Meet the Nomads – James, Russell and Randy – They Fly Through the World with the Greatest of Ease




For the last couple of weeks my family had the pleasure of hosting Jay Gibson (also known as J. or JayBird), Russell Cox, and Randy Kohn of Trapeze Experience. Trapeze Experience moves from city to city and sometime from country to country giving an opportunity for people worldwide to experience the challenge of flying. While they were here I had a chance to interview them about their nomadic lifestyle and how they’ve come to do what they do. Like to try flying on the trapeze? Click on the links to Trapeze Experience and take a look at their schedule to see if they may be arriving near you anytime soon!

What is your business/profession?

J. –

Trapeze Experience.

Russell ?

I also design kitchens and cabinets for Awesome Kitchensonline. I do interior design. They send me measurements from other jobs and I do the design. I can be anywhere in the world. But these days I\’m doing trapeze full time.

Randy –

Trapeze Experience of course, but when I’m in New York City I run the staff training and weekend classes at the Espana-Streb Trapeze Academy in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

What training/experience did you receive in order to be able to have this business/profession?

J. –

I began my training at 25 at Club Med Sandpiper in Port St. Lucie Florida with no background in physical training or gymnastics but only with a desire to learn something new. I was doing some amateur stunt work as a film student in Miami. Some people saw me and encouraged me to try trapeze. So I did it once and fell in love with it and decided that I wanted to share my enthusiasm with everyone. I started all this in 1999 so I guess I’ve been doing it 8 years now.

Russell –

for design, I started with my own business as a teen and kept it for 13 years. I did home building and fine cabinetry and I got a National Kitchen and Bath Association Certification. I did build backs for insurance companies after doing some home building. Then I started project managing and taught classes for Home Depot ? 19 stores in Louisiana for a couple years. Then I came to Austin corporate offices and then I went to Mexico Puerto Escondido to surf.

From Mexico I went to Club Med and found trapeze and got hooked. Then I met Courtney (Russell’s former girlfriend)who asked me to do hand balancing with her. I got into 2 acts in the circus at Club Med Sandpiper. I became a set designer there as well. Then I went to California to train in trapeze arts. Courtney was an aerial instructor there. Then I met Peter. (Peter Gold is a well known trapeze artist and owner of Trapeze Experience)

Randy –

For circus training I trained as a child in sleep away camp around nomads who came into the US. At 17 I started teaching at camp and then in NYC. I started at the Trapeze School in New York and now at the Espana ? Streb Trapeze Academy. So I’ve had 5-6 years of hands-on trapeze coaching experience. Trapeze Experience was an opportunity to take it on the road.

How long were you in your business/profession before you began traveling?

J.

I worked 9 months before I traveled to Mexico and I worked there 3 ½ years.

Russell ?

Just a few months

Randy –

Several years.

What interested you in becoming mobile?

J.

I’ve always been interested in traveling. The goal was to find something that I could make a profession out of while traveling. I like to experience different cultures and environments. Prior to traveling I was in Miami 23 years and I wanted to see more of the world.

Russell ?

I love traveling ? seeing new places and meeting new people. I love new experiences. I crave them. And I love flying. I hate to go more than 2 days without flying.

Randy ?

Being stuck stationary as a college student ? it’s nice to have a change of pace and see things that I wouldn’t have been able to see on a normal basis since I\’m always taking classes during the semester. In the summer I get to visit 4-5 cities and meet a lot of different people.

Where do you like to travel?

J.

Everywhere, including places I’ve been before because each time there is a new situation. I would love to travel to Europe that’s my next goal. I’ve recently been to South America (Chile) and I hope to go to Central America (Costa Rica) this winter. Hong Kong may even be a possibility soon. I’ve also been to the Bahamas.

Russell ?

Mexico. If I were to have a home ? Puerto Escondido would be it.

Randy ?

I like to go anywhere I haven?t been before. I like the feeling of getting off a plane and being in a place that is completely new. It makes me feel like the world is really big.

How much of the year do you travel?

J.

Right now 365 days per year. I’ve been on tour for 2 years now.

Russell ?

A lot. We go to NY today for 2 ½ weeks and then to the Pocono mountains for 6 weeks and then somewhere I don\’t know and then back to Austin for the end of September to December and then to Costa Rica.

Randy ?

Any opportunity I can. A few weeks over the winter session and as much of the summer as possible. So maybe 3-4 months per year.

Is there any special equipment or infrastructure you must travel with in order to run your business? (ie laptop, telephony, fax)

J.

I’ve recently acquired a laptop which I’ve found to be my most valuable travel mate. A cell phone is important and my IPod!”. Gotta have music! And then the trapeze rig, of course.

Russell ?

I\’m out of a laptop right now but I really need one. And tights. I have a phone to communicate with my coworkers and friends. For my design stuff I need a laptop.

Randy-

I am constantly answering emails to my boss in NYC and to my fraternity on Long Island. So this would be impossible without my laptop and cell phone.

What brand/models do you choose and why?

