Nomadic Culture

17 May 2011. Filed under category Nomad.
These were all the books, games, DVDs and CDs that I could fit in the shot.

These were all the books, games, DVDs and CDs that I could fit in the shot.

I had a moment with my culture yesterday. I sat down with my books, games, DVDs and CDs and told them that I was leaving to become a nomad and that I couldn’t take them with me, no matter how much I love them. They cried and wailed, but once the sobs subsided, I asked them what they wanted to do with their new freedom. I wasn’t surprised when the books said ‘Be read!’, the games said ‘Be played!’, the DVDs said ‘Be watched!’ and the CD’s said ‘Be heard!’. Like us humans, culture just wants to be loved.

I said that I would sleep on it. This morning when I woke up, I found the books crowding my bed, the DVDs lined along my windowsill, the games piled up on my nightstand and the CDs stacked next to my pillow. They had been up all night, printing and gluing stickers on themselves that declared them members of the newly formed Society of Nomadic Culture (SoNC). The stickers also asked any person who found members of SoNC to enjoy them and then leave them in a new exciting place for someone else to find. In this way, they get to travel the world, just like me.

I saw conflicting emotions on their sticker-decorated covers. I saw excitement there, sure, but also sadness. I knew that mix of feelings. It is the same I’ve felt every time I’ve said good-bye to a friend. I won’t go into the details of our farewell. It’s to personal. All I will say is that I’m happy for them, and proud, but I also feel a bit lonely now that they are gone. I will miss them terribly.

If you find one of these little guys, please, take good care of them. Enjoy their stories and their songs. When the time comes for them to leave, don’t try to keep them for yourself but let them go. Help them get to a nice coffee shop or maybe an airport – wherever they want to go – and leave them there. The sticker on them will explain to the next person who picks them up what they are all about, and so it will go on, hopefully forever. Finally, I would love to know where my beloved culture have been and the people they’ve met, so please leave a comment below saying where you met, what you did together and where you left them.

What is the latest news from the Society of Nomadic Culture?

This is where I will track the movements of SoNC. Every timeΒ I edit the text below with the latest findings, I will also post a comment to say so. You can subscribe to be told when that happens. That way you know when to check back.

There are in total 85 books, 33 DVDs, 9 games and 5 CDs in circulation. For the full listing of them, please see this spreadsheet.

So far, the members of SoNC have not gone far. Some of them were taken during the big Give-Away party. Some I’m taking with me to Sweden to read. One has been found by a girl who has taken her DVD to Sweden. Who knows where it will end up.

I had a lot of fun, walking around and leaving books in increasingly odd places. I’ve included some photos of that below.


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  1. Brother Henke says:

    Your father travels alot around the world maybe he kan help them πŸ™‚

    1. Gustav (The Modern Nomad) says:

      My father? Our father surely, unless you are breaking some massive piece of news here! (It would explain a lot!)

  2. Brother Henke says:

    Of cours our father so here im come and spoil all your hope of big breaking news in this site πŸ™‚

    1. Gustav (The Modern Nomad) says:

      That is all right. I’ve got enough on my plate at the moment to have to deal with finding out I was adopted or a bastard. πŸ™‚

  3. Linden says:

    Haha love that conversation! I’m sitting here in Norway thinking 3 things right now 1) I love free stuff, bring some goodies home to me! 2) I travel more than most 3) I do not have the NES games, been blamed for this 20 years now, respect the potential liar in me who solely blame people like Johan and untrackable people like Robert from first grade πŸ™‚

  4. Craig Brown says:

    Wow, this is the first blog entry that brought a tear to my eye. Sentimental, playful, and liberating all at once. Vagabonding…fourth row down just left of center…maybe you should bring him for awhile and release him yourself. (He would be so proud of himself). I’m kind of perfect for helping the Society make giant leaps, but I’m not sure how I’d get my hands on them. I could probably get a London trip Friday the 27th if you are still around with these guys.

