PODCAST

Tools For Nomads

Thom Pollard

In Tools For Nomads you'll meet insanely productive and creative people, learn how they work, what are the go-to things they can't be without, how they stay passionate, inspired and grounded so that they can do their best no matter where they are, whether at home, on the road or out in the field. Musicians, designers, architects, writers, chefs, photographers, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, adventurers. As creative professionals, we tackle the projects that make us stretch. The things we carry with us directly impact our productivity, our well-being, even our identity. The way we work and how we impact the planet and the people around us is important us. On Tools For Nomads we focus on the spirit of the individual. The passion. You'll be inspired.  Your host: Thom Pollard

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Tools For Nomads - Coming Soon!
Aug 6 2021
Tools For Nomads - Coming Soon!
Hey this is Thom Pollard. I’m the host of a new podcast called  TOOLS FOR NOMADSIt’s brought to you by TopdrawerAs a person who’s travelled the world in search of adventure, literally from the summit of Mount Everest to the mysterious moai statues of Easter Island, I’ve learned that there are some things I CAN’T be without, and I know -- well, sometimes -- what helps me stay creative when I’m on the move.In Tools For Nomads I’ll introduce you to INSANELY productive and creative people, how they work, what are the go-to things they can't do without, how do they stay passionate AND grounded so that they can do their best no matter where they are. Musicians, designers, artists, architects, writers, chefs...sommelier….photographers, filmmakers….environmentalists, adventurers….humanitarian aid workers….I’m an insanely curious person and I love it when people get excited about the things that make them tick, their motivations, aspirations, their dreams and desires, the things  THEY WANT TO BRING to the world THROUGH their work...and how they continue to create the things they create, at home or on the road.Like touring musician Seth Walker….we’re listening to his song Hard Road right now:Seth Walker: 1:39SETH: I grew up in a commune around a lot of different people. I was very influenced, you know, and I moved to a lot of different places through my life, a lot of different lived in, you know, a bunch of different music cities. So you want to be open, you know, so you can sponge influence, but you also don't want to be pulled around by your nose at the same time. You have to find where your center is and not be so worried and influenced by outside, by the outside world. It's a tough balance. MUSIC - It ain't a stroll down easy street...Thom Pollard: 2:18We'll be premiering Tools For Nomads soon. Make sure you click the SUBSCRIBE button so you'll know when our first episodes go live. You don't want to miss it. Tools For Nomads. See you soonFor more about Seth Walker, visit  Topdrawer at
Daniel Donato - From Wonder Kid to Cosmic Cowboy & His Lost Highway
Apr 4 2022
Daniel Donato - From Wonder Kid to Cosmic Cowboy & His Lost Highway
Today’s guest is as much a philosopher and thinking man as he is a creative force in the world of music. He started busking - which means playing music on the streets for coins - on Broadway in Nashville at  14. Two years previously the only thing he knew about playing guitar was the video game GUITAR HERO. He was good, damn good. Then he heard a Gun’ & Roses song blasing out of a set of speakers and decided to give playing real guitar a try. Turns out he was even better at the real thing. On his first day of busking Daniel Donato didn’t make one red penny.  The next part of the story is one of those storybook kind of tales that seem more fiction than fact,  Daniel is no stranger to the idea that if one is prepared, then that person will capitalize when an opportunity arises. One day he’s walking down the street - 14 year old kid,  guitar case in his hand and a guy from a bar - the bass player from a band that was performing -  waves him in and says “hey kid can you play guitar?”  The sensation of sound waves blasting into his calves from the amplifier standing on the stage just behind him transformed him forever.At 16 he became the youngest musician ever to get a regular playing gig at the world famous honky tonk ROBERT’S WESTERN WORLD - on Broadway in Nashville of course - Daniel Donato is 26 now, that’s him we’re listening to now. several cross country tours, a second album just released, 2,000 performances under his belt….. Some would call him a Master of the Telecaster...referring to the style of Fender guitar he plays, which you see all sorts of country stars play, Merle Haggard, Marty Stuart, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, REAL guitar heroes…Today’s  conversation with Daniel Donato moves from music to all things  ABOUT LIFE, MOTIVATION, OVERCOMING YOUR FEARS, BREAKING THROUGH THE BARRIERS, ABOUT FOLLOWING THE CORE PATH OF YOUR HEART….WHETHER YOURE A MUSICIAN, DANCER, HITCHHIKER, SHOWER SINGER, HOUSE BUILDER, CAR PAINTER, ENGINEER, AMATUER PILOT….DON’T MATTER….THIS IS ABOUT FOLLOWING YOUR HEART  Daniel Donato, he calls his brand of music COSMIC COUNTRYHe also has a podcast, called The Lost Highway, HE HAS A NEW ALBUM OUT CALLED  Cosmic Country & Western Songs, released on September 30 of 2021.Daniel Donato is a lot more than a musician….wise beyond his years, here’s our conversation
