We aren't campers. We're nomads. There's a big difference. Campers spend a night, a weekend, or a few weeks camping out, with tents, maybe a trailer, and many games and accessories. A camper's time camping often includes hours of hanging out in chairs and hammocks, big snacky lunches, dinners they usually don't have at home, and of course, an almost constant campfire nearby.
Most of that doesn't apply to us. Especially the campfires. We burn a campfire a couple of times a year. It' when we have guests, and almost always when it's cold. As nomads, we live in a tiny, portable house and move it often. It's a great life, not for everyone, but it has turned out to be very comfortable and free for us. We enjoy life more than we imagined.
There are just as many chores as a "sticks and bricks" house, but they're smaller. I still have to keep the outside of the place tidy while Christina does most of the inside chores. I keep the patio clean and tidy, wash the dishes, move the awnings in and out and put a flag up almost every day. Christina cooks (with less counter space than ever), does most of the laundry, makes the bed, and buys the groceries. We both work, earning income in new ways. And we constantly battle wifi since living on the road means we never have any idea if there will be phone coverage or not. The nomad life means several days a year of moving the coach. Even when staying at our hometown Clinton Lake State Park in Kansas, we have to move every two weeks, according to park rules. It's another reason we keep things light and tidy. As nomads, we have friends in several states now. We visit them while staying on BLM (Burea of Land Management) land, Boondockers Welcome sites, private land, loved ones' driveways, and of course, state and national parks.
But here is the real difference between camping and nomadic living. Freedom. As campers, we lived a double life of living what was expected for decades while dreaming of a life of freedom and exploration. The nomad living is that freedom and exploration. We bring our electricity, our footprint can be barely noticed, we use less water than ever, and heat with wood, cut from fallen trees. We freely step out the door to landscapes and views that are breathtaking. All. Year. Long. We can't run home if the wind blows too hard or the roof leaks. We hitch to the van for weight, tie things down, and go to bed living in deeper trust than we've ever mustered.
We know we are seen as on the edge, sketchy, or way out there as nomads. And we are. It's hard to describe, but when you move your home regularly for a couple of years, attachments have less grip, and the weight of community can be left behind, not to be forgotten but allowing for reflection and consideration. There's a fresh feeling of detachment living out here, a lot like camping, but full time, every day, every night, and every season.