The Downside of a Rootless Existence

Some plumbing work and we’re ready to get mobile. In the background is the house we’re leaving behind.

For those of you who don’t know our RV nomadic history, Sandy and I have been living in a mobile home the last few years. We were called away from our RV existence when my aunt passed away and we inherited this house so we’d be around to help out my aging parents.

Recently mom and dad passed away and we are in the process of building a new camper and making plans to resume our rootless, semi-nomadic experience. Once the gears were in motion to resume our RV living experience, the negatives of the lifestyle started to resurface. For us the advantages outweigh the negatives and we’re forging ahead.

Not a Pleasant Transition

Being nailed to the ground after living in our RV was quite a change. We didn’t know anyone here, except for mom and dad, and the transition away from our mobile friends was sudden and isolating. The scenery outside the windows stayed the same every day. The transition back to living in a box nailed to the ground was not at all smooth. The extra space was nice and we quickly filled it up with useless junk that we now have to unload.

Deja Vu All Over Again

you'll need a screen room

One of the first things we’ll be getting is a screen room. That gets you out of the camper when the weather is nice.

Now that we’re getting ready to go back to being mobile, it’s a transition the other way. We have friends here now, good friends. They make living in this mobile home retirement hell tolerable. We’ll miss them every bit as keenly as when we left our mobile friends. All the more because they’ve been a lifeline to us here. Interesting that they are mostly people who have moved into this park since we got here.

Living Anywhere Is Like Living Nowhere

Another reality of mobile existence that quickly came back is the rootless of it. Living anywhere means not truly belonging anywhere. Most of our mobile friends are gone but that’s not unexpected. The transient nature of the lifestyle means there will be new friends in the peculiar hierarchy that forms among the geographically unattached.


There’s a peculiar detachment that comes with mobile living. You’re almost a spectator of places you’re staying rather than a participant. Their problems are not your problems. Their politics are not your politics. If that place is facing some type of a crisis, you can wish them the best of luck and simply move on. If disaster strikes, you can pack up and be out of the way in an hour. When the going gets tough, the mobile pack up and go on their merry. Unpleasantness is quickly left in the rearview mirror.

That detachment is good and bad. Good that small problems with neighbors don’t weigh you down and conflict is easily avoided. Bad in that there’s no shared sense of community, no common goals. There’s no incentive to stick around and work on problems. Why stand and fight when it’s much easier to pack up and go explore somewhere new?

The lack of attachment tends to translate into other areas of your life. Just like many of the new mobile tech vagabonds pretty soon your country becomes another convenience that you can replace with somewhere new. Thailand, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Canada, the U.K., France…rootlessness can go global and, for many, it has.

In some ways a nomadic existence can be both isolating and lonely. If you’re outgoing and social, that’s less of a problem. If you’re the type of person who fits in anywhere, a social chameleon that blends in with the terrain, you’ll thrive in the lifestyle. If you can strike up a conversation with a complete stranger and invite them to a group potluck, then you’re exactly the right personality fit for RV living. If you’re socially withdrawn, then mobile living will make the isolation even more intense. It also helps if you drink socially.

Just understand there are less pleasant realities to any lifestyle choice and RV living is no different in that regard. As a nomad you’re sometimes viewed with suspicion and, oddly, pity by others. Those poor people living in their RV! Like you’re high tech homeless.

As for us, we’re definitely going back. As we speak the camper is getting some plumbing work done. When that’s finished, we’ll be spending increasing amounts of time away. We’ll be getting back into our mobile groove, with all the good and bad that entails.

My new book is pretty awesome. Lots of great feedback coming in.

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