Their eyes widen, their mouth gapes open, they look me up and down, staring blatantly at the backpack towering over me in complete disbelief at the words, “yes, I am traveling alone.”
For many, travel is something that happens each year for a few weeks, a vacation to sip wine in Italy, or take in the sun in Mexico, or treck the Machu Pichu trail in Peru. But for a lucky and brave few, travel is the only way to live. The call of wanderlust is so loud within these individuals that it screams incessantly from their insides until it is satiated by the open road. These are the nomads who embark upon lifelong journeys of perpetual exploration, and leave only stories in their wake.
These female nomads all have quite the bad ass story.
Alex started wandering when she went to South East Asia while still in college in 2009. Her endless adventure started in a backpack in small hostels on the beaches and jungles, mostly in Thailand. Over the years since she began she has continued her nomadic ways without stopping. Impressively, Alex has made life on the move a dream-come-true through the blog in which she writes about her adventures, sharing information, tid-bits and travel tales to her loyal readership.
Alex’s humor, which she claims came from her father, and her transparent honesty that comes through her writing, gives her readers a special peek into her nomadic life. Her fans love her not just for where she goes, but for who she unabashedly is on the road. Coupled with beautiful photography and a wealth of vast information, AlexinWanderland.com is like a diary telling of the traveler’s life.
Most travelers are nomads at heart, and the world is their open canvas to walk upon. Shayna Gladstone is an activist first, traveler second. This is a woman whose passion for changing the world has lead her into the most unique villages, Indigenous communities, and permaculture gardens through North, Central and South America. Her work combines that of other writers to curate a blog of people around the world who are working to create positive change in the world.
Currently Shayna works with project NuMundo to bring their readers information on collectives and communities that people can travel to, to unite with other activists around the globe.
I met Madison when she strolled out of a van with four other young men on a beach in El Salvador. The group had been traveling from the U.S. through Central America on their way to South America on a photography journey. The group was called Vanajeros and they were moving through two continents on a mission to document the people and places they encountered along the way.
That was three years ago. Madison has since continued to develop her eye for photography and travel in her van, using Instagram as one of many mediums to share her travels. Currently, there is quite a contingency of Instagram travel photographers. Madison is using the app as a tool to share the way she sees the world in a profoundly colorful and poetic way. Her Instagram tells the story not only of a traveler seeing different places, but also as a curious and wandering spirit who experiences the world through a lens of color and magic.
Madison currently works for Backpacker Magazine.
Rita Goldman Gelman (The O.G. Nomad)
Before I ever put a backpack on my back and followed my intuition into the unknown, I heard of the book Tales of a Female Nomad. This was a truly inspiring tale of a woman who set out in the world and found not only herself, but humanity; a bad ass lady who went to the far reaches of the world and discovered the aspects within herself one can only define from a life of movement. She continues to travel after many years on the road, and may be the closest thing to an actual nomad that exists in this new age. Her tale continues to inspire women of all generations to listen to what is in their heart.
Featured Image: Shayna Gladstone of Numundo.org