Living on the outside: Photographer Kitra Cahana documents nomadic cultures from within

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a nomad. I thought there was no better life than the open road and was going to have to find a way to make that happen. Then for my 17th birthday, my mom, sister and I took a trip to San Francisco. I was incredibly disturbed by all the young homeless people. They were my age or only a little older and their life did not look romantic, it looked rough. This blog from TED is a pretty interesting mix of the two themes of nomadic life: the romance of it and the harsh realities.

TED Blog


After a childhood spent traveling the world with her rabbinical family, photographer Kitra Cahana found she couldn’t stop. With her camera as her vehicle, she began work as a documentary photographer, shooting for publications like The New York Times and National Geographic. When Cahana is not on assignment, she comes home to a life on the road — living among communities of nomads that wander the United States, documenting their reality. Cahana’s TED Talk, “A glimpse of life on the road,” offers a look into this world. But we wanted to hear more—about her own experiences, about what motivates people to take to the road, and about the history and evolution of American itinerant culture.

We called Cahana up to chat. Below, an edited transcript of the conversation. And to view more gorgeous images of Cahana’s “Nomad” series, check out this gallery on »

So first off, where is home for you?

That’s always been a complicated question…

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One thought on “Living on the outside: Photographer Kitra Cahana documents nomadic cultures from within

  1. Pingback: Take to Your Feet | Adventures In Austin

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