The Origins of NY Nomads

by Jennifer
yoo-nek, NY Nomads keeps it strange, but fun.

As we prepare for the next steps of NY Nomads’ development please mind the gap in posts as my husband switches us over to a faster server. We are seeing movement closer to 500 hits a day of web traffic. It’s fun to watch because we had started this about 6 months ago after so many repeated suggestions that we start a blog to share our unique lifestyle with the world.

Pre, Pre NY Nomads Jen

College Junior - Me - at Hey Day, the day rising junior at UPenn get trashed and then get trashed some more by seniors that throw disgusting food at us as we march along Locust Walk, initiating our last year of college.

College Junior – Me – at Hey Day, the day rising junior at UPenn get trashed and then get trashed some more by seniors that throw disgusting food at us as we march along Locust Walk, initiating our last year of college. Here with Daphne – my still close friend. XO girl!

I had been spontaneously posting long journal pieces on Facebook, but was looking for a way to share pieces with those outside of my circle. During my high school and college years I had actively kept a Xanga online journal (which I’m amazed still exists), an online journal born around the time of Blogger. You could hardly customize anything other than the font and background colors, but you could post pictures and text. That was just enough for a friend and me to create the blog of a fake girl who we would use to troll and antagonize the blog of a girl my friend relished bullying live, in person, and online. So began online trolling in my life.

Funny enough, I ended up keeping the Xanga, creating my own titled “smashandrun” which paid homage to my favorite band, The Smashing Pumpkins, and my proclivity for mischief. I’d post entries from it if I could find it – pieces about what my first serious breakup felt like at 18, knocking the air from my chest, or what my first college parties must have felt like surrounded by the newly drunk and horny boys – but it seems that Xanga has gone and ripped up its pages, bulldozing the way for the arrival of “Xanga 2.0,” which I imagine will not emerge as I don’t know any blogger that still adheres to that site.

College Jen

The boy that got away, Caleb Green, who now is happily married to someone else from Penn and a burgeoning playwright I think.

The boy that got away, Caleb Green, who now is happily married to someone else from Penn and a burgeoning playwright I think.

Tahmid and me. I just saw on Facebook that Tahmid got married just days ago to a lady he went when he moved to Japan.

Tahmid and me. I just saw on Facebook that Tahmid got married just days ago to a lady he went when he moved to Japan.

When I Met My Husband

I was no longer reigning chaos as I had in my Xanga days, but I was still lamenting a breakup from a live-in boyfriend who meant to keep me objectively normal. My ex is Irish Irish, from a small village by the Cliffs of Moher (Ireland’s most visited natural site) whereby everyone knowing and in each other’s business, a level of normalcy was established. He was oddball enough to dream of leaving Ireland to become an immigration lawyer in the U.S. to help other burgeoning Irish to establish themselves on our fair shores, but still too ingrained with “should be”s to let me feel very free to act as I felt, as I dreamed.

 

The Jen, before there was the Sandy. Happy enough, healthy looking, but a bit too contained.

The Jen, before there was the Sandy. Happy enough, healthy looking, but a bit too contained.

Post Sandy – NY Nomads Begins

So meeting my husband, who was as unruly and untenable as I was seeking to be after over two years feeling confined by my last relationship, we both rubbed off on each other into our own newly formed type of sustainably living – on the skint (thrifty) – nomadic – wild – civilized – untraditional ambitious lives. He’s allowed me to change my life, and me to change his, to create this collaboration of a lifetime…

We started doing lots of weird things.

We went to the ICP, not ICP.

We went to the ICP, not ICP (insane clown posse)

Our first date was more conventional – taking in an exhibit at the International Center of Photography and then dinner at Beyond Sushi, where workaholic Sandy started to follow asleep after a couple hours burst of chatting, not usual to his routine of putting in 80-100 hours of work in at his office.

Ghost Hunting

Our second date was more along the lines of weird – Ghost Hunting at Grand Central Station, followed by answering the 36 questions noted in the NY Times articles To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” during which I started to fall asleep, and neither of us fell in love.

Homemade Tattoos

We spent one of our first nights together trying to convince Sandy’s 17 year old friend not to get a tattoo of “Let’s live” inside his mouth by drawing a bunch of bad tattoos on our bodies with Sharpies.  Some of Sandy’s tattoos are real.

Let's live tattoo

Let’s live tattoo

He was wild. I was silly. It was too good a combo for a bad idea gone good.

He was wild. I was silly. It was too good a combo for a bad idea gone good.

Yolo tattoo

Yolo tattoo

Traveling and Living Sustainably on Other Islands

Our first trip was to the island of Lummi.  Just a couple months into knowing each other, Sandy was set to petsit for a couple weeks for a friend of a friend who lived on the small island off the coast of Washington state. He subtly invited me along, not wanting to be too forward, but I excitedly accepted as I was excited for an adventure and to get to know him. The trip was one sleepwalking dream built in the misty gray landscape of the island, waking and napping whenever we felt like it, slowly ambling through the woods with our off leash dog, Leo.

This trip really helped to solidify “us” and soon there came more trips to Baja, Japan, Nova Scotia, Maine and this summer… Ecuador and France.

Naoshima Island

Petsitting  Woof Woof NYC

Sandy had advertised on Okcupid, the site I met him on, that he was homeless. Not homeless in the sense that he could not afford housing or that he slept on the streets – homeless in that he saw it practical to reside inside his office and to pay not rent. This seemed sensible to me, and he was as much an intrigue to me, as he was someone that I wanted to pursue.

Fortunately, at the time, I had begun petsitting a bunch and was becoming more and more homeless all the time. My ex and I had bought a condo in Hoboken and then broke up three months later. He wanted nothing to do with the apartment and so I was left with a $2100/month mortgage + $250/month maintenance to pay on my own. I knew I could do this if I was thrifty, but what would really help was being able to live rent-free all the time if I managed to gain enough petsits to instead rent my condo out and have someone else pay the mortgage.

Petsitting Sandy

Petsitting Sandy

Most people would have been skeptical about this lifestyle, but Sandy was 100% supportive and loved the dogs and cats as much as me. He began coming to all my petsits and soon we had enough to book ourselves steadily throughout the year. Thus emerged Woof Woof NYC!

We have only known each 2.5 years, but we have tacked up a lot of adventures – all because we are supportive of one another, no matter how crazy the other person is. He let me be me and

  • start a petsitting business
  • co-purchase a rowhouse in Jersey City to turn into a Bnb, which we renovated and managed largely through the efforts of a rotating cast of 80 work exchange guests living and working in a barter exchange, for free.
  • Pursue all the most random jobs that bring me joy

And so we decided that it really was time to start documenting the craziness

We hope to use this site to continue to share advice or inspire others to lives their dreams, no matter how crazy they seem, while learning how to treat the world and others in it with care and love. Expect more from us as we look to make this site bigger, better, and more robust.

 

711 Views 2 Comments
2 Comments
  • Phyllis Geulasse

    Reply

    This is incredible! Your life sounds brilliant and I’m seriously inspired. I like to do a joke-y blog to sort of ‘let my wild side out’ but this is truly another level of awesome.

    • Jennifer Liepin

      Phyllis, This means a lot to us. We are so happy that what we do supports you in letting you on “freak flag fly.” Always do what you think is right – no matter how odd it may seem to others!

Leave a Reply