Who are the nomads of the 21st century? Is it the young, carefree couple who spends a long weekend glamping in a yurt under the desert sky and living in a stylish Airbnb in the middle of a city they've never been? Or is it the family and their dog who sold their home and now travel across the country in their RV? Is it the retired couple who lives on their yacht, exploring coastlines around the world? The lone adventurer who spends their days sailing to various islands?
Well, they're all nomads. In fact, according to Life Coach and Chief Navigator of the Nomadic Adventure Club Tara Sage, nomad is a state of mind. And there's no better way for adventurous spirits of all kinds to come together and share their stories and experiences – and learn from each other – than to attend the Special Gathering for Nomadic Lifestyle Adventurers on July 20-23.
At the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, on a peninsula, outside of Knoxville, Tenn., at the Yarberry Campground, the Special Gathering is the perfect setting. A quiet serene nature-scape that also offers the excitement of the water. It’s a place for RV enthusiasts, new-to-this campers and experienced yachters to come together and celebrate the growing new trend of nomadic living.
“The definition of 'home' is changing,” said Sage. “How people work and live is changing. There's a lot of folks feeling a lot of restlessness in their lives. There's so much eagerness for more freedom, fun and adventure. For less to-do lists. There's a craving for simplicity.”
“Yarberry Campground in Tennessee, where guests for the event will meet on arrival.” [Photo Credit: Nomadic Adventure Club]
It's that craving that led Sage and her boyfriend – and dog – out of their Washington DC apartment and into full-time RV living. And with Sage's guidance, Director of Uncharted Waters & Global Alliance (and “boss lady of all things boating, logistics, food and fun”) Reecy Payne is hoping to downsize and live on her own yacht with her husband in the next few years.
Together, the two bonded over the nomad lifestyle and came up with this concept for a nomad celebration and gathering.
The Special Gathering has grown into a weekend of spiritual awakening, learning, fun, and exploration. It's a weekend to really discover what it means to be a nomad, and meet other nomads from across the world.
There will be several planned hikes throughout the weekend on beautiful nearby trails along the water. There will also be a lot of “swimming and floating” on the warm lake, as well as some fun toys to try out, like stand-up paddle boards, a ski boat and a floating island. There will be a yoga class each morning, followed by a gong meditation, both out in nature. Then there is a dinner cruise out on a yacht as well as a tiki bar evening with live music.
The Buzz spoke with the two nomads about their vision for this first-ever gathering of its kind, and about their own nomadic lifestyles and how to achieve them yourself.
“Photos of Reecy and Chuck on some of their nomad adventures, loving every minute of it.” [Photo Credit: Nomadic Adventure Club]
The Buzz: How did you get into yachting, Reecy?
Reecy: First of all, I began as a customer. Years and years ago I met Tara as my life and business coach, and most importantly my dream coach. My husband and I had a dream to not work all the time. And we wanted to learn to yacht. Through her coaching, we learned to yacht. To achieve a dream, you have to be part of it; it has to be part of your energy every day. We never knew we would get a yacht, especially that fast. Now we have that yacht lifestyle. We are being coached to simplify, to go from 6,000 square foot home to a yacht. It's no easy thing.
So you are not yet living full-time on a yacht, but working towards it. What has made you interested in this lifestyle?
Reecy: We just love it. We love the water and we love boating. And yachting is complex. A lot of logistics involved. We are capable people. My husband, Chuck [French], is a naval academy graduate and musician. So we're into the water and logistics.
And as a native to the Knoxville, TN area, you also know the yachting scene in the area where you will be hosting the Special Gathering.
Reecy: We have a lot of events. That's what attracted Tara to me for this event – I knew about the tiki bar, knew the location, knew the waters, knew the musicians...
Tara: I call Reecy the 'Fun Department.' She makes fun things even more fun. I give her an idea and she kicks it up six notches. It's an awesome partnership. I'm nomadic and traveling around, and Reecy is on the ground there in Tennessee.
Tara, how did you decide to take your life on the road in an RV?
Tara: A big part of what led to it was creating a business that's location-independent since 2004. But I was living in the same place for a lot of that time. Rhode Island for many years, then DC for a few years. Eventually I decided that I create this business to be location-independent, why not move around?
