I've traveled a bit through the world, but in recent years as a mom, I haven't been able to go as far from home as I used to. So Rita Golden Gelman's Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World was a welcome escape into far off cultures.
Gelman begins her explorations as a way to cope with her failing marriage. She is an older woman, with grown children, and has spent much of her life in a typical, sheltered, American lifestyle. Striking off into foreign lands is not something she is accustomed to, and it is a very frightening thing.
She recounts her early fears of traveling alone, and how those first ventures into the unknown sparked a desire in her to experience more of the world. As she begins this new nomadic life, her family and friends question her mental health and her resolve. She doesn't go in to great detail about their concerns, but, for me, she doesn't have to.
As a younger woman, I was desperate to travel, escape my childhood, and see the world. My adventurous plans were often met with disapproval, disbelief, and a general lack of support from certain family members and friends. Despite their judgments, I went anyway. Maybe it was the so-called travel bug; but I tend to think it was more about my need to find my place in this world by seeing how other people experience it. Maybe this bug is a sickness, or maybe it is just a willingness to look at and experience the world in a new way.
I truly admire Gelman's open heart and mind as she travels, as she describes it in this book. She trusts the universe to take her where she needs to go, and protect her along the way. This is a way of being I have long tried to cultivate, though has often been met with my own fear. But that seems to be the point of Tales of a Female Nomad; throw yourself in, all in, fear, love, confusion, compassion, all of it, then let go and see where the wind takes you.