36 / 2012
Špela Kalčić

The Ethnography of Housetrucking in West Africa: Tourists, Travellers, Retired Migrants and Peripatetics


In the last two decades, West Africa with its Atlantic coast, the Sahara and various other remote places has become a haven for many people from the Global North, who have adopted mobility as a way of life. Most of them are so-called “housetruckers”, i.e. people travelling and at least temporarily living in cars, jeeps, vans, caravans, buses or trucks converted into mobile homes. They represent a highly diversified group that is sometimes hard to put into any conventional mobility category and deserves more academic attention. The aim of this article is to present the variety of this phenomenon and most of all to call attention to the appearance of a new, largely disregarded and undocumented researchable entity within it, i.e. peripatetic housetruckers, which calls for new theoretical reflection within mobility studies.

KEYWORDS: Mobility, housetruckers, neo-nomadism, new researchable entity, West Africa