Trusting Your Senses - Doc Kaps and His Impossible Project To Save Polaroid
Mar 21 2022
Trusting Your Senses - Doc Kaps and His Impossible Project To Save Polaroid
“I don’t want to keep dinosaurs alive. I want to inspire young people to combine old technologies with new technologies. If you stop understanding the past you will not find the answers for the future. And this is the big problem with digital.”    Florian Doc Kaps, ViennaFlorian Doc Kaps: is a champion of all things analogue, an out of the box thinker who believes that people are too swamped with digital things in our lives. He believes that we should on our five senses to make decisions about business, love, family and friends. Former biologist who was a foremost authority on spider eye movement (I didn’t know that was a thing until I met Doc), he is also the entrepreneur who literally saved Polaroid instant photography from extinction. Do you know those big, instant cameras that make a loud click when you take a snapshot? It spits out an undeveloped photograph into your hand? Doc saved that.In 2008 the company that owned that instant film, Polaroid, was planning to shut down the last factory where it was made. Boom. The End. No more Polaroid. The end of instant photography as we knew it.Then along came Doc. He literally bought the Polaroid factory before they shut it down forever. He calls his arduous journey An Impossible Project They made a film about it, too. If you own one of those vintage cameras or see an instant photo on a refrigerator you can thank Doc. My Tools For Nomads episode with Doc Kaps explores how he saved Polaroid from extinction. We went deep into the mind of Doc and talked about the importance of analogue in our lives, about the lost art of daydreaming, his experience-store called Supersense, and what it was like growing up in Vienna, birthplace of Mozart, Beethoven and Freud. You’ll love Doc Kaps just as I do. Listen and be inspired!
Dino Serrao - Street Photographer of the World
Feb 1 2022
Dino Serrao - Street Photographer of the World
So, imagine you’re walking to work one day….minding your own business, people coming and people going….commuters, buses, cars….maybe a street musician is playing in the background. You hear someone politely call out from behind you, ‘excuse me, do you have a minute please?’   You stop...and turn, approaching you is a smiling young man, confident, yet, humble and friendly….ball cap turned backwards on his head, a backpack on, camera in his hands and a friend following and filming with an iphone, filming him...and you…..It might sound like this:SOUND UP OF DINO AND MOON FROM TIKTOKDino Serrao is a street photographer. He grew up in an medieval city in the Calabria region of Southern Italy. Perhaps that’s where he acquired his ability to observe, to be fascinated by the rich diversity of humanity: black, white, yellow, man, woman, child, photographer, aborigine, gay, heterosexual, musician, didgeridoo player, street performer, homeless teenaged girl….skateboarder, elderly….Dino moved to Australia in 2012, where he settled in Sydney….After he started posting his street photography on social media he gained a large following…..people write him asking for more, some even sought him out, asked for a photo session, for tips on how to take photos, how to edit them….He edits his photos on his laptop using Lightroom.His work...if you can call it that…. went viral, he was covered in news articles and in magazines…   His biggest following is from the usa, but he’s know worldwide, On Instagram, he has over 217 THOUSAND followers, on TikTok, 1 point 8 million….where you can see his incredible photography, spontaneous, on the spot, people like you and me.As Dino says about his photography, “he is there not to make an impression but to make an impact” to make someone’s day...to make someone feel special, attractive, respected….Dino says beauty has no age, no race….his photography is his way of connecting cultures, across continents and countries of different languages, people of different colors, creeds….A successful photo shoot for Dino is to convey the truth that they are a beautiful person, unique, valued….Before COVID hit hard, he learned that Australia was going to shut down, big time. He packed his bags and moved to Oslo Norway...he never lost a step capturing people, faces, moods….
