A woman jumping up in the air with her hands up in excitement next to her camper van on the beach.

Are Nomads as Happy as Instagram Lets On?

There are more than 6 million posts tagged #nomad on Instagram. Scrolling through these images, you see smiling faces, breathtakingly beautiful landscapes, and people that appear to be living the dream.

However, these images only tell a small portion of the story. They’re a single piece that makes up reality. So are nomads as happy as Instagram lets on? Let’s look at the whole picture.

A woman jumping up in the air with her hands up in excitement next to her camper van on the beach.

What Are Nomads?

A nomad is a wanderer who doesn’t stay long in the same place. It’s not a new concept, but thanks to technology and remote work possibilities, more people can embrace nomadic living now than ever.

Digital nomads work from the road and travel from one location to the next to experience new cultures, go on exciting adventures, and make a lifetime of memories.

Modern nomads travel in RVs, camper vans, and truck campers. You can find them in campgrounds, RV parks, and boondocking on public lands. However, there’s often more behind the lens than many nomads share on social media. 

What Is the Nomadic Life Like?

While the nomads live exciting lives, they also are very ordinary people. Many wake up, finish their work, and then head off for an adventure.

However, day-to-day nomadic life isn’t exactly what you see on social media. Nomads still have chores to do around their home on wheels, errands to run, and other tasks to complete.

What it’s really like living in an RV with 2 kids

Not everything in nomadic life is exciting hikes and breathtaking sunsets. Many of the same mundane tasks that make up life before hitting the road still take place on the road.

However, running errands and completing tasks can be challenging as nomads because you’re constantly in unfamiliar areas. Simple things like doing laundry and grocery shopping can be complex tasks to complete.

Are Nomads as Happy as Instagram Lets On?

It’s important to remember that many people make their social media feeds their highlight reels. Putting aspects of your life online for the world to consume requires tremendous vulnerability. As a result, many nomads don’t share everything.

The nomadic life can be hard and full of extreme highs and lows. It’s important you understand you’re only seeing one side of the story if you only see positive and happy posts on Instagram.

However, only sharing the positive side of things isn’t necessarily all that bad. There’s so much negativity nowadays that many people don’t want to see their Instagram and social media feeds filled with negative posts. 

What Are the Benefits of Nomadic Life?

There’s a lot to love about the nomadic life. Let’s look at a handful of the things nomads enjoy about the lifestyle. 

A man hangs off the ladder on his Class B camper van to get a view of the mountains in the distance being painted orange with the light of the sunset.

Seeing New Places

One advantage nomads have compared to many others is that their views are constantly changing. They don’t stay put in one place for too long, which allows them to see many new places. Whether they travel with the weather or are trying to visit every state or national park, they’re constantly seeing new places.

This can be very exciting and help prevent feelings of staleness from developing. The view out a nomad’s window can change every day. Sometimes they don’t even know where they’re sleeping at the end of the day. However, things always work out, and they get to experience and see so many places.

Saving Money

The nomadic lifestyle can be a great way to save money, especially if you live in an area with insane housing and rental markets. You can minimize your expenses and join discount programs that allow you to camp for nearly free. If you do it right, you can save thousands of dollars each year while enjoying the nomadic life.

This is how RVers can access FREE campsites!

Living Anywhere

It’s not uncommon to hear people complain about where they live. They’re typically unhappy about the weather or the availability of activities, but if nomads don’t like where they live, they can pack up and move on. Instead of locking themselves into a particular location, they can travel based on their needs or desires.

Because climate control in RVs and other nomadic vehicles can be challenging, many choose to travel with the weather. This could mean spending time in the northern part of the country or at higher elevations during the summer months to stay cool. However, during winter, they’ll head south to warm places like Florida or several states in the country’s southwest region. 

A vintage camper van parked on a white sand beach along the ocean with palm trees nearby.

Minimalist Lifestyle

Even the largest RVs are relatively small living spaces compared to a typical residential house. This means nomads must embrace a minimalist lifestyle if they don’t want a cluttered living space.

This lifestyle can be quite freeing as you’re no longer tied to possessions, and keeping a tidy space is much easier when you own less stuff.

Massive Community

One thing that surprises many people is the huge support system that’s naturally available from the nomadic community. There are large online communities of fellow nomads helping each other. You’ll often find events throughout the year that bring the community together to help nomads get the most out of the lifestyle.

What Are the Cons of Nomadic Life?

While you may think the nomadic life is the perfect lifestyle, it doesn’t come without faults. Let’s look at a few negative aspects of the lifestyle.

A couple sits on the ground, leaning against a green van, tired and burnt out from traveling.

Difficulty Building/Maintaining Friendships

When you’re constantly on the move, it’s challenging to build or maintain friendships. You’ll have a whole bunch of surface-level relationships, but it can be difficult to truly get to know people to the point where they let their guard down. You’re constantly meeting new people, and being vulnerable with another individual takes time.

This often causes many nomads to feel very lonely during their adventures. They may connect with hundreds or thousands of followers on social media, but that’s not the same. This is a big reason why there are several community events throughout the year for the nomad community to enjoy.

Are you a vanlifer looking for likeminded travelers? Learn more about the Adventure Van Expo and find your people!

Working from the Road

Unless nomads are retired or independently wealthy, they’ll still have to work. Working from the road can be extremely challenging, especially if you spend time in remote areas.

Getting a solid and reliable internet connection isn’t always easy to do. It also can be very frustrating to have epic landscapes or a national park out of your window, but you have to work.

Despite what you may see on social media, many nomads spend more time working than they do adventuring. The gear, fuel, and fees for activities aren’t cheap, and they’ve got to pay for them somehow.

Unexpected Expenses

While nomads work to take care of their day-to-day expenses, there are always unexpected expenses. Blown tires, broken gear, or many other expenses can pop up and cost way more than expected.

For example, we’ve seen fuel costs nearly double in the past year, and many nomads didn’t anticipate this huge hike in their fuel budget when they hit the road. Some have even had to call it quits or travel less because they could no longer afford the fuel.

You must have a generous amount of money as an emergency fund. That can help absorb the financial impact.

The Grass Isn’t Always Greener

We’re not saying that nomads aren’t happy or don’t enjoy the lifestyle. It’s an incredible lifestyle that allows them to live the life they want and experience some of the best cultures, landscapes, and activities available.

However, it’s important to remember that there’s more to nomads than what you see on Instagram. Their story may not be all you see on their Instagram or other social media content.

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