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The Journeys of Traveling Photographers Elia and Naomi Locardi

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Elia and Naomi Locardi are professional photographers who pretty much cover the entire globe, yet don’t actually live anywhere. They used to have a nice home, but they were on the road so much it seemed they rarely saw it. It became a little too much, traveling constantly while also maintaining a permanent residence. So, they decided they had to make a life change. A big one! And, they solved their lifestyle dilemma – but not in the way you’d expect!

They reached a crucial juncture in their lives. As Naomi puts it, “There came a point when we were traveling so much, we thought to ourselves, what if we didn’t live anywhere?” Not to live anywhere. Seriously, what does that even look like? It turns out that it means selling nearly all your possessions and living an existence of constant travel. It means prioritizing your belongings, drastically – you can only keep what you can physically travel around with. Elia can’t decide which phrase describes them better: “location independent” or “voluntarily homeless.”

To make this huge change work, there is one thing that must be perfectly clear up front – they need to really, really, really love traveling! And it’s quite obvious that they do because the joy and wanderlust are still with them. In the short film, Nomadic Photographic, Smug Mug’s film crew catches up with them in Japan, after they have just wrapped up a two-week photo tour of Tokyo. Although the two of them seem to do well most everywhere, they have a special affinity for Japan. It is definitely a favorite destination. The film shows them on a high-speed train, when through the window a terrific view of Mount Fuji, an active volcano that is the highest mountain in Japan, suddenly appears. Their eyes light up, and the view is declared awesome. They’ve seen Mount Fuji many times before, but it still has the magic of bringing new excitement with each encounter.

In Japan, they feel a special harmony among the people and the places. There are special connections between everything they do there. The Smug Mug video shows them enjoying “motorway rest-stop sushi,” and later, they do a classic video take where the camera is put on the sushi conveyor belt as it circles around inside a restaurant. People looking for sushi are surprised to find a video camera there instead, pointed right at them, and each different table begins to laugh and wave to the lens as it passes by. Elia continues on about Japan saying, “No matter where I am in Japan, I always feel comfortable and totally at peace. It just does something for my soul.” Spoken like a true traveler, the desire to savor all that the world offers is as strong as ever.

Although the pair seem to pull it off effortlessly, the nomadic lifestyle is by no means as simple as they make it look. Being a nomad has some pretty big issues associated with it. Trying to stay connected with friends and family is quite difficult when you never get to actually see them, plus the annoyances of always being in a different time zone. A normal office setup doesn’t really exist for them, so they have to make do with wherever their laptops and notes will fit. Doing reliable blogging is tough with no fixed schedule or place. And with literally no home, they have to always travel with all the different clothes they need for each separate season and local climate. Without a doubt, luxuries have been sacrificed for the sake of maintaining this sort of unique lifestyle. Yet, there are no complaints voiced in the film – this is the way they choose to solve their unique problem. They accepted the ramifications that came along with such a big decision, and they are thoroughly enjoying living that life.

If you are going to watch a film about a pair of professional travelers, artists, and photographers, you might expect to see some beautiful examples of their work. And in this gorgeous video, you will not be disappointed. Wonderful shots from all over the world are shown – it’s like a lightning-fast travelogue featuring Venice, Rome, the Cinque Terre, Istanbul, Kyoto, Tuscan vineyards, Japanese pagodas, endless fields of blooming lavender, and time-lapse night photos with all the stars making their perfect arcing paths across the heavens. Judging from their photography, the nomadic lifestyle suits them quite well. One sees the amazing sites, and the exotic locales, and thinks, “Wow! What a trip to come home from.” And then you remember, they don’t go home – the end of every trip always involves planning the next one, the new photoshoot destination!

The next stop after leaving Japan is the Tuscan region of Italy, a photographer’s dream location. “Nothing looks like Tuscany!” exclaims Elia happily upon arrival. And as it turns out, he has a special connection to the place. “Italy is where I really fell in love with photography and travel.” While it had always been a fun hobby, it was the scenic landscapes of Italy that made him really discover what photography was truly about – it felt like a kind of awakening. “I’d never felt more creative in my life.”

Unfortunately, perfect photography conditions don’t always exist in a place like Tuscany. Often, it’s too rainy, and then when it’s not, it can actually get too sunny for good shots. Elia muses that “part of photography is just putting in the time.” And one wonders if that’s a kind of metaphor for what they are doing – putting in the time to follow their passions, to the extent that a stable home environment has been sacrificed.

There is some philosophy behind their photo taking as well. Elia states, “At the core, I want my photography to trigger a strong emotional response.” And to get such a response, he must first go to the places and see the images that arouse such a response in himself. And so, they search for those particular locations and imagery that are particularly striking and engaging – if they first feel that themselves, then the people viewing the pictures will share it also.

Naomi says that “getting to travel the world totally changes your perspective, in a way that only travel can.” And how better to capture the amazing sights of worldwide travel than to be a constant traveler yourself? Elia elaborates on this theme, “Life is about chasing your desires, but sometimes life is about letting go.” There is a vast unseen difference between things you think you need, and the things you truly need. When they made that decision to just sell everything and go, they learned this distinction very quickly. Naomi adds, “At one time, we thought money and possessions defined us, but we found that we weren’t happy. So, you have to ask, what is it that you really want?” And that simple question is what led to what was really a huge leap of faith at the time, to sell all the possessions and put all their value into the things that they are doing, rather than simply the things that they had.

After all, you have to purposely leave yourself open to the various opportunities that life presents to you, and you can only do that by putting yourself out there. “In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”

Read Elia Locardi’s Tips for chasing light across the globe.

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This behind-the-scenes video of the Locardi’s travel is brought to you by SmugMug, the safe and beautiful home for all of your photos. Learn more and try a free 14-day trial.

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