Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman

If you are looking for an inspirational mid-life adventure, you can’t go wrong with Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman. She begins her narration with time she spent living alone in a Zapotec village in Mexico recently divorced and wondering what to do with the rest of her life. Then we travel with her to Nicaragua, Israel, the Galapagos Islands, Indonesia, Canada, New Zealand, and Thailand.

Her experiences in each location, and the life lessons she picked up along the way, are well-described. She had experiences most backpackers will only dream about, such as living with a prince’s family in Bali. Most of her travels were done with no more than a wing and a prayer planning, but seemed to work out in the end. 

Although this book was published in 1999, the author did stop traveling. You can read more about her continued adventures on her blog. The last post was dated 2019 when Ms. Gelman was 83 years old, recently returned from Rwanda, and took a spill in her home resulting in a hospital stay. What an inspiration for all women to live life to its fullest as long as possible! 

The last two travel books I’ve read and reviewed didn’t appeal to me as much as Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman did. Perhaps I couldn’t see myself in the innocence of An Inkling, A Backpack and All the Time in the World–Traveling on a Whim by Tamara K. Bryant or the jaded world-view found in Plan SEA: A Guide to a Work-Travel Life, Amazing Adventures Around the World, and Preparing for Your Own Sea Change by S.E. Ansley

I will say that I felt like Ms. Gelman’s narrative only just scratched the surface of her actual experiences. I expect, though, had she gone into more details the book would have been thousands of pages long. So I made do with surface skimming and puddle jumping and enjoyed it just the same.

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