There’s Another Option Besides Hunkering Down and Bugging Out: Nomadic Living

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Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted

Lots of folks in the prepper world believe there are only two options when it comes to survival: bugging out or hunkering down. In fact, there are loads of gray areas that include a combination of those strategies as well as altogether different tactics.

It’s not usually fun to be stuck in an exceptionally long car ride, but when I went to Bosnia a few years ago, I was riding in a vehicle with Toby Cowern and a whole bunch of luggage for hours. The conversation we had during that ride ended up being life-changing.

Toby said, “People think there’s only bugging in and bugging out, but there’s a third option – being nomadic.”

As a person who has always loved travel, I craved new adventures and immersion in other cultures. But before this conversation, it seemed very much at odds with my self-defined identity of being a prepper. But Toby’s comment sparked inspiration and I’ve spent the last two years wandering around the world, making location decisions based on circumstances, learning new skills and languages, and becoming more resilient and adaptable than ever before.

The nomadic lifestyle isn’t for everyone.

Normally I’d put a disclaimer like this at the end of the article but in a valiant attempt to quell the chorus of people who read 3 paragraphs then vigorously object, question my sanity, and tell me they’re never coming back to my website again, I’ll write this segment first.

Wandering around the world with a few suitcases and a couple of dogs isn’t the life for everyone. Many people don’t enjoy going to their local Walmart, much less a third world country or gallivanting through Europe. And that is absolutely fine. Just as I wouldn’t recommend homesteading and raising all your own food for everyone, neither would I recommend a nomadic lifestyle for everyone.

But just because it isn’t for you doesn’t make it inherently flawed, bad, stupid, wrong, cowardly, or any other criticism you want to throw at it. Different does not always equal bad. In fact, I think a combination of many skills and lifestyle factors can help you be more flexible and give you a lot more options, depending on the situation that comes your way.

Being a nomad, bugging out, and being a refugee are all different.

Next, let me clarify that being nomadic and bugging out aren’t the same thing as being a refugee. I often see people say in the comments that no matter what, come hell, high water, or an alien invasion, they’re hunkering down because they refuse to be refugees. These folks see bugging out as becoming a “refugee” so I’m sure the idea of being deliberately nomadic is even more undesirable when looking at it without all the details.

Leaving an unsafe location does not necessarily make you a refugee.

There are many other reasons a person might relocate for survival/preparedness purposes. If you lived in downtown Portland or Seattle, where the heated protests have been going on for months, and you had the means to relocate to a different place until things settled down (assuming they do settle down) why on earth would you stay in a place where your building could be set on fire on any given night? If your primary home was hit by a natural disaster and recovery was likely to take months, would you stay there in a place without power and running water for all that time if you could just as easily rent an apartment elsewhere?  What if you were in a country that was undergoing an economic collapse? I knew someone from Athens, Greece who rented a home outside the country during the worst part of the financial crisis, when supplies were difficult to acquire.

Someone who opts to relocate when things are beginning to look sketchy usually has resources as well. That could mean a secondary location, the money to rent and travel to a home elsewhere, financial security, or a job that could easily be done remotely.

What is bugging out?

Bugging out is generally about leaving your primary location for a secondary location because your primary location is not safe. Sometimes that location might be one that you own (the infamous “bug out lodge”) or it might be a hotel, a campground, or a friend’s house outside of the danger zone. Most of the time when folks bug out, it’s with the intention of returning to their primary location when things are safe again. There are all sorts of reasons one might need to evacuate: wildfires, hurricanes, chemical spills – the list goes on and on.

Bugging out is usually a deliberate action undertaken with a plan. A well-prepared person will have a few routes planned, some supplies in their car, and a destination in mind. They’ll generally have some resources – either supplies, money, or a secondary location. If you want more detailed information about bugging out, go here.

What is being a refugee?

I know people who have been refugees. Jose has written about it here, and Selco was also a refugee from his home for a period of time during the Balkan War. It isn’t a fun life. You are often treated badly by those where you end up because their resources are stretched then and they feel like you’re there for a handout. Unwanted guests and unwilling hosts are a bad combination for all involved.

In many cases, refugees have few to no resources. Many times, refugees are those fleeing war-torn countries or people whose homes were destroyed in battles. They might leave with only the clothes on their backs. At The Museum of Genocide in Bosnia, one display that particularly caught my eye and broke my heart. A mother had been bathing her two children when they had to flee and she wrapped one in a towel and one in a table cloth. These children had nothing else to wear until other refugees – who also had very little – managed to put together clothing and shoes for them.

People who have no option but to flee may also have no destination in mind aside from “anywhere that is safer than here.”

What is nomadic preparedness?

Then there are people who are nomadic. Someone who is deliberately mobile is in a yet different situation.

There are many different ways to live a nomadic lifestyle, but the basic idea is that you don’t have one fixed primary location.

For example, lots of folks living the van life or who are full-time RV-ers are also preppers. Having all of your things in a giant rolling bug-out bag gives you many of the advantages of a primary location and bug-out location, while keeping you mobile at the same time. It means you can more easily evacuate ALL your possessions in the event your current location is starting to look sketchy.

Not only that, you’ve probably heard of “digital nomads,” a term used in the online business world for folks who have an occupation that allows them to work from any place with an internet connection and who choose to frequently relocate as a way to see the world. That’s what I do these days. I have a bit of essential gear, my clothing, and I rent furnished places for a few months at a time in different locations.

