While we might have a vision of happy retirees hitting the open road in their RV-visiting all the tourist spots, enjoying their adventures – the reality for thousands of retirement age people post-Great Recession is less rosy. For many, whose savings disappeared, who lost their job and couldn’t get another one due to their age, who lost their home, embracing a nomadic way of life is a creative solution. Journalist Jessica Bruder takes to the road in her secondhand van – christened “Halen” – and follows Linda May and others in their adventures as “workampers”. As the irrepressible Linda roams from job to job, working seasonally as a camp host, an Amazon warehouse temp, and at a sugar beet farm, her can-do spirit is reflective of many people on the road.
Bruder offers a fascinating look at a community that has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, full of interesting and diverse characters. For the most part, the common thread in the community is an independent and indomitable spirit – no matter what problems they might be faced with, they just keep on moving. The book also takes a hard look at the economy that has created this community and the impact that the Great Recession and the ever widening gap between the rich and poor has had on a growing population.