Nomadland

This book is a peek inside a society that is right under our noses yet isn't acknowledged by anyone outside of it. An increasing number of Americans can't afford to retire and stay in their homes. Some of them who were renting can't afford that either. They have to live somewhere and are forced in their golden years to live in RVs, campers, vans, and even small cars while they work seasonal jobs moving about the country. I know that when I've seen older folks in RVs, I've thought that they chose that lifestyle in their retirement years. It didn't occur to me that they are mostly one small step away from being homeless. Many had worked corporate jobs and were downsized or had massive losses in the 2008 stock market crash. In other words, they were following the prototype of regular American life and got burned.

Many of this population work at Amazon as work campers. A sunshiny term Amazon coined to make the job more palatable. It sounds nice at first glance, work at Amazon in exchange for a minimum wage, and a free spot at a campground. The reality is that these workers are in their 60s and 70s and are expected to walk upwards of ten miles a day on hard concrete. If they are injured, they don't get paid. It made me think about my Amazon purchases. If I order replacement toothbrush heads, coffee, and a new book some old person had to walk all around the place getting it for me. It doesn't give me the warm fuzzies.

Honestly, this book has shaken me. I can only see this situation getting worse as more and more people get laid off or bought out of jobs in early retirement. We keep buying disposable everything all the while our fellow Americans are killing themselves to fulfill our wishes within the 2-day shipping window without health insurance or union representation.

Much like the new awareness of how our animal meat gets to the grocery store we need to take a look at the real human cost of purchasing from giant corporations instead of local stores.

Working yourself to death is not a great work ethic- none of us wants that for ourselves or our parents. This book is so well written that it reads like fiction but is unfortunately very real.
 

Nomadland By Jessica Bruder