Akshay Nanavati

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Akshay Nanavati
Nanavati with John McCain in Iraq in 2007
Born (1984-10-15) October 15, 1984 (age 38)
Alma materSouthwestern University (BA) (2009)
Syracuse University (MA) (2010)
Occupation(s)Speaker, author, runner, entrepreneur
Known forFearvana
Sruti Nanavati (nee Sankar)
(m. 2011⁠–⁠2019)
PartnerMelissa (2023–present)
Websitefearvana.com Edit this at Wikidata

Akshay Nanavati (born October 15, 1984) is a United States Marine veteran, speaker, entrepreneur, ultra runner and author. He served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom and was later diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. His book Fearvana was endorsed by the Dalai Lama and Jack Canfield. His latest adventure is a plan to cross Antarctica solo over the 2023/2024 season.

Early life and education[edit]

Nanavati was born in Bombay, India, on October 15, 1984. He has also lived in Bangalore, Singapore, Austin, Texas, Eden Prairie, Minnesota and Basking Ridge, New Jersey.[1] He did his Bachelors of Arts in History at Southwestern University.[2] During his high school years at Westlake High School,[3] he watched the film Black Hawk Down, which inspired him to join the United States Marine Corps.[2] The next year he for his MA in Journalism from Syracuse University.[4] He currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.[5] After living in New Jersey for some years, he got a divorce from his first wife, Madras-born Sruti Shankar, whom he met at Syracuse, initially as a separation after six years of marriage in 2017 and divorced two years later. After then moving to Arizona, he met Taiwanese American from Washington, Melissa.

Nanavati and fiancee, Melissa.


After overcoming drug addiction, despite two doctors suggesting basic training could kill him because of a blood disorder, he enlisted in the Marines.[6] Nanavati was then sent to Haditha, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.[7] He was an infantry non-commissioned officer,[8] where one of his jobs was to walk in front of vehicles to find improvised explosive devices[9] and another as communications liaison.[10]

He later did his Masters of Arts in journalism from Syracuse University's S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.[2] He eventually ended his tenure as a sergeant before graduating. He was also diagnosed by the Department of Veterans Affairs with post traumatic stress disorder[11] and survivor's guilt,[12] which led him to alcoholism and depression before realizing he was on the brink of suicide. As a result, this led him to research neuroscience, psychology and spirituality.[11] His genetic neurological patterns have also indicated,[13] that his brother has Asperger's.

While at base in Iraq, he started to run to cope with the stress of war, including running long distances and ultramarathons.[11][14] In addition to becoming an ultrarunner, he also took up skydiving, mountain biking, scuba diving, rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering and polar exploration, in trying to deal with his fears.[15] He is also a public speaker.[16]

In December 2021, he skied up the Axel Heiberg Glacier in Antarctica.[17] In Fall 2023 through 2024, he had planned to do a first solo pan-Antarctica trip,[18] which was postponed by a year for logistical reasons.


Nanavati in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His philosophy is about fighting fear.[19] As a result of his research, he wrote Fearvana which is, in his words, about the "revolutionary science of how to turn fear into health, wealth and happiness." His research led him to believe in neuroplasticity and said of neuroscience, psychology and spirituality that:[20]

Fearvana teaches the science of how to transform all your seemingly negative emotions into health, wealth and happiness. Fearvana’s revolutionary approach shatters conventional wisdom, giving you the tools to leverage your fear, stress and anxiety to accomplish anything you set your mind to.

The Dalai Lama wrote the foreword for his book.[20]

I am happy that Akshay Nanavati has found the strength to overcome the traumatic experiences of his life and has developed the aspiration to help others. His book, Fearvana, inspires us to look beyond our own agonizing experiences, suggesting means for overcoming our fears. I appreciate his sincerity and hope that others will find reason and the encouragement to see the positive side of their lives.[21]

It was also endorsed by Jack Canfield,[6] amongst others.[20] All his profits from the book go towards his non-profit,[22] Fearvana Foundation, which sought funding for a vocational school in post-civil war in Liberia,[23] amongst other projects.


  • Nanavati, Akshay. 2017. Fearvana: The Revolutionary Science of How to Turn Fear into Health, Wealth and Happiness. Morgan James Publishing.


  1. ^ "About Us". Fearvana. Retrieved September 14, 2018.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Adventure Enthusiast". Southwestern University. February 13, 2012. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  3. ^ "About Me". Archived from the original on April 17, 2018. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  4. ^ https://radaris.com/p/Akshay/Nanavati/
  5. ^ "Daily Inspiration: Meet Akshay Nanavati". voyagephoenix.com. June 8, 2022. Retrieved June 8, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "The Marine, the Dalai Lama, Overcoming PTSD, and Overcoming Fear". Inc.com. July 25, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "PTSD: A Marine Corps Veteran's Battle and Victory". Huffingtonpost.com. December 6, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  8. ^ "Three Types Of Employee Recognition That Backfire (And One That Doesn't)". Fastcompany.com. July 26, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Why you should never sleep on long flights, travel tips from a Marine". Bloomberg.com. October 25, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  10. ^ "How to survive a marathon flight". The Washington Post. September 7, 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Akshay Nanavati (November 8, 2017). "6 Lessons This Marine Veteran Learned Overcoming PTSD, Alcoholism and Suicidal Thoughts to Build a Successful Business". Entrepreneur.com. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  12. ^ "Wounded Warriors Using Entrepreneurship To Combat Military Injuries & Retirement". Forbes.com. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  13. ^ Xiong, J.; Chen, S.; Pang, N.; Deng, X.; Yang, L.; He, F.; Wu, L.; Chen, C.; Yin, F.; Peng, J. (2019). "Neurological Diseases with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Role of ASD Risk Genes". Frontiers in Neuroscience. 13: 349. doi:10.3389/fnins.2019.00349. PMC 6470315. PMID 31031587.
  14. ^ "7 Ways That Running Makes You a Better Person". Runnersworld.com. November 28, 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  15. ^ "Ex-Marine plans to beat PTSD by trekking every country". Edition.cnn.com. June 30, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  16. ^ "Akshay Nanavati - Author Biography". Entrepreneur.com. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  17. ^ "Who is Akshay Nanavati". indianexpress.com/. April 18, 2022. Retrieved April 18, 2022.
  18. ^ "Episode 282: Keto & 2700 km Through Antarctica - Akshay Nanavati & Dr. Mike Nelson".
  19. ^ "Fearvana: How Millennials Are Using Fear As A Gateway To Bliss". Forbes.com. Retrieved November 6, 2018.
  20. ^ a b c Nanavati, Akshay (October 10, 2017). Fearvana: The Revolutionary Science of How to Turn Fear into Health, Wealth and Happiness: Akshay Nanavati: 9781630476052: Amazon.com: Books. ISBN 978-1630476052.
  21. ^ Nanavati, Akshay. Fearvana: The Revolutionary Science of How to Turn Fear into Health. Forward. Morgan James Publishing, 2017.
  22. ^ https://fearvana.com/about-us/[dead link]
  23. ^ https://www.fearvanafoundation.org/liberia

External links[edit]