After reading a male-dominant travel book like The Sex Lives of Cannibals (which was amazing, but still very male-dominant), I was searching for something different and got curious when the I saw Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World. I was a bit skeptical about the word “female” in the title, but I downloaded a sample (thanks Amazon!) and the full book after a few pages. I couldn’t stop reading!

It’s the kind of book I wish someone told me about. A classic. Rita Golden Gelman is truly one of the most inspirational women and nomads (male or female!) I’ve ever encountered. And an amazing writer! Her storytelling skills are pure inspiration.

It starts with her story. She was living a nice normal life - was married, had a house, had kids, went out to fancy LA parties - until one day she got divorced from her husband at the age of 48 and started traveling the world. And not in a safe way - by staying in nice hotels and AirBNBs in nice safe European countries…

Her first solo trip was to Mexico City where I don’t even feel that safe going alone today. And this was back in the 80s (the year I was born!) - no cell phones, no Google Maps, no Google Translate! She ends up hiking along the road until she hitchhikes on the back of a truck to a random village and talks her way into staying there for a month.

Given the opening story, you can only imagine her future adventures. She has that thing where she can go anywhere in the world, in 3rd-world-countries, make friends, cook in the local kitchen with the other women, and go on crazy unique adventures anyone can only dream of. Take her trip to the Nicaragua war zone or islands in the Galapagos that only scientists can go to or the deep Indonesian forest.

And on top of that, she develops her career as a children books writer, using her travel as inspiration. Oh, and writes a few amazing adult books as well. And learns several languages along the way! You can tell how much her husband was holding her back. How inspiring is it that she could let go of her husband and completely change her life to such a degree starting at age 48! This woman is pure fire!

This is not a story of a 20-something lazy dude traveling the world - it’s mature, impressive, and completely inspiring on so many levels.

You can change your life at any age. It is never too late to pursue your true dream. Women can travel and have adventures as exciting (and even more exciting!) than men. Anything is possible.

This book inspired me to have a bit of an adventure of my own in Fiji… will hopefully write about that later. And it encouraged me to open up a lot more - I realized that being super private is holding me back in a lot of ways. I ended up having some deep thoughts and realizations around why that is (thanks society!). After reading this book, I gave a very personal talk at a conference, experimenting with my own storytelling, and it was a big success.

And among all those life-changing thoughts I had reading this book, I realized that I have a lot of time. A lot of lifetimes. I don’t have to rush my way around the world. I can pursue multiple dreams, learn many different skills, and take my time. I still have 17 years to go before turning 48 and look how much Rita Golden Gelman was able to do (and still doing!) only after that age! Just wow!