This may come as a surprise because I haven’t sent a newsletter since April 2018, but you’re getting this message because you signed up for my Links I Loved newsletter way back when.
I’ve been mostly on hiatus for medical reasons since August of 2017, when a spinal tap derailed my life of travel and location independent living. The newsletter fell by the wayside at the same time, given my that medical condition made it difficult to stand and type. I was on the mend for a 9 month period (when I sent the last newsletter) but the spinal CSF leak reopened and I’ve been unable to work much since.
But I’m back, still leaking but determined to work when I can. And I’ve moved to Substack in order to combine all of the newsletters I used to send: from Links I Loved, to personal updates, to updates from my food maps, and more.
But first, here’s a quick summary of the last few years:
The spinal tap that changed my life led to a spinal CSF leak, which required four rounds of blood and glue patching. I was sealed up and healing for 9 months before the leak re-opened. Unfortunately, this condition is ongoing. Due to other complications stemming from the last procedure, I have not been able to safely go back to fix the leak. It is unclear when or if it will be worth the risk, but I do hope the science in this area evolves over time. For more about spinal CSF leaks, and that story, see here.
I have not found a laying down desk that works for me, and standing to type is a time-limited problem, so I’ve decided to start a podcast to share answers to tough questions from my community. More about the podcast, about learning to make peace with these life changes, and about grief, here. (Also at the link, a form to submit questions for the podcast if you have any you want me to tackle in an episode.)
If you missed it, I released a 10-week free (all the tracks on the site, no sign ups needed) meditation course, since readers asked about my practice and how they can meditate. The goal was to give a sampler of different types of meditation, so that you could choose the one that resonated most with you. Self-compassion, Vipassana, mindfulness, Rinzai Zen and more, here.
I’ve started out in audio form by recording some of my posts to accompany them, since many emails asked for a more accessible version of my writing. These are the posts related to chronic illness, meditation, and more. I’ve hired a sound engineer who will also work with me on the podcast itself, and this was our first project together. There are a few more posts I’ve yet to record, but you can check out one of them here. I look forward to moving on to the more regular recordings, and he’s been wonderful to work with.
My day to day life is extremely limited. I cannot tie my own shoes, or live independently. I went from a life of total freedom to a very small life, something many people relate to now that COVID-19 has made many of our lives smaller. Part of what has kept me afloat for the last years has been my community, and I thank each and every one of you who contributed to the campaign that helped me fund my trip to Duke, who sent me photos to cheer me up, who reach out to see how I’m doing. Many people in tough spots don’t have the fierce support of a network around the world who wants to see you better. It’s truly been extraordinary, and I’m so incredibly grateful.
I’m in the process of redoing my Legal Nomads site to reflect that I’m not legal, nor a nomad. These days when I look at the site I feel a dissonance to where I am. The podcast will be housed elsewhere, but the LN site will remain. I didn’t want to move all the travel and food posts to the new site because, well, I’m not doing those things anymore. But I don’t want to erase the wonderful decade of work, and I will be updating the celiac cards there, still. So Legal Nomads will be reshaped to reflect the new reality, with the tagline moving from “telling stories through food” to Curious about everything. This slogan also perfectly elucidates my mantra in life, and my drive to keep learning - no matter what. It’s also why I named this newsletter to mirror the new tag for the site.
More about this newsletter.
As I pivot toward a new medium, I wanted to have a place where I could share updates from the process, including anything I do manage to write. I also read a lot and wanted to keep distributing some of the best of other people’s work from around the web.
So, this newsletter will be most like Links I Loved, alongside my personal updates as I learn how to podcast.
I hope you are all staying as safe and well as possible in these crazy times, and that you’ll continue to join me and receive this monthly missive.
I hope to send this newsletter toward the middle of each month, starting in November.
If you’re receiving this email from someone else, you can subscribe below:
I leave you with a photo from my 40th birthday, that my friend Laurence “Jodified” further by adding a llama: