“Nomadland,” the movie – Don’t miss it!

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By Adrienne Kristine
I have a recommendation for the movie “Nomadland.” If you haven’t seen it, please do. The film reflects a view of the RV lifestyle seldom seen by outsiders.

Fern, Frances McDormand, relaxes outside her van in the campground at Badlands National Park.

Like Fern in the movie, as you travel down the highways you see the beauty in the bleakness of the desert, the scrub brush, the sagebrush, the cactus, the bright snow-covered mountains and hills, and the dirty snow on the side of the road left by the snowplows. Truckers know the I-80 and I-90 corridors from truck stop to truck stop, mile by mile. RVers learn the highways to get there fast and know where to boondock for the night (never next to a reefer). Sometimes we take the blue highways for small detours that lead to small adventures.

I lived this “Nomadland”-type life for seven years

The film describes my seven years as a solo female RVer on the road. Most of what the wonderful Frances McDormand experienced as Fern was what I did. If I didn’t work the winter sugar beets, I knew women who did. I met the Amazon folks and the camp hosts.

Wall Drug, advertised on billboards for miles, makes its debut as another seasonal workplace after the hype. I worked at Camping World to gain more knowledge while boondocking in my RV nearby. I camp hosted at RV campgrounds, private and public. In addition, I worked at state parks and national parks. Fern did the same. You’ll meet and cherish lifetime friends you met on the road. You rest in Quartzsite and spaces on BLM land.

You learn to live a life measured in days, months and miles.

And the best part? Wherever you are, you’re home. You stow your gear, start the engine and wave – not goodbye, but see-you-down-the-road. When you look back, you can see the look in other people’s eyes when you leave for your next adventure. You know if they could, they would drop everything and follow you.

Adrienne Kristine is a former staff member of RVtravel.com. “Nomadland” can be streamed for free with a membership to Hulu.com.

Related:

New film “Nomadland” worth viewing and pondering

Get the book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” on Kindle or Paperback

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Diane M
5 days ago

I don’t watch movies and TV shows in which the F word is used. Needless to say, I watch very few movies and TV shows any more.

Gene Bjerke
5 days ago

Lots of comments. As a retired film maker, here’s my two cents worth. I saw the film twice, but had mostly the same reaction the second time. I would not consider it a feature film. Even though it was shot as such, it is basically a documentary. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it should be judged with other documentaries. I particularly objected to the many scenes that were so dark you could barely tell what was happening, though that seems to be very popular these days; perhaps as a mood-setting device (that’s what they have music for). Beyond my technical quibbles, it does provide a sympathetic picture of a segment of the population doing the best they can in difficult situations. One wonders what will happen to them when they get too old for the life-style; or will they usually die before that happens?

wanderer
4 days ago
Reply to  Gene Bjerke

It’s a natural cycle, read “Over the Next Hill”. As you age out, you either return to your old location to be with family, or you settle as a ‘permanent’ in a ‘park model’ in a 55+ park. Hopefully amidst a nice community of people. At the very end you might still return to family.

Jopa
5 days ago

We all do it, void our bladders and bowels but I was unaware showing those bodily functions was Academy Award worthy. I thought the movie was drab and boring.

John Macatee
6 days ago

The film reflects a view of the RV lifestyle seldom seen by outsiders, and a very sad depressing life. “RV” were never designed to “live” in permanently. Can you say camping,!! That movie is about financially desperate people, living in depressing desperate conditions.

Adrienne Kristine
6 days ago
Reply to  John Macatee

Fortunately, when I was living permanently in my RV, I was never financially desperate. I worked as a service writer at Camping World with good pay, as a camp host in several RV parks and campgrounds with free space rent, reduced propane cost, a dump station and a laundromat; as a volunteer with the state parks (same perks); and helped manage the RV Travel website. All of this was done before I collected Social Security. The movie reflects the life of one woman and her life on the road. One of the other women died during filming. I’m still in touch with many of those I met on the road and seeing their life through their experiences. I’m glad I did it.

Adrienne Kristine
6 days ago

I almost forgot: I wrote two books while on the road and helped others with their questions: Frugal RVing or Pinching Pennies without Getting Bruised and Other Advice from the Road and I’ve Got a Convection Oven in My RV. Now What? Thanks to Chuck and RV Travel, I was able to use the royalties for conventions and the extras involved. I also edited a dozen books by other RVers who were sharing their knowledge.

Paul Cecil
6 days ago

After having read the letters, discussions, and comments, I have one question. What is RV’ing? The acronym “RV” has gone beyond the words “recreational vehicle”, and now encompasses many meanings. And that is the problem. Are we “RV’ing” because we have retired, no longer have family responsibilities, and want to see the country in a “recreational vehicle”? Are we” RV’ing” if we have chosen to live in a “recreational vehicle” as an alternate lifestyle? Or what about the lifestyle as seen in the movie Nomadland? Or individuals who stealth camp in vans in the cities? Is just using a recreational vehicle mean you are “RV’ing”?
Like the term ” boondocking”, “RV’ing” to each of us has its own meaning. And we need to be careful that we are all on the same page.

Kamwick
6 days ago

Nice to hear the experience of someone who has been there. Thanks for sharing it!

patti panuccio
6 days ago

Always having a means to “camp out” has been my adulthood security blanket, I’ve had to use it a few times and it has always led me in a new and wonderful direction. Currently, it’s a converted van.

Glen Scofield
6 days ago

When I finished watching Nomadland, I realized how different is my “camping” from a serious RVrs. I am not only not homeless; I am not houseless, either! For me, my travel trailer is the portal to adventure, as I attempt–along with my wife, Jeanne–to live intentionally. Fern lived intentionally, as well, but hers was thrust upon her by circumstance; though her choices were equally intentional. And brave, I think. What made Nomadland so different for me was that the big choices for Fern were behind her. There was no grand event which she needed to overcome as we watched. She understood her life and she moved into it with determination. The whole film was denouement. What a treat!

Sink Jaxon
6 days ago
Reply to  Glen Scofield

If you read the book, you just might have a different opinion. She was forced into that situation. And her entire goal was to buy property and build an “earthship”.