BOOK

EXCERPT: “Nomadland”

Nomadland
By Jessica Bruder ’04JRN
  • Comments (0)
  • Email
  • ShareThis
  • Print
  • Text Size A A A

Nomadland

By Jessica Bruder ’04JRN
An adjunct professor at Columbia Journalism School, Bruder hit the road to document the experiences of transient Americans who live in motor homes, travel trailers, and vans, following seasonal work.

 
Inevitably the online conversations between kindred wanderers spilled into real-world gatherings. As the nomads met over campfires in forests and deserts around the country, they began to form the kind of improvised clans that the novelist Armistead Maupin called “logical” — rather than “biological” — family. A few even called it a “vanily.” For some of them, spending holidays together became more appealing than reuniting with actual kin. A typical scene: Christmas dinner on a barren, moonscape-like stretch of desert near Interstate 10 in California draws more than a dozen vehicles, whose inhabitants range in age from their twenties to seventies. They share a fifteen-pound turkey that has been deboned, halved, and cooked on a pair of portable grills, with sides of mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce and two kinds of pie, until even the dogs licking leftover crumbs from the plates are sated.



  • Email
  • ShareThis
  • Print
  • Recommend (1)
Log in with your UNI to post a comment

The best stories wherever you go on the Columbia Magazine App

Maybe next time