Here’s an example of how this extreme mobility can apply to the survival world. Shortly before COVID erupted, I was in Europe and had been living the digital nomad lifestyle with great enjoyment. I had to return to North America for a funeral that January and then ended up canceling my return flight and settling in the United States during the first lockdown.

As you can see, all three of these ideologies are different.

What I’ve learned

I’ve been living a fully nomadic lifestyle for the past couple of years. I was always a person who enjoyed moving and acquiring different kinds of experiences. Even before I was officially “nomadic” I lived and prepped in cities,  in the suburbs, in a semi-off-grid cabin in the Algonquin Forest in Ontario, Canada, and a little homestead in the mountains of California where I raised veggies, chickens, ducks, and a couple of goats.

Once both of my daughters became independent adults, I decided to live a little differently. I sold a lot of my stuff, divvied up a lot of my preps between my girls, and rented a small storage unit for the things I didn’t want to part with. Since this time, I’ve lived in five countries and visited five more.

Not only was this a dramatic change in lifestyle, but it was also a big shift in mindset. I went from being a person with years’ worth of food and shampoo stashed away to a person living out of a couple of suitcases with a very different emergency kit. I went from confidently knowing my way around to finding myself in entirely different settings every couple of months in places where I didn’t even speak the language. I went from having friends and family within a quick drive to being on foot or learning new transportation modes while making new contacts. I went from raising my own food to navigating entirely new supply chains.

Let’s just say there was a wee bit of culture shock when I first started out. When I look back at that point, I’m reminded of how Selco talks about the importance of adapting to new rules quickly. While my “new rules” weren’t matters of life and death, they were certainly matters of convenience and comfort. And in each place I visited, these “new rules” were always different than the last place that I had been. However, after two or three new locations, I realized that I was adapting faster and figuring things out more efficiently. Here’s how I set up a few preps in a short-term location.

I have learned how to communicate with people when we have no mutually intelligible languages, and even how to have a friendly laugh with strangers via a strange mix of miming, Google Translate apps, and pointing. I can orient myself in new places very quickly. I became far more fit because most other countries don’t have the same conveniences that the United States does. (And there’s a high price you pay for those conveniences – they may very well kill you one day if you’re not careful.)

All of this exotic travel probably sounds like it costs the moon, but it really depends how you do it. If you get hotels and room service everywhere you go, of course, it’s decadently priced. But if you’re smart, it doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive. I spend far less money now than I did when I maintained a stationary home in the United States. I rent places a month to a few months at a time that are furnished and utilities inclusive and most places have an otherwise lower cost of living.

I’m so much more adaptable than I was before.

I wrote a little more about my newfound adaptability here:

When you take your 2 pieces of luggage and relocate regularly, you become good at adapting quickly. When we’re at home, it’s very easy to get set in our ways and to demand a certain level of comfort. (Who among us has “my chair”?) We get used to sleeping in the same bed with the same pillows and the same comforter, so much so that it can become difficult to sleep anywhere else.  We have our favorite mug washed and ready to go for the following morning’s coffee. We have our favorite store that contains our favorite brands of our favorite products.

We become creatures of habit.

And there’s nothing wrong with that – habits can help us become better, stronger, healthier people when our habits are wise ones. But it’s also good to shake things up a little from time to time.

Every new place I went to had different stores with different food items. The local customs, restaurants, and apartments all varied. Each time, I got a little bit better at adapting faster. I can sleep anywhere. My business is such that I can work remotely in any place I have a decent wifi signal. I picked up some important phrases, like please, thank you, how much, and where’s the bathroom as soon as possible once I arrived in a new place. I learned a new currency in nearly every country I visited and wrote down the formula to quickly convert it to USD so that I could understand what I was spending. I can eat whatever gets put in front of me and enjoy nearly all of it, even when I thought I had ordered something completely different.

I quickly learned that when in another country, it’s impossible to rigidly stick to your ways and still have a good time. This helped me pare down to my most important needs – wifi, a plug adapter, a safe place to stay, a Berkey water filtration bottle, and appropriate clothing for my setting. Everything else can be acquired quickly and easily…

…Moving into someone else’s apartment is often an exercise in discomfort – after all, there’s no place like home, where everything is ideal by your standards.

Much like Goldilocks, I’ve found beds that were too hard, too soft, and just right. I’ve slept on a sofa that was more comfortable than the bed which was in the rental. I have developed the ability to get comfortable enough to sleep just about anywhere – and that’s something that could come in handy.

As well, unfamiliarity itself can be uncomfortable.

When you’re someplace totally unfamiliar, with different restaurants, stores, products, and people the last thing you feel is “comfort.” You need to put in the effort to figure everything out and you have to get a general feel for the area. Some people find this puts them constantly on edge and unable to focus. It’s good training to learn to deal with discomfort while still staying sharp.

The urban survival course I took with Selco and Toby in Croatia underlined this repeatedly – you need to learn to be uncomfortable and function anyway.(source)

I’ve become extremely adaptable and resilient over the past two years, and I’m nonplussed by things that I once would have found anywhere from mildly inconvenient to incredibly stressful. I recently mentioned something offhand to my daughter about “not having water that day” and she pointed out that I went 24 hours without running water and didn’t even find it important enough to mention in our daily chat.

