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Photo Credit: http://bestoffates.com/tales-of-a-female-nomad/

On Saturday, I had the unique opportunity to hear Rita Golden Gelman speak at the monthly meeting of Professional American Women of Istanbul. I first read Rita’s book, Tales of a Female Nomad, when I was 18 years old and attempting to imagine my place in the world. From her story, I found a role model and the inspiration I needed to imagine myself living a life of travel and adventure.

In her 50s, she decided that she wanted to do more than read about the world: she wanted to experience it firsthand.  So, she took the leap! She is currently 75 years old and has lived abroad for the past 27 years.

Rita does not simply live abroad. She seeks out small communities and becomes an active, albeit temporary member of that community. She has explored the Galapagos, lived in Bali, and hiked through the jungle of Irian Jaya. She has lived in mud huts and small cottages. She has climbed mountains and taught in community schools. She sung with tribal leaders and learned local trades. She is also a children’s book author, and has written children’s books about many of her experiences.  She is courageous, wise and the best part?! She is truly and deeply happy with her life.

Here are some of the highlights of her talk:

1.) “Disobey the rules in your head that tell you that you must live your life  in a certain way. Live the life you want and pursue what makes you feel most alive.”

2.) “Risk-taking, trust, and serendipity are key ingredients of joy. Without risk, nothing new ever happens; without trust, fear creeps in; without serendipity, there are no surprises.” – Her words from Tall Cup#31 at Starbucks

3.) ‘Human connections are a valuable commodity. The whole world is a giant favor bank. Let people do favors for you, and pay it forward by doing favors for others’

4.) Opportunities come from connections. Put yourself out there. Connect any and every way you know how. Take risks and do not worry about making a fool of yourself.  Read this for more details: 10 Tips on How to Connect Across Cultures.

5.) The United States would be a very different place if more Americans travelled abroad. She is working to support and encourage more young Americans to take a gap year after high school. Rita is determined to promote the numerous advantages of life and travel abroad. Her project is called Let’s Get Global. 

Inspired Nomad: Rita Golden Gelman

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