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Interesting documentary on American Nomads

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I watched a very good documentary last night entitled ‘American Nomads’ following various groups of Americans who can all be referred to as modern day nomads.

What I particularly found fascinating was the range of people who are living this alternative lifestyle, from cash rich ‘snow birds’ who plough the Interstates in their huge RVs (recreational vehicles) to young people barely out of college who live on the very edge of mainstream society existing on handouts and temporary work.

The snow birds are an interesting breed. They are usually retired and have lived a normal 9-5 life up to the point where they have sold their home and most of their possessions and have invested a great sum into their mobile homes.

It’s a particularly attractive retirement in my opinion. They follow the seasons like a flock of birds, heading south in the Winter and north for the summer. They live a very free and easy lifestyle.

Oddly enough on the same piece of free camping land can be found the younger generations who only really share the freedom aspect of the lifestyle. They don’t live in expensive vans fitted out with all the modern trappings, in fact they often only have what’s carried on their back and their transport is usually hitching.

I once picked up one of these nomads on the Big Sur in California. She was only with me for 20 mins or so before I dropped her off at some other beach where she planned to camp the night.

I kind of felt sorry for her at the time. She was from the East coast and had wanted to escape the drudgery of a normal 9-5 existence. But after a few more miles I considered that I shouldn’t really feel sorry for someone who was clearly happy with her life despite her scruffy appearance and lack of material possessions.

Indeed most unhappy people I have met in my life have been the ones trapped in a job, a mortgage etc and not the ones who are following their dreams.


If you are planning a trip overseas you’ll need insurance for independent travel to ensure you are covered for any medical emergencies. This is particularly true if visiting North America where medical costs are very high!