5 Things Nobody Tells You About The Nomadic Lifestyle

"Although the nomadic lifestyle is usually portrayed as idealistic or perfect, there are several key factors that no one seems to mention. In this article we cover some facts of life that you've probably asked such as, "Where do you shower?""

All those glamorous Instagram photos of tiny houses, skoolies, vans, and other cute abodes always forget to mention some unique situations that the nomadic lifestyle brings to the table.

Tiny House Network has partnered with Van Life and Beyond to bring you 5 things that nobody tells you about nomadic living.

Catch their video on YouTube or keep reading to learn more.

1. Repairing Your Own Vehicle (Or Trailer)

Whether you live on a foundation or wheels, your home will always need maintenance. The difference is the type of service you need. On top of that, some service providers aren’t familiar with tiny spaces and may charge extra for the additional effort on their part. (Ironic, but true.)

A tiny house on wheels needs tires to be cared for. If you’re parked long term, covering the wheels to protect from UV exposure is essential. You also have other trailer requirements, such as registering your trailer with the DMV before you ever hit the road. Even the vehicle towing your trailer must meet specific standards to safely move your tiny home around.

If your home is also a vehicle (such as an RV, skoolie, or similar), understanding automotive basics are essential if you don’t want to take the vehicle to get regular maintenance done such as oil changes or tire patches.

If mechanical work is something you never would touch, it’s important to know where you can take your vehicle or trailer. Having a local company or friend you can turn to will give you peace of mind.

2. Showering Is A Creative Process

Vanlife and Beyond’s hosts Charles and Evelyn always used Planet Fitness showers when they traveled. Last year, the pandemic shut down all gyms across the nation.

Unable to utilize their usual methods, Charles and Evelyn got creative in finding locations to take a shower. They began staying at camping sites with bathhouses and using truck stop gas stations, such as Love’s or Flying J.

Some nomads have learned to reduce the amount they shower, going several days or weeks without a full shower. They’ve learned to find alternate methods of bathing to keep clean.

Another method is to buy an inflatable portable shower that is easy to store when not in use. Some portable showers can hold up to 3 gallons.

3. Bathroom Business Can Be Frustrating

If you’re already familiar with traveling, you understand how to plan bathroom breaks. But if you’re new to it, this is a frustrating matter.

Traveling requires some planning as you’ll need to know where your boundaries are for stopping for bathroom breaks. Rest areas aren’t always common, and sometimes gas station bathrooms are dirty or smelly.

Although vans usually don’t have room to install a toilet, you still have options. Charles and Evelyn have a portable toilet that can be used in emergencies or when they’re not near any bathrooms.

Most tiny homes have a toilet installed, whether composting or standard flushing. But this means you either have a wastewater tank that needs to be emptied or composted waste to dispose of.

Emptying wastewater can be confusing at first as you learn where you can go to flush your wastewater safely. You’ll need to find a dump station in places like RV parks or campgrounds.

4. Minimizing Is As Hard As you Think It Is

If you’ve never downsized before, it can be a daunting task thinking about the things you’d have to get rid of just to live a nomadic lifestyle.

Tiny living and the nomadic lifestyle bring about wondrous adventures. But if it’s a full-time arrangement, paying for storage probably isn’t an option.

The first note is that everyone involved must be ready to downsize and let go of extra things. Charles shares a story of how he would remove some of his items from the yard sales that Evelyn would do to minimize their things. This shows an example of how he wasn’t quite ready to downsize.

It’s a difficult task for some. Mentally preparing to live a nomadic lifestyle is important. Reading books, renting tiny houses for getaways, or even reducing the space you use in your current residence are just a few ways you can prepare to downsize into a smaller home.

5. Being a Nomad is Addictive

This last point warns of how addictive the lifestyle can be! Evelyn shares how her favorite part of being a nomad (and why she’s addicted to the lifestyle) is how she can wake up, open the van doors, and enjoy the scenery.

Many people that take the plunge swear they’ll never go back. If the nomadic lifestyle is something you dream of, get started today! Go out there, get started on downsizing, plan your travel routes, and live freely.

Don’t forget to head over to Van Life and Beyond’s channel to subscribe and leave a comment to let them know your thoughts on the nomadic lifestyle.

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About the Author
Stephanie McQueen
Stephanie McQueen
Stephanie is the content curator and resource hoarder of all things tiny houses. She believes everyone can live a sustainable lifestyle, no matter the size of your house. Connect with Stephanie through LinkedIn or her done-for-you marketing agency, Employed By Life Online.