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When Rita Golden Gelman traveled to Mexico during a two-month separation from her husband, she hoped to satisfy an old
craving for adventure and, in the process, rejuvenate herself and her marriage. Little did she know it was the beginning
of a new life, not just as a divorcée, but as a nomad of the world. Since 1986, Gelman has had no permanent address and
no possessions except those she can carry. She travels without a plan, guided by instinct, serendipitous opportunities,
and a remarkable ability to connect with people. At first her family and friends accused her of running away, but Gelman
knew she had embarked on a journey of self-discovery and a way of life that is inspiring and enviable.
We know Gelman is not your typical middle-aged housewife from LA when, on that first trip to Mexico, she randomly picks
a Zapotec village and decides to live there for a month, knowing nothing about the culture or the language. When she
arrives, the villagers run away from her, terrified. By the time she leaves, there are hugs and tears. From there she
travels to Guatemala and Nicaragua, Israel and the Galapagos Islands. But the heart of the book--and her 15-year
journey--is Indonesia, where she lives for eight years. It is Bali that forever changes how she looks at the world,
facilitated by her friendship with an aging prince. Tu Aji not only invites her to live with his family but decides that
the education of Rita will be his final duty in life. Wherever she goes, Gelman has an uncanny ability to slip into
other ways of life and become part of a community. And she is a person for whom doors open widely--her seatmate on the
plane to Bali scrawls the prince's name on a piece of paper, she talks her way into a sojourn at Camp Leakey in Borneo
where orangutans are studied, and an entire village in a remote part of Irian Jaya prays for the clouds to clear so her
plane can land--and they do! Gelmen's secret is her passion for people. That being the case, the book is short on
descriptions of place, but long on the rarer inside view of the peoples and customs of those places. This in itself is
treat enough, but Gelman's animated and intimate story comes with a kicker--it's never too late to fulfill those dreams.