Victoria's Reviews > Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World

Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman
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Jun 13, 2011

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Gelman, when her long term marriage comes to an end and her children have grown up, finally is able ask her fifty year old self just what is it she wants out of life. With very little hesitation, she packs a bag and goes to Mexico where she ends up living in a Zapotec village.

Golden has an anthropology degree and is interested in experiencing other cultures from the inside. From Mexico she takes her readers to Guatemala, Nicaragua, Israel, the Galapagos Islands, Indonesia, New Zealand and Thailand. In all these exotic places she is determined not to be a tourist but to live amongst the people, especially the tribal people, and to be a part of the community.

Her recollections of her experiences are magical, from the local cooking, to the shared tears, rituals, and moments of insight into the shared humanity of everyone she encounters. I love how she went to these locales often on whims, without any reservations or plans, with very little possessions and put her trust in strangers. Her life is enriched by the trust she puts in people, and she falls into serendipitous experiences as a result.

I especially enjoyed reading about her time in Bali and the spiritual connections she made there; her description of the cremation ceremony is extremely beautiful. I also enjoyed her take on Vancouver, my city where she briefly lived and which she describes as a sort of rich cultural mecca. Sometimes it is gift to read an outsider's view of the place you live in so that you can appreciate it with new eyes.

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