5 Types of Nomads You’ll Meet

5 Types of Nomads You’ll Meet

It has been quite an interesting, action-packed 16 months on the road as a full-time vehicle dweller.

I’ve had a bunch of amazing experiences, some not-so-amazing experiences, and even a few stinkers thrown in for good measure. One thing has been a positive constant though…

The people I’ve met along my journey.

I have been blessed to come across lots of characters, 99% of whom are good eggs. Quite a few of these characters have become friends.

In addition to the people, I’ve also learned a lot along the way. One interesting observation I’ve made is the different types of nomads that are out there in the wild.

The reasons that someone becomes a nomad is obviously very personal to each person, and there could be a wide array of factors that led someone down this path.

However, whatever the reasons, it seems that nomads generally fall into five categories.

Retired Nomads

The people in this group are no longer working, and are usually (but not always) living off some sort of fixed monthly income, like; social security, a pension, etc.

Reasons for living on the road:

  • Desire to get out and see the world in their golden years
  • Loss of a spouse led to a spiritual reawakening
  • To escape a boring, mundane life
  • To meet other people and make new friends

Nomad retirees love meeting other vehicle dwellers, enjoy trading war stories from this lifestyle, and are almost always looking forward to their next destination somewhere down the road. They tend to have larger vehicles, such as vans, Sprinters, and even RV’s. They’ve worked hard their whole lives, and usually splurge on their home-on-wheels, as comfort is important to them.

Down-on-their-Luck Nomads

The folks in this group have hit a rough patch in life. In many ways, being on the road is almost cathartic for them. All of these people have interesting stories to tell, some of them being straight out of a Hollywood movie.

Reasons for living on the road:

  • Loss of a job
  • Divorce/Separation
  • Substance Abuse Issues (or other vices)

Many of these nomads have dealt with - or still are - things that are quite traumatic. Meeting someone who will listen to their experiences in a non-judgmental manner means the world to them. They are trying to rebuild their lives and appreciate others who treat them with respect and show compassion. These are some of my favorite people to encounter. Try to help them whenever you can.

Influencer Nomads

Influencers tend to be on the younger side, mostly in their 20’s & 30’s. These nomads are on a journey to document their wandering lives for all the world to see, be it via a blog, a YouTube channel, etc.

Reasons for living on the road:

  • To experience a grand journey
  • To build a loyal following of fans
  • To build a business to sustain their lifestyle

In many cases, some of the most gorgeous vehicles you’ll see are owned by influencers. These include decked out box trucks, minivans, etc. A large part of their life is built upon aesthetics, as they live in the public eye, and having the latest & greatest, coolest gear goes with the territory. Influencers tend to travel extensively, since they need to create content for their followers on a regular basis.

Working Nomads

Working nomads live in their vehicles because paying an expensive rent or mortgage is either outside of their means, or they would barely eke by. Putting this money in their pocket instead makes more financial sense.

Reasons for living on the road:

  • To save money
  • To avoid stress & worry from having a high overhead
  • To get out of financial debt
  • To lead a simpler lifestyle

It is not uncommon for nomads in this group to have more than one job, or at least a side hustle or two going on aside from their regular employment. Many working nomads are using their smaller vehicles as stepping stones, before they move up to a larger camper, RV, purchasing a home, or even starting their dream business. Saving money fast while living on the road is very doable, because you have WAY less expenses than in an apartment or house.

Even with a low-paying or part-time job, you can still live like a king (or queen) on the road! Find out what my actual monthly expenses are and how much money you can save while living in a car.

Adventurer Nomads

Adventurer nomads live for the thrill. Being free in the great outdoors while exploring is their reason for being. Many adventurers are non-conventional (in good ways) and enjoy going against the status quo.

Reasons for living on the road:

  • To be free
  • To answer to no one
  • To explore and wander
  • To push the boundaries

You’ll rarely find adventurer nomads staying at a truck stop or campground. They need to be in the wild, and are fond of places like desert regions, deep in the backwoods, etc. Aside from living in a vehicle, lots of adventurers are also avid hikers and backpackers, and they enjoy getting as far away from civilization as possible. They usually own Jeeps, 4Runners, and similar vehicles that are customized for all-terrain environments.

A Word of Caution

While these groups are based upon my observations and experiences from living on the road for the past 16 months, they are not written in stone.

It is VERY common for a nomad to fall under several groups at once. For example…

While I’m mainly a working nomad, I’m also somewhat of an influencer (via this blog) and do consider myself down-on-my-luck because of my stroke and other circumstances.

You can’t - and shouldn’t - judge a book by its cover. We are all unique beings on our own paths in life. Each and every one of us has our ups & downs, as well as our crosses to bear. It’s called being human.

It is interesting however, in that, to some degree, most nomads can fall under one of the groups I highlighted...or even many at once.

Bottom line, BE YOU. As I’ve illustrated, you can carve out WHATEVER life you choose as a vehicle dweller. There are no rules to be bound by. That is probably one of the greatest aspects of this lifestyle!

What are Your Thoughts?

For those of you who are already living in a vehicle, do you find these groups accurate? Do you have any of your own you’d like me to add?

This blog takes an enormous effort to produce, and one of the nice rewards is when someone leaves a comment, or drops me an email with their own viewpoints. I am by no means a camping expert. I’m simply sharing my journey with others, so they too can enjoy the ride and come along with me.

Your comments, thoughts, and feedback is appreciated. We can all learn from each other 👍


The main photo above the blog title (if you didn’t already know) is from the movie Nomadland. If you have seen this touching portrait of the vehicle dwelling community, make a plan to!

While the film - in my opinion - was heavy-handed in its dark tone and mood, and not necessarily representative of the nomad world I’ve come to know, the movie does offer a great ride, and it leaves you with a lot to think about. Required viewing for all nomads, whether you’re a seasoned vet, or are still aspiring to get on the road.