So You Want to Be a Nomad

So you want to be a nomad. Or maybe you’re already a nomad but interested in trying out a different transient lifestyle. There are lots of different ways to live a nomad life these days, from workcamping to sailing, but if you’re trying to decide how you want to travel full-time, it can be hard to decide which style will suit you best.

Two of the most popular full-time travel styles for Americans are international backpacking (traveling from country to country, staying in short-term accommodations or rentals à la digital nomads) or RVing (in a wide variety of vehicles) across North America.

From my own personal experiences of backpacking over many years and full-time RVing in the U.S for over two years, both offer unique experiences and cater to different preferences. Let’s break it down: the perks and quirks of each option!

This is from a lovely website called The Dirtbag Dao by Heather Delaney. As a city slicker, I don’t write much about backpacking or RVing but no view of Escapology would be remotely complete without them. They’re both highly valid and and worthwhile means of seeing the world, of living cheaply, of living free.

I remember wistful feelings when a couple of American backpackers, hand-in-hand and generally looking like something from an idealistic travel agency poster, appeared from the exit of a railway station while I was on my morning walk to work. Their energy was so different to mine: they were strolling and marvelling while I was literally trudging. Their movements were free and unfettered while I was being pulled along, under duress, by an invisible tether. I didn’t need to learn the lesson because I already knew what freedom felt like but, man, I wished I was doing what they were doing.

We’ll publish more about backpacking and RVing in future issues of the mag but, in the meantime, you could do worse than read this article and enjoy poke around the Dirtbag Dao site.

Heather also has a list of books and websites for more information, including Rolf Potts’ excellent book about long-term travel, Vagabonding.


New Escapologist Issue 16 can be ordered today for shipping in June at our online shop.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

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