Nick’s home of creativity and adventure
Nick Jaffe: adventurer, sailor, photographer, maker and Tassie dweller.
Nick Jaffe had no idea how to sail. Next, he was voyaging solo from England to Australia. Then, he took off aboard an ex-military Land Rover from Cockle Creek, Tasmania destined for North Cape, Norway. In between, he handcrafted exquisite leather goods from a self-made workshop. Though this adventurous soul has 45,000 kilometres of ocean beneath his keel, he’s put down home anchor in Tasmania.
To understand Nick Jaffe is to perhaps understand his two fathers. His first father, a photographer, was born in Germany, migrating to Australia in the 70s where he met Nick’s mother – sadly he didn’t live beyond 36 years. His second father, from New York, migrated in a similar manner in the early 1980s, ending up on Flinders Island, later meeting Nick and his mother in Adelaide. After Nick completed a Fine Arts Degree at the Victorian College of the Arts, he took off to Berlin to find19 his roots and complete his Master’s Degree in Photography.
Following his failed attempt at further study in Berlin, Nick travelled on, hitchhiking his way around Norway before deciding that a backpack wasn’t for him. So, he bought a 26-foot (7.7 metre) boat and began prepping it for an epic voyage to his homeland. He read busily from books and later moved to Southampton, U.K, an epicentre of world sailing. He listened carefully to masters as he explored the Isle of White and beyond on increasingly longer trips.
“I sailed out of Amsterdam in 2006, across the Atlantic to New York City via the Caribbean. I worked there about four months then carried on until I reached Australia. It took about four years in total, stopping along the way,” says Nick, achieving the mission in a boat originally used for calm water jaunts off Sweden.
Back on dry Australian land, Nick set up a tech business to ensure his freedom prevailed. He also launched leather goods and design enterprise in 2015, using skills garnered through repairing sails and his fondness for industrial sewing machines. He designed a robust and elemental range, from German merino felt coasters to Australian leather wallets and accessories for his beloved Land Rover. Add to this his professional photography and drone work, with clients ranging from Helly Hansen to Mercedes, Nick roamed freely but sought a patch of Australia to call his own.
“Why Tasmania? I had really adventurous friends based here and I love the wildness of it, so, it became a magnet of focus. My mate Tobias Fahey was attempting the fastest solo circumnavigation world record during my first tour of the state in 2010, and my friend Don McIntyre who’s a force of nature in the world of adventure was also based in Tasmania. Then there was Dave Pryce who I met in San Francisco when he was working on the Plastiki catamaran made from plastic bottles. They’d all gravitated here,” explains Nick. “I feel like there’s so many interesting people – I really believe Tasmania is going to be a significant creative hub for Australia.”
Nick settled on a property at Eaglehawk Neck in 2016, with views tumbling down to popular surf haunt, Pirates Bay. He prepared the house as an AirBnB coined the ‘Tin Lantern‘ to draw income while travelling and converted the onsite shipping container into a leather-making workshop.
“I chose to live at Eaglehawk Neck as it allows me to achieve what I want,” explains Nick. “I had simple criteria; to be surrounded by trees, near the ocean for surfing and close enough to an airport to easily travel and work.”
Setting up in Tasmania allowed Nick to prepare for his next expedition – a road trip from the southern-most point in Tasmania, Cockle Creek, to Europe’s northern-most tip, North Cape, Norway. He worked diligently on his photography and leathermaking to save up for his $20,000 ex-military vehicle and got as far as South Africa before Covid-19 forced him back home. During lockdown he rebooted his leatherwork and finished his first book, which was published in April. Having sailed halfway round the world, Nick isn’t giving away his road trip dreams and continues to plan and save.
“The affordability of Tasmania sounds boring as a reason to live here, but it was certainly part of my overall creative strategy. Any major city where there’s been areas of cultural significance all started with the ability for creative people to survive – like Melbourne’s artists living in Brunswick warehouses – because they could afford to. Here, I can afford this beautiful escape by the ocean and continue living a dynamic life. I can be in Hobart in an hour where there’s great food, a Scandinavian-style harbour with fishing boats and if I want something bigger, Melbourne is an hour away by air.”
There may be more crossings of the Atlantic and Pacific in small boats, but for now Nick is enjoying his local surf break and planning to explore the offshore islands around Tasmania.
“Yep, I’ve bought another (small) boat with my great friend and fellow freedom-seeker, Sarah Andrews. It’s just up in the backyard. I can’t wait to take it round Maria Island and along Tasmania’s west coast. There are many adventures to be had right here,” he smiles.
Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.
Find out more about Nick Jaffe.
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