Every place I’ve gone, I’ve learned something I can apply to either preparedness or frugality.  I’ve picked up a little bit of Greek, some Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish. Wherever I happen to land, I’m confident I can roll with it in a much wider variety of situations than before.

Pros and cons of a nomadic lifestyle in terms of preparedness

One of the biggest things I’ve learned during my nomadic years is that being prepared isn’t just about how much stuff you’ve been able to acquire. It’s about the things you learn, the ability to make personal connections, and the speed and efficiency of acquiring the things you need. But no lifestyle is “perfect” in terms of survival.

Here are some of the ways a nomadic lifestyle is beneficial to your preparedness efforts.

  • You can acquire supplies quickly. Once you’ve moved around a few times you learn how to stock up fast with whatever supplies are available at your current location.
  • You can go where the danger is not. As long as you go soon enough, you can relocate to a place that is less risky. Since this varies by disaster, a person who is nomadic is not tied to only a primary and secondary location. They have multiple options. I have contacts with apartments in countries around the world who I can reach out to by email or text if I need a place to land. Many of these are people from whom I’ve already rented.
  • You learn to read the area faster. Going back to that discussion of “the new rules” when you are constantly relocating, you become a lot faster at reading the situation and fitting in with the local customs. This can help you learn to hide in plain sight.
  • You are comfortable with discomfort. I can sleep on basically any surface, eat whatever is offered to me, and adapt to different standards of cleanliness with ease.
  • If you can’t find what you need, you can create it. I can cobble together what I need in a massive variety of situations. I’ve made my own “cold medicine” with local brandy, ibuprofen, and antihistamines. I can make a reasonably effective electrolyte beverage from those little packets of salt and sugar at fast-food restaurants. I can create a water purification system out of easily located items and I can create an emergency kit just about anywhere.
  • Bugging out is super-easy. If I had to bail quickly, bugging out is easier than ever before. I have my luggage, and I have a backpack. If I had an emergency in which speed was of the essence, my international emergency kit and my laptop could be grabbed in seconds and I could be out the door.
  • You learn to get by with less stuff. I don’t have lots of clothing. I don’t have a wide variety of foods. I don’t have 20 different light sources from which to choose. I have one or two options for all necessities and this has helped me to greatly simplify. This article talks about my usual gear.

But it’s not all rose petals, sunshine, and exotic beaches. There are some cons as well.

  • You don’t have the same tight-knit local network. I’ve lived in places in which I had a thriving personal network. I’ve written before about how it isn’t always what you know, it’s who you know. We’ve produced a webinar on the importance of community. If you are nomadic, it’s a lot harder to build this type of network and you have to be extremely valuable to fit in fast.
  • You can’t build a thriving homestead. You know those folks who plan to just head off to an idyllic farm and live off the land when it hits the fan? You know how I often say that’s a horrible idea? Building a working homestead can take years of experience and hard labor. You can’t really start something like that after it all goes to heck. You need to start it while you still have a grocery store for backup when your garden gets eaten by the local wildlife and when your chickens die because you didn’t know how to keep them safe from predators. This stuff takes time.
  • You can’t have years and years worth of supplies. Before I made the switch to nomadic living, I had years’ worth of supplies in every possible category put back. I can’t really drag around a whole one-year supply of food with me now, nor can I have large investment supplies like generators and the like.
  • You may be limited with defense options. If you’re considering going outside the United States, it’s very likely you will not be able to walk around with a gun stuffed into your jeans. For some folks this is absolutely a no-go – they are not willing to adapt to the use of different defense items within the bounds of local laws, which change by location.
  • You may not be comfortable. I mentioned this as a pro but it is also a con. For some folks, comfort and familiarity are a must. They can’t relax without it. They would be miserable constantly changing settings. It’s a very personal choice.

There are, of course, more pros and cons, but these are a few to consider.

It might be a viable third option for you, too.

The thing I want to express in this post is that the more options you have with regard to preparedness, the better off you’ll be. Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to have all three routes easily available to you. You might have a primary location that is also a homestead, a secondary location that is more remote, and the ability to simply pick up and go where the danger is not. That’s the best of all worlds.

If you’re not in that tax bracket and your income allows, you might find that living nomadically is a potential option for you, too. It allows you lots of freedom, adventure, and you’ll learn new things every place you go.  I do still consider myself a prepper, just one with a smaller stockpile and who is constantly ready to roll.

A lot of folks outside our world think that being a prepper means that you’re tied to your bunker and that you are all but cutting yourself off from society. But those of us who think more flexibly know that it doesn’t have to be like that.

Is this something you think might be realistic for you? Do you have any questions for me? I’m happy to answer them in the comments.

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • I briefly considered the Mongolian Nomadic/Yurt/Bring Your Own Livestock paradigm, might be an option post serious-SHTF (no fuel, mass die off, etc.).

    But aside from you sit up there, food goes in that end, poop comes out the opposite end, that is the extent of my knowledge of horses.

  • I think the problem here, is your thinking of “bugging out” , as a temporary situation. Similarly you equate your travels as a “nomadic experience”, it is not.
    Camping by “roughing it”, does not equip you fir SHTF, neither does traveling around the world using modern conveniences, equate to being a “nomad”.
    Though this is a ” third option” it is much harder than bugging in or bugging out.

