Sole Sister Spotlight: Nomadic Photographer Marianna

Monday, June 16, 2014

As a travel blogger, I sometimes feel the lack of inspiration. My remedy? I look at other websites and blogs in search of motivation . I found Nomadic Habit when I went through a list of top blogs early this year- and I've been hooked since! 

First off, the imagery is breath-taking and the writing is deeply soulful without revealing too much. Interestingly enough, the blog is a reflection of its creator: nomadic photographer, Mari. She often hides behind the lens and you're lucky if you even get a glimpse of her in the frenzy of images. And yet, you somehow feel that everything you're reading and seeing is authentic. The marvel is real, the pain is real.

Read our interview and feel for yourself:


Can you tell us a bit about your ethnicity and cultural background. Which country(ies) do you identify with the most? 

My mother is Finnish and my father is Indonesian and I was born and raised in California. Prior to the trip I was living in NYC for seven years. While I’ve lived in the US, I feel at home in both Finland and Indonesia.


When did you start a travel lifestyle? What motivated you to take that big leap?

Growing up, my family traveled often, but I didn’t take a long, extended trip until 2013. I was living in NYC feeling corporate pains and felt the overwhelming urge to see the world. I wanted to feel free.


On your travels, has there ever been a place that you have gotten close to calling "home"? 

While there are places that I feel quite comfortable in, I tend to have itchy feet and the nomad in me wants to keep going. I haven’t found a place (yet) that has been able to keep me steady.


What are some major challenges and risks you've had to undergo in order to keep traveling?

Financially, it is always a challenge and facing the unknown can be overwhelming but you don’t win big unless you bet big.


Was there ever a moment in your travels that fear was the best thing that happened to you? 

Taking that first flight of the trip. Prior to the trip there is everything from fear to excitement but once you board, there is no turning back. The rest was arresting in beautiful ways.

How did you get into photography? What inspires you to take such beautiful images? 

I took a photography class back in college in 2004 that changed my life. Since then I have always been snapping, learning, and refining my photography. I am compelled to take photos, as if possessed by my camera.


What was the most "photogenic" place you've visited?

Mongolia by far has been the most photogenic place I’ve ever been to. If eyes could ever tire of beauty, Mongolia would leave me in a coma.


What's your philosophy on travel and photography?

Do it. Travel. Take photos. Keep going. Be fearless in where you go, who you are, and what you do.


What kind of skills or know how would you consider necessary for someone who is thinking of long term travel? 

A willingness to be open to culture and compromise is a must. You won’t only be stepping out of your comfort zone, you will be living in it.


After a year of travel, you had to cut your trip short. Could you tell us more about what happened?

I had about six months left of my trip and I was about one year in when I found out my mother was diagnosed with cancer and would need chemotherapy. I was Thailand and she was in LA. I booked a ticket to LA and as the trip ended, so did my relationship. Everything happened quickly and ended abruptly.


What was it like traveling with someone and what is it like now, to travel on your own? Which do you prefer?

Traveling with a partner is great in the sense that you can share responsibility and experiences. It is nice to not carry the entire load and commiserate over travel lows and celebrate travel highs. Once I hit Indonesia and Australia on my own later this year, I will let you know which I prefer! I am looking forward to the new experience!


How has your life changed since you've come home recently? Have you ever had moments when you experienced post-travel depression?

I am currently in LA, living out of my backpack. It was definitely a transition from nomadic life to being back in my hometown living with my mother. I have moments of post-travel blues but I am making up for all those cold showers and uncomfortable beds that I experienced! While my feet are itchy, this pause has been great for me to heal, reconnect with family, friends, and my own spirit. I am rediscovering LA and bringing my camera along.


What are your upcoming projects and travel plans? 

I am currently planning my next adventure to Indonesia and Australia come August and working on curating some great content for 

Marianna was born and raised in California, spent her twenties in New York, and now she roams the world finding beauty in experience. Her mother is Finnish and her father is Indonesian and she's inherited the nomadic gene. Her nomadic adventures are documented on her travel blog — Nomadic-Habit. She photographs, writes, doodles and gets lost in the creative process. It is through artistic expression that she feel beautiful, balanced, and blissful.

Want more? Read other features on Sole Sister Spotlight.

Do you know of travelers who conquer the world one country at a time? We would love to interview them for Sole Sister Spotlight. Please send us an email at solesisters .weare@gmail .com. We look forward to your suggestions!

Searching for other sisters who make travel happen,
Sole Sister Lois

*All images are credited to Marianna Jamadi
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