Nash & Kim, better known as The Nomadic People, talk about the difficulties travelling as a couple, learning to go with the flow, and why they commit to a life of travel
A couple of dreamers and a dreamy couple, Nash and Kim travel the world, leaving a trail of wanderlust everywhere they go. Together they’ve traced their own Atlas of travels, from Cambodia to Turkey, Japan to Morocco. Caring, inspiring, sharing – that’s their mantra. Busy working on design and fashion projects as they go, we were lucky to have caught them before they take off to far away lands once more. Introducing The Nomadic People, winners of our #letsopenourworld Instagram competition, and travelers we love.
How did you both catch the travel bug?
Nash: Our itch to travel is pretty much a direct result of our long-distance relationship. Kim came as an Au Pair from Germany to the United States and, when we met, it just clicked. For four years, we had a long-distance relationship; however, this gave us plenty of opportunities to meet around the world. And once you get a taste of the world outside your comfort zone, you can’t help exploring the unknown again and again.
How do you decide where you want to go?
Kim: I am inspired most by travelers I meet while abroad. Every time I think I have seen a lot, that’s when I meet people who tell me the most mind-blowing travel stories and share their most sacred places. I add those places that fascinate me to my “To Go” list – where we go next just kind of falls into place.
What tips do you have for other couples traveling long distances with each other?
Nash: Stay positive. A good attitude goes a long way on the road. No matter what happens — your flight is late, your car breaks down, your camera gets stolen — dwell on the positive experiences and try to laugh rather than cry about things you can’t change. It’s important to never blame the other person for whatever happened. You are in this together to pull each other up and not push each other down.
How do your personalities complement each other when traveling?
Nash: Kim is a doer and a planner. If it weren’t for her, we would travel half as much as we do now. Her efficient researching skills and the will to go after the impossible makes her the best partner in crime.
I am the navigator. So once we hit the ground running in some foreign land, I handle leading us around to all the sweet places and Kim can just walk around admiring the beauty, carefree.
How do you fund a life committed to travel, and how can others do it, too?
Kim: People write us all the time to know how we afford to travel so much. We often find ourselves broke because all the money we earn goes straight to buying the next airfare. We live in a bus and don’t have any fixed expenses. Sometimes we eat only once a day cause that’s really all we can afford. Once we do run out of money, we return home to work odd jobs. Unfortunately, we don’t have the key to traveling 365 days a year and earning money at the same time.
We do have one tip: life is all about priorities, and if you set your priorities right, you will be on the road faster than you think.
What has a life committed to traveling taught you about the world, and yourselves?
Kim: Living on the road has brought a lot perspective into our lives. Our biggest life lessons came from moving into our old VW bus, Rusty. It’s quite surprising how little we needed to survive, and how wasteful we used to be. Having only 20 liters of water on board you start to appreciate every drop.
For about a year, we drove around the west coast of the US chasing beautiful spots, picking up hitchhikers, meeting the nicest people while repairing the van, and being in love. We don’t want to find ourselves stuck working 40-hour weeks with very little vacation, watching life pass us by. We would rather be penniless on the road than rich and stuck in a beautiful city.
What is your most significant travel memory?
Nash: Our trip to Myanmar (Burma). What came to make this adventure one that we will never forget was not only the beauty of thousands of ancient temples in Bagan, but what came after.
Four days after our trip to Bagan, we landed in Singapore for a quick stop over. There, Kim got really sick. She was diagnosed with dengue fever, felt super weak and had extreme pain in her legs. If you are not familiar with this virus there is no antidote, no medicine and nothing to cure it. We had to go to the emergency room a couple times because of the tremendous pain Kim experienced and her fear of dying. To this day, it was probably the scariest experience we have faced.
But with the bad comes the good. It was this experience that brought back the awareness of how precious our life is and that we should pursue our dreams, live out our passions and do what makes us really happy. This marked the day we started to really dive into our nomadic lifestyle and make it to our mission for people to realize that no matter how invincible you may feel, life can be over in an instant. So make sure you spend it wisely and with no regrets.
Share with us your favorite travel photo, and tell us a bit about what’s happening here.
Nash: This is Bagan, Myanmar (Burma). No words can describe the feeling of sitting in anticipation atop a stone temple, built over one thousand years ago, for an unforgettable sunrise. At 4am that morning, we crawled out of bed and half asleep peddled like mad on our bikes down the pitch black streets to one of the tallest pagodas in Bagan.
As the sun rays started to kiss our toes and nose, the hot air balloons began to rise over the temples. At first they were only small dots in the distance, floating silently through the dawn. As they drew closer and closer, the sun rose higher and higher, outlining their beautiful shapes. Cameras clicked, “ooooh” and “aaaah” came from the congregated crowd, and magic filled the air.
What’s your dream destination, and why?
Kim: For as long as I can remember, all we’ve ever dreamed of is India or South America, and we have made it everywhere else but there. We love the diversity of cultures, explosion of colors and good food.
India seems to have it all because for us literally nothing can top a good butter chicken. But our biggest dream is to one day experience the Holi Fest in India.
Can you recount the best personal connection you made with a local while traveling?
Kim: I don’t have to think long to answer this question. I went to Africa for 6 months as a volunteer elementary school English teacher. I had recently met Nash and the distance and change of culture wasn’t easy for me. One of the teachers that I used to walk to school with everyday invited me to their compound, and that’s where I met one of the most inspiring women of my life. She was already married and easily 7 years older than me, but we connected immediately. Her husband was quite old as well, so she mostly worked on her own to support the both of them.
Since I came to help and be part of the community, I went with her to the field, planted, harvested, cooked over the fire, and learned how to wash clothing in the river. Her company made my life in Africa a beautiful memory. What she taught me about positivity is something words cannot describe.
Our question to the next Travelers We Love —
Kim & Nash: How do you bring meaning to your travels?