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Why Nomadland missed the mark on Roadlife

Chloe Zhao Bedouin It tells the fictional story of a woman who takes to the road in the wake of her husband’s death and economic recession. Best Film No. 1 of the Year Oscars (On the heels of victories at the Producers Guild of America, Golden Globes, and Critics Choice Awards) pretty, it has brought A casual outdoor lifestyle In the popular consciousness. In the process, however, Zhao incorrectly painted the entire subculture as a group filled with hopeless distress and despair.

Characters in Bedouin They are portrayed as a mournful and helpless bunch, slowly rolling over the western roads and waiting to fade away after being forced into a mobile lifestyle by a society whose elders have thrown aside. While these elderly nomads exist in the real world, they are not the only people who have regained life on four wheels in the wild places of America. There is a young generation that did so happily. Let’s call it dirty bags. This is the label they choose.

But unlike the fading of the vagrants BedouinDirt bags are working distance Something not far off. Expert skiers, rowers, climbers, and bikers: they are craftsmen, skilled survivors, and masters of improvisation as well. In 2017, she gave up a job in the entertainment industry in New York and an apartment with exposed brick walls to join them.

I was desperate, but my move wasn’t due to financial struggle. The mainstream society did not let me down. I chose to leave because I felt a claustrophobic lack of motivation, and I thought the West might offer a way of life that would burn my soul. And I was right.

In garbage bags, I found the last bastion of counterculture in America: Violently crooked people with red eyes and cruel hearts, who have intentionally lived in tents and vehicles for years, in order to focus on ecstasy-inducing experiences whenever possible.

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Dirt bags They moved away from the mundane and security of a described standard life, but their world didn’t have to be shattered first. After experiencing the feeling of peace for the first time, in the company of good people on the cliffs, the river, or in the local climbing rock, it’s hard to spend time doing anything else besides chasing this post-flow fix and accomplishment.

They find it in a rapid pulse with paddles in the hand or sledges on the feet; In a shared adrenaline rush, uncommon camaraderie, and economic beer laughter around the fire. Dirtbags do not resent the housing market or the financial system. They just don’t want any part of it. They have found something greater.

Dirtbag life
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In these outdoor adventures and this community, in frosty-covered beards and waterlogged board shorts, these addicts find a form of contemplation and constant joy.

No dirty suitcase is subject to slavery in Office 9-5, or picking up dirty underwear in a crowded campground like Bedouinthe hero of the story. They do everything in their power to make it a success: dig rifles and run hoses on a snowmaking crew, or guide tourists through fifth-degree expanses of white water. It’s all done for the sake of having more time outside, with pure-hearted peers, exhausted lungs, and sometimes, rutgut whiskey on the tongue.

Dirtbags are not involved in a last ditch effort to survive. Instead, the glory of the dirtbaggery is the voluntary commitment of a constant striving to nourish your wild and extraordinary personal life worth living. Maybe this is a selfish pursuit, or a short-sighted project (especially when it comes to balancing finances), and yes, it can be sloppy. But life along an empty road is not a life devoid of activity and opportunity. There is a lot of proactive life left to live on the fringes of road life.

The life
The author lives a dream of a mobile dirtbag. Courtesy of Adrian Fernandez


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Written by Joseph

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