Become a Nomad They Said! It’ll Be Fun They Said!

LOL! I love my nomad life, I really do.

After almost 5 years on the road I was recently interviewed by the wonderful Joni Zander of TheGalavan , including a van tour of my no build minivan.

I was nervous about how I’d present myself, but was thrilled with the way she portrayed my simple nomad life! She made it relaxed and easy and edited out the awkward parts. She really has a gift and if you’re an aspiring nomad or already on the road, her channel is worth a look.

Joni captured my “highlight” reel, but every seasoned nomad knows there’s also a behind the scenes reel.

In the spirit of keeping it real, here’s some of the behind the scenes! 


There is hardly any perfect weather for a van dweller. There may be perfect days, but weather is always a constant factor. Even if you claim to be “chasing 72 degrees,” it still can be hot, cold, windy, rainy, snowy, all in a few hours. Be prepared to be a little miserable when it’s too hot, too cold, or too windy. Thank god for Libraries!!!

Snow in April!

It takes a while for the body to adjust to constant swings in the microclimate, not like sitting in a house with a steady 70 degree thermostat. 

And let’s not even get into crossing the country through tornado alley and hurricane season.

Bugs, crawly things, javelinas, mice!

Critters on the road are a fact of nomad life. 

 This year I got a SUPER-mouse spending nights with me … he sounded like he was jackhammering my vehicle  to get in on the first night. He was too smart to go into a live trap … I tried … and in the four nights in the vehicle he got into my food carts and left poop presents everywhere. Apparently he liked lentils, and that was the bait that finally lured him to his demise.

I’ve seen rattlesnakes, scorpions, javelinas and coyotes, thankfully at a safe distance. My traveling companion had the biggest huntsman I’ve ever seen in her van.

Finding The Perfect Campsite.

All the YouTubers make it look easy. Finding a free spot that checks all the boxes for nomad living can be a TORMENT.  Level ground, reliable cell and internet, close enough to showers, laundry, other necessary amenities … AND tolerable neighbors. For two years on the Long Term Visitor Area in Quartzsite, AZ, I had the same man harassing me. This year he called the rangers and made up fake stories about me cutting down trees. LOL! I asked the ranger where I’d keep a chainsaw in my little van.

Defending myself from the creepers lol

Recently I was in beautiful spot not too far out from a nice little town, but laundry time came I found out the closest laundromat was 40 miles up the highway!

Sure, there’s apps,, Compendium, Ioverlander, even Google. They may tell you there a shooting range nearby, but not that the locals are blowing up homemade fertilizer bombs that will rattle your windows and make you piss your pants. They don’t tell you that you’ll have a neighbor that lets his pack of guard dogs bark all day and night. It doesn’t tell you when the entire area has been abandoned by the rangers and taken over by a DRUG RING. True stories.

Medical Issues.

I count my blessings on this one. But this year I ended up needing extensive dental care requiring multiple visits over many months. The cheapest place that wasn’t Mexico was a dental school, and I found myself making a 5 hour round trip. To cut down on travel time and fuel costs I keep moving closer to the city where the dental school is located, but the camping got more and more sketchy. Hence the DRUG RING.

Other Nomads.

Things have changed in the nomad world over the last few years. There are more desperate people out here that have no idea how to properly nomad. They throw garbage around, including their own shit … and some areas have been closed to nomad camping because of it. People are desperate, angry and suffering. We met a man camped in a trailer who was a dog hoarder with 12 dogs … and no shoes. It’s heartbreaking.

Then there’s the dirt. The dust. The overdue showering and laundry. The unexpected expenses. The rising price of gas. Being responsible for your own water supply and cooking fuel. Getting out of bed in the morning in 40 degree weather.  Trying to sleep in 90 degrees and 100 percent humidity. The constant van shuffle of belongings in a small space. No oven. Limited access to affordable organic food. No freezer. Cloudy days when the refrigerator is solar powered … and on and on, you get the idea. It takes constant planning and sometimes it just gets exhausting.


With all that said, this is still an incredible way to live. It’s fundamentally changed my body and mind, and filled my Spirit with a beautiful connection to the Earth. My body has found healing living outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and I put my feet on the the natural magnetic field of the Earth every single day.

I’ve learned how resilient and strong I can be, and have the privilege of meeting people from all walks of life, expanding my view of humanity. 

I get to take in gorgeous sunsets, awe inspiring vistas, and meet other like minded nomads.

Thats me!

I get to see places I’d never see stuck in an apartment paying rent! I’ve traveled the U.S. from shore to shore and put my feet in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. I’ve camped in The Sequoias, The Grand Canyon, The Sonoran desert with the great Saguaros, and The Adirondack forest. I’ve seen the Painted Desert, Superstition Mountains, and more. And I’m not done!  

6 thoughts on “Become a Nomad They Said! It’ll Be Fun They Said!”

  1. I bought a USB chargeable 8 ” fan (don’t get smaller) that clips on well (has teeth so doesn’t slip off even while driving) to hand grabs over side doors…and will sit on a flat surface..and has 3 speeds and is quiet.
    A raised bed platform for storage under is a must AND a roof storage box. Looks for a used on CL or FB market.

    1. Yep fans and storage are a must! I have two fans. As far as storage I did look into a roof box and decided I wanted to simplify and not add more to have to deal with.
      I got rid of a screen shelter I’ve been dragging around for four years and couldn’t be happier! The less I have the more space for freedom and happiness appears!
      Happy travels to you!

  2. This summed up my year on the road and the reason I will continue to be a nomad. Life is not perfect but this life offers the opportunity to make it better. Laughed as I was overcome by heat today, solar switch failed so couldn’t run my fans, no cell service; so packed up and came 14 miles back to civilization. Still in all saw a cardinal sitting atop a saguaro, burros on the road and had a campsite above a rushing creek. About as perfect as it gets!

    1. Ah you just summed up nomad life! It’s not perfect, but what a perfect experience it all is!!! I always say I’d rather be doing this than wasting away my days in front of a TV, or a in a rocking chair as an old lady with nothing to do but be bitter about what I missed out on!

  3. You have almost scared me off with the insect pictures! Yikes!

    On the other hand, I am resilient. I just don’t want to find a spider in my paper towels. Or anywhere else. I had never heard of javelinas, but then, I live in New England.

    I’ll have to think this over!

    1. Oh no don’t want to scare you off!

      Don’t let fear hold you back! Our brain tries to highjack any big changes we want to make in our lives, and fear is it’s biggest tool in keeping us from making those big changes. It’s a primal instinct that kept us safe in our primitive past.

      Everyone has fears they have to face if they chose a nomad life, but you’ll find as you face those fears you get stronger and even more resilient! You’ll find that even if you have to come face to face with your fears, maybe in this case a critter, that you have enough resources to deal with whatever comes up. Or climbs up!! ?

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