Are Nomads Normal?

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I’m not normal. Living the nomadic life and travel lifestyle often brings raised eyebrows when I talk about it, and I’ve been called crazy, among other things.

For Western society “normal” life means having a job, a stationary home, eating 3 meals a day and then falling into bed unfulfilled and exhausted.

nomadic life and travel, traffic jam

For many nomads, “normal” nomadic life and travel means living off the grid without the modern conveniences of running water or electricity, in non-traditional housing that runs as small as a Prius up to the biggest RVS. I’ve been around long enough in the nomad world to recognize the perplexed look I get when I try to explain my unconventional life to the “muggles.”

In spite of the challenges of primal nomadic living, nomads realize how soul crushing a “normal” life can be.

When we’re consumed by the daily grind of Western society, we can end up getting stuck in just a few “normalized” emotional states – happiness, fear, sadness, love, hatred – without ever knowing the internal ebb and flow of the more subtle feelings and emotions of a “normal” human being.

When I first started my journey of nomadic life and travel, I’d felt joyous to finally be getting on the road, but in the weeks after my launch was surprised by intense emotional ups and downs. I was finally living my dream, but now there were days when I was depressed, then I’d get depressed that I felt depressed! I found myself struggling for emotional balance in my new life, and wondering if it was normal!

What IS Normal???

In our modern lifestyle it isn’t considered valuable or normal to set aside time to just to BE with the complexities of our feelings. There are constant distractions that keep us separated from our internal emotional landscape … from our 40 + hour workweeks, to TV and multimedia of the internet, and the on-call demands of our cellphones night or day.

Living the nomadic life removed me from the hypnotic effects of long hours of daily screen time and withdrawing from my internet habit forced me to face my SELF … with all the authentic emotional, mental, and physical ups and downs of full human expression.

Nomadic life and travel, healing presence
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

Living as a nomad requires emotional perseverance, persistence, and willingness to endure discomfort on every level … physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It can be the forge that puts us through the fire, to have us become refined as more of our true SELVES.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

As nomads we can never escape ourselves. If we want to be comfortable on the road, it takes considerable time and energy to learn to regulate our body temperature when the weather changes, keep up with the basics like having potable water, and taking care of the daily activities of life without modern conveniences. We can’t afford to numb out when we have only ourselves to depend on to deal directly with our basic human needs.

Many ask the question, “why do it?” The reward is an intense feeling of accomplishment knowing we can actually thrive in this lifestyle, and not just survive in a numbed-out state.

Acceptance and Freedom!

I came to accept that I would have times of anxiety, loneliness and depression on the road, but it was all completely worth the intense feelings of freedom and joy that I also felt! Thankfully the depression resolved after a few months, and my anxiety levels came down. Since then, feelings of contentedness and confidence have steadily grown, and feeling ALL the aspects of being a human, lows and highs, light and dark, has become my new normal! It feels like a richer and more complete life than my past life in “sticks and bricks.”

Who can say what defines normal? Is it more normal to live with a degree of numbness just to cope with what society expects of us … or to have the time and space to experience a full range of human emotions?

Nomadic life and travel, healing

I’m still not walking around all Buddha-like, as I’d pictured myself in visions of nomadic life, but it was worth it to stubbornly hang on until I got to my new normal!

Through the gifts of wildish nature, come to us at birth, society's attempt to civilize us into rigid roles has plundered this treasure, and muffled the deep life-giving messages of our own souls. We become over-domesticated, fearful, uncreative, trapped.

- Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Nancy contemplating
Nancy contemplating

Some excerpts taken from Wild Women On The Road: A Women’s Guide To Nomadic Freedom In The Modern Age.


I share the mystical, humorous, and sometimes frustrating path of my nomadic journey in my newest book: 600 Days As A Nomad: How the Mystical Power of Nature Healed My Body, Mind, and Soul. Find on Amazon!

nomadic life and travel, 600 Days As A Nomad

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