J.

My computer is an Acer Travelmate series. After researching I found it to be the sturdiest piece of equipment for the least amount of money with the best software package. I also enjoy Sony products because they always seem very durable. My cell phone is a Cingular. I’ve had some problems with it but I\’m not ready to switch yet. I love my phone though, it’s a Sony Erickson w600I. I\’m looking forward to the Iphone.

Russell ?

I like Gateway for my laptop and my phone is just a Virgin Mobile pay as you go. I don\’t like to be hit with surprise bills. I really don\’t have any bills. I have no credit cards. Just a banking account.

Randy ?

Gateway is my laptop. In my opinion it’s the best computer company. If I have a problem they send me a DHL box wherever I am at no charge and repair it even when my warranty is expired.. My phone is Verizon. They also repair at no charge. They both have great customer service.

Are there any services you use while you travel in order to run your business? (ie Skype, supportsoft, online appointment services)

J.

I use my Bank of America online account and I\’m a big supporter of Skype. The company uses Constant Contact for their online marketing and they seem to have good layouts and user friendly functionality.

Russell ?

I bank online. I also use email and MySpace. I rarely check MySpace but I have it. I\’m also connected with Facebook now.

Randy –

I use Bank of America online banking to pay my bills.

Are your clients/customers located at your home base or scattered?

J.

Scattered all over the place. All shapes and sizes and walks of life.

Russell ?

Trapeze clients are all over, Austin, NY, Hong Kong, Costa Rica, Orlando, Las Vegas. Design clients are mostly in the state of Texas but some are from different states.

Randy ?

Most of my clients are in NYC but many come to visit in the different cities where I am.

What kind of reaction have you had from your clients/customers about your traveling lifestyle?

J.

It varies. Lots of people are envious of the fact that I get to travel so much while they’re stuck in a cubicle. Some people look down on it because I don\’t have a home per se, although I have many homes. I consider myself homeful instead of homeless. I\’m very friendful too. I\’m not so conscious about what people think about what I do, I just enjoy that I can be passionate about what I do and share it with many people. To me trapeze is a metaphor for life so if you are open to the lessons that are available, imagine how you can move your life forward.

Russell ?

I guess a lot of people like the idea of traveling and they have the reaction I would have. I would covet that lifestyle because I love it. There’s a lot of set up for the gigs but it’s easy for us because housing is usually included and food and all that so we don\’t have those bills.

Randy ?

A lot of them are happy because of the experience I gain while traveling, meeting people and being around the best trapeze instructors in the country. It makes me better when I come back. It’s like I\’m getting my college education in trapeze this summer. Peter Gold is the man to learn from. I’ll be more of an asset to my boss in NYC when I come back in September.

What would you say are the pros/cons of the nu nomadic business and lifestyle?

J.

The pros are that I have so many friends in so many places and I\’m continually expanding my knowledge of self and other. The cons are that as much love as I have to share it’s difficult to maintain a romantic relationship right now. That’s a big con.

Russell ?

Pros ? you get to meet new people. Lots of new people, new experiences. You get to work with different people, fly on different rigs, go to new places and experience new sites. You get to be in a different spot several times of the year. A big con is that you can’t have a relationship with somebody and travel. That’s been a big factor for me. You get addicted to the circus and trapeze. It’s a passion for me but to get involved in a relationship is hard.

Randy ?

It’s never easy saying goodbye every few weeks when you pick up and go but the pros are the great life experience, meeting new people and seeing how people live in different parts of the country.

Do you have any advice for those people wanting to set up their own mobile business?

J.

Be ready to let go of every piece of programming that you’ve ever fed into and allow yourself to be open to new experiences but be sure to be very conscious of what your passions are and your goals.

Russell ?

Do it! Find the right opportunity, be skilled and trained beforehand and give it 150% percent. I did it with no money. If you want to do something and travel, you have to be skilled in it and be passionate about it. Have fun. You only get one life.

Randy ?

Make sure to take lots of bug spray if you go to Texas!

If you are a nomad or know anyone living a nomadic lifestyle, contact me for an interview! You may leave a comment on this blog or email me at carmen at nunomad.com

2 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for the great article, Carmen! It’s been a little over a year and I thought I’d post a little update. I still work with Trapeze Experience and I love the team. I am still traveling and maintaining the nomad lifestyle, but now not solely with TE. I am in the process of creating a no-profit organization for under-privileged and under-served youth with my girlfriend of 1 year, Megan. I met her at the Omega Institute in NY right after I left your beautiful house, and she’s been traveling the country with me working as a massage therapist and trapeze instructor! I’m very happy in this new relationship and with the new opportunities to further complete my dreams!
    Gotta fly!
    Much love, and thanks for all the support – peaceful successful) journeys!

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  2. Hey Jaybird,
    So great to hear from you, to hear what you’re doing and to know that things are going well. Congratulations on your relationship! I’m sure it’s a lot more fun to travel when you’ve got someone special. We missed you all this last year and hope to see you soon!
    Carmen

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