When people think and speak of digital nomads, they often refer to "vagabonds." These are the free spirits that move most often between places. Some live the van-life (like Martie, who you're about to meet), but others fly or take trains between places. The beautiful thing about it is that you get to choose what suits you the best.
Vagabonds are serious about their minimalistic lifestyle and eco footprint. They have taken steps to really reduce the amount of "stuff" they keep because space is a precious commodity.
If this will be your chosen lifestyle, then my Declutter Your Life framework is the best place to start. Through this framework, I'll help you curate what matters most so that you can let go of the rest while you prepare for your new lifestyle. Besides logistics, we'll also talk challenges and opportunities to make sure this is really the right fit for you.
The vagabond lifestyle can be incredibly rewarding, but it requires a relaxed personality that can go with the flow and embrace spontaneity on a dime. If that sounds like you, apply for coaching right here!
Martie McNabb is a personal historian and visual artist who creates visual narratives from her client’s photos,
documents, and memorabilia archives. In other words, she tells stories with other people’s stuff via her business Memories Out of the Box.
She is also an interactive story-sharing heartist who helps people create connections by holding
space for them to share the stories of the things that matter via her Show & Tales events.
To help illustrate what a successful vagabond lifestyle could look like, I've asked Martie to share her story and insights on what makes this lifestyle work for her.
Take it away, Martie!
When I started Memories Out of the Box, almost 20 years ago, business coaching for solopreneurs was unheard of, DIY websites almost non-existent, and the profession of Personal Historian (let alone Legacy Artist) wasn’t a blip on the public's radar...
It was pretty freaking tough to get clients to keep my pipeline full. I floundered for YEARS, eking out a modest living, but I LOVED creating one-of-a-kind visual narratives of my clients' lives and wanted to keep it going.
I knew my business came from word of mouth but I desperately needed more mouths... so I started Show & Tales as a way to get to be known, liked,
trusted & remembered. It helped bring in clients, but by that time I was already in debt and the
stress was taking its toll.
My 425 sq. foot Prospect Heights, Brooklyn apartment was a 4th floor walk-up, and all of the appliances were dying. It had increased in value and I wasn’t getting any younger…AND I realized I wanted to scale my business so I could help people market their businesses in a way that feels good AND does good. To do that, I knew I needed help.
I decided to sell my apartment in order to fund my healing work in the world. I hired several coaches and bought a Winnebago Travato 59 G (a campervan that I named Brooklyn) so I could travel the country hosting pop-up gatherings all about the Things that matter. My goal was to grow a story-sharing community of supportive artists, entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Over the past four and a half years I’ve mainly used Brooklyn (the camper van) as a way to travel to conferences or take trips to visit friends around the country. I’ve hosted a few “pop-up” Show & Tales events in cities on the east coast. I’ve also made a few stops along the way at state and national parks. It's all about getting outside.
What I love most about this lifestyle is the freedom, meeting people, and getting a bigger view of life around the country. Travel really does expand your world view. The land and people are beautiful! And everything I own now either has a purpose or a story; ideally both.
One of the most memorable people I've met is
Bette, a 88-year-old firecracker who still mows her own 2-acre lawn outside Dayton, Ohio. She climbed up on a bar stool next to me at a restaurant and we’ve been friends ever since. I’ve met up with her several times over the years as I've passed her area.
About 2 years ago, I was lucky enough to have a second chance to date a woman I fell in love with 30 years ago. The timing was all wrong then, but it's just right NOW.
The only challenge? Judy lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico where her Mom is, and my Mom lives in Vermont most of the year. That means a lot of commuting, but that's OK. I’m not fond of long drives anymore, so I try to limit them to 5-6 hours max with stops along the way.
I don't spend much time planning my stops, only to arrive at my ultimate destination between specific dates. If there’s an event I plan to attend, I work the logistics backwards, figuring in my 5-6 hours a day driving limit.
When Covid-19 first reared its ugly head, I was already on the road and decided to camp out on the street in front of my best friend’s place in Asheville, North Carolina. Luckily, I'm BYOBB (bring your own bedroom & bathroom), so it wasn't a problem. I settled in for the 1st ten weeks of the lockdowns and stayed put.
The biggest challenge right now is that gas prices are all over the place. I learned to not stay at campgrounds very often as most of my traveling lately has been about getting from Vermont to New Mexico, or vice versa. I’m grateful to have found plenty of Cracker Barrel parking lots along the route to settle in for the night.
I can’t say it’s been easy, but nothing worth doing
ever is. I remind myself to enjoy the journey. Every. Single. Day. My motto for years has been
"Be consistent, persistent, and generous."