The ‘Nomadland’ Guide to Living Off the Grid

The Academy Award-winning film Nomadland is a deep dive into the nationwide community of Americans who live on the open road. The narrative focuses primarily on Fern (Frances McDormand), a widow in her 60s who packs up her home in Empire, Nevada, and moves into her van. She travels from place to place, working odd jobs, meeting interesting people, and exploring the natural world along the way.

While Fern’s story is fictional, it’s based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Jessica Bruder, which introduced readers to many people who have chosen – or been forced by circumstances – to live in their vehicles. For some, going off the grid is an expression of freedom. For others, it’s an economic necessity. No matter what brought them to on-the-road living, they find kinship with one another and help each other out along the way.

If you’ve seen Nomadland (which, admittedly, is a somewhat romanticized version of how hard this lifestyle can be, especially for older people), you might be inspired to try saying “good riddance” to life underneath a traditional roof (and beneath the crippling weight of rent or a mortgage). We’ve researched the basics of saying “so long” to home-dwelling and making your humble abode mobile. This is the Nomadland guide to living off the grid.

Cover Photo: Highwayman Films

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