    Since in being a nomad( Post SHTF), all the things you require must be carried with you. It is much more of a survivalist lifestyle. You will not rely on anyone outside your self or your group.

    Currently, truly being nomadic, is basically being a bum or a homeless person. They transport their possessions in a cart or in a backpack. But they live off of others kindness and fast food, stores and such,

    In the Old west, it was a way of life for the Plains Indians. They used pack animals to transport their stuff.
    They had no fast food, store of supplies, they lived off the land.
    There is a big difference.
    As for what you experienced, it is called being a traveler, it can be similar, but is no where near as complex.
    You are not truly dependent upon others kindness, nor do you take all your possessions with you at all times. Nor do you lack the option of using the benefits (food, shopping, travel options, hotels/motels, etc) that a commercial society provides.

    I know your heart is in the right place, but sometimes your brain is not.

    • Mic, your definition is far too narrow and doesn’t take into account things like the ability to make a living while moving around. I would consider traveling a short stay of a week or two. If it’s a few months in a location, that’s quite different. And the point is not to do this during the SHTF. It’s to avoid being where the SHTF in many cases. Obviously that’s not always possible but for some people, this IS a viable option.

      Anyway, I’m not going to argue with you. I made my case in the article. Thanks for reading, as always.

      • Daisy, I suspect Mic might be overlooking a thing or two without realizing it. One of the biggest hidden points you driven home without saying it is exactly what the military special forces (Rangers, Seals…etc) train for in “oh crap” situations: “improvise, adapt, overcome.”
        Based on what you’ve written about yourself and all the training you’ve put yourself through – yes “TRAINING”, which includes all the traveling you done, all the discomfort you’ve learned to deal with, and the language barriers you’ve faced, all the shortages you’ve had to deal with and adapt to, all the times you’ve had to go without… you’ve done very well.
        I would have you on my team in a heart beat! Your knowledge takes years to acquire.
        You don’t learn those skills in basic (boot camp).

  • I think the difference between being a modern nomad and being a bum/homeless/transient person/etc is having some form of support. If a person is making money for example, or is supplying a service that they exchange for goods, they can go where their needs/interests take them and consider it a sustainable lifestyle. It is valid, it is non-parasitic.

    While I personally wouldn’t consider this lifestyle option, I know that is because there is too much I would have to give up. However it is also good to remember there are other options out there, and being nomadic IS an option, so if I’m ever put in that position I’ll remember others have done it before and I’ll give it a try, rather than giving up and throwing myself on the mercy of strangers.

  • I can relate as I was a nomad for nearly 3 years, both in the US and overseas. In some ways it’s awesome, and it was a way cheaper way to live than having my own home. Lots of times I worked for room and board so my only expense was my cell phone. Other times housing was free and I just had to pay for food, cell and car(if it was in the US).

    I have to admit though that I was really glad to end up buying a home again right when Covid hit in the US. I liked being able to stock up on food again, have a garden, can and dry foods etc. Right now I’m glad I’m not moving around from place to place(which would have gotten a lot more difficult with Covid restrictions). And yes, when you are always in a new place, you lack any community. If a disaster hits while you are till new to that place, it could be difficult. Not to mention trying to understand emergency broadcasts and the news in a language you’re not all that great with! But yes, as you note, it does make you able to sleep anywhere. I slept on the floor of my house for a few months here until I could acquire a mattress!

    Overall, I’m glad I did this. And happy right now to have a more permanent place to live. But who knows…….

  • Daisy – this is a little off subject, but you said to keep an eye on things near the end of the election. This is from NPR news (National Public Radio):

    The Trump administration abruptly dumped the leaders of three agencies that oversee the nuclear weapons stockpile, electricity and natural gas regulation, and overseas aid during the past two days, drawing a rebuke from a prominent Republican senator for one of the decisions.

    The sudden departures included:

    Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, the first woman to oversee the agency in charge of the nuclear stockpile. She was required to resign on Friday.
    Bonnie Glick, deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development. She was replaced by the acting administrator John Barsa, who had run out of time for his more senior role under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.
    Neil Chatterjee, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He was replaced as chairman, though he will remain at FERC, an independent agency, as a commissioner.

    The firings were overshadowed by the prolonged drama of the presidential election, which as of Friday had not yet been declared.

    Any ideas of what this might mean?

    • NNSA, Lisa Gordon-Haggerty’s former agency, is a sub-agency of the Department of Energy. There has been a tug-of-war between those two agencies for years as nuclear energy concerns require different standards and protection requirements from solar or wind energy, among other things. It is not a surprise that she resigned given the history.

      In addition, the resignation could be related to a protest within the NNSA of critical race theory employee training. Journalist Chris Rufo and some internal whistleblowers within the NNSA and DOE have raised awareness of the practice, which resulted in the Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping, issued by Trump on Sept. 22, and which has been extended to include not just federal agencies, but federal contractors as well.

      • Yeah the critical race, Micro aggressions, white guilt and other junk training has been going on for 3 years in ALL federal agencies. I know cause that’s how many years I’ve been in conflicts every spring when it happens. Now that the Cheater in Chief and Kommie Harris are in it will continue, as the executive order is planned for termination and resending, but I will not. Dropping my paperwork earlier than planned.
        It won’t hurt anyone and no one will care but I’m at the point for the first time in my life where I have a choice of who I work for. If this is “The People” choice then it’s a nope for me.

