Investing In The Future Of Floatworks With Waze Walks

04 December 2017, by Floatworks
Investing In The Future Of Floatworks With Waze Walks

By now, it’s no secret that Floatworks is growing. To mark the one-year anniversary of our time in Vauxhall, our co-founders Chris Plowman and Ed Hawley detailed their plans for expansion, and our ultimate vision to bring floating to everyone from all walks of life.

As we quietly but diligently progress towards the next chapter in the Floatworks story – opening our second centre in London – we have been naturally drawn to working with people aligned with our vision. One such character is Norwegian native Assan Magnus Wade Aalen (but you can just call him Waze – we do); a 23-year-old man full of spirit, life, love and light, who had his own vision for building a float empire across Western Europe.

We caught up with Waze one Monday morning over Skype, after he’d just returned from his latest adventure – a month criss-crossing Asia and Senegal. From his hometown in Oslo, Waze tells us his story… so far.

“I was born and raised in Norway, and growing up I was a regular kid,” Waze begins. “In my upbringing, money had always been planted in my mind – that I should go get into finance, and that I should earn a lot of money, so I ended up studying business administration at Copenhagen Business School. I was basically trying to live up to that, and following the path that was laid in front of me.”

While he excelled at his studies, and found it “interesting enough”, business administration wasn’t where Waze’s heart lied, or where he saw his future. One morning, after a famous fight and a sleepless night, Waze’s path took a substantial left turn.

“A year into my studies, I had a realisation, or what you could call an awakening. It was 9am in the morning and I’d been up the whole night watching the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. After the match, I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to go for a walk. Eventually I found a trail that was kind of obscure, and I arrived at this clearing, with a tree in the middle. I sat down there, and this sentence popped into my head:

“‘I am what I am, but what am I?’

“I accept that I exist, and I acknowledge that I exist, but what am I truly? What is this life? That was the beginning of my search for Truth.

“From that point on, my priorities changed. It turned out to be a real transformation. Since then, I’ve built on that, and I have now progressed on the path of realisation.”

If Waze’s story sounds familiar, it should! Blindly heading for a life in the corporate world wasn’t for any of us here, either (as you can see from Chris’ recent profile in Square Mile magazine), which is why we now focus our energies on bringing floating to the masses.

But by the time Waze met with Chris and Ed in person, his vision was already blossoming. So how did he discover floating in the first place?

“In 2015, I studied abroad in San Diego for a semester. During that time, I heard about floating, and I decided I wanted to try it. And soon after, I found out that there was a floating facility not that far from my house.

“I called the owner, but nobody responded, so I picked up my skateboard and skated up to his house. Out comes this 60-year-old man. I said, ‘I hear you have a float tank!’ He was a little bit shocked, and said he didn’t allow strangers to float in it anymore. With a big smile on my face, I said ‘Could I please float?’

“Eventually he let me in, and we went into his garage where he had this old Samadhi pod. I had never floated before, so we sat down on the couch and he talked to me about how floating is an exceptional experience, and after you’ve been floating, you can sometimes feel a bit vibe-y, and your senses might be enhanced. I took a shower and then went into the pod.”

So how was that first float for Waze? Like many of us, it wasn’t the experience itself he remembers so vividly, but what happened after.

“After that float, I sat down on the couch with the owner and said ‘I’m gonna change the world!’ He said, ‘Okay, I give you five years!’ I remember that I really meant it when I said it.

“After that, I skated off again, and I just felt so free and alive. I remember on my way up to the house, I saw this beautiful rose that was standing in a garden all on its own. On the way back, I saw the same rose but it was so much more alive. It was like the colours were just blossoming in a whole different dimension.

“The green on the trees was just so rich, I felt like I was dancing with life. I headed to the beach, and I passed a couple of guys who had two dogs on a leash. I hopped off my board, and the dogs came running to me and sniffed my legs so I started petting them. Their owner came up to me and said, ‘Wow, that is very unusual – my dogs normally really hate skaters!’”

After a few more floats, Waze’s own vision for a floating empire across Western Europe slowly started to take shape. He spent hours each day working on a business plan, researching locations in Norway and getting a feel for the market.

But on his return to Norway at the end of the semester, life and its material priorities got in the way of that vision. Doing everything by himself was slowly taking its toll, and after securing a job at an insurance company, the 9-to-5 life required Waze to put his dream on ice. Now – or rather then – was not the right time. Not yet. So what did he do?

“I shut down the process, and bought myself a one-way ticket to Bangkok. From there I went to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and I learned so much on my travels. During the same time, I was reading a lot of philosophy and psychology to evolve myself and get a better understanding of life. I grew and I matured in many ways.”

Upon returning to Oslo after that adventure (Waze has a lot of adventures), he became increasingly aware that he had changed. Meanwhile, his friends were working the same jobs, doing the same thing and going to the same bars, which was at odds with his own thinking. By last Christmas, he was flowing again.

“One of my core burning points is that this is the Love Generation. That is how I define this new age that is descending on us. We’re going to turn this reality from a fear-based reality to a love-based one. That is what I burn for, that is everything I live for. That is my vision. And that correlates so much with Floatworks, and what we are creating and what we are facilitating.

“One planet. One nation. The age of transformation. Love, love, love generation!”

Another one-way plane ticket was purchased, this time to London. Luckily, his sister was based in the capital at the time, which allowed him to set up shop, meditate and partake in yoga everyday, continuing in his ongoing quest for consciousness expansion.

But as time ticked on, the money trickled away, and the jobs never quite surfaced. The day before heading back to Oslo (again!), Waze walked in to Floatworks in Vauxhall to meet our very own Ed Hawley. “When we shook hands, I really felt like we connected,” Waze remembers. “I sensed a spark or something. I thought, ‘This is a connection – I am supposed to work with this guy. This is supposed to be’.”

Over time, we have grown closer with Waze and learned more and more about his own vision. The more we heard, the more it was like holding up a mirror to ourselves. What Waze needed to grow his vision was the right partnership, while we were looking for investment, and like-minded people to grow our own vision. And so, two became one.

“I really think that when you float, you give yourself space, and you create space, and allow yourself to process the negatives in yourself,” Waze continues. “Floating is just a wonderful tool for spiritual development and self-inquiry: who am I? What am I? That’s very special.”

Powerful words, then, but ones we’re putting ourselves behind 100 hundred per cent. As the next chapter of the Floatworks story starts to unfold, Waze will be an essential figure in our expansion. The only question now is… how big can this get?

Make sure you’re following us on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram – it’s the first place you’ll hear about our developments with centre Number Two ;)