Hi. My name is Vlad.
I was born in the Soviet Union and woke up in Kazakhstan. During my 36 years, I’ve lived in and travelled to 30 countries – my first big move was to Canada in 2002, and in 2008 I decided to move to Southeast Asia. In 2013, I moved to Montreal for a very cold winter, and eventually settled in Ottawa in 2015.
I say “settled,” but it doesn’t necessarily mean one place. Canadian lands are vast and beautiful and perfect for roaming around.
Nomadic life has been always a part of my nature. I like the outdoors and a constant change of surroundings. I also like the idea of sustainable living. More importantly, I don’t believe in “Get a mortgage and pay for it all your life.” The only logical solution for me is to “buy” land and build something like a cottage on it. Well, there’s a problem. Up to now, I’ve created and buried quite a few businesses and ideas, so many that it burnt a deep hole in my financials, and my full-time job barely covers my interest payments. So if I take the conventional path, I can live in my own cottage in about 65 years. The odds are against me.
Now what? “ask and thou shalt receive” -TM-Universe
I truly believe that a properly-asked question is way more important than the answer. It was on my last visit to Kazakhstan in Spring 2015. Let me step backward or a second. I usually go back only for the death of a relative. And this was one of the latest family losses. My dad’s father passed away. He was my favourite grandfather that played with me when I was a kid, explained the flow of life and the structure of the world. He explained that throughout our lives we must always learn, and we will die bigger fools than were born.
This recent visit was the first time going back home when I didn’t hate it. I saw more beauty and kind people, reconnected with my brother, and somewhere deep inside I felt that connection with my land. It was deeper than one can see. I felt this place differently. So after I felt all that, I could say, ” Thank you. I feel it. Now I am ready to go forward. Will you help me?” The question formed properly in my head.
With this exact question and visions of living by the lake, mortgage and rent-free, petting snow leopards, and observing the starry skies at night, jet-lagged and exhausted, I fell asleep.
I woke up in the middle of the night with a very clear Idea – at least that’s what I think. “My grandpa was part Kazakh, part Uzbek. Nomads. They lived and travelled through the harsh climates of Central Asian regions and lived in Yurts!!!!” HOLY SHIT!!! I felt that IT was the answer: I’ll go live in a yurt. Kazakhs lived in yurts on the harsh steppe year-round. Strong cold winds, lots of snow during the winter, and hot days during the summer – a lot like Canada.
So what is kochevnik?
Kochevnik is a Russian word for “nomad.” Central Asian people were nomads for centuries. Kochevnik.ca is a social experiment. This project has no intention to prove anything to anyone. I don’t have a goal to be “free” from society and the “system,” but rather try to blend a few old techniques and knowledge I obtained from my travels and combine it into one small personal, portable Universe.
I invite you to learn more about different types of yurts, customs of Kazakh people, symbolism, and traditions of different nomadic nations. I’ll keep you updated on my adventure’s progress, and tell you the challenges and joys of a nomadic lifestyle. It’ll be slow at first – trying to live in the yurt for the warm months of the year. We’ll see about year-round living later on.
Stay tuned and let me know if you have suggestions, ideas, or land to share!