Real-life nomad of Nomadland hopes Oscar-tipped film inspires others

Real-life nomad of Nomadland hopes Oscar-tipped film inspires others
Frances McDormand in Nomadland (20th Century/PA)

One of the real-life nomads from Oscar-tipped film Nomadland has said he hopes the movie inspires more people to adopt a life on the road.

The film stars Frances McDormand as a woman in her 60s who loses everything in the recession and lives in her van on a journey across the American West.

It was adapted from Jessica Bruder’s bestselling non-fiction book Nomadland: Surviving America In The Twenty-First Century, about the rootless community in the US, and many of the nomads who appear in the book also feature in the film as versions of themselves.

Among them is Bob Wells, 65, founder of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, the largest gathering of nomads and van dwellers in the US, and a long-time proponent of transient living.

He told the PA news agency: “There are a few principles that nomads live by. First, things are a burden. If we all started to think things were a burden, our lives will be far better, our world would be far better. If we all started to think about generosity first, that I need other people and they need me…

“We lived nomadically for millions of years and these were the principles. I need you tomorrow to help me with the hunt, so I have to take care of you today.

“If we just adopted some of these… travel is good, seeing the world, making bigger thoughts other than my own little tiny circle. If we would just adopt those simple ideas, everyone’s life would be better, the world would be better.”

The movie has been a critical triumph and was recently named best film at the Baftas, where McDormand won the award for best actress.

Bob Wells (Searchlight Pictures/PA)

Director Chloe Zhao, who was born in China, became only the second woman to win the best director prize, and the first woman of colour.

The film is tipped to win top prizes at the Oscars, where it is nominated for six gongs.

Mr Wells said he hopes the film will inspire some people to adopt a different way of living, adding: “It’s not an all-or-nothing life.

“It’s not like you have to leave everything and move into a van and just run away.

“You can stay in your house and there are lot of minivans in Europe and in the UK – just start taking trips and you can have most of the advantages of living the nomadic life, but with hardly any other disadvantages.

“So wherever people are, they can start right now and their life would be a lot better.”

Nomadland will be released on Star on Disney+ in the UK and Ireland on April 30 and will be in cinemas in the UK and Ireland from May 17.

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