“I move throughout the world without a plan, guided by instinct, connecting through trust, and constantly watching for serendipitous opportunities.” —From the Preface
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.
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When Rita Golden Gelman traveled to Mexico during a two-month separation from her husband, she hoped to satisfy an old craving for adventure and, in the process, rejuvenate herself and her marriage. Little did she know it was the beginning of a new life, not just as a divorcée, but as a nomad of the world. Since 1986, Gelman has had no permanent address and no possessions except those she can carry. She travels without a plan, guided by instinct, serendipitous opportunities, and a remarkable ability to connect with people. At first her family and friends accused her of running away, but Gelman knew she had embarked on a journey of self-discovery and a way of life that is inspiring and enviable.
We know Gelman is not your typical middle-aged housewife from LA when, on that first trip to Mexico, she randomly picks a Zapotec village and decides to live there for a month, knowing nothing about the culture or the language. When she arrives, the villagers run away from her, terrified. By the time she leaves, there are hugs and tears. From there she travels to Guatemala and Nicaragua, Israel and the Galapagos Islands. But the heart of the book--and her 15-year journey--is Indonesia, where she lives for eight years. It is Bali that forever changes how she looks at the world, facilitated by her friendship with an aging prince. Tu Aji not only invites her to live with his family but decides that the education of Rita will be his final duty in life. Wherever she goes, Gelman has an uncanny ability to slip into other ways of life and become part of a community. And she is a person for whom doors open widely--her seatmate on the plane to Bali scrawls the prince's name on a piece of paper, she talks her way into a sojourn at Camp Leakey in Borneo where orangutans are studied, and an entire village in a remote part of Irian Jaya prays for the clouds to clear so her plane can land--and they do! Gelmen's secret is her passion for people. That being the case, the book is short on descriptions of place, but long on the rarer inside view of the peoples and customs of those places. This in itself is treat enough, but Gelman's animated and intimate story comes with a kicker--it's never too late to fulfill those dreams. --Lesley ReedFrom the Inside Flap:
There's more than one way to do life.
In a small cemetery deep in the jungle of Borneo, two men climb into a freshly dug hole and retrieve the bones of a long-dead grandmother. An American guest joins the procession from the cemetery to the elaborately decorated village square for a traditional ceremony that will properly send Grandma off on her journey to the next world. In years past, a man from a neighboring tribe was sacrificed whenever this ceremony was performed. Today, in a new era, the neighboring tribe has been invited to participate in the festivities, and the only victim is a cow.
A few years earlier the American guest, Rita Golden Gelman, a children's book author and the mother of two grown children, was living in a comfortable suburban home, dining in elegant restaurants, and attending glamorous parties. Rita only dreamed of traveling to exotic places and experiencing other cultures. When her marriage failed, she decided to live her dream. She sold all her possessions and, at the age of forty-eight, took off to see the world. Fifteen years later, she's still without a permanent home.
Rita has lived in Mexico and the Galapagos Islands, Bali and New Guinea, Israel, Nicaragua, Thailand, and New Zealand. And she's still moving. Although she's not athletically gifted or independently wealthy, Rita has climbed mountains, paddled up rivers, and subsisted for a year on what many people spend in a few months. In Tales of a Female Nomad, Rita shares how she, an ordinary woman, has created a spectacular life, filled with interesting people, enlightening experiences, and fascinating adventures.
Determined to understand each local culture she visits, Rita stays not in hotels but with the natives on sleeping platforms or in huts, cement block houses, mountain cabins, or small bungalows. She even spent four years at a palace in Bali, complete with a prince. She's observed orangutans in the rain forests of Borneo, served as an unofficial tour guide in the Galapagos, taught herself the Indonesian language, and forged many lasting cross-cultural friendships. And the food ? Rita has learned to cook exotic cuisine of all kinds, from elaborate Thai dishes to Nicaragua's staple, gallo pinto.
In addition to her tales of adventure, Rita shares the nitty-gritty details of how she manages to travel on scant funds and live without modern conveniences. To participate actively in the daily life of the communities she visits, she has learned to trust strangers to help her find places to stay and to teach her the local ways. The payoff is that she gains their trust as well.
Dynamic, vivacious, and a marvelous weaver of tales, Rita celebrates her glorious transformation from an unfulfilled suburbanite to a liberated and incredibly self-assured woman of the world. More than a travel memoir, Tales of a Female Nomad is the story of a woman's rebirth. Rita Golden Gelman's real-life tale proves beyond a doubt that anyone can cast away the burdens of conventional life at any age and continue ? or begin ? to thrive.
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Book Description Crown Publishing Group, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # VR-9780609809549
Book Description Penguin Random House. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 0609809547
Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2002. Book. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 203 x 130 mm. Language: English Brand New Book. "I move throughout the world without a plan, guided by instinct, connecting through trust, and constantly watching for serendipitous opportunities." —From the Preface 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. Bookseller Inventory # ABZ9780609809549
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Book Description Broadway Books. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0609809547 A fascinating memoir of a reinvented life follows the author, the creator of more than seventy children's books, on a journey across the globe in search of her personal identity in the wake of a failed marriage and her peripatetic lifestyle in the fifteen years that have followed. Reprint. 25,000 first printing. Bookseller Inventory # 4169608
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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. 0025th. 132mm x 18mm x 205mm. Paperback. Now in paperback, this memoir with a cult following shows how Gelman redesigned her life to fit her dreams and discovered the value of trust, the rewards of risk, and the magic of serendip.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 320 pages. 0.331. Bookseller Inventory # 9780609809549