A Chat with Phoebe Miller, Founder of nOMad
Ever since I’ve known Phoebe Miller, she’s always been in motion. We first met our freshman year of high school in the DC suburbs, bonding over our love of movement in a physical education dance class. Phoebe pursued that passion, heading to Philadelphia to study modern dance and kinesiology in college and eventually landing a career as a professional dancer in New York City. Seeking a deeper meaning from her life, she decided she wanted to teach, starting with Pilates and eventually transitioning into yoga full time. Last year, she relocated to Costa Rica for eight months to teach and deepen her yoga practice. Phoebe has since returned to New York to launch her newest endeavor, nOMad, a website that links yogi enthusiasts with new travel experiences on and off the mat.
How does your love of yoga intersect with your love of travel?
Yoga and travel, for me, are all about exploration. How do you handle yourself while attempting a new posture? Or how do you interact with others when you don’t know the native language? How do you react in these challenges? Are they fun? Are they scary? Often it’s both, but in the end you walk away with a whole new perspective of the world and yourself. It’s exhilarating!
What inspired you to start nOMad?
It was definitely a lotus-flower-kind of revelation. 2013 had been a very challenging year for me, I lost a lot. Instead of sitting in the muck of emptiness and despair, I decided to grow something beautiful out of it. As I looked towards a future, I asked myself “what do I want?” and the answer was to travel and to continue to teach yoga. On a flight to Miami to see my best friend and her healer, nOMad was miraculously born—the name, the whole business concept, the entire vision. When I arrived to my friend’s place, I bought domain name and with that intention, things started to shift. One year later, I launched nOMad.
“Yoga and travel, for me, are all about exploration.”
Who are the type of travelers that would use the site?
First are the yogis. nOMad features hotel properties that have been handpicked for the ongoing yoga programs they offer. Second are the travelers who wants to find something a little different. You won’t find chain hotels here. Each property is unique in it’s own way, ranging from the hip surf hostel to cozy B&B’s that offer family style meals with other guests to more luxurious properties tucked away in the mountains or on a secluded beach that offer a full range of spa treatments and activities.
What qualifications do you look for in a property for it to be featured on the site?
As stated before, they first must have to offer yoga on a regular basis so that the traveler can continue their practice while away. Second, it has to stand out in some way. This is intuitive on my part. If it is a place that I have never heard of or not referred to, the website must sell itself for me to want more. Each property is then visited and reviewed by myself or a nOMbassador. If it continues to meet our nOMad standards with its service, accommodations, amenities, and yoga program, then it will be featured on our website.
Who are nOMbassadors?
Our nOMbassadors are fellow yogis that have extensive experience in both yoga and travel. The all are passionate about life and always looking for the next adventure whether it is trying new arm balance or a new destination. The nOMbassadors are just as specially picked as our properties that we feature. Some of them I have had a personal and/or professional relationships with and others I met and instantly felt a connection.
I noticed that you’ve got a couple of upcoming nOMad retreats listed on the site. Can you tell me a little bit about them and what participants can expect to discover?
Eventually, nOMad will offer retreats at all the featured properties year round. Right now, nOMad is still in its infancy and we are working around the clock to bring more retreats to the nOMad clientele.
We have retreats that range from weekend to week-long. Each one is uniquely designed with the teacher so that their students get a very personal experience. But generally, a typical day would consist of a morning class, free time, maybe an excursion that incorporates the theme of the retreat, lots of healthy local food, and an evening practice. Every time a student leaves a nOMad retreat they will not have only discovered a new place in the world, a but new discoveries in oneself. There is much space and opportunity for reflection and growth but also plenty of fun times with new lifelong friends.
Join nOMad on a Mexican Retreat, March 24 – 31, 2015
Where’s your favorite place to practice yoga?
Hmm…well, when I’m at home I just lay my mat out in a tiny space next to my bed. Being a New Yorker for 11 years, I am pretty comfortable being in somewhat confined spaces. But if I had to pick my favorite place to practice while traveling, it’s really anywhere with a peaceful view. I think my most profound practice was at Costa Rica Yoga Spa in Nosara. That place is absolutely magical!
How did living abroad in Costa Rica change your perspective on how you see the world?
It was quite an exploration both of myself and the world. I joked with other expats there that living in New York City really prepared me for living in a third-world country. All jokes aside though, it really taught me to appreciate the simple lifestyle that I already had been accustomed to. Most of my days were all about visiting the farmer’s market to get fresh avocados, pineapples, and mangoes and getting by with my broken Spanish to exchange pleasantries and connect with another person. Those were my necessities, not my iPhone, unless I was feeling homesick. [Read more about Phoebe’s time in Costa Rica here»]
You’ve lived in a lot of places the past few years, what advice do you have for living as a nomad?
Anywhere new on your bucket list that you’d like to experience next?
I really want to find my way back to Spain and walk the Camino de Santiago. It’s a pilgrimage I learned about years ago and it keeps coming back to me in various ways. I have a feeling it will be life changing (yet again).
And the Greek Islands with my Gramma. We both would like to see them in this lifetime. If I can make enough from nOMad, I am booking the trip for the two of us!! So help me. So readers, book a retreat—do it for Gramma and someday maybe you can come with us!
Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of exploring the world. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as the Art Director for the branding firm, Belmont Inc., in Alexandria, VA. In her spare time, she instructs high-energy Zumba dance classes, contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible. Lara is also a nOMbassador and looks forward to reviewing more yoga-friendly properties in the future.
Where’s the most magical place you’ve practiced yoga? Share in the reply section below.