Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder
If you’re approaching retirement age but you can’t afford to retire what do you do? There are a large number of Americans who lost everything in the last market crash or found themselves house poor after the real estate bubble burst. These are people firmly in the middle class who now can’t afford their lifestyle because of forces outside their control. Rather then try to scrape by and eventually fail some intrepid individuals, and their number is growing exponentially while the author was writing this book, are ditching the largest expense they have: a home. Outfitting RVs, campers, vans and even regular cars these people, most over the age of sixty, are becoming “houseless” migrants taking seasonal employment and creating a life for themselves on the road.
This is a sobering, eye-opening account of people who find themselves in financial circumstances that they can’t get out of but rather then give up, or become a burden to their families if they have one, decide on an alternate lifestyle. It’s the number of stories that sound exactly like people I know: construction workers, administrative assistants at universities, professors; that makes this book hit so hard. It was a wonderful glimpse at the resiliency of people but the harsh reality that more and more people who should be enjoying the twilight years of their life are forced to keep working, sometimes at physically demanding jobs, sometimes into their 80s, to be able to keep on providing themselves with the basic needs of food, water and shelter.