Rachael Zoe Miller - From Knee Deep In Plastic Garbage to Saving the World's Oceans
Jan 18 2022
Rachael Zoe Miller - From Knee Deep In Plastic Garbage to Saving the World's Oceans
Today’s guest, has, in her own words, devoted her life to protecting the world’s oceans and connect people to it….She’s a scientist and archaeologist.who studied at Brown University, lives in Vermont.Racheal Zoe Miller lives for everything water….in all its forms, in winter she’s skiing, moguls in particular, or riding her fat tire bike with spikes on it that grip ice or snow, in spring summer and fall she’s sailing, or wing-foiling, which involves handling a two-handed wing with a hydrofoil mounted on a short Stand Up Paddle board….She has her 50-ton master captain’s license and captains a 60-foot sailing research vessel called the American Promise…Over the last 10 years, her company, the Rozalia Project has removed more than a million pieces of trash from waterways and inspired tens of thousands of people through direct programs. Rachael is also an inventor, of The Cora Ball, the world’s first microfiber-catching laundry ball. She is focused on protecting the ocean, specifically addressing the problem of marine debris through cleanup, prevention through education, embracing innovation and technology, and solutions-based research in urban and coastal waters from surface to seafloor. She’s nuts, about water, that is….and even more so about keeping plastic and man made microfibers out of the water….where it literally kills countless sea creatures large and small.One of Rachael’s early entrepreneurial businesses was giving shipwreck tours with ROV’s on Lake Champlain, using REMOTELY OPERATED VEHICLE….yes there are shipwrecks on Lake Champlain,....she taught snow kiting and stand up paddling…. All these experiences led to her current and ongoing endeavor, the ROSALIA PROJECT,My recent conversation with Rachael began when I asked how she found her calling in life, and like so many creative and productive people I’ve met here on the podcast and beyond, I suggested that the path is never without surprising twists and turns, and as we follow our intuition, our heart, somehow, someway, what we were called to do finds us, just as much as we find it….Here’s my conversation with Rachael Zoe Miller, picking up on the meandering spirit of a college student seeking her calling.
Rodney Nombekana - From Soweto to the Pride of Lions
Jan 3 2022
Rodney Nombekana - From Soweto to the Pride of Lions
My guest today, Rodney Nombekana, grew up with a love of all things animals. He was born in 1977 in the largest hospital in the southern hemisphere. The hospital is in Soweto, South Africa, where Rodney grew up . Given that he was born during the time of apartheid - the system of segregation based on race that was in place in South Africa and West Africa until the 1990’s - Rodney had no easy path carved ahead of him upon which to pursue his passion of wildlife and animals. Growing up in the townships Rodney started rescuing dogs, bringing injured birds into his home. But the political climate was one of unrest, therefore an unlikely environment for him to develop his interest in nature and animals.Today, Rodney is known widely as one of the foremost safari tour guides in southern Africa. Leopard and lion sightings are now his norm. His path to get there is a story of passion and persistence, belief in himself….  Here’s where Rodney and I share something strikingly similar. His dreams of working with elephants and lions, started when his family got their first television set in 1985, a small black and white tv, with programming about the wildlife parks. Today he lives in Johannesburg, Rodney’s heart and soul are in the 2 million hectares of unrivaled diversity and wildlife of Kruger National Park in East Africa….lions, leopards, elephants, wildebeest, wild dogs, baobab trees…wildlife of every kind...just like what both of us used to watch on tv as little kids.Rodney runs his own safari and wildlife tour guiding company called Nombekana Safaris and Wildlife Photography….where one can experience the park in 5 Star class or by camping and barbeques, to the sounds of lions roaring.  He’s a world class photographer….I know you'll enjoy my recent interview with the humble and talented Rodney Nambekana from his home Johannesburg South Africa.Here is a link to the Kevin Richardson Foundation: for Rodney Nombekaka on his Instagram page:
Oscar Manguy - Adventure Photographer Goes Where 'Even Sleeping is Hard'
Dec 16 2021
Oscar Manguy - Adventure Photographer Goes Where 'Even Sleeping is Hard'
Today’s guest, adventurer and photographer Oscar Manguy of Finland, epitomizes the philosophy of ‘fast and light’, he’s as comfortable sleeping in a hammock under a tarp as he is in a King sized bed…in fact probably more so.He’s been running expeditions into the wilderness, from the Arctic to Baja, since he was 16 years old….and lives with his wife in in eastern Finland, In a Cabin on a lake, off the grid, no electricity or running water, compost toilets, their drinking water comes from springs or from the lake….As a professional wildlife and wilderness photographer and cameraman, his Cadillac is his kayak…. A casual gander at Oscar’s Instagram will reveal photos of terrifyingly massive bears fighting, a transcendent moonrise over serene waters….towering glaciers, adorable penguin chicks, smiling faces, lots of smiling faces, & kayaks and mesmerizing images of figures standing before the Aurora BorealisI  wondered, how a professional photographer can capture such perfection when working out of a skinny kayak….well, he’s fast and light….HERE’S MY CONVERSATION WITH OSCAR MANGUY OF FINLAND FROM HIS CABIN ON A LAKE….AND, YOU MIGHT wonder how he gets a telephone or wifi signal out there? The entire country of Finland has 4G….it’s everywhere, even out in the wilderness….Oscar, despite all the comforts of being able to do an Instagram post from a remote island in the middle of nowhere,  KNOWS how to get things done under THE MOST austere conditions….You’ll want to take note about how he lightens the load, especially his toothpaste trick for long journeys….