        Next thing I’m gonna do is take and job then quit. I’ve never been able to do that either. I’d like to try that experience. Then I’m gonna get fired from one. Looking forward to the next phase.

  • Being a life long prepper, raising my children with this mindset and living off the beaten path, especially after my kids flew the coop. I have also lived in several countries. Culture shock? Yeah, for a while, until you learn that, you adapt to the lifestyle/laws where you’re at. I agree with you, you learn to adapt faster and faster, when you’ve done it multiple times.

    My “last stop” was/is here off grid mid BC, where I’ve been “planted” for close to 5 yrs. now. Married another US citizen that is living here and even if our “marriage” is over, we are still working partners, since we both realize that we compliment each other and trust that the other will be there when things really get bad. A great community spread out over the mountain, is also very comforting and provides a sense of safety, even if that safety can go out the door very fast if/when things go bad.

    I have spent the past 4,5 yrs. restocking my preps. Have forgot how many times I’ve done it but, same with that, when you’ve done multiple times, you do it without even thinking, it’s just something you know how to do. Learning what plants, herbs etc. that are eatable/medicinal, is something I’m finding takes the longest time to learn, same with growing your food in different climates but, a good hard copy book with pictures of the local fauna, in whatever region you are located, along with a larger book of how to prepare various medicinal plants etc. that you aren’t familiar with, is not something that takes up a lot of space and easy to bring with you. Especially the latter book, which usually also has pictures of said plants, even if not as detailed…

    Regardless, I have learnt over the years that, you can never be sure that where you are located, will be safe forever and the day when you might be forced for whatever reason to “bug out” or leave, has a high probability and you should prepare for that as well, even if it will hurt big time to leave everything you’ve worked so hard for behind.

    Hence, I have my big 1 ton dually diesel (meaning I can use many types of “fuel” and not just diesel from a pump that may or may not function… ) pickup, older model that doesn’t have all the electronic crap in it, other than what I’ve added to it such as GPS, CB etc. I also have hard copies of maps, compasses that I know how to read. Yeah, I’m old… LOL

    Add to this, I have my older 5th wheel, which is kept fully stocked and if push comes to shove, I can hitch it to “Black Betty”, (my truck) grab my backpack which has my legal paperwork and hopefully be able to safely leave with my GSD/hybrid dog… I have everything I need to be able to restock my eatable preps when it will be needed. As well as tools if I need to fix something that breaks. (which it will…) Also hand tools for building, “hunting,” etc… Everything from big Berkey water filter, extra filters and a smaller hand held water filter. A full set of solar panels and extra electronic items that make the panels work, which are in EMP proof/safe packing… Advanced medical kit, which I know how to use but also the “Field medic book,” just in case. My old large pressure caner without all the bells and whistles, jars I don’t have many empty, since those I have, are full of long term meats. Dehydrated veggies, rice, beans, yada, yada, yada which are stored in mylar bags with oxy absorbers. Takes much less space than jars… DIY books and binders with print outs. The list goes on and on… TP? not so much, works great with a wash rag and takes up less space… 😛

    However, I have yet a third step planned and that is yet another bug out bag with only the essentials that would be needed for survival, if forced to leave my rig for whatever reason.

    I know you can’t prepare for EVERYTHING that can and WILL go sideways but, if you don’t think that things CAN go sideways, you are less likely to survive. I have also found that ATTITUDE, ADAPTABILITY and the ability to think on your feet regardless of situation or personal emotions.., is many times what will get you through a not so good situation, as well as skills that are valuable both for your own survival, as well as proving your worth to a group of like minded if/when needed.

    However, I also agree with you when you wrote, living the nomadic life is not for everyone. It helps that I have lived the nomadic/full time Van/RV’r/Boon-docking/rubber-tramping lifestyle previously. There IS a steep learning curve and not always an easy one but, if push comes to shove. you either learn/adapt or die. Granted, you might die anyway but, you will have at least tried…

  • We don’t have any good bug out options, so nomadic is what I had planned if evacuation became necessary. We would hunker down by default. With this in mind, we started storing preps in our very dated RV, now that I am rotating stock I can see that wasn’t the best idea for most ‘food’ preps, but we live and learn. Full time RVing with 7 kids is not what I might choose for day to day lifestyle, but is a great emergency fall back. Rolling propane, preps, and beds, um yes please. I usually feel like the odd one out, so thanks for this encouraging message.

  • We live in a strange era now, much to our discomfort. There is the threat of the “CommonPass” tracking system being tried out in the UK which comes along with a potentially mandatory Covid-19 vaccine that can’t possibly be tested for sufficient safety in the time frame being discussed. The mega-pharmaceuticals in competition to profit from this got a federal exemption from liability back in 1986 for any disability or death such jabs might cause. Such a jab may well come with the Bill Gates under-the-skin nano-chip that can make possible an all-digital cashless economy in which any privacy of cash is gone forever, although barter with ancient goods like alcohol, grains or whatever may still be possible.

    That tracking could also cripple your driver’s license and your right to travel (including by air). This is also an era where the US government has declared the right to instantly disable your US passport … regardless of where in the world you might be at that time. [That’s what happened to Edward Snowden while in Russia, which is why he can’t travel back to the US — unless under extradition on his way to a highly rigged Moscow-like show trial.]

