Once I began Criminal Nomads as a weblog in 2008, I did so in order that family and friends may just apply me when I give up my activity as a attorney to commute the arena for three hundred and sixty five days.

After all, three hundred and sixty five days became many—you all know the tale through now. When the website online started to develop sharply within the years that adopted, I decided to stay it ad-free and no longer take any subsidized textual content hyperlinks or advertorial. I didn’t revel in studying websites peppered with commercials—so I handled my group the way in which I sought after to be handled.

Years in the past, anyone as soon as instructed me that used to be an excessively silly thought, that I’d by no means achieve success if I constructed my industry with the ones types of regulations.

Did I depart some huge cash at the desk?


However I sought after the Criminal Nomads weblog to be a residing tree of my studies and adventures, with out sacrificing the types of studying I sought after to concentrate on. So I wrote the way in which I sought after to, and shared what I discovered maximum attention-grabbing on the time.

Whilst I’m fortunate to have a shockingly dependable and engaged group of readers, the disadvantage to this selection has been that the weblog has taken a again seat to different pages and initiatives that do usher in source of revenue. It’s been particularly dormant all the way through the previous few years when my capability to paintings has been extraordinarily restricted.

So after virtually a complete 12 months of no longer posting at the weblog, I sought after to replace you all on what’s been happening. I understand that what I percentage under will not be information to these of you who get my Curious About The whole lot publication, or are Patreon individuals. However there’s nonetheless a large crew that obtain neither of the ones, and it’s prime time I gave you an replace!

I’m additionally going to be sending out my 2022 present information quickly, specializing in gifted native artisans right here in Ottawa (who additionally send to the US).

Updates, most commonly in chronological order, under.

I finished up at the entrance web page of CNN for a weekend

In 2021, CNN commissioned a work about my spinal CSF leak and the way I went from commute and meals blogger to bedbound. The editor, Karla, noticed an Instagram submit I wrote in regards to the paintings to just accept what’s, and find out how to reframe the prevailing second when existence means that you can down.

The piece used to be very exhausting to write down, each bodily and emotionally. I’ve mentioned in different places that it felt like doing surgical treatment on myself, carving away portions of my tale that have been too unwieldy to suit into the transient.

With the assistance of buddies who edited my draft sooner than I submitted it to Karla, CNN revealed the piece in past due January 2022.

I had was hoping that the piece would lift consciousness for this horrible spinal situation that many of us don’t even know exists. I used to be probably the most blissfully unaware, sooner than it took place to me. I additionally sought after to write down one thing that fellow sufferers may just doubtlessly ship to their households and really feel observed through, serving to them provide an explanation for how painful and debilitating spinal CSF leak is.

CNN determined to place the piece at the entrance web page for a whole weekend.

I utterly misplaced observe of who learn it as my inbox exploded with feedback and horrible tales of ache from individuals who may just relate. It used to be an awesome, exhilarating week and I think honoured that my writing used to be so extensively learn and shared.

jodi ettenberg cnn front page
Screenshot from CNN’s frontpage, January 31, 2022

I nonetheless obtain messages from individuals who stumble at the piece and acknowledge their signs on it, sending them down the trail to get handled for spinal CSF leak.

I’m very thankful to Karla for giving me the chance to impact exchange via my tale.

Be aware: I gained many questions on my leak tale after sharing it, like why I haven’t long past for surgical treatment, or issues I wanted I knew sooner than I were given a lumbar puncture. I did a unique version FAQ publication, and you’ll be able to see solutions to these questions right here.

The Criminal Nomads group followed two ‘Criminal Lemurs’

Sooner or later, whilst I used to be within the bathe—the place all excellent concepts derive—I determined that I might undertake a lemur from the Duke Lemur Heart.

Lemurs are a few of my favorite animals (in the back of tarsiers in fact), and I remorseful about no longer visiting them of their house of Madagascar sooner than I develop into disabled.

Adopting a lemur looked like a amusing distraction from the gaping maw of the scoop cycle, and I puzzled if any readers would have an interest.

lemur eating rose blossoms
This lemur’s face expresses how I think once I have a look at the scoop. © DLC, 2022

I took to social media with a abruptly made graphic and requested if any person else could be considering becoming a member of in. 31 folks mentioned sure, and I despatched $750 in lemur monies to the Duke Lemur Heart.

In go back, we followed a Coquerel’s sifaka and an aye-aye, and obtain quarterly behaviour updates about our lemurs with numerous in reality lovable pictures.

