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Friday, 13 September 2013

Rita Gelman - Tales of a Female Nomad

reviewed by Ro Bennet on a recorded bookshow for 5th Sept 2013
This the official blurb: 
Tales of a Female Nomad is the story of Rita Golden Gelman, an ordinary woman who is living an extraordinary existence. At the age of forty-eight, on the verge of a divorce, Rita left an elegant life in L.A. to follow her dream of connecting with people in cultures all over the world. In 1986 she sold her possessions and became a nomad, living in a Zapotec village in Mexico, sleeping with sea lions on the Galapagos Islands, and residing everywhere from thatched huts to regal palaces. She has observed orangutans in the rain forest of Borneo, visited trance healers and dens of black magic, and cooked with women on fires all over the world. Rita’s example encourages us all to dust off our dreams and rediscover the joy, the exuberance, and the hidden spirit that so many of us bury when we become adults.

I found this a very interesting and inspiring book. the author has not had a permanent address since 1987. Rita Gelman writes: My kids had left home, my husband was an ex, and it was finally ‘my time’. I no longer wanted to live in one tiny dot on the giant map of the world, I wanted to explore, to adventure, to connect with the diversity of life on earth. I was ready to live my dream.  

She certainly did. She lived in Bali for eight years, staying with an elderly prince and his family. He was a very spiritual man and about that time she writes: In Bali I have learned to listen to the spirits, the inner one that is part of me and the ones from the other invisible world. 

In between her stints in foreign climes she returned to the USA for periods of time to visit her family, and these are also described, so the reader is also drawn into Rita’s personal story. Besides the places mentioned in the blurb she also writes about her wanderings in Irian Jaya in Indonesia, Guatemala, New Zealand, Israel, Nicaragua, Thailand and Canada. 

However, in each place, she didn’t just want to wander and explore like a tourist, she wanted to really get to know the people and learn about and experience their culture and traditions and to live with them as they lived, so her experiences were very diverse and interesting. She got close to the communities she stayed with, was very involved in their day to day life, becoming part of them and sharing with them at a very deep and intimate level. 

Rita Gelman has written other books, including children’s books she reads and gives to the small children in the communities she stays in. I bought a couple and they would appeal to children everywhere because they are humorous. The follow on, Female Nomad and Friends looks interesting too. it’s a compilation of stories and recipes from 41 people from different places. 

Rita Golden Gelman has a website, is on facebook and twitter. She writes : i am a modern day nomad. I have no permanent address, no possessions except the ones I carry, and I rarely know where I’ll be six months from now. I move through the world without a plan, guided by instinct, connecting through trust, and constantly watching for serendipitous opportunities.”  

People are my passion. Unlike a traditional nomad, when i go somewhere, I settle in with the locals long enough to share the minutes of their days, to know the seasons of their lives and to be trusted with their secrets... I have been living and loving my nomadic existence since the day in 1986 when, at the age of forty eight, on the verge of a divorce, I looked around and thought, There has to be more than one way to do life. There is...

I reckon she’s 73 now. What a courageous lady and what an inspiration!

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