“All men are lonely. But sometimes it seems to me that we Americans are the loneliest of all. Our hunger for foreign places and new ways has been with us almost like a national disease. Our literature is stamped with a quality of longing and unrest, and our writers have been great wanderers.”
I think that people, in general, seem to take the path of least resistance and, as a sociologist, modern nomads interest me because this is not an easy path. Vehicle dwelling, or non stationary dwelling in general, is abnormal (I say that in the nicest way) and it seems to me that very few people would take to the road (live far outside social conventions and open themselves to ridicule) voluntarily. This means that there must be a reason. For me the reason was partially monetary (I didn't have the money to go to school and have an apartment) and partially due to my nature (a very short attention span for places and occupations).
I was an anthropology major (a long time ago) and my anthropological side has questions about nomads as well. This is an ancient tradition that crosses boarders, culture, nationality, and gender. We wander, we stop, we settle, we pick up stakes and wander some more. America is unique in that we are almost all the decendence of long distence wanderers. Maybe your family crossed the land bridge between Russia and Alaska, maybe they came on a ship from England or Ireland, maybe they emegrated from Denmark or China or Inida. With nomadic traditions from around the world we were all thrown into the American melting pot and it is no wonder that wandering continued to be a valid (if highly stigmatized) option.
I'm very lucky that in this, my last semester of college, I found an awesome proffesor who is willing to sponsor an independent study. The general topic is "Houseless Vs. Homeless" and he is giving me a long leash so my research can go whatever direction it needs to. I plan to spend the next few months reading lots of books (Check out the Helpful Books section of this blog) and asking lots of questions.
So here's the question that I put to the peanut gallery today:
Why do you wander?
It it necessity? Nature? Is it wanderlust, like the Sea Gypsy? It takes a lot sometimes to examin our own motivations.