Endless stretches of sand dunes, wide horizons, glimmering sunrises and rose-colored sunsets. Life on the road can shine in many ways. When I decided to give up my office job to pursue a life of travel photography and blogging I made a conscious decision to be a nomad, but in my personal way. I knew I didn’t want to give up on certain comforts like a permanent home. So here’s a glimpse of my life as a contemporary nomad!
Living like a modern nomad – no boundaries, but roots.
My personal guidelines on being a contemporary nomad
When Chloé approached me about creating a story for their new perfume “NOMADE” I immediately knew, that I would want to give an insight into my life as a contemporary nomad. My kind of nomadism probably doesn’t fit in a drawer easily, but it’s the way it works for me personally. I couldn’t leave home behind and just live out of a backpack or suitcase.
A home away from home.
This also describes the way #ChloeGirls are found to encounter the world. They have discovered their path and personal truth. It’s a self-determined and mature way to be in touch with the world and this fits my way of traveling as well.
Chloé NOMADE – a new scent for women striving to encounter the world.
My way to encounter the world is not the ultimate truth obviously. On my travels I’ve met so many different types of travellers – from hitchhikers to people with private jets. They all live their version of a nomadic lifestyle, but all of them have their way of discovering the world around them.
A tented lodge in Namibia could be a modern version of nomadism.
Here are my personal guidelines on being a contemporary nomad and what I learned after my first year of full time travel blogging.
Being on the road, while also staying grounded – that’s my way of being a nomad.
Travel with intention
In my first year as self-employed travel photographer and blogger I was on the road for about 60% of the year. Many jobs and projects were short and with packed schedules and I hardly found time to digest and sort all the impressions. It felt like I traveled just for the sake of traveling and was lacking a real intent. And even worse, I was not able to really understand or get a feeling for some of the places I visited.
Getting a sense for Namibia takes time and dedication.
Therefore I made a very conscious decision to travel less this year, but travel with intention. If I take a long-haul flight I want to have enough time at the destination at least. Flying to LA for 3 days won’t happen again for me.
Taking time to discover a place is what I’m striving for.
Instead I try to focus my energy on a couple of longer trips, that really give me the chance to dive deep into a destination. A real nomad is on the road constantly, but also travels in a pace, that might seem slow at first. This slower pace opens up the opportunity for surprise encounters and deeper connections.
Spending a morning drinking tea on the veranda should make it on the itinerary.
Dive deep & indulge
I’m writing these lines while sitting in a hotel bar in Swakopmund (Namibia). Pausing for a moment and not venturing outside is something I find quite hard while I’m traveling. My husband calls it FOMO, but I have this constant urge to dive deep and see and feel more about a destination. It’s hard for me to sit still and just unwind.
Sitting still is a challenge for me…
The last year I’ve stayed in countless hotels, but probably only saw one hotel pool from the inside. Before I became a travel blogger I used to be able to relax at a pool or a beach once in a while and sometimes I miss this “freedom”. So this year it’s about finding a balance for me. A balance between my
obsession need to see and do more and my body and mind’s need to unwind and process.
I should take birds as a role model… they watch the sunrise in quiet.
As a contemporary nomad it’s necessary to learn to dive deep and throw all your energy into a day of discoveries, but also pause once in a while and just indulge. Like I’m doing right now – using the only place with decent wifi in all of Namibia so far while sipping on a glass of fresh pineapple juice.
Some places are made to unwind – like Wolwedans Dunes Camp in Namibia.
Make the road your workplace
One of the things, that proves to be hard for me is to make the road my workplace. When traveling I usually activate my out-of-office reply and try not to work too much. This gives me the necessary headspace to truly focus on the travel experiences. I guess it’s the same reason people travel to places without wifi, so that they are forced to stop to work. For me that’s not a necessity. I can pause work just fine 😉
I can’t help but keep forgetting about e-mails when I’m on the road.
Actually I think I’m a bit too good at it. It just feels so wrong to sit on the deck of a Namibian lodge and to stare into the computer writing e-mails instead of watching the hippo babies playfully wrestle with each other. But when the photos keep piling up in Lightroom and editing becomes an unbearable load of work I know I have to stop creating new photos and work on the old ones instead… 🙂
There were about 150 photos from this scene – so selecting and editing can be quite some work.
A real contemporary nomad might be someone who can put on blinders for a day and focus all of her attention towards a computer screen – no matter the circumstances. I’m still working on these super powers. But truth be told – even at home I don’t always work 8 hours straight. In the end I’m just the same person in Namibia as I am at home 😉 So I might as well have the same pace of work while on the road.
Watching the sun set is sometimes more important than work…
Make a place your home
Here in Namibia I discovered my personal truth about the nomadic lifestyle: I couldn’t do without a permanent place that I can call home. The idea of traveling constantly and not being able to come home once in a while wouldn’t work for me personally.
I can’t be on the road 100%, but need coming home in between.
Traveling needs planning and organisation – it needs attention and energy. Therefore coming home sometimes can feel like a vacation to me. Home is the place where I can stay in my pyjamas all day long or just watch a whole season of The Handmaid’s Tale without feeling bad about it. I guess it feels crazy that I call home my vacation, but that’s probably a nomad’s way of flipping things around. When the road is your workplace, being home can be a holiday.
After the road trip coming home means having a kind of vacation.
A scent to evoke memories
Up until today I remember the scent I first wore when traveling to Egypt 15 years ago. Whenever I put this scent on I can hear the waves of the ocean and see the arid landscapes of the Sinai in my mind. It’s not magic, just the way our brain connects memories to sensations like scents or music.
Taking a new perfume on a journey connects memories with scents.
Therefore it’s a great idea to wear a new perfume and create a new playlist when going on that trip you had planned for so long. This way you can always bring up the holiday memories easily later – just by putting on that perfume or listening to that one song you always played during the road trip.
Wearing Chloé NOMADE after my trip will always remind me of Namibia.
A few words on Chloé NOMADE
When it comes to perfumes I’m rather picky and can’t handle anything that’s too heavy or exotic. My perfect scent is light, natural with a citrusy note. The Chypre scent of NOMADE fits this perfectly with it’s citrusy top notes of Mirabelle, lemon and orange and it’s middle note of freesia all built on the base of oak moss.
NOMADE – a floral combination of mirabelle, freesia and oak moss.
It feels like Nomade is the perfect description of a discovery of Namibia – walking on the glimmering, sandy paths while discovering the magic of small flowers blooming in the desert. All topped with the scent of a freshly brewed rooibos tea with a slice of lemon in it.
A scent to remind me of the plains of the Namib desert forever.
Last thoughts on being a contemporary nomad
All in all my nomadic lifestyle can be described as a combination of new and old. It’s the discoveries of new cultures and foreign lands, but always tied to the idea of coming home. For me the balance is what drives me.
No travel is perfect without coming home.
No home is perfect without leaving it for a while.
I feel inspired by new encounters, but need the time in between the new sensual inputs to live and breathe in the “old world”. The nomadic cultures are based on the principle to build and create a home wherever they stayed, but also to take their time to do so. They wouldn’t move to the next place, before they had fully exhausted their current home.
A slow and balanced pace is what makes a contemporary nomad of the 21st century.