The Creation of Nomad Inc.

As I stepped off the curb I noticed a particular set of headlights not only not stopping but swerving towards me as to avoid the pedestrians ahead of me. Letting my hip take the brunt of the impact I jumped on the hood of the car which saved my legs but broke my shoulder as it went through the windshield and propelled me into a summersault ultimately landing on the asphalt behind the car, in front of the MGM Grand. My friends and I had come to Las Vegas to celebrate the start of the new millennium. The driver was arrested for drunk driving and I received a small yet life changing settlement. 

At the time, I was working for a yacht brokerage firm in Long Island NY near my parents’ house. I had recently moved there after going to school and living in CO. Once again it was clear sitting at a desk wasn’t for me and adventure was calling. With my twenty-three-year-old pocket ablaze from the recent fortune I had acquired, I signed up for a semester long NOLS course in Chilean Patagonia. We spent seventy-five days sea kayaking and mountaineering without toilet paper or access to a shower. I loved every minute of it and had found my calling. A Chilean instructor by the name of Andres Zegers told me I could come back and work as an apprentice guide and climb Aconcagua. Again, I loved the experience and enrolled in Prescott College to finish my remaining six semesters of higher learning with a major in Wilderness Leadership and minor in Cultural Studies. 

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After graduation, I returned to Maine for a second summer working as a video kayaker for a rafting company forty miles from the Canadian border. A fellow video boater who worked for a rival company told me about his winter gig, guiding heli-skiing outside of Valdez, AK. This sounded like heaven on earth to me. I inquired and was met with the same advice of getting more experience in avalanche terrain and a solid medical background. That autumn I worked construction and passed an Outdoor Emergency Care class with the Mount Snow ski patrol in VT. I spent Thanksgiving with my family in NY and drove to Aspen, CO the next day where my friend Bucko not only had a place for me to stay but a job framing houses while I tried to get on the patrol. 

The patrol director Mac Smith at Aspen Highlands told me he might have a spot for me and starting pay was $13.50/hour. What??? Thirteen bucks an hour to live in Aspen? That was half of what I was making framing and I was by no means living high on the hog… So, I kept framing and enjoying all that the Roaring Fork Valley had to offer. I eventually became a foreman and without paying attention found myself as a construction supervisor and home owner. I worked fifty to sixty hours plus per week. Spent most nights up stressing about the project, owners, architects, designers, inspectors, and dozens of subcontractors. As stress waxed and happiness waned I was done. 

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I quit my job. I drove to Montauk NY where I spent the summer sleeping in the back of my truck, surfing, developing the website for Nomad Inc. and courting the woman that would eventually become my wife and mother to our daughter. 

With the creation of Nomad, I changed the rules of which by I was living. I took everything I loved and blended it into a career that affords me the life I had always dreamt of. It wasn’t easy and we still have a long way to go. Construction is still part of my life but I also take people surfing, biking and snowboarding! I know I’m doing the right thing when we deliver supplies to the local schools in El Salvador. I’m sure every entrepreneur has days when a steady paycheck and a ton less responsibly sounds appealing but I have tried that and it’s not for me. I hope people who are struggling with getting up for their 9-5 can take inspiration from this. Feel free to reach out to me. If you don’t build your dream someone will hire you to help build theirs.

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Sure, getting paid to travel to beautiful places is amazing but that’s not where the true satisfaction lies for me. I get to constantly learn about photography in hopes that I am doing our guests experience justice by capturing them in flow state on a stormy powder day. I have had people hire me to help with their content creation recently. I have learned more about business development in the last four years than I did the fifteen prior. Our daughter will have the experience of other cultures in foreign lands. At the end of the day when I enter our home I am the best version of myself and that is who I am sharing with the family. I’m often asked what separates Nomad from similar companies and I could speak to the unique trips we offer but the word that I constantly come back to is authentic. We are not travel agents. We are in the business of sharing our dreams with others. We want our guest to experience the same feeling we had when we discovered the location, and If they don’t have that same overwhelming euphoria of flow it is not good for them, and it is not good for us. You can’t fake flow, and that is why it is so infectious.

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Kelsey Kreiling