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What is nomadism ?

If I look at the definition given by the Larousse, nomadism can be explained as :

1. A way of life characterised by the movement of human groups to ensure their subsistence;

2. A life of wandering, of aimless nomadism.

I don't fit into the first definition of ensuring my subsistence.

Yes, I can probably find a shop or stall along the way to stock up my fridge and tantalise my taste buds, but subsistence, no, because I admit I don't have to work any more as my pension will be paid into my bank account every month.

I'm closer to the second interpretation: spiritual, cultural and social wandering, and my expectations are clearly known to me: movement, inspiration, change.

I had initially set my sights on buying a plot of land with a ruin to restore in the gentle hills of Portugal, to meet up with some Belgian acquaintances and enjoy the mild climate, good food and financial facilities available to retirees.

I started researching, contacted agencies and then finally asked myself if I wasn't going to bother?

Retrofitting takes a while, and then what?

The members of my family tend to last a long time, and so much the better for them, approaching or exceeding ninety, which after a quick calculation would allow me to enjoy this peace of mind for more than twenty years ..... Quite a figure!

Twenty years of peace and quiet on my plot of land, basking in the sun...

Was that what I'd hoped for?


Then, by chance, I saw a video on YouTube of a retired nomad explaining his travels, disappointments and pleasures, with a joy in his eyes that sparkled like champagne bubbles.

So I thought, why not me?

I like travelling, I like social contact, I like history, I like cultures ....

I had to delve deeper into the subject. The year was 2019.

Factual, I had to establish the pros and cons of living in a van.

Let's start with the dark side of nomadic life:

  • Being on the road regularly;

  • Being tired of travelling;

  • Not knowing where to sleep at night;

  • Having to adapt to changing environments and cultures;

  • Finding water and fuel;

  • The risk of feeling alone, with no one to talk to, of going it alone;

  • Risk being attacked, robbed, raped (get over yourself Tina, you're not twenty any more)

Our current society does not accept nomads without a perception of instability or marginality.

Then there's the positive side:

  • No routine;

  • Discovering new people, languages and cultures;

  • Learning about myself and others

  • Forcing me to challenge myself and gain greater self-confidence (I had many doubts about my ability to undertake this adventure);

  • Freedom of movement, freedom of time;

  • Less materialism, everything has to fit into 12m², living more simply;

  • Fewer constraints from laws and social shackles;

  • Sustainable travel and taking care of the planet at my humble level - it's not perfect, but I'm doing my bit by rationing my water consumption, opting for dry toilets and using little or no plastic.

After listing all these points, I had an answer or solutions for the points of doubt, such as :

  • I'll use apps or Google to find out where to stop at night or look for water or fuel. Technology is there to help us.

  • If I'm tired, I'll stay in one place long enough to recharge my batteries.

  • If I'm feeling lonely, I'll go and talk to others, find other nomads, these are possible approaches.

  • To protect myself against attacks and theft, I've reinforced the van's security and learnt the basics of self-defence.

So what was stopping me from validating this approach to life?

Scared me? ..... Almost never ....

As you can see, nomadism was a considered and conscious choice.

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