people from all levels of the social and economic hierarchy. Through his suffering and destitution, he begins his journey of self-discovery. “It’s one thing to be poor and miserable, it’s another thing to flee from violence. By living with these children, by playing with people from all religions, you start to see,” Philip says.
Apart from the influence of his constant travels and contact with diverse people, Philip inherits the open mind and free thinking of his mother Ganhand Lhamsuren. His life’s experience and upbringing set the foundations of one inquisitive and bold stripling.
At the center of his personality are his Bulgarian and Mongolian origins. “I was heavily influenced by the East and the nomad way of thinking in which you need to be constantly moving and always reflect on, and welcome the hardships – you need to respect them because suffering is absolutely mandatory in life,” Philip says.
He is inspired by the simplicity of the nomad ways. The idea of wandering through the horizon and living one with nature consumes him completely. “I like simple things, the simple and clear things, the truth. I like it when you are against yourself and not against nature,” he says. The deserts and steppes are his home and nature is his teacher. Philip slowly begins to absorb the traditional nomad ways and to get back in touch with his Mongolian roots.
Among the rough life and the even rougher nature of Mongolia, Philip realizes the true meaning of survival. Both strangers and relatives introduce him to the art of navigation and survival, while Philip himself learns to get lost and never give up.
“I broke out of my family’s intellectual bubble because I wanted to go back to my ancestors, to wild Mongolia. The Mongolia in which after Ulaanbaatar, the only big city in the country, begin nothing but endless mountains, steppes, deserts where nomads live the olden way,” Philip says.
One with Nature
Philip Lhamsuren is intrinsically bound to nature. He finds comfort and meaning in the presence of the wild. For him, all wildlife is sacred and has a deeply rooted connection to us. “Before we evolved into humans, we used to be all other species – this is what I believe,” he says. “This is why I know what to do in the wild because we were first water, tadpoles, fish, birds, or trees – we used to be these life forms; it is our evolution.”
In the mind of the nomad, our shared family tree with all other species makes the thought of loneliness obsolete. According to Philip, people are intrinsically connected to the pulse of all other beings, and as such our existence is interwoven. “I don’t believe that a person can be alone. Of course, they are alone as a personality. They are born alone and die alone. Your friends and family are just temporary warmth, but in life, you can’t be alone.” says Philip. “Aren’t the rest of the species organisms, energies, and living beings? They are alive much like you.”
Across the plain of time, it is the “now” that is of utmost importance to Philip. The moment’s essence has the most worth if it’s experienced in the present. “It’s vital for a person to be here and now. This is a cliche, but it’s the epitome of living,” he says. The idea of mindfulness lies at the core of the nomad. He is on a constant move, yet he remains fixated on the present. The physical body is the one that wonders while the mind stays anchored to the current moment.
For Philip, it’s the hardships that push him forward. “I don’t have a constant surge of motivation during my travels. You feel hungry, tired, and scared – these are human emotions. You ask yourself why you are there, you want to run away, escape,” he says. “I’m not an optimist. What helps me is my discipline and the knowledge that today is a good day since tomorrow might be a lot worse.”
Philip is a naturalist. The road is his home, and nature is his life source. Being on the move is what sustains him as a person. “I like the feeling of it since it satisfies my curiosity, all the while giving me much to learn about myself, the world, and the surrounding species. This is what feeds me and inspires me. The risk is huge. I don’t know what might happen. I might die – at least this is what my mind thinks. For the soul and spirit, however, my death is impossible,” Philip says.
To fulfill his desire for authenticity and raw experience, Philip searches for places far and hidden from civilization; places yet to be fully explored. “The destination should be wild. I don’t call it wild, but I use the word so people can better understand me. I call the destination ‘alive.’ In my vocabulary, it’s alive since it exists by itself and all living creatures there live in balance with each other,” he says. “These places are usually huge and vast territories without human presence.”
The ultimate prize remains the experience and memories. “The final destination is just a part of the equation. The backbone, the truth of the expedition, lay in the journey itself,” Philip says. “Every time I approach the end, I get sad. I get emotional about the journey coming to an end and that I won’t experience it the same way again.
The Key to a Successful Journey
For Philip Lhamsuren the most reliable form of transportation is the human body – he travels light and on foot. Inspired by the nomad way, Philip carries only that which is vital for his survival. Four objects are a must in his list of essentials. “These are my personal preferences, I always carry something to start a fire with – magnesium, for example. I also have a notebook with a pen, a knife, and a headlight. These are absolutely mandatory for me.”
At first glance, the notebook that Philip carries may seem out of place, but its contents are crucial for the journey ahead. The open pages provide a place for expression and reflection, without which he can be consumed by the pressure of the expedition. “Writing helps me a lot. I get away from the tough conditions, pain, and fear. It alleviates the sorrow in me. I pour everything on the sheet of paper and that heals me,” he says.
Philip writes his books precisely on the road where he feels inspired and most in touch with the world. “I like to write because when I’m in nature I want to create. I don’t write books because I can write, I do so because I get inspired and it’s simply part of my bedtime ritual to put on paper what I felt and experienced that day,” he says.
Apart from his artistic side, Philip remains ever so practical and efficient. The millennia-old wisdom of the nomad leaves its print on him. The boldness of the survivor mentality and the practicality of the Eastern philosophy shape Philip as a person with great creative fortitude. He channels that energy into the legacy and mission of Nomad Heat by creating one-of-a-kind sleeping bags.
The sleeping bags are made out of wool, linen, and mulberry silk. The inspiration for the materials’ durability and the product’s multifunctionality comes from the nomad culture and philosophy. Philip borrows from the design of the national Mongolian dress called deel, which can serve as clothing, temporary shelter, or a bed. ”Absolutely practical and it has been working for centuries. Out of the waistband (33ft), you can make a camp. This clothing has everything, this is the result of millennia-old experience. Let’s not forget that it’s made out of wool,” Philip says.
Precisely this ancient multifunctionality is embedded into the sleeping bags of Nomad Heat.” Even in the most perfect thing I have used, I see problems. If something is inconvenient, I simply remove it. I use what I have and need. Here I managed, without going overboard, to create this much-needed functionality. You can take out your hands and feet and go about your business without having to leave the sleeping bag. This is the amalgamation of things I have seen from other sleeping bags and my personal experience,” he says.
Apart from the carefully crafted design focused on mobility and deep sleep, the sleeping bags are adapted to withstand both hostile environmental factors and potential risks related to camping. According to Philip, wool is naturally flame-resistant and extremely durable – this protects it from tearing and ignition, which often can happen with synthetic materials during movement or placement near the fire.
In the life of a nomad, durability means security since the frequent replacement of any vital clothing or household goods could be fatal. In that way, wool naturally becomes central to the nomad ways due to its resilience and simple maintenance. This tenet is embedded in the sleeping bags of Nomad Heat.
“The product will be durable if the wool is maintained properly since this is a process that requires time – it shouldn’t get wet, it needs to be dried the right way – take it out in a windy and sunny spot,” Philip says. “Hygiene is directly correlated with the maintenance of our body, the same stands for all-natural materials.”
Despite the first impression Philip gives off with his adventures, it wouldn’t be right to call him an extremist. He follows what is true and he finds it in the wildest and most alive parts of the world. Unfortunately, the urban man has forgotten what is the cost of the most bare and simple of truths. For Philip, a person needs to learn how to make sacrifices and live outside the world of excess to reach a higher level of consciousness.
“My biggest strength is not my ability to survive as this is secondary. I know friends of mine who are far better survivors than me, however, they have a different point of view, they don’t allow themselves to seize the moment. I always saw myself as an artist, not a commando,” Philip said.