    So let’s suppose that you had gone “full nomadic” and some version of “CommonPass” were imposed here — which would make the sociopathic Bill Gates cackle with glee. Your right to travel, to do commerce, to make your own medical choices privately by agreement with your own doctor, while whatever cash (or equivalents) holdings you have were suddenly declared legally void (as they were in India, at least partially), were all altered by a successful Marxist revolution (complete with an oligarch-funded majority states ballot fraud onslaught) which puts the Trojan horse Biden crime family in office for just enough hours for the kriminal Kamala Harris to become your new dictator … all changed your world as the last remnants of a long-ignored US Constitution were quickly run through the tyrant’s meat grinder.

    So is there anywhere in the world where being a nomad (a bit like the ancient Eastern European Gypsies) would be to your advantage?

    Snowden has realized that the US never ever forgives those who expose its crimes … so he has applied for an extension of his Russian residency into permanent citizenship. That’s a solution that would probably be a shock to most of us. Any better ideas….??


    • Lewis,

      Many of us with resources weigh our options around the world. My husband likes the Caribbean Islands, since he wants to enjoy his bug out, and a sail boat would be ideal to be nomadic around the world with all your stuff.

      Me, after careful consideration will stay in the US, since that’s where my children and family are who can’t afford to leave or are too narrow minded. The “unknown” of those worldly bug out options is what happens if it gets really ugly like Selco warned about? With no support system in place it would be really hard to survive, especially a blue eyed blond in a Latin Country, or where you don’t speak the language to get the true meaning of what they’re telling you to survive.

      God Bless you all in these trying time.

  • I think it takes a certain kind of courage to live a nomadic lifestyle. Blame it on being born in an Earth sign (Capricorn) or the fact I have a few little control issues , haha, but I don’t think I would be good at it. I’ve lived all over the country but always needed to establish “home base” as soon as possible. I really like hearing about your adventures, though!

  • Hi Daisy,
    As a ‘nomad’ with no fixed place of abode, I would like to share a few thoughts on this subject. I have travelled extensively overseas by bicycle and have found people generally welcoming and friendly the only negative incident was an uncivilised, fat redneck in the back blocks of North Carolina who threatened to shoot me for photographing an old tobacco shed from a public roadway. Bicycles are generally a non threatening form of travel which people equate with a harmless visitor who they want to engage with and make welcome. So travel and dress appropriately (gray man) and be friendly without giving away your life story and all should be well.
    Fast forward to Covid 19 and as a full time live aboard yachtsman, local police Cruise past photographing anchored vessels and questioned skippers about their details. Overseas in various remote places, yachts that were once seen as a positive thing, bringing money to poorer communities, were overnight viewed as potential disease spreaders and confined by authorities to specific anchorages. Others reported seeking out secluded coves to rest only to be informed on by locals and having water police force them to move on despite health and needs.
    Things have calmed down a bit now but what was once a lifestyle of freedom was turned upside down overnight by human nature that is basically fearful and self seeking. The kind and generous people you meet are the true gems despite the difficult circumstances, God bless them. Expect the worst in people and thank God for the blessings of kindness that come your way. The most important lesson I got from my nomadic lifestyle is to remember how it felt to be treated with kindness and also with indifference, then use this to shape my attitude towards others. God instructed the Israelites to be kind to the refugees as they were once refugees themselves. Kindness, mercy and compassion is not a burden to carry and can be shared freely and make you richer spiritually in the process.

    • Yes, I suspected that being a nomad in tougher times such as Covid wouldn’t be as easy or fun. I ended my nomadic lifestyle back when Covid was becoming a thing out here on the East Coast. It has been so sad to see people eyeing each other with suspicion, avoiding human contact and withdrawing into their homes. I know I’d never want to be a refugee though. Being a nomad is a lifestyle by choice. Being a refugee or homeless isn’t generally by choice. Big difference.

    • Some outta place weirdo on a bicycle starts taking pictures of a mans place who lives in the backwoods for privacy while you quip unpopular governmental rules about your rights on the public roadway and your judgmental righteousness self thinks the “fat redneck” is the issue.
      This is a prime example of what not to do in other cultures if you nomad or bugout.

      • Matt,
        You may be right in some respects and I apologise if you feel judged by my comments, but I hardly call a fallen down barn with trees growing through it, ‘a man’s place’. My point is that the good ole’ USA was the ONLY place I encountered this ugly individual In the world and I have travelled thousands of miles touring internationally. So be prepared to be unsafe in your own backyard from your own neighbours, who look like you and talk like you.

  • It depends on the disaster you’re prepping for. How many gas stations will remain open when the power grid goes down? Hint: All gas pumps are electric.

    • @RLABruce,
      Good point.
      I know a lot of people who think they will just drive to their desired location. How are they going to know when to bug out? And by the time it is obvious, it is likely too late.
      Unless you have the knowledge and experience of knowing how to ride a horse and how to use pack animals (and all the associated equipment), we are all going to be limited to how far we can walk or perhaps bicycle in a day and how much you can carry.

  • Thanks for this. Being a nomad is perfectly valid. Think of history, from Katrina to Venezuela. Who would fare better? Nomad Daisy or your average prepper?

