I’m intrigued by the beginning of David Garnder’s New American Nomads. We tend to have a certain conception of retirement in the United States but with the economic upheavals of the last few years, our ideas are starting to change. For some, retirement may not be an option and for others what they thought was going to be a relaxing period in their lives has become tumultuous as they find themselves back in the workforce. It’s also interesting to see how technology is impacting senior citizens differently than younger generations. I think it’ll be interesting if Gardner can bring all of these elements together and present a modern depiction of retirement in the United States. Time will tell I suppose, but I think he’s off to a good start.
New American Nomads is the working title of my newest project. It looks at those Americans who have consciously traded traditional lifestyles of home and property for a nomadic existence of full-time life on the road in recreational vehicles. These “full-timers” roam the continent – often traveling in caravans – meeting and socializing in predetermined places while staying connected to loved ones through the use of modern technologies. The project is primarily a look at the people, but also the vehicles they travel in and places they visit are brought into view.
As the Baby Boom generation begins to reach retirement age, this lifestyle becomes a valid alternative to porch and rocking chair. Advances in solar technologies and energy storage have enabled full-timers to live largely off the grid and lead to rather unexpected gatherings in remote areas of the landscape.
While most are retired, many still live and work from their RV’s – using the advantage of mobility to increase flexibility and improve prospects. Along the way we discover that many of those motorhomes and trailers we see traveling down the road are not at all simply vacationers, but an entire subculture of wanderers looking to the next adventure.
All Photographs ©David Gardner