It’s 6:30 am Eastern Standard on a chilly Manhattan morning. With the stealth of a half-drunk ninja, I’ve managed to make a cup of hotel coffee without disturbing my sleeping wife. I thought about taking an early morning walk through the desolate streets, but instead, I logged into Facebook. Through the mindless political rantings, drunk selfies, and constant self-promotions, an oasis of originality sits. It’s Megan Pogoda on an adventure through Nevada’s Oak Creek Trail with a borrowed dog named Mister Fox (#adventureswithmisterfox). I scroll down. Days before she’s performing in Las Vegas with Lil’ Jon. Scroll down. Days before that she’s hanging with friends in Venice Beach. Scroll down. There she is skating the Mission Beach Boardwalk in San Diego. I lean back and think. She’s definitely not static. Well, unless you mean electric.
Social media, in all its varied and ubiquitous channels, has made it possible for all of us to easily consume the narratives of our friends with frequency. I’ve only met Megan Pogoda in person a handful of times in real life but have been witness to a story and a person in a constant stage of development and reinvention online. The moments of her published life can create questions in the minds of those who don’t choose to live as freely as she does. It can shake those who don’t embrace the power of their own personal creativity. Those who have seemingly lost the intense pursuit of their own brand of happiness. In fact, the hardest thing about writing this story was getting Megan to pause her life long enough to write me back. In a series of emails, we dove into what makes the life and journey of a modern-day-digital-nomad-dogsitter.
“Do what you love, and the necessary resources will follow.”
Hearts Are Analog (HAA): Tell me about yourself. What are the origins of Megan and what has been a consistent guiding principle in your life?
Megan Pogoda (MP): I’m an artist in every sense of the word, both in the physical and digital realms, as well as in how I live my life. I’m an adventurer, a dreamer, addicted to travel, and very openly a child at heart. I grew up in a small town in the suburbs of Philadelphia but always knew that I never really fit in there. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my two answers were almost always: Veterinarian or Photographer for National Geographic. I went to Penn State and got a degree in Broadcast Journalism because I love writing and visual storytelling, but when faced with entering a career, no media jobs appealed to me. I was way too punk rock for that. I didn’t like doing things in conventional ways and I learned that the news was a complete sham. I spent several years exploring who I was, spontaneously taking opportunities that presented themselves until things started falling into place. I once received a fortune cookie that read “Do what you love, and the necessary resources will follow”. That about sums up how I’ve lived my life for the past decade.
“I’ve never been satisfied with sitting still.”
HAA: Your social feeds are so interesting. Especially the recent posts about the building of your mobile studio and home – The Scamp. What inspired you to go mobile?
MP: I’ve never been satisfied with sitting still, so it makes sense that I’m currently living my gypsy life in a 16-foot egg-trailer. As a kid, my parents took me camping quite a bit, mostly because we didn’t have enough money to spend on hotels and vacations, but also because we enjoyed being in nature and away from crowds. I flew twice as a kid, both times to visit family in San Diego, and since then, I always knew I would end up in California.
Even at five years of age, I noticed that people were generally happier where the weather was nice, and everyone was more active when they got their dose of vitamin D. Once I got a car, I drove anywhere I could see new things, most of the time it was to see friends bands play, or to go on hikes, boats, and other adventures. After college, I packed everything I could, along with my best friend, and moved to Lake Tahoe after visiting my father there earlier in the year. This was my first step to living in California, and following my dreams.
That was 10 years ago now, and since then, I’ve always gravitated towards work that included travel. When I was living in Tahoe, I discovered electronic music and started go-go dancing in nightclubs in an effort to avoid getting a “real job.” As I got more involved in “the scene,” I saw my first VJ performance, and realized that this was my calling, and potentially my ticket to travel! I dabbled in VJ-ing for years, all the while taking odd jobs to pay bills (some of them being amazing), but most of which involved making my own schedule.
The first opportunity I got to really travel for work as a 4-month nationwide promotional tour that I managed. I drove a branded SUV and Airstream trailer to events back and forth across the U.S. three times. After that, I knew that a life on the run was something I could really get used to. Fast forward another 5 years, a bunch of festival-hopping, a job with Google, driving an ice-cream truck, and even a few modeling jobs, I was offered an opportunity to VJ full-time in Las Vegas. I took it, and it eventually led to touring as a VJ for Lil Jon. This was my very first opportunity to leave the country, and in one year I got to see 10 cities in Europe, the Caribbean, and a bunch more U.S. cities.
HAA: What are three places that you would recommend readers of this story experience?
MP: I can’t even say anyplace in particular, but I’ve learned that I love Canadians. So far I’ve visited Montreal and British Columbia (for Shambhala Music Festival), and everyone I’ve met has been super creative, polite, and witty. I’m a big fan of trees, clean air, and art. The fact that their government actually supports the arts says a lot about their culture.
MP: I’m from Pennsylvania, and while there’s definitely good reasons why I no longer live there, I do enjoy going back to visit. I love New York City, Philadelphia, State College, and all the little rural towns in between. I don’t talk to many people from my younger years, but the people I do stay in contact with are some of the most genuine and giving people I’ve ever met. I’ve met a whole new group of people who live back East since I’ve moved away, so it’s nice to go back and visit them during certain times of the year that I miss, especially in the fall (yes, I’m a leafer). Going back also helps me re-live my past, and remember the humble beginnings that I grew out of.
MP: People have been telling me I need to head up the West Coast for years now, and this year I finally got to find out why. I spent a month driving from British Columbia to San Diego, and fell in love with so many places along the way. I loved Portland so much that I almost moved there. I found people who enjoyed nature, cared about the environment, and got funky on some crafty projects. Hiking, boating, amazing food, and friendly people are all high on my list of favorite things in the world.
“If I can arrive a stranger and leave a friend, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.”
HAA: Is there one particular place you really want to go?
MP: I want to go EVERYWHERE I haven’t been yet! I can’t even narrow that down to a continent or region. I’ve been on a creative kick for years now and I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. Travel is just another way for me to gain inspiration, connect with like minds, and inspire new people in any way I can!
I was attracted to telling Megan’s story because she explores in every sense of the word. She lives, travels and creates as she pleases. Her narrative sways to the currents of an ocean many of us are afraid to set sail in. One of uncertainty, but one of great reward. Her currency is experience. No divide between work, life, and creation. A means of living and the expression of that life through whatever medium is available to her. Megan’s life is one that unfolds before us in feeds and moments of snackable inspiration. Moments that are just a bit more interesting than most. She is her art. She owns her life. She is what many of us should aspire to be.
She is… herself.
Photography provided by, Megan Pogoda.