CheltenhamMaman HQ Interviews Stephen Skinner (AKA NomadiDaddy)
From time to time here at CheltenhamMaman HQ we think it’s only fair to squeeze in a little bit of air time for the other half of the procreational equation… the father. We can’t deny that they do have a fairly important role to fulfil and that there are just as many fascinating examples of the species that is Dad, as there is of the species that is Mum!
Whilst prancing about in lycra at Trafalgar Square in September to spread the word about Mother Pukka’s flex appeal campaign I had the pleasure of meeting an amazing couple who fascinated me from the off. The Daddy half of this soon to be parenting dream team goes under the virtual alias of NomadiDaddy ad I’m chuffed to bits to have the opportunity to find out a bit more about how this free spirited character and his wife Holly (aka The Tiny Mumma) are preparing for the arrival of their biggest adventure yet.
CMHQ: Well Good Morning NomadiDaddy and thanks for letting us delve into your fascinating life! Can you start out by telling us what you do (did?) for a living and where it has taken you?
(Photo Adam Robertson Photography.)
NomadiDaddy: I’ve had a varied career, including what I believe to be some of the best jobs in the world, but I am especially excited to be starting my new role as Dad in January.
I have previously worked as an Antarctic Guide, a Mountain Leader and a Deckhand on a Tall ship, as well as being a Penguin Researcher and a Heritage Conservationist… and that’s just within the last 2 years! Its not that I am flakey or anything, ha ha… I have just been very fortunate that my “real” jobs have been supportive of my adventurous opportunities… as has Holly, my beautiful wife, who has had to do without me for up to 5 months at a time.
I now manage a Rock Climbing Centre in Essex and with baby inbound, have put all long separations on hold for the foreseeable future.
CMHQ: And when and how did you and Holly meet?:
NomadiDaddy: I met Holly at the University of Derby, where she was studying “Dance Therapy”. I studied “Geology and Climatology” but was more interested in climbing in the Peak District than attending lectures, hence why Holly was a fresher and I was a 4th year, on a 3-year course, ha ha.
I met her on a night out and somehow managed to charm her into joining the Mountaineering Club. When she couldn’t attend our club nights, I stole her phone number and arranged a new “climbing club night” to fit her schedule. Thankfully it paid off and I proposed 4 years later, projecting “Will You Marry Me?” onto a cave wall in candle light.
CMHQ: Having watched a few of your YouTube videos it really seems like you two are just made for one another. Does Holly share your sense of adventure?
NomadiDaddy: Holly is one of the most adventurous people I know, she would literally follow me anywhere, which she proved during a “relaxing” honeymoon in Morocco, where I encouraged her to the top of Mt. Toubkal (13, 671 ft high). After she got altitude sickness and had a nosebleed, I did the gentlemanly thing and hired a mule for her to ride back down on – She made it to the top first though.
CMHQ: So Holly is now 8 months pregnant. How are you both feeling about the imminent arrival of your special new person?
NomadiDaddy: We are both very excited and understandably slightly nervous, this will be our first baby, and despite looking like we have our shit together, let me assure you, we have no idea what we are doing… and that’s how we will raise our child. There is a rough plan which involves, cloth nappies, breastfeeding and lots of baby wearing, but we will just have to see how it goes.
CMHQ: Were you inspired by your day amongst the lycra clad ladies or did they have you quaking in you trainers?
NomadiDaddy: The Flex Appeal flash dance was such a fun day – I think flexible working is important for parents and I was inspired to see how many lovely mums turned up to help raise awareness. I wasn’t intimidated as I’m pretty comfortable with women – When I was 5 years old my parents got divorced, leaving me to grow up in a house of women and I have had to share my space with inspiring ladies ever since… My first role in Antarctica involved sharing a bunk-room with 3 women for 5 months… imagine trying to sell that job to your wife!
I believe there will be more events in 2017 to continue raising awareness and it would be great to see some other Dads there, but perhaps the fact that I was among only an handful of men only helps to emphasise the issue.
CMHQ: Talk us through the garden shed situ where you and Holly currently live. Is it warm at this time of year? What made you decide that was going to be your special home?
