Fellow nomads, meet Karan.
We first encountered Karan through Instagram. Rank jealousy of his photographic skills might have turned us away, if it weren’t for his cleverly banal captions that offer a giggleworthy contrast to the splendor of his exotic travels.
There are currently roofers working on my roof. There is a skylight above my shower. This morning, while singing “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie in the shower, I looked up and saw one of the workers looking down. Now I’m too embarrassed to go outside. It doesn’t feel right to make eye contact with a man after you accidentally ask “is it me your looking for?” while completely undressed. Oh, and here’s a shot of some surfers.
Give us the deets on your nomadic lifestyle.
I don’t necessarily wake up in a new place every day. While some of the trips are subsidized through opportunities with tourism boards, many of the smaller trips are funded by myself, or tied in with photography related work. Oftentimes I’ll need to photograph product and will take it somewhere scenic, so I can not only hang out somewhere enjoyable, but also get some work done at the same time.
March took me to the Middle East where I spent 2 weeks traveling throughout Jordan. I managed to make various trips to Joshua Tree, Catalina Island, Chicago, San Francisco, Big Sur and the Trona Pinnacles. In June, I was fortunate enough to spend almost 2 weeks in Alberta, which was somewhere I’d long wanted to visit.
From June to August, I made a few trips to Yosemite, the Eastern Sierra Nevada and San Diego, until I went out to Colorado for a week long road trip spanning from Crested Butte to Aspen. Since then, I’ve made a couple more trips to the Eastern Sierra, Yosemite, Red Rock Canyon in Nevada and Santa Barbara. I’ll be traveling up Tahoe shortly and will be visiting the Grand Canyon and other parts of Arizona next week.
The year before had many similar small trips and included a couple longer trips to places such as Iceland, London, Chicago and New York.
It was a valiant effort, but my kickball team was eliminated from the playoffs last night. Not all was wrong with my Tuesday though. After the game, I met a guy who renounced Mormonism for the sake of partying and vowed that he could drive me from Los Angeles to Canada in 3 hours. Unfortunately I’m not in Canada with him, but I didn’t burn the bridge…I’m sure he’d be willing to drive me there next week. Oh, and here’s a shot of a bridge. A photo posted by Karan B. (@sendingstache) on
What’s the most common response you get when people learn that you’re a nomad?
When people realize that I like to move around as much as possible, I often get asked what the problem is with just staying still. While there isn’t anything wrong with spending time at home, there are so many unique experiences to be had by being outside. It doesn’t matter if it’s somewhere you’ve been a hundred times before.
To be out and about offers a sense of freedom and the opportunity to grow in ways that can’t be had at home. Who’s to say that one is better or worse. All I know is they are both different and I don’t want to deprive myself of any chance to experience something amazing.
How do you manage being on the road alone?
While I’ve traveled alone on many occasions, on both short and long trips, I do also enjoy traveling with people. I toured all of Iceland by myself for 2 weeks, living out of a jeep, and wouldn’t trade that experience in for anything. That being said, my more recent trip to the Middle East, taken with 2 very close friends was one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
I feel that not having someone to travel with shouldn’t be an excuse to not go somewhere. Some people are reluctant to travel alone but the experiences become unique and those moments and memories sometimes can’t be made when you’re in the company of someone else.
What is one tool you can’t live without?
I feel like “iPhone” and “camera” are two classic answers here, and both definitely apply to me. For the sake of going beyond a cliche answer, I’m going to have to go with my JetBoil. I can’t imagine a day on the road where coffee isn’t always an option and my JetBoil keeps me at ease. I love her so much.
I’ve been at a used car auction for the past couple hours. The thrill of hearing auctioneers yelling numbers super fast and getting to bid on cars is unmatched. The temptation to yell bids at some of the unusual cars going by is unreal. I need to get out of here before I accidentally buy an ice cream truck. Oh, and here’s a shot of some water.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve gotten through?
One of the hardest things about the traveling lifestyle for me was building up the courage to see places alone. My love for traveling began because I got really into rock climbing, which meant I was always traveling with my climbing partner. As I got into photography, I didn’t necessarily always have someone to go take photos with and had to learn to just go embrace moments and make things happen, whether or not there was someone to share the experience with. It was a progression and started with going to go shoot a local sunset at the beach by myself.
I eventually fell in love with that alone time and kept taking it further and further, eventually taking 2 week trips to places like Iceland by myself. To not have someone with a similar passion as you shouldn’t be a deterrent to seeing and experiencing. The more you go out there and do these things, the more likely you are to start meeting like minded people. Before you know it, you can’t go anywhere without running into friends.
Tell us about something unexpected that nomadic life brought you.
I once drove out to find an abandoned plane on an Icelandic beach and ended up meeting a gentleman there who was visiting from Italy. We spoke for a while but for some reason we didn’t exchange contact info.
About 6 weeks ago (almost 2 years later), I was in Santa Barbara, taking photos at the pier and I turned around and saw the Italian gentleman taking photos right behind me. Crazy coincidence! Needless to say, we squealed like 3rd grade girls, locked into a 3 minute hug and then repeated that cycle once more. It was glorious.
I had a tub of about 30 olives yesterday, and they were labelled as seedless. The first one I bit into happened to have a seed in it, which ended up being excruciating, as I bit into it with conviction. I lived in fear for the next 29 olives. Of course, none of the rest had a seed, so my olive eating experience was ruined, as it was tainted with the expectation of another jaw-breaking, seed discovery. I would like for the grocery store to refund my money as well as my pride. Oh, and here’s a shot of some Yosemite things.
Share your secret spot.
If you ever find yourself in Jordan, don’t leave without visiting Petra (which goes without saying). When you visit Petra and make your way up to the famous gates, turn left and look behind you. There is a tea shop. Don’t let yourself leave without having some Bedouin tea over there! Also, the Baked Potato is a music venue in LA. Go there on Monday nights at 10 PM for my favorite ever open mic night/life-changing baked potatoes!
20 chicken nuggets for $5 will be the death of me. I love you and your red fro, Ronald McDonald. Oh, and here’s a shot of some dirt. A photo posted by Karan B. (@sendingstache) on
Most important tip for nomadic life, in 7 words or less:
It’s always worth waking up for sunrise.
Click here for more tips on nomadic life.