MANY CONVENTIONAL PEOPLE think of us nomads as “homeless” in the very negative sense of the word. In fact, to them, it is virtually a curse word and you can almost see the saying it with a sneer and look of contempt on their face. Technically, of course, they are 100% right — am homeless in the sense that I do not have a residence that I call home.
But that’s just one word to describe us, there are many other words that can be applied. To me living in a house is like living in a prison because they are owned by the house rather than vice versa. They live for the house not for themselves and they lose the power of choice over their lives because everything is done in order to support the house. Therefore, I prefer to call it prisonless and people who live in houses prisoners.
The American Dream of owning a home can become a trap. I spend all my time at work and then at home being a grass farmer, mowing, raking, weeding and fertilizing. My home is a place to sleep mostly
& if you don’t like the climate just move.
I read Nomadland just after we had bought out first van, a couple of years ago. I started following the nomad blogs, watching the youtube videos at that point. I have learned a tremendous amount from many of you and woulld like to thank you all. Our longest trip so far has been 1 month in France and it was amazing. We still live in our ‘stick and brick’ house in Devon which we own outright.
Concerning whether I see our home as a prison? Not really because we have our much loved van as our second home which could become, if things got really bad financially , our main one. Our second home van gives us peace of mind that we would never be homeless, and that means so much.
Things are getting really tough in the UK right now. Our van and you nomads have us the idea a while back to invest in solar panels and batteries, which we can use when we are in the house and take with us when we travel – and these have already almost paid for themselves – we pay about £50 per month for our gas and electric while most people here are paying between £300 to £500 per month.
No, we don’t see our house as a prison because our van gives us choices that we would not have had otherwise. I am sure that many people here who don’t have their own van do see their house has a prison, as their bills are constantly rising along with their debts.
Thank you for showing us how to be free – it was a great gift that you unknowingly gave us and I will always be grateful.
I love the freedom of van life but need a nest that I can return to that is maintenance simple, safe, and low cost. Nice to have a place in the world that I can call “home” besides my van. There are such places, if you look hard and long.
My house is paid off, and although it’s not much and needs occasional repairs (oh, and taxes once a year!) it’s a nest to be cozy when I need a break from living on the road. I totally get why many people want a nest and why some find it so hard to leave one.
I always wanted my own home and now I have one: a 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan named Tara.
She has a cooling system leak and I have my best friend in the universe at my throat after three days of what was supposed to be a much needed vacation for him.
We can’t always change our circumstances. I can’t honestly say I would have chosen my friend’s path in life even if I had a crystal ball and knew I was going to “lose the mommy wars” and be sent to “die in disgrace in a dark alley somewhere” by the people I used to call “family”.
So much of this life truly is a matter of attitude. Thank you, Bob. Thank you, new Nomad family.
Best of luck to those of you who are still imprisonsed; I hope I have learned my lesson and can support you in your own journeys to escape in your own time.
Judy, my house is also owned completely, I bought it after my mum passed and I sold her house. Actually, while I cared for her in her final years, I lived in an RV in her driveway until I could make space in the house for myself (parents were hoarders — not gross, but every room was filled with orderly chaos). I was so excited to buy that RV, a 1977 Imperial, and found I ABSOLUTELY LOVED the compactness and self-contained order of it. The house I bought cost half of what her house sold for, and taxes where I live are a fraction of what she and my dad paid. And yes, upkeep and repairs are a pain, but when my daughter and her partner split up, she agreed to move in and now “keeps a candle burning” so I can wander (I just retired!). It’s a perfect situation, I feel so very fortunate. And she feeds the cats. It IS nice for me to have a place to come back to for a little “luxury”, visit with my friends, be in the familiar… but my wheels get itchy fast. So I’ll never give it up unless circumstances drastically change.
Interesting viewpoint. After a career of home improvement contracting service and of course working on my own place it is second nature. Then I discovered boondocking and the liberation (jail break!) and much prefer FIRST nature.
I always wanted my own home and I did for 23 years but the maintenance and upkeep for just one person was too much. My mom and dad worked together all the time making it nice inside and outside. I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my spouse. He’s somebody else’s problem now.
