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Woohoo! Welcome to the community. Arthur the Raven and I are thrilled to have you.

Legal Nomads was founded in 2008 and has grown quite a bit over the years. With over a decade of writing on the site, there are a lot of articles to comb through. So, for new subscribers I made a page where I hand-picked a few of the the most popular pieces, and those that are important to me. They’re in 3 different categories: food, travel, and personal / health.

If you are looking for a chronological list, head on over to the Blog page instead

If you wanted to connect on social media, I update most often on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Welcome! I hope you enjoy the site.


Food Writing

How to Eat Street Food Without Getting Sick –  This is one of the most frequent questions I receive, so I wanted to put together a long post with my responses, and hopefully get people to check out street eats on their next trip!

A Brief History of Chili Peppers – A fun deep dive into one of fiery foods we love.

An Ode to Spices – This was one of the posts that kicked off the shift here at Legal Nomads to focus more and more on food. It discusses why food matters, and how my celiac disease diagnosis has affected the way I see what we eat. But also, it looks at the flavours, the textures, the colours and all of the things that make eating exciting and interesting for many of us.

Condiments from Around the World (And Why They Matter) – From pickles to chilli and everything in between, a long post on the table condiments we find on our travels, and how they fit into the history and culture of the places we visit.

Hungry and Haunted in Hue – A long weekend in Hue felt like I had stepped into another, haunted world. This post discussed the history of Hue from the Vietnam war, as well as my food forays in the city. At the bottom, I’ve listed out the places you can eat if you visit.

Pleading for Bun Rieu Soup in Cai Rang  – one of my fonder memories and a great morning adventure in the Mekong Delta, where I was unceremoniously refused soup by a vendor, only to have a granny come and intervene on my behalf.

The Legal Nomads Guide to Saigon Street Food – I couldn’t leave out a long post about what to eat in Saigon! This was many months of planning and has turned into a great way that I can ensure my readers eat well even if I am not in town to feed them.

Are you looking for recipes and not food narrative? Click here.

Travel Writing

Decoding the Insanity of Driving in Morocco – Driving in Morocco is quite the harrowing experience, but when treated like a game of Rad Racer and with knowledge of the basic rules, it became one of the best parts of my trip to the country.

Northern India: The Good, The Great, and the Ugly – A very long post about my weeks in India, from the good to the bad, to the many quirks in between. It was hard to synthesize a sprawling region into one long post, but hopefully I captured some of the many fascinating, and frustrating, things about my time in Rajasthan.

Most Embarrassing Stories from my Travels – Exactly what it sounds like.

What does Off the Beaten Path Really Mean? –  I get emails asking where “secret” places are that my readers can visit, but the expression “off the beaten path” is not one that requires to you head out to far flung places. Having authentic travel experiences requires an open mind more than an open space; it is less about somewhere no one else has gone to and more about your ability as a human to connect with those around you and forge meaningful interactions. You can do this both at home or abroad.

How to Make the Most of a Repositioning Cruise – A group of 10 friends on a 15-day boat trip across the Pacific — what could go wrong? This trip ended up as a mix of business meetings and complete and total silliness, so much so that passengers on this ship thought we were official entertainment. Nope, just a bunch of entrepreneurial misfits. If you think you don’t like cruising, think again. A repositioning cruise is a great way to get work done and enjoy getting from A to B.

Personal Stories, Health, & Chronic Pain

My Vipassana Meditation Experience: Spiders and Silence – The 10-day Vipassana course was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. This piece shares my experience, as well as whether I think it is worth doing, and provides tips and further reading for people who want to include these principles in their day-to-day lives.

Learning to Cope With Chronic Pain – Post-dengue, my body has never been the same. This post explains what happened, how I’ve processed the new changes, and what has worked to help me manage the pain on a day-to-day basis. It was a hard piece to write, but one I that I’m glad I put out there. (Note: this goes to a different, personal site!)

Connecting the Dots: My Chronic Pain Explained – After years of not knowing why my body seemed to be falling apart, specialists gave me my answers. It turns out two systemic conditions, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome are to blame. More at the link. (Note: this goes to a different, personal site!)

The Lumbar Puncture that Changed My Life – how a lumbar puncture in 2017 derailed my life of travel and set me down a new, painful path.

How Travel Helps us Keep Life in Perspective –  From culture shock to reverse culture shock to living through harrowing moments abroad, this piece address travel as a learning experience, and one that keeps us recalibrated on the present. Though it is easy to get mired in complaining when things go wrong, I think it can be helpful to look at the bigger picture where travel is concerned. About privilege, and movement, and how perspective is something we should each keep in the front of our minds.

Don’t Stop Traveling Because of Fear – In light of world events and terrorism, many people have written about staying home instead of exploring. In this post I implore people to keep traveling, instead of giving into the fear-mongering.

On Homesickness and Long-Term Travel – Can a person with no fixed home get homesick? This is a question that has cropped up frequently during my many years of travel. This long post discusses what it means to be homesick when you’re a modern nomad, and whether you lose the ability to feel truly attached to a destination if you keep moving every few months at a time.

The Overview Effect, Mindfulness and Travel – When an astronaut sees the earth from space for the first time, he or she is often overcome by a profound feeling of connection between humans. The Overview Effect refers to that feeling, one that astronauts have said has changed the way they see earth forever. This post uses travel as a more reachable version of Overview Effect, one that can engender similar feelings of connectivity and fragility for those of us who cannot go into space.

On Facing Fear and Learning to Sail in New Zealand – I felt into the deep end of a public pool when I was a toddler, and have long frozen up when I am on water. After a lifetime of trying to keep that fear at bay, I confronted the fear of drowning by taking a 5-day sailing course in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands. This piece talks about my personal struggle with water but also about fear generally and the psychology behind it.

Supporting Me And Learning About Chronic Pain

patreon jodi ettenberg

After a cerebrospinal fluid leak derailed my life of travel and food, my readers asked me to start a Patreon. I did so this year, and the Patreon community is full of former lawyers and other career changers who want to provide support for my new, limited life but also learn about coping with chronic pain. I share resources, tips, and video updates that answer questions from the community. Everyone either knows someone in pain, or is in pain themselves. Hopefully this community helps demystify some of how patients cope, but also allows readers to learn about how it feels to be chronically ill, thus helping others feel less alone.

Thanks again for being a part of the Legal Nomads community!

Much love from Canada,

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