If you ask a nomad why they chose this life, it’s highly likely that freedom will be high on their list of “why’s.”
My first book even has the word in the title: Wild Women On The Road: A Women’s Guide to NOMADIC FREEDOM In The Modern Age.
So, if nomads are searching for, and hopefully finding freedom, what is it exactly are we looking to be free FROM?
Yes, we’re free to roam, but it goes much deeper.
Freedom Equals Liberation.
Freedom implies liberation. To be free, we have to be liberated from a state of non-freedom.
Dictionary.com defines freedom in these terms:
- The state of being free, or liberty rather than confinement.
- Exemption from external control, interference, regulation.
- The power to determine action without restraint.
As nomads, are we free from confinement, external control, interference or regulation, having the power to do anything we want without restraint?
I still need my monthly Social Security, medical insurance, mail delivery, internet, driver’s license and other life necessities. If I choose to keep those benefits, I’m not free from having to deal with the governmental organizations that administer those services.
When I relocated to the Southwest, I spent over 6 mind-numbing weeks filling out applications, making phone calls, submitting paperwork … a freedom-stealing, soul-sucking endeavor. Just ask Nancy, who listened to me whine that entire time!
Freedom Equals Choice.
I’m still a part of this system, but it’s totally my choice in how I function within that system.
The more choices I have, the more freedom I feel.
I wasn’t free when I stealth parked in California … and at 7:30 AM got the dreaded knock from law enforcement. Unbeknownst to us, the area we’d been stealth parking in for 3 weeks had just exploded into a hotbed of debate involving nomads, locals, and authorities. Although there was no specific state, town or county code that made us illegal, (believe me we researched it) when the authorities show up and ask you to move on, you move. My freedom to park on that street ended at that moment.
Unfortunately, as nomads, we’re labeled as homeless, and the current political/social climate is not friendly towards us. It’s worth paying attention to these trends and have a backup plan to keep our freedom, in case we do get the boot!
To be free isn’t just a physical state.
Freedom Is A FEELING.
I’ve claimed personal freedom to define my life according to what makes me feel the happiest, fulfilled, and whole.
We feel the freest when we’re living from our essential self. Personally, living as a nomad and a minimalist has allowed me to live closest to the authentic being that I wish to be.
Instead of paying extortion money to a utility company for the privilege of staying warm in the cold Northeastern winters, out in the Southwest I follow the sun, run the car heater before bed, cuddle with Nancy or my hot water bottle, and have lots of blankets.
Living in the Northeast, I struggled every winter to keep up with the heating bills, and was threatened more than once with a shut off.
Gaining my freedom from THAT BS involved a happy dance, and possibly a rude finger gesture when I paid my last bill!
When I left my cute little apartment two years ago to hit the road, my landlord hadn’t raised the rent in 8 years, and it was already a bargain. Now I can’t afford an apartment, but I have gas money to travel!
Freedom Of Self-Actualization.
We’re free when we’re empowered to live our lives in a way that brings us the most happiness and autonomy, while not impinging on another’s own personal freedom. Tricky, that!
As a nomad, you have freedom to create your own life and redefine what’s important to you.
As you reinvent yourself, you find yourself … this is the very heart of the nomadic movement. Every nomad I’ve met has his/her own unique way of BEING a nomad. There is no cookie cutter mold for us!
Freedom Of Time.
Not having many possessions or huge living spaces frees us from the time maintaining it all.
We learn to meet our needs in a hands-on way, which shapes the quality of our lives as nomads. I can’t just flick a switch and hope to pay the utility bill once a month to have lights and heat.
As nomads we still have tasks and chores to be done to keep us sane and healthy, yet now our energy goes to more directly supporting our own lives.
Freedom Is Relative!
So many of us feel it in our bones that there must be more to life than the “traditional” way we’ve been living. We crave the liberation of our most authentic selves, and realize that life is too short to spend in misery.
We know that life experiences are more important to us than stuff, and nomadism offers us an opportunity for more conscious, meaningful living.
When it’s all said and done, and I think I speak for many nomads … I FEEL FREE!
Some excerpts from: Telesha, Mary Ellen. Wild Women On The Road: A Women’s Guide To Nomadic Freedom In The Modern Age (pp. 166-167). Kindle Edition.