Kitra Cahana doesn’t really live anywhere. The photojournalist has been on the road since she was young, the oldest in a family of five with parents who often traveled for months on end. Says the TED Fellow by phone (appropriately, from the road), “It engrained in me the notion that I can live anywhere, that there are no borders.”

It was natural for Cahana, then, to find herself working on a project about homeless communities across the United States. Her series Nomad, which she discusses in her TED Talk, is an exploration of the wandering life. She saw creativity flourish in her travels, but she also saw very clearly that it’s not a glamorous existence. “It’s almost impossible to sleep anywhere without being hassled,” she says. “Wherever you are, you’re trespassing. There’s no space in our society for homeless people.”

For Cahana, the value of being nomadic has less to do with how close a person is to mainstream society and more to do with a sort of mental freedom. She says, “The space of the road is really the space of creating mental distance — so you’re not reliant upon the ideas we take for granted in society.” Here, witness the lives of Cahana’s wanderers, as documented in Nomad.

All photographs courtesy of Kitra Cahana.