The Cultural Impact of a Wanderlust Subculture
There has been a growing wanderlust culture in our society, with individuals traveling full-time via van, bus, or RV. The ease of pursuing this type of lifestyle has been supported by the internet and the ease of making money remotely.
Many individuals who pursue this life stress the importance of simplification and living a minimalist lifestyle, where the emphasis is placed on experience, not things.
Why Do People Choose this Lifestyle?
Our society has been changing drastically, especially due to the information age and the explosive opportunities that the internet has created. There are fewer people getting married, fewer people having children, and fewer people being satisfied with the status quo.
Changing gender norms has also contributed to the decrease in the stereotypical family structure, and many individuals have traded that “traditional” mindset for one focused on their own development, freedoms, and personal pursuits.
Freedom has become increasingly important to this generation, as they witnessed their parents work the same job, sometimes for over thirty years, oftentimes living in the same home for just as long. These generations witnessed their parents raise children and postpone travel until they were older.
This norm is no longer viewed as sufficient, as individuals are learning that by foregoing larger families or children altogether and foregoing a mortgage, they are able to travel more, explore, and not have the same stressors that their parents endured.
Is this Lifestyle Sustainable?
The perspective you use to evaluate this lifestyle will determine whether you believe this lifestyle is sustainable or not. For some individuals, this way of life is viewed as very sustainable, leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the earth because they are not inhabiting a big house or driving cars for a daily commute.
For example, consider the utilization of public amenities and community spaces. Laundry alone increases the carbon footprint by 62 million tonnes, but when utilizing a local laundromat where the machines are high-efficiency commercial machines, the overall carbon footprint can be significantly reduced. These machines result in a faster spin, less soap and water usage, and decreased drying times.
What are the Advantages of this Lifestyle?
There are many advantages to the nomadic lifestyle. As previously discussed, this lifestyle decreases your monthly expenses, because there is no mortgage. Due to this decrease in monthly expenditures, nomads have more freedom to pursue different careers and passions, as they will not be as dependent on a specific job or salary.
An additional freedom that this lifestyle creates is more travel. If you work online, taking your home with you on the road opens up a whole new world of possibilities and adventures.
This lifestyle also helps to decrease your stress, as you can bow out of high-demand jobs, mortgage payments, excessive cleaning, and a myriad of other things that are just adding clutter to your life. With these things out of the picture, you can focus on better relationships and having new experiences.
What are the Disadvantages of this Lifestyle?
A nomadic lifestyle can make it difficult to establish a community. Of course, with the internet, community building has never been easier – it just may not be as local as you would otherwise want or need.
Other disadvantages that are important to consider with this lifestyle include personal real estate investing. It is estimated that around 68% of Americans store their personal wealth in their homes. How long you choose to live this lifestyle can impact your ability to store, protect, and grow your own individual wealth.
How is this Lifestyle Impacting Our Culture?
The subculture that has been created with the van/RV/bus life is quite interesting. But it is no more interesting than the many other subcultures that have been created due to the internet and its ability to connect like-minded individuals.
People have always chosen to live in unique or different ways; the only difference now is that social media and the internet are connecting them and giving them a platform to share their life that didn’t previously exist.
Whether you choose to pursue a more wanderlust lifestyle or not, it is interesting to learn about why people choose this lifestyle. At the end of the day, it is likely you will find commonality and understand and agree with many of the reasons they have chosen to pursue such a unique way of life.