Leaving behind your family, friends and loved ones…

It sounds like such a cool idea to say that we are selling everything we own and starting to live a nomadic life. Of course, the reality is far from simple, as I still have mixed emotions about leaving behind what many people see as a ‘successful’ life as the owner of several established businesses and a beautiful Victorian house in the leafy suburb of Gardens, Cape Town. Like most people I was quite driven to make money and live a financially comfortable life, and by deciding to lead a completely different nomadic lifestyle we have to leave this all behind.

I started my business Central Castings in 1991 with R 300 ($60 at the time) and over a period of 25 years built it into one of the top talent/casting agencies in South Africa. We regularly supply talent on Hollywood movies shooting in Cape Town – as I write this post we are supplying on Mazerunner 3 and Outlander among others.  With over 4 000 people on our books and hundreds of commercials, feature films and TV series under our belts, selling Central Castings is not going to be easy for me. But in order to move on to a new life as a nomad it has to be done.

Three years ago I launched another business, Classic camper Hire, and carefully assembled a fleet of four beautiful  70’s VW campervans to hire out to local and foreign tourists for self-drive roadtrips and holidays. During this time I have had to seek out the best, most reliable campervans in the country and have them restored before adding them to the fleet. Success followed with the campers being used on a TV travel show several times, and articles in several magazines.  I have now begun the sometimes painful task of selling the campers before we leave…

For around 10 years of my life I ran Controversi Films alongside my other businesses. We focused on shooting cutting-edge, controversial documentaries about life in South Africa. Fortunately I don’t need to sell this business as I changed my focus back to photography several years ago, so now Controversi Films and the films I made live on through the website with links to my documentary Youtube channel found here:


At The age of 16 I packed bags at a supermarket for a year to get the money together to buy my first 35mm camera. My hobby later turned into a career as a fashion photographer, spanning over 30 years, which ran concurrently with Central Castings and usually another business in order to bring in a good income for me. I guess that I will always be a photographer, and as a nomad I will have to rely on my skills to sometimes barter a photoshoot or promotional video in exchange for accommodation and meals. Look here to see an extensive portfolio of my work:


Akhona spent four years studying Entrepeneurship at the Cape Town University of Technology, and she will add her story here and express how she feels about what she is leaving behind.

Of course, we are also leaving behind real, living people who we love dearly…I have a whole family in Cape Town who I see all the time, including my dad Billy Serra and my mom Denise. I made this film about my family to celebrate my dads 85th birthday:

We will also have to leave behind our two cats, Sheba and Sabrina, and our beloved dog Phoebe, which somehow seems even more heartbreaking than leaving behind certain of our family and friends, as we can explain what we are doing to people.  For our pets we will just disappear one day and maybe they will still be alive when we come back visit our family in a few years from now.  Heartbreaking stuff…

So I think that for us the whole experience of leaving what we know as home, with all of the memories, with all of the love of our family, friends and pets flitting through the hallways is going to be bitter-sweet. We not not running away from anything terrible, or trying to escape a miserable life. We are simply trying to find more freedom to explore ourselves and to be our true selves, and we believe that our current lifestyle, for all the positives linked to our family and friends, can not give us that freedom. We need to break the bounds of consumerism in order to thrive – and leaving our old lives behind will give us a freedom which is both exciting and scary. Of course, as nomads we will return to visit our family, friends and pets every two years or so, once we have established what our regular travel circuit will be. When we do visit we will stay at my family home with my dear parents – so we will of course retain some links to our current lives 🙂