Nomadland — the (un)review

My experience watching Nomadland from the perspective of a 55-year-old guy who lives in a van.

Erik Blair
4 min readFeb 19, 2021

Nomadland | Photo Credit: wikipedi —

Life is a collection of stories, most of them untold. Snapshots of time spent looking out of a window at the world. The stories people subconsciously know at least something about, but never quite put two-and-two together until they become the story themselves. Stories of solitude and the vast emptiness all around us. Stories of the silent surrender to our own timeless insignificance. Stories of awakening to the state of what it means to be human; alone in a crowded world. Nomadland is one of those.

“Fern” played by Frances McDormand | Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

In the background of our lives there’s a distant telling from a different perspective. You can’t put your finger on it. But somehow you find yourself living your life at a fever pitch with no end in sight. And just when you discover you’re old, and life’s shedding leaves like winter is coming, you become aware of how alone you truly are. Looking out the window of your life you find yourself staring back at you on a rainy day.

The haunting theme song for Nomadland, by Italian Pianist Ludovico Einaudi, captures the emotion behind the film. The song, “Oltremare” which means “Overseas”, is befitting the touching nature of Fern’s journey across the Western US in search of something we all look for but rarely ever find — contentment. The song, drenched in the mystery of a seafarer’s journey — from still seas through stormy skies — never reaching port. If you listen closely you can sense melancholy and imagine what it must be like to wander aimlessly in the desert. Some may hear the rain just outside the window of life. Nomadland takes you to a place few ever witness. Some places are wet, some cold, and some are empty. But you can find yourself there if you put your mind to it.

Erik Blair

Writer, technologist, web dev, consultant, loves travel