What is a nomad base?

A nomad base can be called many different things and generally they are all different from one to another. It is a place where travellers can call home for a non-fixed amount of time. Where there is no pressure to behave like a guest, but where you feel like it is your own place. The idea is that someone or a group of people who have the possibility of hosting a lot of travellers at their home open their doors and make all that unused space become useful again with sleeping areas for weary nomads. It could be compared to hosting guests through regular hospitality exchange networks like http://bewelcome.org, but with the difference that the people who come stay there aren’t just tourists who plan on visiting the city for the weekend, but instead become part of the house for as long as they determine is right for them.
 

Feeding People. What about dumpster diving?

In most western countries a lot of food is thrown away every day from supermarkets. An egg has cracked in a packet of 12, the supermarket has overstocked in potatoes and there is no shelf space left for them, the banana has a bruise on it, the best before date on the packet of chocolate is tomorrow. There are many reasons for disposing of perfectly edible food from supermarkets, primarily to keep up profit margins. Dumpster diving is a political act that defies this notion of making profit on food. Food should be a right for all people of all incomes. Wasting food by throwing out perfectly edible things is a result of today’s ridiculous capitalist agendas. By taking back this wasted food and eating it the dumpster diver is saying that waste is not acceptable in the modern environmental crisis of the planet, and that eating is not something just for those with sufficient incomes.

Dumpster diving is also a convenient way to feed a lot of hungry nomads without spending a cent. It is especially efficient when carried out by and for a group of people instead of just one to share efforts and dumpster finds, because more often than not there will be a whole lot of one certain type of food. For example one dumpster diving group once found about 80 spice boxes of thyme, or 35 cans of tropical fruit cocktail.

Of course dumpster diving doesn’t work everywhere, although it is surprising where it does, so some alternative ideas would be to grow your own, pool together in a magical hat of financial contributions to buy food preferably from a food cooperative, or set up food sharing in return for some volunteering at some farms.

Vist http://trashwiki.org for more details
 

Why hitchhiking?

Hitchhiking is primarily just another way to get from A to B. But the difference between hitchhiking and taking a train or plane is what happens in between. If you are exploring a new country you haven’t been to before and are wanting to meet local people or see different parts of the countryside along the way then hitchhiking is perfect. The hitcher gives up timetables and in flight services for adventure and spontaneity. When you are hitchhiking with a flexible mindset great things can happen. You could be invited back to someones place for dinner, they might take you to a beautiful secret beach only locals know of and of course have a great conversation while passing the time in the car.

One cool thing about hitchhiking is that you get a ride from someone, but usually both people – driver and hitcher – will take something positive from the experience. It is amazing to receive the trust and kindness of strangers, and to be able to pass that gift on by hosting people in a nomadbase.

The modern perception of hitchhiking has been dramatised by the media to be something dangerous and avoided, but in reality the risks of something bad happening are low if you are prepared and wise about your actions. Going with a friend is a great way to keep safe and have more fun. Plus taking up one of those thousands of spare seats of the nearly empty cars cruising down the highway is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Vist http://hitchwiki.org for more details

FreeBox

One of the biggest issues a traveller has to deal with is the weight of their bag. When you got stuck at that terrible hitching spot and had to walk 5km to the next highway entrance you realise how much you don’t need that extra pair of jeans down the bottom of your bag. The next problem comes along soon in that you have been wearing the same pair of jeans for the last two months every day and they are now ripped to shreds and won’t be much good for the upcoming winter.

Well the solution is the FREEBOX. A box in which people can put there unused goods in and a box in which people can take goods from. The box is free as in freedom. There is no need to give if you want to take something and there is no need to take if you give. It is completely free of all class/power/gender/race/environmental struggles and brings happiness to everyone.

How easy is it to organise a free box? Real easy. Just get a box and write ‘Freebox’ on the front of it! As learnt from experience people tend to accidentally leave behind many things at nomad bases and these are usually the first items which get put in the box (of course if they actually want those items again then they are welcome to them as it is a freebox..). Then the fun begins. People see the box and think about all that stuff lying at the bottom of their pack. They throw it all in. The next person comes along and sees that item they have needed for the last few weeks and the freebox provides.

