Movie Review: Nomadland

Nomadland is a 2021 dramatic film is about modern day nomads on the 2017 nonfiction book by Jessica Bruder, Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century.

Many nomads are out there, houseless but not homeless. They live in vans and recreational vehicles. They find work where they can as Amazon part timers, campground hosts, farmworkers, etc. Some elder nomads collect social security and even pensions. Some are veterans. Some stay with family occasionally. They are nomads for a variety of reasons: enjoy the nomad lifestyle (e.g. independence, being in nature), lost their job and home, can’t afford to rent or buy a home, or can’t cope with demands of society.

One very important thing that many nomads have is community. They care about each other; they look after each other; and they share knowledge with each other on how to make the nomad lifestyle bearable. We can learn a lot from these nomads who every day live the Regenerative Culture of mutual caring and sharing that XR strives to create.

Chlóe Zhao, the director, chose to have all of the characters in the film, aside from a few professional actors, be real-life nomads who play fictionalized versions of themselves. The most famous of them is Bob Wells an elderly nomad and environmentalist of over 25 years who runs a popular YouTube channel called CheapRVliving and a non-profit called Homes on Wheels Alliance to help people transition to the nomad lifestyle. He also created the annual Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in Arizona (beginning in 2010), supposedly the largest nomad gathering in the world.

About Mark Darienzo

Mark Darienzo, a natural hazards geologist, became active in the climate movement in 2013. He helped develop Climate Jobs PDX, a committee of Jobs with Justice, to reach out to labor unions about the climate crisis. Mark joined XRPDX in 2020.


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