the (often) meandering travels of a student anthropologist
Welcome to a working digital ethnography that explores the experience of solo women nomads.
Learn more about the project under 'Current Project: Rubbertramp Goddesses' in the menu, and if you are a female nomad who would be interested in joining the project, hover over the 'Current Project' link in the menu to drop down the 'join' link.
The first phase of fieldwork has been completed. This past winter I lived as a nomad in an old motorhome I renovated earlier in the year. I spent many weeks camping in the desert around Quartzsite, attended the 2018 Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR), met incredible people, and interviewed some particularly extraordinary women. Over the summer of 2018 I will be publishing at least eight collaborative 'narrative sketches' featuring these women.
On the road I was asked that question often and, on occasion, have had to defend my decision. Some consider gendering to be divisive, leading to more inequity between the sexes. Others take offense to the working title I've chosen, perhaps because they feel it elevates the female experience above the male.
However, as I researched this topic, and watched interviews on YouTube with the men and women who had chosen to become nomads, it dawned on me that the first question women are often asked, is "aren't you afraid?". For women, safety was a primary concern. When men were interviewed, the question rarely comes up, or when it does, it was later in the interview. It was an afterthought. The fact that we ask the question of women points directly to the fact that women in our culture today do experience the nomadic lifestyle differently than men. Their experience requires different skills of negotiation, communication, and agency. Women are liberating themselves from different normative role requirements and are perceived differently when they take up life on the road.
As an ethnographer I have to focus on what is being lived on the ground, and experienced by the members of a culture, rather than imaginative ideals.
This is especially true of our own culture.
That said, I am also personally interested in the female experience, especially when marginalized, and you can learn more about my interest here.