Tara: But we always had made commitments. Property in Rhode Island, a lease agreement in DC... I ran this wild idea by my boyfriend, Carl, who is a remote IT worker. I said, 'What do you think?' I figured if we didn't like it, we could sell it and go back into an apartment. We decided to go for it. Honestly, we see no end in sight to this lifestyle.
What was the hardest part about getting started for you?
Tara: I didn't know a thing about RV's. Not a thing. Neither of us did. We went to shop for an RV and the sales person said, 'What do you drive?' assuming we had a tow vehicle. We said a Fiat and Prius. And he said, 'That needs to change.' It was a steep learning curve. We put a down payment on a travel RV, but had no car to pull it. Carl said, 'We literally put the cart before the horse.' But I really believe the way to learn something is to do it. We didn't want to just dip our toe in it. We wanted to just do this thing. We got rid of our stuff and hit the road.
You mentioned before that being a nomad has become more common lately. But still, for many people, they hear about living out of an RV and think it's completely crazy and impossible for them. Why do you think it seems so out of reach for the majority of Americans?
Tara: A lot of people respond with, 'Oh my god that's awesome.' But the thought right after that, like clockwork, is 'I wish I could do that.' We both find this so interesting. I always say, 'You can.' There's always a way. At the Special Gathering, we are offering a class called Nomadic Living 101.
What can they learn at this seminar?
Tara: Curious people can be walked through modules, how to make it happen their way. Whether it's for a month or a season or a year or forever, one learns how to really set themselves up.
Reecy: There will be a site with some RV's, supplied by Event Sponsor Buddy Gregg RV's and Motorhomes, and open house tours. It's like a 'progressive dessert' thing. We're going to go from RV to RV, having little desserts along the way. Buddy Gregg's has 2 locations (exit 373-Knoxville & exit 407-Sevierville). They sell everything from Newmar's Class A's and Class C's to Travel Trailers and pop-ups.
Tara: There are so many different sizes. We live in a small 20 footer. People can find out how we make that work. There will be a lot of questions about really minimalist living versus putting your home on wheels. Learning different ways to do it.
Reecy, you said you are working towards full-time nomadic living as well, but on a yacht. You've said it's not much different from an RV…
Reecy: It's like a floating RV out on the water. The two communities are not that much different from one another.
What made you decide to pursue the nomadic lifestyle full time?
Reecy: We were in the grind before. We weren't making time for our dreams. That's the first step – making time for our dream each day. We will start out with quarterly living of sorts. Get a smaller house. Right now we are simplifying. We're in the 'stuff ball.'
I think for many people, their “stuff” is what keeps them from changing their lifestyle.
Reecy: Yes. The stuff is what is a challenge for us and most people. Learning how to get rid of stuff, and the different ways to store things and keep things.
Why is it so hard?
Reecy: Well, we are empty nesters now and it's just emotional. It's stuff you don't need, but you just look at and have memories with. I hope we can get good at it. I hope we can just throw stuff away!
You said, Tara, that you don't see any end in sight to RV living. What about it do you love? What are some memories from your travels that stand out to you?
Tara: We met this lovely couple... They were our RV neighbors for 24 hours, at a campsite outside of Charleston, South Carolina. We just made such a really wonderful connection. In 24 hours we're hugging goodbye, the whole thing. They're from Canada. They invited us up there. They were on a six-week RV trip. We're going to head up there and go and visit them. I just think that speaks to the RV community.
It's that connection and understanding, a shared bond.
Tara: Part of why this event is so important is because there is an independent piece of it. We're self-sufficient, RV people. But we want to be with like-minded souls, most of us. This event is such an awesome opportunity to bring together those like-minded folks to play.
Reecy: And boaters are like RV'ers. The same sense of community.
Tara: Here's these two communities that can learn from each other, make connections...
Reecy: We just want RV'ers to know that we have them set up on the lake here with wonderful lake fun. Boating. Live music.
Tara: It's going to be so cool to lay out by the lake, feeling the good vibes during meditation.
So what does it truly mean to be a nomad in the 21st century?
Reecy: Nomad is just learning to live an adventure daily. And allowing adventure daily.
Tara: It's responding to the restlessness that is being felt. Knowing that you don't have to feel that way in your life. That you can create a greater feeling of fun and adventure. Things don't have to feel so complex. There really is another way. We really believe that lifestyle pioneers – people who are willing to experiment – can come together, and that's when magic really does happen.
Learn more and reserve your Nomadic Adventure Club tickets today at www.nomadicadventureclub.com.