Artist and Nomad — How 2 Podcasts Inspired Me and Launched a New Adventure

Karen Espig
4 min readJun 16, 2021

You can do it too!

Photo credit: Karen Espig

Over the next several months, I will be downsizing to a couple of suitcases, putting my finished paintings and portfolios in storage, and quitting my comfortable day job — setting the stage for European travel that begins in the new year with no anticipated return date. I cannot wait!

I will be writing, drawing, and painting about whatever happens next; speaking to my art-practice, travel adventures, joys, mishaps, and how my cat Vincent is doing with all this (assuming he forgives me for the long flight in cargo). I’ll touch on how a 50-something person learned some things the hard way, but it’s never too late to figure yourself out.

Just a year ago my plan was to retire at 60 and travel for a few months out of the year, a couple of times a year. So, what happened to that reasonable and responsible plan?

I blame podcasts, two in particular, but the list keeps growing.

I’ve worked my office job from home since March 2020 and I try to take a walk at lunch-hour. In the early days of the pandemic, I found walking outside disorienting and upsetting — people were acting strangely (avoiding eye contact, not saying hello), the stores were closed, and streets were spooky and quiet. I would come home feeling more stressed than when I left.

I needed a strategy that would get me moving and provide a mental break. I decided to find something to listen to that would encourage a long-ish walk. Enter “Art Juice,” a podcast hosted by two British artists around my age who converse casually about all things art with truly relatable insights and lovely accents to boot! From the first episode, I was hooked. I worked my way through most of the past instalments, and found new related podcasts and social media accounts from their guests. I started looking forward to my walk at lunchtime. I felt excited about my art and connected to a true part of myself.

The seeds of new mind-sets were planted,

The thing is, the further down the art path I travelled, the less tolerable I found the day job. I realized that I never wanted to go back into the cubicle office world I was in, pre-COVID. I wanted to stay working from home for as long…

Karen Espig

I am a contemporary figure painter, working primarily in oils. I am also a Canadian Expat currently in Albania. Follow my art and travel journey.