Nomads Almanac: Lady Daisey & Batsauce Create Out-of-the-Box Art Around the World

Nomad Almanac

Not everyone is wired for the nomadic lifestyle. It takes an adventurous nature, a gypsy soul, and, if you’re lucky, a travel companion who operates on the same global frequency. Britt and Daisey Traynham are kindred spirits fueled by a shared love of music and a desire to travel the world in search of beauty, culture, and good food.

The pair, who record music as Batsauce and Lady Daisey, chronicled their 15-month journey through Southeast Asia in a kaleidoscopic series of photographs packaged as a complete sensory experience. Part yearbook, part love-note, part time capsule, Nomads Almanac Vol. 1 offers a stunning visual tour through Vietnam, China and South Korea. The book features removable travel notes illustrated by Lady Daisey, stickers and a digital instrumental album made from source material gathered throughout the region.

“I’ve always wanted to pair a photo book with a music project and have Daisey illustrate it. We decided to focus on our 15 months in southeast Asia, including music made while we were down there, largely sampled from regional music,” says Batsauce. “I just really enjoy taking pictures. And for me, having a camera is a license to explore. A camera gives me a sense of adventure.”

Nomads Almanac brings the architectural wonders, natural elements and people of the region into sharp focus. The book release also coincides with the launch of the pair’s travel blog, www.nomadsalmanac.com, which offers anecdotes from their travels like stumbling upon a funeral in a Vietnamese temple, Mardi Gras for Buddhists, and the annoyance of camping with a caravan of mice.

Nomads Almanac, Lady Daisey, Batsauce

The couple tuned in to the global existence after a three-month European tour evolved into an indefinite hiatus from the daily grind. “Travel has always been part of the plan. I get itchy if I sit too long. I’m incredibly lucky to have a partner who’s always ready to up and go,” says Daisey. “And one so talented to document it all so beautifully.”

Team Traynham first visited Southeast Asia after their wedding 14 years ago. As they delved more into their immersive journey, the pair fell in love with the history, the culture, the food, and the people. It made sense that it served as ground zero for the photo book and the companion travel blog. Nomads Almanac Vol. 1 would become the couple’s first collaborative effort outside of music.

“It felt like a nod to our first CD which was individually packaged in brown paper bags (Heavenly Noise, 2004) Nomads Almanac has a similar handmade and interactive feel to it. I also designed and developed the website, which will be an ongoing effort,” says Daisey. “The ink never dries. From a project perspective, whether you’re publishing a book or releasing a CD, the process is the same: create the art, package the art, share the art, live the art.”

The Jacksonville couple embraces life in a grand, out-of-the-box kind of way, living out of a suitcase filled with laptops, cameras, and a portable music studio. Britt has a degree in photography. Daisey has been doing graphic design and web development for the past 20 years. Both are able to work “from home” regardless of their coordinates at any particular time.

Living a minimalist lifestyle with no kids, mortgage, or debt helps afford the luxury of international travel. “The key is don’t spend more per month than you would “back home” and the rest falls into place,” says Daisey. “We work East Coast hours, so we’re always juggling time zones. Thank goodness for Google calendar and automatic time zone updates or I’d probably be late (or early?) for most of my meetings.”

They maintain an apartment in Berlin which they sublet during the harsh winter months and have taken to van-life in the Pacific northwest when they’re not exploring the rest of the world. “We’re all over the place. But we always make it a point to come home, back to Jax, once a year,” says Daisey.

A traveler born with a gypsy spirit, Daisey grew up on the road touring around the country with her parent’s band. “I also grew up with crayons, paints, and easels, so it made perfect sense Britt and I would eventually do something like this together,” she says. “It’s an unusual project for us, in the sense that we’ve only released CDs and vinyl up until now, but it also felt like a natural progression since Britt’s gotten back into photography.”

Batsauce has long been captivated by the art of photography, earning a degree in Visual Arts, studying under Paul Karabinis. Traveling the globe with his wife and creative partner by his side reignited his passion for photography. He’s less interested in the technical aspects of creating a composition, preferring instead to follow the natural lines of his subject and unlock the story between them.

“A good picture should, I think, be able to stand on its own, independent of its biography. The joy, for me, is the framing of the subject, to isolate a scene from the environment. I enjoy symmetry and rhythm and texture, both visually and musically,” he says. “I try to be as unobtrusive as possible. However, there are times the picture I want to take requires social interaction, often when words are useless. Taking photos has allowed me to explore and meet many wonderful people all over the world. I’ve learned a smile can go a long way.”

Batsauce is also a natural a curator of sensory experiences, collecting free range sounds that he often incorporates into his music. “More often, most recordings serve as kind of an audio diary,” he says. “Sound has always been a lifelong fascination.”

“I stop and smell the flowers; he stops and records noises,” says Daisey. “We were walking by a funeral in Da Nang, Vietnam, and heard horns and drums. Funerals are a celebration of life in Asian cultures. They wear all white, they burn paper offerings for the deceased, and… they play music. For 72 hours, non-stop. They play music. Britt stopped, recorded and, of course, flipped it into a beat. You can hear it on the accompanying Nomads Almanac Vol. 1 beat tape.”

Nomads Almanac, Lady Daisey, Batsauce

Together, the pair have visited 32 countries, preferring to spend some time in a place “rather than do a quick drive-through,” says Batsauce. Living a global existence can be random and unpredictable, but it also involves a great deal of planning, savings, skill and execution to make it happen. As seasoned travelers, both manage to work from “home” wherever that happens to be, living out of suitcases and relying on the internet to stay connected to the “real world.”

“I try to figure what looks fun, the local food specialties, where to stay, etc. But other than that, we tend to drift, often staying somewhere for a month or two – or longer if we like it,” says Batsauce. “We’ve learned to embrace the unexpected and live by that code as much as we can. Our favorite thing is to get lost on a motorcycle while exploring the countryside. I always check out what’s around, but we try to allow whim to be our guide as well.”

They insist that spending American holidays abroad isn’t a casualty of the experience. They have missed out on most holidays over the last 15 years, but they love to learn about the holiday customs in each new place they explore and try to “eat like every night is a celebration,” says Batsauce. “And I never complain about missing out on Christmas music when I am in other countries.”

Some countries, like China, play Christmas music well into the New Year. “We may miss out on American holidays, but we definitely make up for it in other ways,” says Daisey. “Some of the most magical times have been waking up to Buddha’s birthday, with parades and floats and flowers and dragons. And New Years, of course, is a global celebration regardless what calendar they’re on. We found ourselves in a beautiful candle lit temple in Luang Prabang at midnight on New Year’s 2017. It was an amazingly peaceful way to start the new year.”

The couple recently recharged along the Pacific Northwest, camping in their van named “Scooby” before embarking on a journey through Thailand. High on the bucket list for future travel is India, Cuba, and New Guinea. For Daisey, she hopes to walk through a forest of cherry blossom trees in Japan. The adventurous couple avoids the more war-torn nations and areas where safety is a concern. “It’s hard to plan for disaster,” says Britt. “We move in good faith and so far, things have a way of working out.”

The couple hopes Nomads Almanac Vol. 1 will inspire people to step outside their comfort zone and take the first step toward creating their own adventures. “Stop worrying about making the dream trip a reality. There has never been a better – or easier – time to travel. There are a million resources to help you along the way. Get your passport and then get outside the box,” says Batsauce. “Just travel. It’s a beautiful world and filled with delicious foods. So why not see it all?”

About Liza Mitchell

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