Love hearts and rainbows are sometimes seen to come out of freeboxes at any given point in time.

Sleeping

Half the purpose of a nomad base is to provide a place for tired travellers to rest. So it is important for a nomad base to be well prepared to sleep people comfortably. Experienced road junkies are comfortable on nearly any surface and will be prepared with a small camping mat so that they only need a small empty floor space. Others might arrive unprepared. To accommodate those who haven’t got a mat and would also rather sleep on a proper mattress it is important to find as many comfortable sleeping surfaces as possible. In a nomad base that was in Berlin, there was one main sleeping room which could be covered in mattresses during the night and sleep up to fifteen or so people as long as they were lying in an efficient tetris pattern. Every evening at around the time when people started to uncontrollably yawn the pile of mattresses that were used as couches during the day were laid out covering the entire floor space. Lying three people to a double mattress gave enough comfort and space for all those on it.

It is important that nomad bases are safe zones for all people, this is achieved by giving everyone freedom with where they want to sleep. Of course no one is forced to stay at a nomad base so when one chooses to do so there is an degree of personal space lost. But by giving people the choice of where they want to sleep then they can choose whether or not they wish to sleep next to certain individuals. Or having a single sleeping spot that is slightly detached from other places can give the individual on that a little more personal space.

Ideas to accommodate more people could be to: have hammocks attached to the walls so people can sleep above those lying on mattresses, build bunk beds, have couches rather than individual chairs that can double as beds, doubling the use of certain spaces like using a balcony to sleep on, pitching tents in the backyard, treehouses!

Privacy

So opening your home to a lot of people comes with a few questions about privacy. How do you find a quiet space to do your homework? What happens when there are lots of travellers who want to have sex with each other? How do you stop people using your computer that has all those important documents on it?

In the end these issues have to be dealt with in a way that the people setting up the base feel comfortable with. Ideally a nomad base could have multiple rooms in which different activities can happen. The best layout of a nomad base opened so far was one with a large community room and then smaller bedrooms. This gave all the private space needed without any problems. But sometimes this isn’t possible. An example of one base was a 16th floor studio apartment which had only a bathroom as the only private space. Here private space became a social experiment in which life was tested to see whether individuals could live in a completely open way with others.

Possibly the saving answer to sanity was the fact that most nomads like to explore their surroundings. So everyday the house was generally empty during the afternoon. This became a time of relaxation for those left behind. Otherwise if someone staying needed a quiet space to do work then the library was used. Relationships could also bloom in the quiet hours or else they would need to go somewhere else to find privacy. This just became a fact of how the place worked. But along with this a new culture was created in where there was no need to hide how one lives. People can have weird habits such as needing to use the bathroom a lot. There was no reason to be ashamed of any such thing as everyone who stayed just became aware of everyone else as being a regular human being.

Unfortunately the close space meant at times colds and hangovers were shared by everyone. At such a time health concerns were first and foremost and so if someone was every highly contagious then they would be asked to move themselves to a safe place. And of course being in a close environment meant there was always helpful people to take care of one another and get that cup of tea ready for you after you wake up from your afternoon nap.

Nomad base vision for the future

Around the time of 2011 there was a growing network of nomad bases spread over europe, unfortunately these seemed to all coincidely close their doors around the same time due to various reasons. It seemed before this that there would be a strong continuation of the nomad base concept so that the network would extend to have nearly at least one nomad base per country across europe to provide a really easy way for travellers to go places and have a comfortable space to sleep.

The closure of these places was for all different reasons but there was a common thread in that a nomad base won’t last forever. So keeping this in perspective is important. It is rather unlikely that a long term established network would be created of bases. What is more likely is that the people who have set up bases or stayed in bases will be floating around one place or another waiting for the next fantastic place to open up.

Therefore the idea behind this site is really to encourage people who have a potential place for a nomad base to try open it up and see if it will work out. Nomads in the traditional sense are people that move from one good pasture to the next in tune with the seasons. Neo-nomads are probably similar in their behaviour and are going to go from one good thing to the next. Maybe if someone opened a new place because of reading this then new networks would form and the nomads can gather once again.