In 1987, author Rita Gelman was stifled by the day-to-day L.A. grind. So, she did what some women can only fantasize about: became a nomad and started circling the globe. Mexico, Thailand, Israel, India, Bali… The list goes on and continues growing as 73-year old Rita still doesn’t have a permanent address.
The travelogue recounting Rita’s first 15 years living as a nomad – Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World – has lured a devoted audience and is a word of mouth phenomenon that has changed lives. Mine included.
I read Tales slowly; it was one of those books I just didn’t want to end. Against the advice of her publisher (but lucky for me!), Rita included her personal email address on the last page. So, the end of the book turned out to be just the beginning of a new friendship. I wrote her an email right away, telling her that I was considering a major life upheaval: moving to the Colorado home of my then-boyfriend (now, husband and father of our five month old daughter). She wrote back a day later. That same courageous, voice narrating her adventures in print was all of a sudden directed to me personally, giving me that extra boost of encouragement I needed to take the leap.
Rita says it’s still “such fun,” to get dozens of letters every week from readers.
Having worked in an independent bookstore for several years, I’ve watched the impact of Tales on hundreds of women (and even some men…) When I hand-sell the book, I emphasize that Rita encourages people to get out of their comfort zone – connect in a new way; put yourself out there to interact with and appreciate other cultures; veer from your norm, whatever that may be.
For some, it may be big life changes, like selling the house, car and all your gear to escape on a global travel spree. But for others, it may be an adventure closer to home. Going out to dinner alone and sitting by yourself at a restaurant. Inviting a new neighbor over for a cup of tea. Maybe it’s treating yourself to that surfing vacation you keep putting on the back burner.
Much to her readers’ chagrin, Rita doesn’t plan a sequel to Tales. However, her recent anthology Female Nomad and Friends: Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World, is a satisfying substitute. It not only includes out-takes from Rita’s journeys, but also brings together tales from mostly female writers about their experiences connecting with other cultures, be it taking risks, seeking passion, or sharing a meal. Female Nomad and Friends also features 33 international recipes.
All Female Nomad & Friends royalties – as well as ticket proceeds from the book signing – will benefit kids from slums in New Delhi, India. Rita shares that “nearly a year in New Delhi connected me with the kids in the slum across the street from the International School in Arusha, and out of that came the scholarship fund that the anthology is supporting.”
On Saturday November 27, Rita will speak about her travels and her books at The Next Page Bookstore in Frisco, Colo. Space will be limited, so please reserve your tickets in advance.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
3:00-5:00 p.m. MT
The Next Page Bookstore
409 Main St.
Reserve $5 ticket in advance – call 970-668-9291 or email: Karen@nextpagebooks.com