June 7, 2010

Barbara Ludwig is a writer, a mother, and a middle-aged Northern European white woman who has no permanent address, very few possessions, and calls herself a nomad.  How Barbara came to be a nomad was, in the beginning, a typical American story.  After 2 marriages, raising 4 boys and living a relatively normal life, Barb had an empty nest and was read for adventure.   Over the years she heard and thought about a hulking Washington state ferry that sailed out of Bellingham, Washington, up through the inside passage to Alaska.  After some planning, selling most, and storing a small amount of her possessions, Barb bought a one way ticket and boarded that ferry and began the 3 day trip to the unknown. 

People who take that ferry ride to Alaska are America or foreign, of all shapes, sizes and colors and headed to Alaska for a variety of reasons.  Some are happy tourists off to see the fabled northern state that’s 1/3rd’s  the size of the “lower 48”, as Alaskan’s call “us”.   Some are headed home, from or to, some fishing job or oil industry contract, ready to get a paycheck or some sleep.  Some are snowbirds, those Alaskans who spend part of the year in the lower 48, and some are like Barb, headed to forge a new life in the state famous for pioneers.

After 3 days of travel and living on a ferry Barb was in an Alaskan cafe; having coffee, reading the local paper and without an agenda.  Needing to have some work to keep her finances in order, Barb planned to stay, for a time, in the places that provided her with a part-time job.  That morning Barb saw an ad in that paper for “someone to live in remote Alaska” as a  “homesteading” worker.  And so began her second step to becoming a nomad, she answered that ad.

Modern nomads are not totally alone in the world.  Many country’s have people who can be considered nomads, roaming their way through life.  In America we have the motor home trend of retired folks who spend many of their senior years traveling in living in campsites.  But Barb’s kind of nomad doesn’t have a permanent bed even.   After a woman named Rita Golden Gelman wrote the book “Female Nomad”, there have been many more middle-aged women inspired to live this way and coming out to tell their unusual stories.  Gelman’s latest book, an anthology called Female Nomads and Friends, Tales of Breaking Free and Breaking Bread Around the World, includes 40 writer’s who have written an essay, accompanied by a favorite recipe, about their nomadic life, and Barb is one of them. 

Now traveling around the country and world; being interviewed, lecturing, introducing people to her lifestyle, and signing and selling nomadic cookbooks, Barb is on a mission; India or Bust, because all the proceeds of this book are going to charity.  Barbara and the other writers will be giving their book profits to a charity that educates and trains children from slums in India.  With smells and living conditions most modern Americans would be unable to survive, Indian slums are horrible at best, tragic at worst and in need of any assistance they can get.  Run by two Rotary Club International chapters who have built a vocational school in New Delhi, this charity is close to Barb, Rita and the other writer’s hearts and wallets.  

In this interview Barbara Ludwig shares a lifestyle, that is becoming an option for many more people today ~ the life of a modern nomad.  

Listen IN!  96.9fm on central Whidbey or stream from KWPA and your computer on Thurday – June 10th at 9am and Friday – June 11th at 4pm

THANK YOU BARB!  Looking forward to hearing from you throughout your travels!