  5. Craig Brown says:

    P.S. Have you read “The Art of Travel” by Alain de Bolton? I just opened it up to perused it and came upon a Chapter heading “The exoticism of shitting donkeys”. page 85 This is what you’re looking for right? I love the book, but…I’d give it up for you to drop somewhere. He’s jealous.

  6. Doug Burns says:

    Your “Getting Things Done” book says he doesn’t want to be forgotten. He taught you many great ideas, changed your life and wishes you well but he feels he needs to go and help other people now who haven’t seen his light.

    I’ll ensure he lives a similarly Nomadic life …

  7. Gustav (The Modern Nomad) says:

    I haven’t heard much from my books. I do hope that people will get back to me when they pick up these little guys.

    Anyway, I’ve added some photos from my tour of London, distributing books. Enjoy.

    1. David Smith says:

      It was a pleasure meeting you at the coffee shop in Old Compton Street today hope we may meet again, David.

  8. Farandula says:

    Hello Gustav

    I’m a Spanish that came to England for studying. I’m also member of Bookcrossing, a community that release books all over the world, so your idea sounds familiar to me.
    Last weekend I found some of your books and DVDs in The Breakfast Club, London, and I took the DVD of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the manga of The Nightmare Before Christmas. It was a pleasant surprise, specially so close to the Towel’s day, I’m a big fan of Douglas Adams and Tim Burton. True serendipity.

    I’ll come back to my country next month and, when I finish to reading/watching them, I’ll left both in some nice place of Gran Canaria (Canary Islands, Spain).

    Thanks for this unexpected present. Good luck and keep on travelling.

  9. Farandula says:

    I was forgetting to tell you, two tips:

    -Don’t lose heart if anybody tell you about your things. Unfortunately, most of people prefer to keep free things for theirselves, but other ones are actually travel, they simply forget to notice you.
    -I think that is not a good idea release in airports. The security rules are very strict there and they could be alarm or throw out all the abandoned stuff.

    1. Gustav (The Modern Nomad) says:

      Hello stranger! Glad you came across my errant pieces of nomadic culture. Sounds like they found in you the perfect host!

      I hope your studies goes well. I will soon write a blog post about what I enjoy doing in London, so maybe you’ll get some inspiration there for what to do in London.

  10. Rachel says:


    I picked up your Clive Barker – Imajica books in Costa Coffee in Soho the other week! I have just started to read them now and I will let you know where I leave them in future! This is such a great idea I’m so glad you started it. πŸ˜€



  11. Mish says:

    Found the copy of ‘Fade to Black’ in Orks Nest in London, he’s going to visit all my friends in Leicester before we find his next destination, Cheers πŸ™‚ Mish

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      That’s great! The woman behind the counter looked at the book longingly, so I’m surprised it was still hanging out there. Let me know where the old book goes!

  12. Rachel says:

    I’ve just finished reading the first part of Imajica! On to the next one and then I need to think of somewhere to leave them! o_O


  13. Marko says:

    Found your book looking rather lonely and chilly in T5 Heathrow, decided to take it on a trip to the seaside so is currently residing near the beach in Barcelona. Soon will on its’ travels again.

    1. Gustav, the Modern Nomad says:

      Oh my god! A life sign from one of my children?! I thought they were all pulp by now! Thank you for taking care of it. Which one was it?

  14. Phil Stevens says:

    Shame on you Gustav! How could you! Collaborating with your little treasures on their selfless act of abandonment, all in the name of their love for you, they are most probably still feeling the affects of seperation anxiety right now and will never forgive you when they are older you know!HaHa.

    What a touchingly delightful story and playfully but sensitively sweet gesture, only you could have thought of that Gustav, it brought a lump to my throat! All very symbolic of your letting go of that which you will no longer have room for in your new life and yet remembering that which had given you much joy and pleasure. Just like old friends eh.

    1. I think most of my books chose the life of the hermit as very few wrote back home. Only a few people as you can see in the comments. Most just vanished.

  15. Marko Bomyer says:

    Hmmm I posted a link to my review of the book I found but it has disapeared. Well here it is again.

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