    I have kids in school so nomadism isn’t for us right now. But we’re well travelled and have spent stints abroad living out of a suitcase. If we had to start over in another state or even country, I‘d like to think we’d adapt quickly.

    Of course, my plan A is bug-in like everyone else. Not saying I’m better or that I want to leave America, even with all we’re going through.

    But being flexible – no debt, cash on hand, getting a second passport, having portable skills, etc – is central in my opinion. Yes, more important than guns.

  • There is a level of risk in all the various prepping options whether staying home with your supplies, bugging out, living in an RV, or being a nomad. Each option has things that could go wrong so we all choose our poison, hope for the best, and pray. Daisy has chosen a lifestyle she enjoys and is able to live. I understand it because I love to travel too but like to come home after 2-3 weeks. Of the various options being a nomad in my opinion is the riskiest being in a foreign place without trusted friends & family and supplies. But I also tell people to keep living and enjoying their lives – you don’t know when the SHTF and I’ve been prepping for it for over 40 years. It would have been sad not to have lived and enjoyed my life all that time. We all accept the inherent risks with our lifestyle choices – where we live, job/career, friends, education, how we take care of our health, spend/save money, etc. While Daisy’s lifestyle choice has a higher risk she is choosing it to have a life she enjoys. You’ve raised your girls, accepted the risks and mitigated them the best you can so you go girl! Wish I could join you . . . for a few weeks. 😉

  • Here on the Mexico/Texas border, for years Mexico’s elite (money) came to San Antonio and bought houses in gated communities and secluded ranches. Because of drug cartel danger and instability of the government, they jump the border based on perceived danger, finding safe haven in the US. That’s where we get the term “Mexican Nationals”, Mexicans from Mexico, but who also live in the US. It is such as large population with money they built La Cantera Shopping Mall in San Antonio that caters to Mexican Nationals! It’s based on safety.

  • One final note. My 68 year old husband and I recently returned traveling to the Bahama Islands during the pandemic for a few weeks. We visited 2 islands, staying at a hotel and a private vacation rental. What we’ve found after years of traveling the world is, as you get older the traveling becomes much more difficult. Having said that, Daisy enjoy your time abroad since you never know how long it will last. You can always return to living stationary, but the positive lessons learned by traveling far outweigh the negative.

  • I love traveling and learning languages! I really enjoy reading about your travels. Although I’m glad to have our little farm. I would love to travel again. I miss traveling. However; I know I missed my family when I traveled for long periods in the past. I look forward to reading more about your travels and how you get along in the countries you visit. Hints on how to adapt would be interesting. Do you have a travel blog as well?

    • Tammy – I had started working on a travel blog but then COVID hit and it seemed like bad timing. I have tons of notes and pictures ready to go when we can travel easily again

      • Daisy,
        I look forward to reading your travel blog when it is up. I’m also looking forward to being able to travel easily again. In the meantime, I will be working on my little farm: gardening, and raising chickens and possibly goats. .

  • There are several channels on YouTube all about vehicular fulltime traveling. Some are RV only. Some include anything from high dollar RVs to trucks to vans to big and little bitty cars that you might have had to resort to if you were evicted, etc. Two of the most notable are CheapRVliving (Bob Wells) and Creativity RV (Robin Barrett). The former has more detail on nomadics, how-tos, and gear suggestions through a wide range of vehicle types (including smaller vehicles). Both have websites, books, courses, etc. I have one of their Kindle books but this last week a Kindle-for-PC “upgrade” zapped my entire Kindle library, so I have yet to fight that restoration battle. (I prefer PDFs so I don’t have to worry about such “upgrade” or “book rental” nonsense.)

    Some things about those channels I’ve seen so far:

    1. They don’t cover what happens if you are traveling on foot.

    2. They don’t cover nomadics about traveling in foreign countries.

    3. They don’t discuss the possibility of being cut off at the knees if travel rights (airline, driver’s license, passport, etc) are zapped over refusal to accept the poorly tested Covid-19 vaccine with an under-the-skin nano-chip tracking gizmo to enslave you forever.

    So Daisy has available to address a world of topics on nomadics that seem to have been untapped otherwise so far.


  • “This helped me pare down to my most important needs – wifi, a plug adapter, a safe place to stay, a Berkey water filtration bottle, and appropriate clothing for my setting. Everything else can be acquired quickly and easily…”

    Oh baloney. You’re being a tourist….and that’s fine if you want to be a tourist.

    But as a survivalist, you’re playing Russian Roulette with your life. You’re 100% dependent on OTHER people to provide you with food, water, shelter, and defense. That works out fairly well in normal times, and depending on the ability to move to a different location if the current one gets too “hot” for comfort.

    What happens when you can’t move (no fuel available for the RV, or public transport stops) ? What happens when “everything else” can’t be acquired quickly and easily because now it’s in short (or non existent) supply and the local don’t want to share ?

