The Blog About The Micronation Documentary
I had an idea for NOMAD for literally years.
Previously, I hosted a podcast series (many, many years ago) that did really well. At it’s peak - it was averaging close to 12,000 listeners, which meant season one got close to 150,000 total listens.
Unfortunately, this was before podcasts were a huge thing and the opportunity to monetise it never really arose. However, it left me with the desire to keep creating alternative travel content.
The travel podcast series focused on the weird and wonderful aspects of travel. As, I am a firm believer that it is not about the specific sights, it is about the memorable stories. While seeing Maccu Picchu was indeed incredible, I will tell people more about the hike there and the hilarity than ensued throughout. You can read about it here.
Work and responsibility then got in the way. As I become way more focussed on climbing the career ladder, some more creative stuff got put on the back burner. I did another season of a podcast which worked well and did a dating nightmares special. All which I found hugely fun but again - consistency is key to drive listens and I was just way too inconsistent.
Anyway, the moment happened when on a train home from a client meeting in Manchester. I had no real work to do but I was itchy to do something. So, I began to just write again. Just write down different ideas.
And the pitch for NOMAD came up.
As someone who is obsessed with travel, I was always disappointed with the quality of travel content. Maybe not quality, but the angle. Everything is for people who are 40+ looking to rent a villa in Greece and do nothing for a week. Don’t get me wrong, that sounds lovely but not a great watch.
In my humble opinion.
Or alternatively we have stuff like Ibiza Uncovered which is just dreadful.
There needed to be a midpoint. And I was hoping NOMAD would be it.
I sent the idea to two very talented friends and they were in. We just needed a premise. Thankfully, I was well versed in the art of researching the bizarre from the travel series and doing all sorts of weird sh*t:
The Time I Spent The Day in A Gay Porn Studio
The Time I interviewed a Vampire Hunter
Or the time I interviewed a bunch of Tinder matches about their dating nightmares
Or how about the most mental story about a kidnapping in Bangladesh.
I stumbled across Onneskop. Onneskop claim to be a micro nation. And the Minister for Culture, Arnold, has a cannibal museum.
I reached out to Arnold to ask if he was interested.
Not only a yes, but an invite to a party. Game on.
Honestly, I can’t remember how much prep me and the boys did before flying into Copenhagen (Onneskop is an hour drive from Copenhagen) but once we arrived, the camera’s were on and away we went.
On the drive to Onneskop, me and my co-host, Dermo began to realise what actually we were doing. We were just 3 guys with a camera, going to somewhere that could be potentially very odd and potentially even dangerous. We had read about how they attack their neighbouring towns - now, we assumed that this was playful fun, but who knows?
We arrived in Onneskop to be greeted by the infamous Arnold. Hat with a feather and all. He was hugely friendly and very charismatic. We felt slightly more at ease and then randomly, Arnold just darted in a specific direction.
We darted with him.
Arnold took us to a back garden where people were setting up tents. This is where we met the Minister for Transport, The Ambassador and The General. Everyone was super friendly. They took us to a bar beside the garden which was basically someone’s basement with a bunch of beers.
We met the bar tender there who recommended the local Thai restaurant. This town has a population of 208 people by the way. How did a Thai restaurant pop up here?
“One of the locals has a Thai bride - purchased her when he was on holiday and she set it up”
Makes sense. We were hoping to speak about all things Thai bride with the local restaurant owner but we didn’t even have time. Everything just went mad.
We were given one of the ultimate accolades when visiting Onneskop. We were given permission to visit the Pentagon. The Pentagon is where all ministers gather to discuss the key issues for the town.
The Pentagon was a massive barn in someones garden. I would be lying if I said I was not somewhat nervous about going to a barn in rural Sweden with a bunch of old Swedish dudes.
The night in the Pentagon, still remains, one of the most memorable and fun nights that I have ever had. We sat around with the other ministers and basically drank ourselves stupid. Telling stories, singing songs and drinking lots of very hard Swedish liquor.
They kept giving us something called Besk.
We were also introduced to the Troubador Minister, the one and only Billey Shamrock. Billey legally changed his name to Billey Shamrock. His business model was perfect;
“What Irish bar will not hire me to play?”
A fair point.
The local town also invaded with a whiskey trap for Arnold. A massive mousetrap with whiskey as the bait. Like, you cannot make this up.
As if it was to get any more surreal, the following morning, the local press from Malmo had come to interview us. All of a sudden, we were the story. I fear that they think we were a bigger deal than we were. And by a bigger deal - we are literally no deal.
The journalist chatted with us for a while - the main point of the story appeared to be “Why are you here?”
And we did our best to explain why - in our desperate hungover state. Throughout the interview, Arnold was pouring us the local drink of Onneskop. Which was coffee and vodka.
Away we go again.
After the interview and a little more breakfast vodka than I would have preferred, we went back to our room to attempt to piece together our narrative for the documentary. And for some sanity - we spoke about local Irish politics, football and anything but what was happening around us.
It was time to go to OnneskopFest. The biggest party of the year in Onneskop. Their equivalent to St. Patricks Day.
Arnold invited us to a banquet dinner first for all the performers who were preforming at the festival. The banquet was in an amazing barn behind Arnold’s house that I doubles up as an antique store that his wife runs. Who is purchasing this stuff, I will never know.
Top level run down of the banquet;
Met a guy who ran a hostel in Paraguay and is randomly in Onneskop now. He was as confused as we were.
Met a guy who used to drum for Eric Clapton
I never vomitted because they made me drink more Besk than I would have preferred.
Then onto the actual festival;
The night was glorious. Lots and lots of alcohol (again) were taken. We watched Billey Shamrock preform the debut of the new Onneskop national anthem. We witnessed the General receive another star on his hat. He went from a two star general to a three star general.
We got made Irish Ambassadors for Onneskop and given plaque’s and flags. The night went on and we decided to turn off our cameras and just enjoy the evening. Not that we were not enjoying it beforehand - but we wanted to just chat absolute crap with everyone and get into the party.
We went to an afterparty in the bar tenders house and then went to an after - after party in the Ambassadors house before going to an after - after - after party in Arnold’s.
The following morning, we said our emotional goodbyes to Arnold and we were done. We were on our way back to Copenhagen for a night of R&R before reality hit.
What a mental weekend. Absolutely mental. But so heartwarming. Onneskop is a truly remarkable place and I would recommend anyone to go.
Is it weird that everyone pretends to be Ministers and that they are separate to Sweden?
Is it great fun tat everyone pretends to be Minsters and that they are separate to Sweden?
Yes. More so.
Watch our documentary here