“I’ll see you down the road.” – Nomadland
In the 2020 movie Nomadland, one woman’s story of life on the road and the people she meets show a realistic depiction of the modern day nomad and the communities they create. In the wake of the Covid 19 pandemic, many people have turned to a more flexible and nomadic lifestyle to avoid mundane routine or being stuck in the same loop of the everyday. The last year has encouraged people to reassess what is important to them and many found that experiences and travel have a higher priority than the material items they own. Downsizing and minimizing their living style allowed many to make the jump to alternative housing on wheels to achieve their travel and lifestyle goals.
This isn’t a new idea however. One man, Bob Wells, has been living out of his van and advertising this lifestyle for over 20 years. He has been on the road and creativing resources and videos to help other people learn how to do what he has done; downsize and live cheaply while also enjoying his life. Wells is one of the inspirations behind the movie Nomadland and his way of life has only become more and more coveted as the last year has progressed. Both young people struggling with home ownership and older generations have started to look at the nomadic way of life as a viable possibility.
One surprising side effect of this nomadic lifestyle shift is something called “digital nomads”. This term refers to people who live and work on the road. They don’t change jobs, rather they have a job that is able to travel with them so they can log in from wherever the road takes them. For many people, this is either some type of self employment or entrepreneurship, or a flexible job that requires travel for work anyways, such as journalism or networking careers. This type of nomadic lifestyle is appealing to those who want to live on the road without the constant worry about where they might pick up their next temporary job to cover travel expenses.
Perhaps the most inspiring part of the movie Nomadland is the community and people that are shown along the way. As the film shows, there are whole communities and gatherings planned for people living the nomadic lifestyle, you simply have to know where to look and be willing to build new relationships. All over the nation there are locations that allow people to gather and share their experiences or new hacks that they have learned to improve their mobile living. But most impressively is what some people are able to accomplish when they decide to focus on what they value the most. One couple documented their first 5 years of nomadic life and all the mental and physical challenges they were able to overcome.
Whether you are considering the nomadic lifestyle for yourself or just want to understand it a bit more, the Nomadland movie is a great place to start for a realistic visual of what that lifestyle shift can entail. Some additional research and planning is certainly necessary before making the big switch, but many people have done so and are happy that they make the switch to the minimalist lifestyle of the modern nomad.