NomadiDaddy: In the last 10 years I have moved house 21 times (hence the “Nomad” of NomadiDaddy). Both Holly and I have also traveled lots in our lives and find we are pretty happy wherever we are. “The Shed” is only 3×4 meters and is 2.5 meters high, but it has heating, a double bed, a walk in wardrobe and a fully functioning kitchen. The toilet is a Portaloo, which I installed in an outside extension (there’s a tour on our YT channel – links at the bottom).
It started as a temporary thing where we used to just hang out, but one day Holly suggested a mezzanine level bed and I jokingly agreed to build it. Now we are still here almost 3 year later.
Interestingly this will be my first winter living here as I have been in Antarctica for the past 2 years, but it definitely seems warm enough, especially with my pregnant wife hot water bottle.
CMHQ: Are you anxious about how your living space will work when the baby arrives? Are you determined to keep unnecessary equipment to a minimum or are you thinking you’ll need to move?
NomadiDaddy: We really believe that small living can work, but are also fairly realistic about the requirements of raising a baby in modern day Britain (there are certain expectations which need to be met, before the Heath Visitor passes your details onto Social Services). With this in mind we recently bought some land with the intention of building a “Shed 2.0”, but unfortunately because of complications, this has now fallen through.
Due to the short notice, we plan on moving in with family for a little while while and regroup… unless you have a spare room? What’s the rent like in Cheltenham? Either way, we are still buying compact items and trying to be as environmentally aware of our purchases as possible – there are currently more cloth nappies in our shed than there are square meters, but that’s not exactly hard.
CMHQ: What part of parenting are you and Holly most excited about?
NomadiDaddy: Holly and I both thought about this for a long time, before saying in tandem “baby cuddles and adventures” ha ha, I suspect we will have lots to learn, which I find exciting, and hope we are fortunate enough to cross oceans, climb mountains and grow our love for one another.
CMHQ: And your fears?
NomadiDaddy: Surely the biggest fear for all parents is having to try and keep an actual person alive? We are going to try our best and when we don’t know something we will google it or ask on instagram.
CMHQ: Do you have a specific birth experience in mind or are you just happy to roll with whatever happens on the day (or night)?
NomadiDaddy: We understand that things need to be flexible and the safety of Mumma and baby is the priority, however the birthing centre near to where we live is wonderful. Assuming that all is well on the day (or night) we intend to have an active birth and plan on using a birthing pool.
CMHQ: What three values do you and Holly most hope to teach your child over the coming years?
NomadiDaddy: It is difficult to choose just 3 values. I hope my child will be spontaneous and passionate, I hope they are optimistic, honest and empathetic, but most of all I want them to understand Love, kindness and equality. Wish us luck… ha ha
CMHQ: Do you think you will become less free spirited when you have a baby in your arms? Do you think life will be less focused on living for the moment with a greater emphasis on creating a legacy?
NomadiDaddy: I believe I have already achieved some amazing things in life, but I suspect our baby will turn out to be our greatest achievement yet. Assuming that our child is our legacy, I think offering it an enriched, happy and loving environment to grow up in, as well as encouraging an inquisitive mind and a sense of adventure is the best way to go. I don’t see us changing our lifestyle, but I am sure that wherever we go, we will be carrying more bags than ever before.
CMHQ: Well we think you guys are going to be pretty awesome parents and that the life of your little one will be anything but ordinary! We wish you and Holly all the very best of luck with the birth and those early days of newborn bliss. If you need to ask any questions – you know where we are! How can our readers keep up to date with your new adventures in parenting?
NomadiDaddy: We have all the Socials so feel free to connect with @NomadiDaddy on FB, Twitter etc… or if you are more into bumps than beards follow @TheTinyMumma on Instagram. We also post a regular vlog on our Youtube Channel, where we’d love you to subscribe and follow our adventures (Links all at bottom of the page.)
CMHQ: Thanks so much. Take care of each other and enjoy every moment. Sure you’ve heard it a gazillion times, but it really does just go too fast.
To view some of his amazing videos and get a real insight into the NomadiDaddy way of living take a look and subscribe to his Youtube channel.
Here are a few direct links to some of his most recent videos.
The Babylon (contains nudity!)
Other Dad Interviews…
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