A nomad is someone who doesn’t feel stable or stationary, nomad feels stable when experiencing velocity. -French Philosopher (I don’t know)
I recently watched a documentary called American Nomads, which aired on BBC Four a month back. It has to be one of the most interesting documentaries I’ve seen in the past year. The documentary is a look into the lives of travellers, the wanderers of America. These people are with what is called a Chronic Wanderlust, meaning a ‘very strong or irresistible urge to travel.’ I am sure many of you have had that in some point in your lives, the ‘travel bug’ which people often get after travelling for a long period of time or feeling of wanting to explore new things and leave everything behind. ‘The core of mans’ spirit comes from new experiences’ Christopher McCandless. Travelling lifts the spirit, the feeling is euphoric, nothing like seeing a wild open space in the countryside, the endless sea, or a night sky full of stars. But for me, the main thing of travelling is that you seem to live in the moment…you are much more open to adventures ‘Hey lets like ride an elephant!’ (you know what i mean?) and you just worry less about everything. There’s not that feeling of ‘I got work in the morning’ or ‘I need to pay that bill by Tuesday’ its simply living life to enjoy the moment.
I’ve been there, which brings me to want to know more about these people who actually left everything behind and just get on the road. There’s so many types, the groups, retired couples, the loners, the crazies… all taking on America by their own means of transport either by foot, cabin or whatever they can ride on. Ever since I watched Into the Wild with Emile Hirsch, I had this interest in whether these people exist and if so, how many? and who are these people???
American Nomads, answers my curiosity with some interesting insight into the daily lives of these travellers. Some of them are escaping from their past, bad family relationships, and simply some of them are just ordinary people who wanted to feel freedom from civilisation. For example there is a young man in his thirties, who Richard Grant meets (the maker of the documentary). This guy used to work in Wall Street, one of the most famous business streets in the world. His story fascinated me most as he was the epitome of a man refusing to give into society. How did he just let go? Its like going backwards in time, people built the city and the law and then I think now more and more people are reversing back into the past, of living the ‘simple life’ and a life that is closer to nature. These people really want to be free from social expectations, social disasters (economical downturn) and from society itself. You have got to have some guts to do it. Not just the issue of money and security but guts in letting go of things such as friends and family.
There is a normal routine most people like to follow in life, first school, then college, then university then…then you’re into this big wide world, suddenly stopped to a catapult. How are we supposed to feel when everything was so set in stone for us and when we graduate we no longer can use our heads. Of course the rightful thing is to go into work, or further study as some people say they do because they dont want to face the reality of getting a job. Why? I mean shouldnt you feel excited..FINALLY… I can do whatever I want in my life, all the education boxes are ticked! But by that time you’re so fed up with already what this civilised life has thrown at us, the stress of graduating from a good university, the boredom of our subjects, the look of the life our teachers and parents are leading. What is the point of studying? what is the point in working? Are we working to live …or ..are we living to work?
We can go on endless discussion about this, but from watching the true story of Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild and from American Nomads, I have put my mind to rest in these conclusions. We can be the people fitting into society’s expectations or the people trying to escape civilisation, whichever category you fit into, you have to let go and forgive this life and know only this; your own truth.
'rather than love, than money, than faith, than fame, than fairness… give me truth.' Christopher McCandless, Into The Wild.
You can watch American Nomads now on http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01777fp
Into the Wild http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0758758/