Monday, November 19, 2012


It’s been raining here for three days, and it’s going to rain for three more days.  So, we’re not doing much sightseeing.  We did go back to Bari on Saturday and visited a museum there that displayed the works of Puglia born artists from the 1400’s through the 1900’s.  It was mostly religious art.  I asked my friends if there was a museum where I could see more contemporary Italian art, because I really haven’t seen much non-religious art since I’ve been here.  Of about 20 rooms we toured, maybe 3 displayed contemporary art from the 1800’s to the 1900’s.  Oh well.

Anyway, we’re just hanging out at la casa, cooking some really good Italian and American food, reading, watching TV (not me, because the talk is too fast for me to understand), and generally lounging.  So I figure I should take some time to give credit to the woman who inspired me to embark upon this journey.  Her name is Rita Golden Gelman, and last year I read her book Tales of a Female Nomad:  Living at Large in the World.  This woman was divorced at age 48 (which, if my memory serves me, was in the mid-1980’s).  She started travelling then and hasn’t stopped.  She is truly a female nomad, and I stole her handle for my blog.  What a poacher I am! 

Almost everyone who learned of my travel plans has commented on how brave I am to be travelling alone for this extended time.  But my adventure pales beside that of Rita Golden Gelman.  If you want to read about a woman who is truly courageous, I can recommend her book, which details her travels in Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Israel, the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Borneo, and Bali, where she lived for eight years on the royal compound.   She has no permanent address and only the possessions she can carry.  Her travels are guided by her instinct and serendipity.  And she has a pretty impressive ability to connect with people at all levels of society, from peasants to princes.

Rita Gelman makes her living writing children’s books, and she doesn’t make a lot of money.  So, her travels have been primarily in countries where the American dollar stretches enough to support her nomadic lifestyle.  You don’t see any European countries on her travel itinerary.

I found her story fascinating; and before reading her book, I had never really thought about doing anything similar.  Having been a nomad for close to 3 months, my admiration for her is even greater.  This is not a “piece of cake” life style, but it isn’t boring. And like Ruth, it’s the people I’ve met who provide the memories I know I will treasure most. 

I’m not sure I’ll be lucky enough to meet a member of the royal family of Bali in an airport, but who knows?  Life is full of surprises when you are fully open to life.

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