How to be a Modern Nomadic Family

Modern. Nomadic. Family.

It just looks like three words strung together. But what does it mean? Or more importantly – what does it look like?

A quick search for “Modern Nomadic Lifestyle” can lead you to a page full of posts about all of the sacrifices and difficulties you’ll face when you choose a nomadic life. The points will range from the obvious, “A nomad constantly changes locations, switching from one place to another…” to things you might not agree with at all such as, “People look stupid when they cry. Don’t.

Even though we’re choosing a more nomadic lifestyle, we’re not ready to give up the comforts of a warm home and income and shift to wearing animal skins and hunting for food with a bow and arrow and living off the land.

So what does it mean to be a modern nomadic family and what will that look like for us?

What would that look like for you?

The answer can be found by examining why you want your family to live a nomadic life. What does the nomadic life offer your family that your current lifestyle does not?

For us it comes down to having more time and more experiences.

Modern life, with its conveniences, distractions, and obligations, steals so much of our time. Jobs that require just ‘being’ there, commutes to those jobs, technology that allows us to do more and constantly share information, errands for things we think we need, or all of the things designed to distract us and labeled as “entertainment” – it encroaches on our time, and more importantly on our ability to be simply present and experiencing our lives.

Our choice for a modern nomadic lifestyle is a choice for a richer, fuller, slower-paced enjoyment of life.

We are not being nomadic for nomadic’s sake.

Family:

We are slow-traveling while worldschooling our 3-year-old son. We’re choosing to live with minimal possessions, staying in places for around a month at a time, and really soaking up where we are. Each new place we visit is a classroom and playground where our whole family can learn and adventure together. Living this way is actually MORE affordable than our stationary life, so we also need to work less, while having more time to for our daily adventures and interests.

Our kidlet is just 3 and there’s no rush to begin a stringent academic curriculum – he learns every day just through his own interactions with the world, through play, and through engaging in the daily tasks of life – cooking, cleaning, etc. We keep a strong rhythm in the home, and although our home environment changes from month to month, our son knows more or less what to expect each day in terms of how the day will flow. This provides stability in the midst of all the change. On “school” days (weekdays), we wake up and sing our morning song, then we prepare, eat, and clean up from breakfast.

We spend a lot of time outside, hiking and playing, running and wrestling, watching birds and learning about different plants. The physical activity is exactly what our energetic 3 year old needs.

Weekends are for excursions, visits with family and friends, or just general relaxation.

Further Exploration:

Travel:

Travel is a component to our modern nomadic lifestyle but not the ultimate goal. We are not traveling for the sake of traveling. Living in different places for shorter periods of time is ideal. We want experiences and relationships that we couldn’t have if “traveling” was the focus instead of only a component to our adventures.

Of course – you still have to get from place to place and hardcore ‘travelers’ are experts on that.

Further Exploration:

Spirit:

As a meditation teacher and reiki practitioner, my work is all about living from the heart, and practicing radical self-care. Carving out moments of true presence and connection to self, to others, to the earth, and to spirit throughout the day. Finding the sacred in the mundane, the extraordinary in the ordinary. I built a successful business around sharing these principles with others, providing resources and support as they brought their lives into a healthier, happier alignment. And then one day I looked around and realized I was so busy with this business that I wasn’t fully living life the way *I* most wanted. Did I love my work? Yes! But it took up a much bigger piece of the pie than I wanted it to. And so I took some deep breaths, went deep into my heart, and asked what to do.

And here we are.

Slowing down. Removing clutter and distractions. Being in nature. Being with each other.

I look forward to sharing with you the many tools, tips, and resources that have helped us figure out what we want, find our center, listen to our inner GPS, and get comfortable with the discomfort of taking big risks to have a life that is MORE of what we want than the one we had yesterday. For now, I’ll share some of my favorite spots on the Internet for soul-food and insight!

Further Exploration:

  • Mystic Mamma – wisdom and insights
  • Orin & DaBen – guided meditations
  • Just kidding, there’s no third link – go outside! Breathe. Smile. Be. Mindful, slow, deep breathing is the most basic and most powerful balancing tool you will ever find.

Business:

We’re still wedding photographers and one thing we will be working on is the transition from a central home base, to a more location independent business. Instead of meeting with every client in person (like I’ve done for the past few years here in Atlanta) – more and more of my meetings will just take place over Skype or a phone call. I was already doing this for a small percentage of my clients and now it’ll just become a much larger percentage or all.

The business overall will need to evolve and develop differently. Instead of the volume approach I’ve taken the last few years (53 weddings last year) – going forward I’m only working with clients that interests me. Yes there are other weddings photographers that already do this – but a part of me wants to asks how many of them live solely from the income of their wedding photography? It’s not an easy life out there for full time photographers and any business coming in the door is money to pay rent, or put food on the table. It gets difficult to turn anything down.

Having said that – that’s what I’m doing and it’s just like any other challenge that needs to be resolved.

Re-imagining my ideal client along with creating a different strategy for each of those specific clients. If you’re not doing this every so often, now is probably a good time.

Resources:

  • Aperturent – rent gear as you need it (use code LEAHANDMARK10 for a 10% discount)
  • Echosign – electronic contracts
  • Paypal – no clients saying “I mailed the check last week”

 

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mark

Mark is an award winning wedding photographer and sales coach. He is the main photographer at LeahAndMark.com, and works with other photographers to build their businesses through one-on-one coaching sessions.
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