The meaning of the word nomad is a group or tribe of people having no permanent abode and who travel from place to place finding fresh pasture for their livestock. Today not only do traditional tribes live this life but many ‘modern’ people decide to leave ‘normal’ settled lives and roam free. There are a number of words to describe this kind of person, traveler, migrant, rover, gypsy, Bedouin, itinerant, wanderer, roamer, drifter, tramp, vagrant,vagabond and transient. No matter the label it is a need to experience ‘freedom’ from the accustomed lifestyle so many cultures expect.
Traditional nomadic tribes roamed following the seasonally available wild game and plants, a hunting and gathering way of life. Some raised herds of animals and drove them to fresh pastures allowing the recovery of the land. It is an efficient strategy for exploiting scarce resources or for the members of the group to offer services or crafts to the places visited.
With no settled home most nomads live in tents or portable shelters of some kind and travel using animals, motor vehicles or even canoes in some instances. Most groups are based on either marriage or kinship or some kind of formal cooperation.
Mongolian nomads move a couple of times a year, usually summer and winter and have set areas for each. These sites supply shelter for livestock in the winter and open pasture in the summer.
Gypsies or traditionally known Romani’s traveled across Europe but originated in India. Their covered wagons contained all their worldly goods and also housed whole families. In modern times there are travelers who live in much larger caravans and like the Romani’s move from place to place in groups.
Today’s nomadic lifestyle can encompass single people, partnered couples or whole families. These people chose to forsake modern convention and travel the globe with no fixed abode. As with all types of lifestyle there are pros and cons but it is a personal choice. You can travel with all your belongings in one back pack and find casual work or create freelance opportunities that allow you to earn money as you travel.
The most recent addition to this movement are the tiny houses on trailers, which can be sited anywhere, whether semi-permanent or not.
Does the nomadic way of life appeal to you? Which option would you choose?