Kaylan: A Heart to Heart With A Female Nomad

Interview & Images by Melissa Prieskorn 

Walking into Astro coffee in Corktown, I was greeted by a warm smile and loving personality of a fellow female nomad. Kaylan Waterman opened her Sunday afternoon to share with me a powerful story on one oversees mission turned into a lifestyle. 

Throughout her childhood Kaylan always had a vision of traveling and volunteering oversees. She ended up on her first exploration to Romania at the age of twelve with a group of young choir students and worked in gypsy villages.

“Since that time I was completely drawn to being oversees and traveling. I knew trips with organizations was expensive, so I started networking with different people oversees and would then save enough money to go.”

"Being a typical tourist is not how I want to see this country"

Throughout her years in high school she had traveled to Kenya, Taiwan and also took multiple trips to the southern parts of Mexico.

College was a part of Kaylan’s journey of adjustment. It was pursuing what she passionately desired and how she wanted to see the world. 

“I started learning things about myself as I traveled and thinking to myself, ‘Being a typical tourist is not how I want to see this country.’ I want not only see cities but villages and the places that are not in the tourist’s books. I want to meet real people that make that place real. ”

Once her schooling was at an end, she realized she did not want to dive into a full time job right away. That is when Kaylan looked into a program called YWAM. She was accepted into the organization and moved to England and then South Africa for three months. “I had to get creative as to how I was going to make a living while being oversees.” That is when she decided to play music on the streets for money. “I would make up to 30 euro’s a day busking to pay for food, living expenses and even toiletries!”

Despite days that were hard or unpredictable, Kaylan made a point to note how the people made her time traveling and busking on the streets worth it.

“People were so willing to help me in any way. There was one incident when a string on my guitar broke while I was busking, a couple who was listening to me play took me to a shop and bought me new strings! I was blessed with being able to meet so many interesting people, men and women I still keep in touch with today. I found when you are open, other people are so receptive to that openness.”

Our conversation turned to a real and personal side of how she felt after she returned to the States after living oversees. “I was in culture shock and was very anti social for a solid two months once I got home. It’s tough you know?  I had all these experiences and beautiful adventures. It was hard coming to terms that it was over.”

I then turned a corner in our coffee conversation to ask her the ultimate question nomad’s are bombarded with on a regular basis: the desires and dreams of the future.

“As of right now I chose a goal to pay off student loans so that I can one day go onto the next venture in my life feeling free from that obligation.

“That nomadic spirit will never leave me. There is still so much I haven’t seen or experienced. I know I will not be able to see absolutely everything the world has to offer, but it is exciting to know that I have the freedom and excitement to travel and go.

“Yes, contentment can be really hard when you are not traveling and seeing the world, but home truly is a beautiful thing. I have a peace of mind, which settles my spirit to know that once I complete the goal or working and completing my responsibilities at home and in the States, I can then go on and fulfill different adventures. I want to feel completely free to go off on different adventures.”

I asked where her next big adventure was going to take her? “New Zealand! I have always wanted to go travel with the seasons and work on farms in the countryside.”

Kaylan and I bonded over our love for different cultures, the people oversees, their appreciation for fine cuisine, flat whites, and of course the excitement of adventure!

It was a joy and honor to chat with my dear friend and female nomad Kaylan!