The Nomadic

First off, I am going to clarify what I mean by The Nomadic, because there are, interestingly, two ways to view it. To paraphrase a notion put into writing by Robyn Davidson: there are nomads who are at home everywhere, and there are nomads who are simply at home nowhere. The concept of The Nomadic that I am going to explore here is, for me, of the latter type. That is the type of The Nomadic that has spoken to me, personally, in my lifetime.

     Think about what happened to certain individuals when they went nomadic: Jesus, Buddha, Kane from Kung Fu, Clint Eastwood’s “the Man with No Name,” pretty much every awesome Native American tribe in the movies, Mad Max… it seems to me there is just undoubtedly a purifying and I daresay optimizing effect that The Nomadic has on individuals and on communities.

     I feel this way about myself. It’s not like I never had a “home” – I did, I had great homes growing up on campuses most of my life. But, after a time, I realized that, in my estimation, I am actually my most inherent and natural (and optimal) self while Being in The Nomadic. That was something I realized, truly, on the road with my granddad when I was eighteen. The summer after my high school graduation, he and I spent three months on the road, moving just about every day, with short stops here and there to visit family. We weren’t demanding or taxing visitors: we’d spent so much time on the road, just us, that we had our routine down pretty well. And visiting other people just kind of gave us… people to visit… which was great. My cousins in Austin, TX and San Francisco, CA delighted in showing us around those cities. My great aunt and uncle in Aransas Pass, TX delighted in showing us around their area. It’s just a nice thing. It’s a nice thing to visit.

     Water gets clear, vitalized, and beautiful when it’s moving vibrantly. There is also a beauty to calm, still water, but it’s not the same (at least for me)… maybe because even at the perceivable-to-us roots of solid matter, there are moving particles; and, within those: a vast webwork of vibrating filament.

     Anyway, what I’m saying is: movement – the pure form of which is dancing, in my opinion – is the natural state of everything.

     When we enter The Nomadic – as I have done as often as I could in my lifetime since I was eighteen (most often in the form of roadtrips) – we enter our pure state of Being. I will leave you with a quotation, again, partially from and about Robyn Davidson, who most particularly introduced into me this concept as a significant notion: a philosophical, spiritual, and quotidian notion: to guide a life, or Life. At any rate, this is what Jane Sullivan wrote of and about Davidson in The Age (according to Wikipedia): “One of the questions we need to ask, if we are to have a future, [Davidson] says, is ‘Where did we cause less damage to ourselves, to our environment, and to our animal kin?’ One answer is: when we were nomadic. ‘It is when we settled that we became strangers in a strange land, and wandering took on the quality of banishment,’ she writes, and then later adds: ‘I shall probably be accused of romanticism.’”


Connor Charlton


September, 2020



*Note: In using this term [The Nomadic] – and having no choice but to be aware of the not-ideal conditions for contemporary nomadicism as a way-of-life – I am with most focus intending this term to be received primarily as a way of Being itself (and the implications that might come with that) more so than specifically as a lifestyle (in purely material terms).