Seth Walker On Tour: Spirits Moving - Troubadour, Musician, Songwriter on Life On The Road
Oct 29 2021
Seth Walker On Tour: Spirits Moving - Troubadour, Musician, Songwriter on Life On The Road
Nothing really exemplifies life on the road and all the images that come along with it like a touring musician. It’s not all Leer jets and posh hotels, sold out auditoriums. Plain facts is that the music you hear pouring out of small bars and music houses, cafes come from people like you and me, passionate, driven, inspired….committed. They drive 8 hours from gig to gig, sleep in modest hotels - if they’re lucky. They set up their own drum kits and amplifiers, collect their cash after the gigs, get up the next morning and do it all over again. Here's a bonafide troubadour. Seth Walker, touring since the mid 90’s, Seth is an American blues, guitarist singer songwriter….author, poet, painter…..has followed the song of his soul. He has 10 albums, wrote his own book during covid called YOUR VAN IS ON FIRE...poetry, art, anecdotes from life - he grew up on a commune - and on the road, like playing with Alain Toussaint, Willie Nelson...he’s chased the vibe his whole life, lived in New Orleans, Austin, Nashville...he wanted to eat, sleep, drink and breathe every single note he could possibly hear until it flowed through him, like osmosis.You know that kind of musician when you hear one.I caught up with Seth from his hotel room in Chicago. By now he’s probably half way to Minnesota where his next gig is.Seth is more than the sum of his parts. His music is soulful, bright…., sometimes dense, ’’that’s his word...like his song Inside, written during a trip to Cuba right after Fidel Castro died.----LINKSFor more on Seth and to find his book and music, visit: Walker music featured in this episode:TroubleSpirits MovingInsideHard RoadWe Got ThisVisit Topdrawer at:
John Branch, NY Times Sports Writer Doesn't Care Who Wins or Loses, & the Tokyo Olympics
Oct 28 2021
John Branch, NY Times Sports Writer Doesn't Care Who Wins or Loses, & the Tokyo Olympics
I met today’s guest, John Branch,  in 2017. He emailed me asking to interview me about something I witnessed on Mount Everest the previous year. John Branch wanted to hear my story about having crossed paths with three men who lost their lives close to the summit of the mountain. I encountered each one of them in their last moments of life. One can imagine how helpless I felt in knowing there was nothing I could do to save them. The upper reaches of Everest is an area known as The Death Zone - where no human can survive for more than a day or two. The Death Zone can suck the life and energy out of even the world’s strongest and most capable athletes. The frozen bodies at Camp 4, at 26,000 feet or 8,000 meters, is proof of that. John is a sports writer for the New York Times. Not just any kind of sports writer. He writes about off the beaten track sports, like mountaineering, climbing, skiing….and offbeat sports like wingsuit flying, bowling, even Rubik’s Cube competitions.John says he’s more interested in the human side of the story than the scoreboard. And, it turns out I knew about John and his work before ever actually spoke on the telephone. Having survived a near deadly avalanche in my home state of New Hampshire, I was riveted by his story called ‘Snow Fall”, about skiers killed in an avalanche in Washington State. The story won John a Pulitzer Prize.He’s a master at his craft, the best-selling author of Boy On Ice and The Last Cowboys. And he just released a book featuring 20 of his favorite stories from over 2,000 he’s written for the NY Times, called Sidecountry: Tales of Death and Life From the Back Roads of Sports. The article he interviewed me for, called Deliverance from 27,000 Feet, is in his new book. It brings up so much emotion for me personally that I can’t say I’ll ever read it again. I caught up with John in August of 2021 from his home near San Francisco. He’d just returned from Tokyo, where he was reporting on the Tokyo Olympics. As I said John is no ordinary sports writer. His take on the Olympics and what he experienced there is, well, what makes John Branch so….John Branch. Here’s my conversation with John:
Valerie Taylor - New Biographical Film 'Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story'
Oct 27 2021
Valerie Taylor - New Biographical Film 'Playing With Sharks: The Valerie Taylor Story'
