Damian Nash first came to Moab via a Volkswagen bus – yes, the hippie kind – in 1974. He returned nearly 20 years later and if it weren’t for the lack of ocean, he’d never leave again. More perspective and passion from the current and two-time Utah state chess champion. Damian, below.
1) What initially brought you to Moab?
A Volkswagen bus. The hippie kind. In 1974, mom took her kids on a tour of the western states, with heads bouncing out of the huge sunroof, wind in our hair. Sitting alone at Dead Horse Point, overlooking the Colorado River, I had an intense connection with the landscape and vowed to return. In 1992, I did.
2) What do you love most about living in Moab?
The people who are drawn to this landscape, and the way they express their dreamlike wonder in music, word and art.
3) What do you dislike about living in Moab?
If Moab had an ocean, I would never leave.
4) What is your occupation?
Since 2002, I have taught secondary science, psychology and math in Colorado, commuting back to Moab on weekends. I also maintain a small clientele as a life and career coach.
5) If you could have any job in the world, what would you most like to do?
I’ve already had a few dream jobs – my first job in Moab was re-vegetation coordinator for Canyonlands, Arches and Natural Bridges. Later, I became the Gifted/Talented teacher at Durango High School, exploring amazing subjects with very bright students.
6) Describe a typical day in your life.
No day is typical, but summers are great.
7) Some people have bumper stickers on their car that reads: I’d Rather be Sailing. What would your bumper sticker read? I’d Rather Be…
…Driving than texting. Watch out!
8) Tell us one thing people don’t usually know about you.
My first language was Spanish because my parents were in the Peace Corps in Guatemala.
9) In high school, you would have been considered the person most likely to…
…Remain small and nerdy forever. And/or become a billionaire.
10) What is your favorite Moab activity?
Chess at Wake ‘n Bake. Yoga at Sol Kula. Cliff diving into Mill Creek.
11) Tell us your favorite non-Moab place to visit.
Pt. Reyes National Seashore, redwood forests and Maui.
12) What do you consider your greatest achievement in life?
In 2007, my K-3 chess kids and my high school Academic Decathlon teams both won state championships and my Aerospace Design team won the world championships in Space Settlement Design at NASA in Houston.
13) If you were President, what’s the first thing you’d do to make life better in America?
Lobby for a law that requires all elected representatives earn the average salary of the people they represent.
14) What superhero power would you most like to have?
To move and shape matter with my mind, by waving my hands around like Yoda.
15) If you could be an animal, what would it be? Why?
A cat or dog owned by my huge-hearted wife, Dorina. It’s the best life on the planet.
16) What is your all time favorite movie?
17) And, your all time favorite book?
“The Man Who Quit Money,” by Mark Sundeen, about my college roommate and best friend Daniel Suelo.
18) If you were stranded on a desert island, which three CDs would you want to have with you?
“Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws,” by Bruce Cockburn – a compilation of the great operatic arias – and also some ukulele music for luaus with my castaway friends.
19) If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be? Why? I would choose the living person – dead people are notoriously boring and zombies make disgusting noises when they eat.
20) What is your life philosophy?
“Oh love that fires the sun keep me burning.” (Bruce Cockburn)