6 Questions with a U.S.-Based Nomad

I met Cherie Ve Ard at Burning Man in 2009. After some snafus with the camp I was originally supposed to stay in, Cherie and her partner, Chris Dunphy, invited me to stay in theirs. Their Burning Man community, Camp Nomadia, is very much in tune with their lifestyle: minimal, interactive and drama-free.

You see, Cherie and Chris, known jointly at Technomadia, travel, work, play and live full-time in a small solar-powered RV. They go when and where they choose, traversing the United States with their cat, Kiki. Cherie and I have remained in close contact since meeting nearly a year ago, and she was kind enough to answer a few questions about the life she and Chris lead as nomadic ambassadors.

1. Tell me a little bit about your nomadic lifestyle.

I’ve been on the road full time since May 2007 in a small, solar-powered, geeked out travel trailer roaming around the USA with my life and business partner, Chris, and our cat, Kiki. We run a software development and technology consulting firm, doing a variety of remote and onsite work … embracing nomadic serendipity at every turn. We have no physical home anywhere else.

2. When did you decide to become nomads?

I’ve always had travel in my life and have had my software business location independent since 1994. At a couple of points over the years I contemplated giving up a fixed address and traveling full time. Instead, I mixed in doing a good bit of personal travel while integrating in a normal work day. However it wasn’t until I met Chris in 2006, shortly after he embarked on his own nomadic life, that the pieces came together for me to sell my house and hit to road with him.

3. How do you make plans about where you’ll travel?

We generally allow serendipity to make our plans for us.  We rarely know where we’re going to be more than a week or so out.  We listen for opportunities to attend amazing events, visit with friends and family and just go where we feel most called.

4. What is the most rewarding aspect of living without a fixed address?

Without a doubt, all of the quality time we’ve been able to spend with people that we wouldn’t have been able to make happen otherwise. We’ve been able to pull into town when loved ones need extra support, meet up with readers of our blog, reconnect with friends and attend important occasions—all without needing to make special arrangements, take time off of work or have it be any sort of interruption to our norm. Such things are our norm.

5. What is the inspiration behind Camp Nomadia at Burning Man?

I attended my first Burning Man in 2007 with Chris, and when we arrived we were greeted with ‘Welcome Home!’  As I was traveling in my only home, it was a very true statement. I looked around at other folks being greeted the same way … but they had to bring out tents or RVs they normally kept in storage lots. They had to buy all sorts of supplies to be there. We, on the other hand, just did a normal grocery run, filled up the water tank and showed up. It occurred to us that we were some of the few that were really and truly at home that week—and how cool is that?

So, in 2008, we decided to see if we could put together a theme camp to find others who were also really at home. We wanted to have a unique temporary neighborhood, with hopes that we could have similar sorts of nomadic rendezvouses all over the world.

The 2008 camp was quite rewarding, and in 2009 it grew even larger. It’s a pure joy to be able to connect with so many folks from so many walks of life, where what we share in common is our thirst to design our lives to explore our wanderlust.

6. Is there anything you hope people will take away from your experiences?

It’s my hope that those wishing they could have a life they don’t currently have realize that there is only one thing standing in their way.  Their choice to make it happen.

9 Responses to “6 Questions with a U.S.-Based Nomad”

  1. Cherie @Technomadia

    Thanks for the interview, JoAnna!

    We extend a welcome invitation for any with wanderlust who are playa bound to join our little theme camp of nomads and vagabonds. Details can be found at the website link of this comment.

    • JoAnna

      Thanks for taking the time to be interviewed Cherie! Have fun at Burning Man!

  2. Abbie

    very cool interview – hopefully someday my travels will include burning man 🙂

  3. Nick

    Great interview, and great lifestyle. That’s the sort of thing I definitely aspire to!

  4. Simone

    As much as I move and travel, it’s hard to imagine not having a physical neighborhood that you become accustomed to. Lately, I’ve realized how important that is to me — and the realization surprised me.

    But these guys are great, and I totally admire them! Can’t wait to finally make it to Burning Man one day.

    • JoAnna

      I follow Cherie and Chris’ travels year round via their blog, and even though their neighborhood changes, they actually spend a lot of time pulling into places and setting up shop for a couple weeks at a time with other nomadic people. I’m always impressed by how quickly they find neighbors wherever they go.

  5. Trisha

    Great interview JoAnna! I totally envy Cherie and Chris for their nomadic lifestyle, and look forward to meeting them this year at Burning Man – and I’m guessing I’ll see you there as well? 🙂

    • JoAnna

      I won’t be at Burning Man this year Trisha. It’s during the time I’ll be in Vietnam. Maybe next year. Have double the fun without me!


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