I’ve been living nomadically for four years and very much value the freedom one gets in doing so. That said, I can’t bring myself to say that people who live in houses are prisoners, because the implication is that everyone should live on wheels or live a nomadic life, which I do not believe.
In a perfect world, in my opinion, just about everyone would live in settled communities while at the same time, nobody would be unwillingly bound to place, because they would love it where they are and they would love that community.
That sort of situation has probably become rare for 21st century Americans. It may be a characteristic of our particular time and place in history that a non-nomadic life is more prison-like than it is, was or has to be, at other times and places.
On skoolie and other home-built forums, I suggest first-time builders:
* avoid believing ‘this rig is my forever rig’.
You change and grow, your vehicle needs evolve.
I think this reasoning applies to a stand-still house.
1970s, we owned rental properties around the Sacramento area in California.
Simultaneously, we had forty (40), and just over a hundred all-tolled.
I think using a stand-still house as a spring-board into other interesting avenues is probably its best use.
Investing a life-time commitment into one home is asking for an inevitable failure.
It would be for us.
A home can also be an investment.
Life on the road eventually (or most likely) will end as we age, and the brick and mortar home can be a comfortable resting place for those final sunset years.
It CAN be an investment, but not always the best one. For example, I paid over $300,000 of mortgage in the 18 years I owned my house and walked away with $91,000 when I sold it. If I had lived in a van all those years, while still working at my profession and not spending money on furnishings, renovations and repairs, I would have had a lot more money. But I was single with no children, so living in a van would have been a viable option. That wouldn’t be the case for those with families.
I regret not road schooling the fruit of my own loins.
There are excellent parents out there who are succeeding at raising their kids on the road.
Much respect to them all. I believe Allecia has minor kids and travels extensively with them.
Escapees dot com has resources for younger Nomads. I would also expect the homeschooling community to be helpful.
Just my (great?) Gramma aged two cents.😆
is it ok to ask for recommendation here? i am in the san diego area now, and looking to buy a vehicle to take on the road. i don’t want a large one, but something on the smaller side. i will likely rent one first to see how i like it. i would appreciate recommendations to rent and or buy a vehicle (prefer used) but am open to new.. getting started seems to be the trickiest part.. thank you!
A minivan is usually a good try-it-to-see-if-you-like-it vehicle.
My home base was a rented apartment. I knew about the “American Dream.” I was all headed down the road to becoming an electrical engineer. But it was the drop out “hippy” period. I joined the carpenter’s union as a wet behind the ears apprentice and did the full 8 year program. I discovered then that building houses was just like flipping burgers. I became a licensed contractor.
I could build a house and sell it for profit. But I also learned along the way that I did not need to get married to my houses. Living in an apartment meant that I did not have to mow the lawns and water the shrubs. So on weekends I became a poly extreme athlete. I was one of the very first. Nobody told me how to act or to shoot video, (film back then.) That was my break from the expectations handed down by others. I would climb a mountain all alone and ski down it off where nobody knew where or when I was there. So many, many extreme adventures were had on weekends away from my money making job. All this was possible because I did not allow a house and yard take any of my time from me.
I knew that the bucket list was upside-down. You must do all the great adventures while your body can do them. Spending a lifetime to have your house paid off and all your kids sent off to fly on their own was upside-down. I knew to save the skilled learning and doing things with your mind like playing a guitar or writing for later when my body become decrepit. I did the bucket list when I was young. I was done by the time I reached 45 years of age. My memories of adventure are magnificent. Do everything. Don’t make yourself a sucker for someone else’s “American Dream.”
I like the idea of hybridizing.
starting out in a minivan or something easy to park and stealth camp in as needed as well as boondocking and traveling from place to place.
Then as I get older I might trade in for something a little bigger with built in plumbing toilet and shower, or add on a tiny house or a school bus that will be stationary in a semipermanent lot and living stationary but still tiny.
Thinking about when am older and don’t want to be driving around all the time. or just want to grow food or something a bit more permanent.
You don’t have to be totally nomadic all the time. You can be a minimalist in one or 2 places each year. or be minimalist and stop being nomadic at some point.
Tiny house, RV, bus, van all can be stationary or traveling wandering as needed.