  • I’ve lived a large portion of my life in a hotel room working in construction, and once went on a 3 month canoe trip. So I can go without quite a bit of comfort. I built my own tiny house and consider it to be the ultimate bug out bag. I’m considering changing professions to be able to work from anywhere. And am planning to set up residency in Mexico, in case I need to get out of here. One of the biggest concerns I have about travel, where I’m not flexible, is food quality. Due to my desire to be healthy, I do not eat meat from unknown sources, such as grocery stores and restaurants. And due to moral concerns about how I believe animals should be treated, that rule is 100% rigid to me. I either grow my own meat, or get it from a quality source where I have checked that the animals are raised in an acceptable manner. Not a CAFO. As someone that works on the road this adds a great deal of burden since I have to bring all my food with me. But I have no idea how to source quality food in a foreign country where I don’t even speak the language, and with no time to figure it out. Once I’m established or setting up for a permanent relocation, it’s not such a big deal. But if I am only bringing what I can carry on a plane, I have no idea how to find quality meat, before I starve to death. Any advice on how I would go about this? Or is meat in most other countries, even in stores and restaurants, generally not from CAFOs? Or perhaps it would be a good idea for an article.

    • In my travels, I have found the meat to be of extremely high quality and often, the butcher knows where and how it was raised. To my knowledge, they don’t do the CAFO thing to the same extent in Europe and Mexico. I think the biggest thing is to purchase from butcher shops instead of grocery stores. You will get meat of better quality, locally sourced. Once you have a location, you can often find farm stands where you can make your purchases directly from farmers. Also, a lot of the hormones and stuff that are used in the US and China are illegal in Europe.

      • Well that sounds fantastic. I love the idea of being able to find local farm stands. I wish it worked like that here in the US. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

  • travelling the world with suitcases in tow is not the same as being a nomad post SHTF.
    being a hunter/gatherer which is essentially what it is was what all humans were before we became farmers.
    you will have to be continually on the move, once you have exhausted all the resources in one area you move onto the next, in the past this was done in small tribal bands as this lifestyle does not feed large groups.
    you will have to be continually on the alert in case you are attacked by other groups. its not for everyone.

    • I think you are missing the point of not being in a post-apocalyptic wasteland in the first place. Unless it’s a global event, this lifestyle is perfectly realistic, assuming one moves in time.

      • thats the point though isnt it? most people will only consider this for when SHTF happens.
        winter is when most people will fail, any idiot can survive in a nice warm summer but once the weather gets colder and wetter and there are very little plants growing and the meat animals have all migrated or gone into hibernation is when people will see the error of this lifestyle, probably too late.

  • Daisy one HUGE point you rely on banking, having enough in crypto or solids does not pat your way.

    When this world food and finance issue comes to a head you may be stuck penniless far from home and the first person to get screwed is the penniless foriegner.

    What will happen in 2021 when food hits hyperinflation? No where will be safe. This is not a local issue anymore it’s global.

  • Great article, Daisy!
    I’ve often thought of this as an option I’d like to try.
    One more plus that hasn’t been mentioned is that if you have family that can’t relocate for whatever reason, being nomadic means you can come to them, to help with preps, health crisis, etc.
    I would like to see some additional articles on the subject, especially as applicable to mobile living spaces. Maybe some other readers can help?

  • I think I have been in many of those categories except refugee. A military dependent for many years, I picked & moved on month notice. Then I moved to area where I list water when power went out. At least once a year; one year four times in 2 months lasting 1-7 days. Learned to store xtra water, canned goods. One of things always went with me were herb & spices, now add essential oils to that. Each location I had different prepping routines & storage. Sharpies labels and closed containers help. During pandemic went to shopping every 3-4 weeks& this took adjustment. I updated supplies, stocked some I had never done before like yeast .

  • Daisy, I just wondered if you had ever visited any of the Caucasus countries like Georgia or Azerbaijan and if you would be willing to consider doing a piece on them, if you had. Many of us Trump supporters are wondering if we will need to leave the country at short notice and Georgia in particular seems a fairly easy country to access at notice with a 365 day visa. Thank you

  • Nothing new here. Rehash of the same old information. Waste of my time to read. Be nice to really learn something new.

  • Thank You for sharing what travel life was pre-covid. I do not think we will as a world have a normal anymore for a while. Since you are not being paid by a Travel Channel or company to stay in nice accommodations like Rick Steves in Europe it is wise to be frugal and stay in furnished apartments along the way. I have always wanted to stay for a few months in an area I liked to better enjoy it. You are experiencing this through the eyes of a tourist . Having a local connection to help you see some of the things the tour bus misses would be a plus. On sleeping anywhere now, it sounds like you are adapting to your circumstances more. Having been in the Army in West Germany I slept in quite a few odd place and positions while trying to stay warm in a cold armored vehicle when in a position or our infantry in foxholes. How about the National Guard sleeping in a parking lot lately. When our chow could not find us during maneuver’s we had to go down to local store and by food to eat and we figured out how to communicate quick in semi passable German. We were also told to go out in pairs in town for safety.

  • If you are traveling alone you will have to be careful. Like I had said in my other Post when we went to town in the Military it was advisable to go in two or more for safety. Local criminals can target a individual easier than two or more. One rule of thumb was always keep your drink at hand so no drugs could be dropped in drink. There is always a seedy underside to cities and having a local connection or in my case Military Police telling me what was off limits to steer away from trouble helps. The movie “Taken” with Liam Neeson has some truth to it. There is more everyday carry items I am sure you could have with you that would be good to have. Small multi tools , para cord, work gloves, sturdy boots with vibram soles that could walk through broken glass and sharp rocks , small binoculars to spot trouble from distance. Maybe a walking cane that could double for defense. Some first aid items also would be good to have. If you want to experience something similar to Bosnia in ’90’s , Ukraine is very close at this time.

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