This article was originally published on the BBC News website.
By Nadira Tudor
“If I was to do the same thing, week in week out in an office, I couldn’t do it for long. I’m sure I’d be running another business until at least 10 o’clock at night after the office job.”
That’s what Jamie Clark thinks about running a traditional static business. The 34-year-old co-owns a 16-year-old travelling funfair called Jamie Clark Events & Amusements, with his 33-year-old wife, Deba.
The business currently spends at least 10 months a year on the road, with a maintenance base in Hetton-le-Hole, near Durham, in the north-east of England.
This nomadic lifestyle would not suit everyone, but Mr Clark says it’s all he’s ever known.
“It’s in the blood. You grow up with it, it’s definitely in the blood.”
Coming from at least six generations of showmanship, Mr Clark was forced to help his mother run the family business when his father passed away during his GCSE year. He went on to set up his own business at 18, with financial help from his bank.
But he has made some concessions to stability, recently buying a house to ensure the couple’s children – a five-year-old daughter and a 19-month-old son – can be properly schooled.
From being at his side most of the time, they will now only join him for weekends and holidays, but he says they motivate him to grow the business.
“I want my kids to go to school, university and have a more normal life, but they’ll always have this business to fall back on.”
Jamie’s funfair takes him across the UK and he has also delivered contracts in Oman and Dubai.
“It’s lucrative. It’s a good business, and is allowing us to move forward and invest more into it. There’s profit at the end of each year and it’s a fresh audience every week, which is beneficial.”
But it’s not all “plain sailing” says Mr Clark, who works at least 12 hours a day.
“You have to be hands on, and be prepared to be in the thick of it. You might have a mountain to climb when you wake up, but you have to keep chipping away.”
Excitement is often what attracts people to a nomadic profession, says Professor of Organisational Psychology at Manchester Business School, Cary Cooper, who believes that the number of people choosing this lifestyle will increase.
“There are opportunities globally now, and I think more people will be setting up businesses that are nomadic.
“If you look at military families for example, they’re nomadic as they travel all over the world. It’s in the family. But it becomes more problematic if it’s a new generation that becomes nomadic, or one partner has a nomadic existence.”
Yet this is exactly what 40-year-old Shuja Ahmad Mohabatzath decided to do six years ago when he formed his own company, Centre for Policy and Quality Standards.
Originally from Afghanistan, Mr Mohabatzath moved to London 15 years ago, bringing with him the skills he had built-up from years of humanitarian work.
He now travels across the world to conflict and post-conflict countries, providing a pre-deployment training package to militaries that require specialist expertise.
Contracts vary from between one to six weeks at a time, so Mr Mohabatzath can spend a minimum of six months a year away from home.
“It’s a sacrifice you have to make to get better money and a better life,” he says. “My wife is coping OK with our two young children.
“If you and your partner have the same visions then it doesn’t cause conflict, but if you don’t, then of course it will cause conflict.”
But why risk your life for the sake of a business?
“For myself, I’ve seen over 35% of the whole world, and I have the best network. Anywhere I go, I know someone. On top of that, I’ve reached a stage where I want to achieve in life, and if you go to a post-conflict country and build an institution, that’s the best achievement.”
Living the dream
While Mr Mohabatzath’s quest for minimising civilian casualties in unstable countries drives his nomadic business, photographer Dom Romney’s motivation is most definitely adventure and passion.
“I grew up in Lincolnshire in a rural village and always found the outside world exciting and was always trying to escape,” says Mr Romney.
He now runs his own firm: Dom Romney Photography, which focuses on photographing cars, and has clients including Land Rover and magazine Autocar.
He travels extensively to Europe, Asia and the Middle East for work, and often gets late night calls asking him to fly somewhere the next day. In total, Mr Romney estimates that he does around 35 to 40 trips annually, which take him away from home for at least seven months each year.
“I can’t comprehend how people can have the same routine everyday. I never know what’s around the corner,” he says.
Despite spending so much time away, he says it hasn’t harmed his relationship with his girlfriend of three years.
“My girlfriend has never known any different so I think it works quite well. We are independent people, we go off and do our own thing and then come back together. There’s always something to talk about.”
There’s no doubt that Romney sees far more positives in choosing this lifestyle and business than negatives.
“I’m 25 years old and I earn more than most of my age group do. I would still do what I do even if I was earning peanuts, as it gives me a lifestyle and quality of life that many others don’t have.”