Where are you from?
For this I usually answer New York, as it’s where I was born and also the last place I paid rent. I grew up between there and Connecticut (divorced parents) and some stints in places like Utah and Maine. University was in Florida, then finally New York City for a couple years before I got on the road.
What do you do?
I hitchhike, brew beer, drink beer, hike, camp… many things. For money I do whatever comes up, usually short term odd jobs or the California marijuana harvest which usually can make me enough to the get through the year. I’ve helped on the bottling line at a brewery in Oregon, cleared a property for a home being built in central Washington, built a hiking website for a guy in New Zealand, split commissions with a rickshaw driver in India and a bunch of other gigs that have popped up.
How are you nomadic?
I trimmed my possessions down to what I could carry and hit the road in the summer of 2007. Since then I haven’t been in one place for much more than a month, but typically a few days here, a day there, a week over there… I like to keep moving. I hitchhike to get around primarily. Besides friends, friends of friends and family I use websites like Trustroots and Couchsurfing to find accommodation, otherwise I default to camping my self-made bivy tent.
What’s your favorite part of being a nomad?
I like being able to jump on just about any opportunity that comes up. I don’t schedule very often and am obviously willing to travel, so if something interesting is going on, usually I can go check it out.
What’s your least favorite part?
I don’t get to try all the beer I brew, it’s sad, but true. I learned how to brew while traveling and have had many opportunities to show other people how as well. From the time you brew to the time you drink can be around a month, so often I’m gone by the time it’s ready and I don’t always get a chance to circle back while it’s still fresh. As a result I’ve gotten into the habit of brewing stronger and more robust beers that are meant to age well, this at least gives me a better chance of getting a chance to try it (assuming there’s any left by the time I get back).
What’s your craziest story?
Ah, crazy is often another way to say “I don’t understand” or “unfamiliar”, but I suppose is sometimes just a synonym for “awesome”, so let’s go with that. In that regard, I had a crazy time in Ireland for a month while making a mission of going to every bar with my last (Irish) name, “Flannery”.
I wound up on both the biggest radio station and newspaper when they found out, covering me as a long-time traveler seeking out his roots. I drank my weight in Guinness ten times over for free with possible cousins as I arrived to each Flannery bar, many of them had seen the coverage and were waiting for me with pints and whiskey glasses.
As nomadic as I may be, they made Ireland feel like home.
What’s next for you?
More road ahead, much of it completely unknown. I have a few projects, like a backpack that turns into a tent, a website to help travelers get around and a book I’m planning to write. I throw my attention at whichever one is most interesting in the moment, then keep on moving. There’s always something or someone interesting just down the road to see next.