In 2019 I had the pleasure of travelling to Australia to do two Everest presentations for the Australia New Zealand chapter of The Explorers Club…one in Melbourne, the other in Sydney. During my presentation in Sydney I noticed a lovely woman seated near the front.  Afterwords a friend whispered in my ear “do you know who that woman is?’ I obviously didn’t.  He said “that’s Valerie Taylor, she and her late husband Ron worked with Steven Spielberg in the filming of Jaws….world renowned for their underwater photography of sharks”  I was beyond intrigued, then someone introduced themself to me…  When I picked my head up to find Valerie Taylor, she’d already departed. Very recently I became aware that Valerie Taylor is the subject of a film called PLAYING WITH SHARKS, The Valerie Taylor Story, -  a National geographic documentary that you can find on Disney+. I actually got Disney+ just so I could see the film.  It’s amazing, tells the story of her life and her late husband Ron’s as pioneers of underwater photography and filmmaking and their conservation efforts to protect sharks and marine areas…. They were the first ever to film a great white shark underwater...out of a cage, no less. Valerie was the first to ever hand feed a shark….seriously. The 1971 film BLUE WATER WHITE DEATH, features the Taylors and two other divers entering the water with hundreds of white tip sharks, known as the most deadly shark...the sharks were feeding on a dead whale, and the underwater crew entered the water unsure if they’d survive the encounter.  That footage is a magnificent scene in the new film about Valerie….A couple of years later they were hired by Steven Spielberg to film underwater footage for Jaws, which would go on to become the biggest selling film of all time. One day during filming almost turned  tragic when a great white shark became entangled in the wires of an underwater cage...the diver escaped just before the cage was ripped from the boat….All the while Ron filmed this underwater, and Valerie from the boat….the footage was so dramatic and terrifying, that Spielberg literally re-wrote a scene in the movie to incorporate the footage, and instead of the character Hooper dying, like he did in the book, Hooper played by Richard Driefus survives..all because of the work of the Taylors. The Taylors were beyond dismayed at the fear of sharks that grew from the movie, as sharks were hunted and killed by millions, misunderstood and maligned. Valerie and Ron filmed for dozens of documentaries and films, and Valerie wrote her memoir, called Valerie Taylor: An Adventurous Life: The remarkable story of the trailblazing ocean conservationist, photographer and shark expert I interviewed the one and only Valerie Taylor from her home in Sydney Australia last week, and wanted to hear some of her remarkable stories and her cautionary tale about the state of our oceans today…..let me just add this caveat, the beginning of her interview is not an easy listen for conservation and environment minded individuals….90% of the world’s sharks are believed to have been killed, hundereds of millions killed for shark fin soup, still a desirable dish in China…..the ocean certainly is not what it was when Valerie and Ron Taylor, once world champion spear fishing hunters, first dived in the water back in the 1950’s. Ron passed in 2012….Valerie never stopped campaigning to save the sharks…..
Tools For Nomads - Coming Soon!
Aug 6 2021
Tools For Nomads - Coming Soon!
Hey this is Thom Pollard. I’m the host of a new podcast called  TOOLS FOR NOMADSIt’s brought to you by TopdrawerAs a person who’s travelled the world in search of adventure, literally from the summit of Mount Everest to the mysterious moai statues of Easter Island, I’ve learned that there are some things I CAN’T be without, and I know -- well, sometimes -- what helps me stay creative when I’m on the move.In Tools For Nomads I’ll introduce you to INSANELY productive and creative people, how they work, what are the go-to things they can't do without, how do they stay passionate AND grounded so that they can do their best no matter where they are. Musicians, designers, artists, architects, writers, chefs...sommelier….photographers, filmmakers….environmentalists, adventurers….humanitarian aid workers….I’m an insanely curious person and I love it when people get excited about the things that make them tick, their motivations, aspirations, their dreams and desires, the things  THEY WANT TO BRING to the world THROUGH their work...and how they continue to create the things they create, at home or on the road.Like touring musician Seth Walker….we’re listening to his song Hard Road right now:Seth Walker: 1:39SETH: I grew up in a commune around a lot of different people. I was very influenced, you know, and I moved to a lot of different places through my life, a lot of different lived in, you know, a bunch of different music cities. So you want to be open, you know, so you can sponge influence, but you also don't want to be pulled around by your nose at the same time. You have to find where your center is and not be so worried and influenced by outside, by the outside world. It's a tough balance. MUSIC - It ain't a stroll down easy street...Thom Pollard: 2:18We'll be premiering Tools For Nomads soon. Make sure you click the SUBSCRIBE button so you'll know when our first episodes go live. You don't want to miss it. Tools For Nomads. See you soonFor more about Seth Walker, visit  Topdrawer at