‘Nomadland’ is not a movie

Photo by Mark Mialik on Unsplash

Nomadland is not just a movie. It is what I call, the nuances of life at play. It’s been 4 days since I saw the movie and I cannot stop thinking about it.

Fern is a woman in her 60s and has lost her husband. She decides to sell everything to buy a van to travel around the United States in search of work. Every element of her journey has reminded me of a belief I had left down the road and I have now gone back to pick it up.

Don’t Equate Success With Stability

If you choose not to marry, or not to have kids, or not to have an active social life, it is okay and it is your call. Fern and her fellow nomads were not forced to live in their vans and live a nomadic life. They chose that life. They chose a life which connected them to nature. To new experiences. To new connections. To themselves. They do not reside in palatial houses with kids chuckling in their backyard, the van is their home and the road is their best friend. Stability is not a benchmark of happiness. People can thrive on change and uncertainty. They are not failures in anyway. We do not have to feel sorry for them. It’s just that constant stability is not for them.

Don’t Work To Have a Sailboat Parked in Your Backyard.

One of Fern’s fellow nomad decided to hit the road after working in corporate America for 20 years. One of her partners at work had made enough money to buy a massive house and a sail boat, which he wanted to sail around the world in, but life had other plans. He never lived to take that sail boat out of his backyard. Being passionate about your work is very important. But we have to be equally passionate about life and the joys it has to offer. Swankie, a fellow 75 year old nomad of Fern, decides to spend the rest of her time travelling in a van rather than in a hospital after the diagnosis of her terminal cancer. Reminding yourself of your mortality is one of the best ways to make the most of your life. It’s a constant reminder that your time is limited and you have to live it on your terms.

Don’t Let People Convince You For What Is Against Your Nature

I applauded when Fern tells her brother- in- law George, a realtor, that it is not okay to convince people to buy a house by giving up their entire life savings and getting into a lifetime of debt. Yes, having a home of your is a big achievement. But I see so many young people go beyond their means to buy houses that put them into massive debt traps, just because having your own home is a sign of being ‘settled’. You don’t have to nod to everything that society has normalized, even if it is toxic for you. If you prefer being in a rented home or a smaller home and invest the rest of the money in exploring the world, do it. If being ‘unsettled’ excites you. Experience it.

Not Every Woman Has Maternal Instincts

When Fern is left with a little baby alone for a few minutes, her inability to understand what to do with the baby or even hold it properly is so funny but also so endearing. Fern and her husband decided to not have kids. You don’t have to have a baby because you have a womb. Have a baby because you love kids and are ready to make another individual the center of your life, for a large part of your life. Women have a choice to have or not have a baby. It is not a default decision. And a woman who does not enjoy being with kids, is not a woman with any lesser love in her heart than someone who adores kids. So do not scorn at a woman or call her highly ambitious when she tells you that she does not want to have kids. It’s like any other decision one makes.

Physical Distance Does Not Decrease Your Love For Someone

When a nomad meets a fellow nomad down the road after a few days, weeks or even years, they pick up from where they left. Even when Fern meets her sister after years , they connect like they had never separated. As Bob says to Fern- I never say a final goodbye, I say ‘I will meet you down the road’. You don’t have to cling to someone to maintain the love. If there was love, it will be there even after years of being apart.

Nomadland has created so much respect in my heart for a community I had never known or probably misjudged. It has left me enriched. Do leave a comment if you have watched the movie or identify with any of my learnings.



Passionate Marketer. Mentor. Mother. Curiosity, Creativity and Courage define me.

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Passionate Marketer. Mentor. Mother. Curiosity, Creativity and Courage define me.