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Who Are Today's Nomads and Why Should RVers Care?

Updated on October 09, 2016
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an avid RV enthusiast who has traveled, lived, workcamped and volunteered nationwide for more than 50 years and am still going strong!

There is a current movement afoot among “twenty somethings” called Nomading. It's a form of full time RV living that is significantly different from the standard method.

In some instances, this lifestyle presents no problems, but in most, it is having a negative impact on the reputations of RV enthusiasts.

For this reason, it's important that the general public understand the differences between the two, so that upstanding citizens are not considered to be marginally criminal or worse.

In most cases, those who are attracted to this alternative lifestyle are relatively young and are lured by the dream of escaping from the norm and not “waiting until they are old” to be able to enjoy the freedoms of the open road.

A number of websites have sprung up recently in support of this lifestyle, and young people are flocking towards them in droves. However, these are bad for the industry and worse for those who buy the hype they are being sold.

For many young people becoming Nomads can present a slippery slope that could eventually wreak havoc with their lives and futures.

What are the differences between RV Nomads and Full Timers?
What are the differences between RV Nomads and Full Timers? | Source

What Is an RV Nomad?

An RV Nomad is a person who travels consistently in his motor home, camper or trailer and works (or begs) as he travels to pay his expenses. He

  • generally is poorly educated and has minimal skills,
  • is seeking a way to escape from the norm,
  • does a lot of dry and sneak camping,
  • depends on the money he picks up along the way to support himself and
  • often knows very little about recreational vehicle living and travel.

He also does not “settle” in any one place, nor does he want to be tied down by normal societal conventions.

This type of lifestyle allows him to travel as often as he likes, work where and when he wants to and take advantage of the many opportunities for cheap or free living that are available nationwide for recreational vehicle owners.

What is a Full Time RVer?

A standard full timer is a person who lives year round in a motor home, trailer or camper and is someone who is either

  • older or retired and finds this lifestyle easier and less costly,
  • works on a job that requires him to move often or
  • enjoys RV living and travel and prefers it to home ownership.

Generally, these people live in one place, participate in their communities and travel as often as their budgets will allow or as often as is necessary.

Some never travel, and most have passive incomes.


  • know a great deal about “the life” due to the fact that they have participated in it for many years.
  • live and travel in coaches because they can afford to do so and have planned for it for many years.
  • enjoy the adventure of it but also like the security of having a home base.

Hardly any of them choose this lifestyle as a means of escaping the responsibilities that go with being a productive member of society.

Full Timers are generally older, financially secure, mostly stationery and can afford to travel.
Full Timers are generally older, financially secure, mostly stationery and can afford to travel. | Source

Nomads Are Damaging RV Traveler Reputations

While Nomads claim that their lifestyle is a way of cutting loose and living a way that frees them to enjoy the world, the truth is that many are trying to get out of working regular jobs or going to school.They want the benefits of a free life without having had to do the work to earn them.

Some who call themselves Nomads are educated, highly skilled or talented and are able to blend their work and travel lives in a meaningful way. However, they are just young full-timers, some of whom who are hyping their way of living to earn income through blogging about their experiences.

Their blogs lure young people into this life by talking about their success, but those who fall into this trap simply do not have the

  1. life experience,
  2. skills,
  3. knowledge or
  4. financial resources

to support themselves. They are kids like the ones you see in the attached video, who become sorry souls who are just one step away from being homeless.


  • do without Health Insurance (because it costs to much or is difficult to get),
  • buy dilapidated fixer uppers to use for travel and living and
  • count on transient, low paying jobs or cheap living opportunities in order to get by,

but the truth is that these choices are not good ones for them because many end up becoming nothing more than people who are living hand to mouth.

  • Since the general public tends to lump all RVers into the same category, this is becoming a problem for regular full timers because has the potential for damaging their reputations.
  • When this happens, it also erases some of the benefits they get as they travel, such as being able to stay overnight in Walmart parking lots.

It is one thing to offer a place to stay to vacationing families or senior citizens who need a resting spot for the night, but quite another to fear that allowing to do the same for these Nomads may lead to unacceptable behaviors such as begging for money or using drugs while on their property.

Successful RV Nomads have special skills, talents or businesses that support their lifestyle.
Successful RV Nomads have special skills, talents or businesses that support their lifestyle. | Source

The Bottom Line

No matter the intentions or situations of those wishing to live and travel in recreational vehicles, there are certain truths that all wanting to enjoy the life they can offer must deal with:

  1. RVs cost money to buy, update and maintain.
  2. Successful full timing requires a stable income.
  3. Travel is expensive.
  4. Unless you are well funded, skilled, own a thriving business, are talented and/or well educated, the types of jobs that will be available to you mostly pay only minimum wage, offer no benefits, will be temporary and will not do one thing to improve your resume. In fact, they may make it look worse.

The young do not understand these things, so by becoming Nomads, they place themselves into difficult situations that can lead to criminal behaviors.

Glaring Differences Abound

Clearly, there is a huge difference between full time RVing and Nomading.

Although both lifestyles seem to be similar, they clearly are quite different.

It is unfortunate that so many of our young people have been lured into nomadic living, but it is even sadder that what they are doing is negatively impacting every day people who are simply trying to enjoy the RV lifestyle.

For this reason, all RV owners should do what they can to let others know what is going on so that they will not be victimized as the result of the actions that some Nomads may be forced to take as a result of their shoddy circumstances.

Do you think younger people need to be careful when choosing to become full time RVers?

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Good Advice From the Voice of Experience



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