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Nick Keomahavong

Nick Keomahavong is a Buddhist monk, author, and a popular YouTuber.

He has 415K subscribers on his eponymous YouTube channel.

Nick was a real estate agent, dancer, and a psychotherapist.

A traumatic childhood-

Nick Keomahavong was born on 28 March 1982 in Laos into a very poor family.

At 3, he along with his family, tried to escape from Laos due to communism, but they got caught and were held at gunpoint.

Then, they were taken to a refugee camp in Thailand and later, they moved to a refugee camp in the Philippines.

Nick’s childhood was very traumatic, but he never carried the trauma.

The only memory he has of the Philippines is running out of the house and searching for his parents while the fire was engulfing everything.

There were many instances because of which Nick shouldn’t be alive but luck always favoured him.

At 5, he along with his family moved to the United States and made San Diego, California his hometown.

As a young boy, Nick was very timid and shy because he didn’t know the languages, culture and things happening around him.

This made him a reserved, quiet, and observant person; at the same time, he developed a passion to study people and human nature.

The American dream-

Prior to moving to the United States, Nick was laid-back but shortly after moving to the U.S., he started desiring to become successful and live the American dream.

He, being an immigrant and a refugee, became resilient and a hard worker.

As his family was very conservative and reserved, his parents wanted him to take the academic route and settle in high paying jobs like a medical doctor or a lawyer.

Right out of the university, Nick was a real estate agent and was doing well and living the American dream.

Later, he started working as a therapist and also had his own therapy business and was living in Malibu, California, the most expensive beach town in the United States and was living the American dream.

Even though the American dream gave Nick financial success and status, he wasn’t completely fulfilled.


He did his schooling from Scripps Ranch High School, San Diego, California.

Then, in 1999, Nick joined San Diego State University to study for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communications; he graduated in 2003.

In 2008, he joined University of Phoenix to study for a master’s degree in counseling psychology; he graduated in 2010.

From 2012-2014, Nick studied Counseling Psychology from Pacific Gestalt Institute, Los Angeles, California.


At 21, in 2003, right after graduating, he was a real estate agent.

Nick was successful at real estate, selling houses and living the American dream.

All this came crashing down, after a breakup and he grew depressed and was unable to even get out of bed.

At that time, Melissa Dao recommended Nick to a life coach; and after a couple of months and around eight sessions with the life coach, he recovered.

Thanks to his recovery, out of gratitude, he made a vow to himself that he would help others much like the life coach helped him.

So, that week, Nick went to his real estate office and quit his real estate career.

And attended University of Phoenix to study Counseling Psychology.

In January 2010, Nick joined The Elizabeth Hospice in Escondido to work as a Bereavement Counselor.

Here, his job involved providing individual, group, and family therapy for hospice patients and their families; he worked at The Elizabeth Hospice until December 2010.

From February 2012 to March 2013, Nick was a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern at Caldwell-Clark Counseling, California.

From February 2009 to August 2017, he worked at New Alternatives Inc, Escondido; here, he worked at various roles like Childcare Worker, Mental Health Worker/ ILS Coordinator, Clinical Social Worker, and Lead Clinician.

From December 2015 to September 2017, Nick worked as a Lead Clinician at San Pasqual Academy.

In 2016, he founded True Nature Counseling Center in San Diego, California and worked here as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

From September 2017 to June 2018, Nick worked as a Program Therapist at Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers in Malibu, California.

He also worked as a Personal Coach.

Nick got ordained twice as a Buddhist monk but later, returned to normal life.

Being a dancer-

In 2000, he was going to Mesa College and overheard hip-hop music from a dance room and was intrigued by it and so, he popped his head in.

Nick saw Angie Bunch teaching a dance class and decided to attend dance classes.

So, he registered for the dance classes and started learning hip-hop.

Eventually, Nick learnt hip-hop dance and also got into jazz, modern ballet.

At that time, dance was his creative outlet and he also worked as a professional dancer.

Nick was a Company Dancer at Mojalet Dance Collective and taught hip-hop at Academy of Performing Arts (APA).

Leaving everything behind to become a Buddhist monk-

While working at Visions Adolescent Treatment Centers, he got a gut intuition to pursue himself, a little bit deeper.

Nick heard a calling inside which told him to go to Thailand, detach from the physical world and self-reflect, know himself and develop his inner world.

Previously, in many situations, he sold out himself for job, security, relationship, etc. and didn’t always speak truthfully but this time around, he decided to not sell out himself and follow his gut intuition and allow his life to transform.

Also, while working as a practitioner, Nick used to work with a lot of therapists who were proficient in teaching about couples and relationships, spirituality, mindfulness, mediation, good habits, changing your thoughts.

He observed that a lot of healers don’t practice their teachings, like they teach meditation, but they don’t meditate themselves.

Nick decided to not be like them, as he felt it equivalent to being a fraud.

So, he decided to practice mediation, mindfulness, etc. the correct way.

In June 2018, Nick quit his dream job in his dream city and quit the American dream to become a Buddhist monk and study ancient teachings of Lord Buddha at Wat Phra Dhammakaya, Thailand.

And booked a one-way ticket to Thailand.

In 2018, Nick got ordained as a Theravada Buddhist monk in Thailand; this was his third time being ordained as a Buddhist monk, but this time around, he would become a full-time monk.

YouTube channel & books-

While working as a therapist in California, he noticed that his clients would come to him with similar questions, and he would repeat the same answers, but his therapy sessions were invaluable.

Nick soon realised that not everyone could access his therapy sessions as they were pricey and also not everyone could travel to California for his sessions.

As he had a traumatic childhood and received little help growing up, he felt the plight of sufferers and so, even though he was a shy person, he decided to start a YouTube channel to share his knowledge about therapy and life transformation.

So, on 18 February 2017, Nick started his eponymous YouTube channel.

After becoming a monk, he has been using his YouTube channel to share the wisdom of the east by combining it with the therapy techniques of the west and focuses on therapy, mental health, mindfulness, and meditation.

As of December 2023, Nick has 415K subscribers on his YouTube channel.

He has a website.

Nick published three books, namely-

He lives in Thailand as a Buddhist monk in a monastery.

Some interesting facts about Nick-

  • He has aerophobia (fear of flying in an airplane).
  • Nick is fastidious (is obsessed with cleanliness), introvert, very shy and timid.
  • Sushi, especially tempura shrimp roll, is his favourite food.

So, how are you inspired by Nick Keomahavong’s success story?

Share with me in the comment section below.

About Author

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy.
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