One in every of our lemurs, Pompeia, even had a child this spring.

Duke Lemur Center Pompeia and Cornelia
Cornelia and her mum, Pompeia. © DLC, 2022
Duke Lemur Center Pompeia and Cornelia
I will’t even. © DLC, 2022

Our aye-aye is called Agatha, and he or she has an excessively feisty character. Her updates regularly contain the ingenious ways in which she avoids stepping into her enclosure when she’s intended to. (Underneath is a unique aye-aye, Binx.)

Duke Lemur Center Aye Aye

(For readability, that is just a symbolic adoption; unfortunately there can be no exact lemurs despatched our approach.)

I’ll be re-upping the adoption procedure subsequent February, since lots of the Criminal Lemur folks have already requested if lets renew once more. If any person desires to be stored up to date about this eye bleach, please ship me an electronic mail and I’ll stay your title in thoughts for subsequent 12 months.

I joined the Spinal CSF Leak Basis’s Affected person Advisory Panel for Analysis, and later within the 12 months, their Board of Administrators

Round the similar time as we followed some lemurs, the American Spinal CSF Leak Basis introduced its picks for a analysis board this is affected person led, and is helping formalize the function of sufferers in transferring analysis ahead.

Analysis is a space of hope for advanced circumstances like me, and I joined the affected person panel for analysis in February 2022, along side a bunch of different sufferers. All of us recognize having the chance to incorporate our voice as analysis research are crafted or carried out.

Later this 12 months, the Basis requested me to enroll in their board of administrators, and I accredited. Each the USA and Canadian Foundations were very useful, each for me and for sufferers in North The united states in most cases. I’m excited to proceed serving the affected person group, and with a bit of luck proceed to boost consciousness in new techniques.

I moved to Ottawa

After a 12 months in Aylmer, in Quebec’s Gatineau area, I in spite of everything discovered a spot for me in Ottawa. It’s close to water, it’s an 8-minute pressure from my brother, and it’s in a development that has to this point been very accommodating with appreciate to my disabilities.

Even though I’ve now clawed again a couple of hours an afternoon of ‘uptime’ with my spinal CSF leak, there’s nonetheless so much I can’t do.

Jodi Ettenberg
Me on my forty third birthday, in Ottawa

I’ve to restrict lifting anything else to five kilos and beneath. I will’t bend on the waist, or twist my backbone. The rest that raises intrathecal force an excessive amount of goes to chance blowing open my leak. (As will Covid, through the way in which, so my fear with getting it’s not solely my chance profile for headaches with my immune disorder, but additionally {that a} coughing are compatible can remove all of this hard earned independence.)

I do opt for walks when my well being permits, however doing so eats into my “status up” funds—and manner I wish to be sure that I’m no longer cooking a meal then (I’ll have a salad as an alternative), and no longer status as much as write that day. Since I’m penning this submit, these days might not be a stroll day.

Nonetheless, the gradual walks I’ve completed have been completely gorgeous, particularly in Autumn. And after years totally in mattress, they really feel like jubilation.

fall trees ottawa ontario
Stunning timber right here!

As for the rental: my development gave me permission to put in a unique software on my patio door, because the heavy glass door used to be no longer one thing I may just open safely. It drills into the highest of the patio door and permits me to press a button to open it. I additionally invested in electrical blinds, and in a tabletop freezer. A pal gave me his outdated tabletop oven, and each freezer and oven sit down facet through facet and ready to be accessed at any time.

I’ll be writing a submit sooner or later in regards to the accessibility adjustments that helped make this position attainable for me. However I do wish to say right here that it feels in reality glorious to have a spot to my very own after such a lot of years of roaming the arena, after which residing in different peoples’ properties. 

Oaxaca used to be supposed to be that for me, a house base I liked that I may just consume in and take in the enjoyment of residing in this sort of particular town. There’s peace in having a small house to my very own that I may just construct round my barriers, despite the fact that I will’t get up for lengthy every day.

I’m grateful for my dad and stepmum, who gave me a beneficiant present to assist furnish the rental. I had no furnishings once I rented it, and it’s been a problem discovering items which can be the precise peak, and no longer strongly off-gassing. Their present allowed me to seek for the pieces that labored easiest with out scrambling.

IKEA, Fb Market, Kijiji (a Canadian Craigslist selection) and a chum who donated his bench cushion sofa to me all got here in to hand. 

The whole result’s a spot with a whole lot of furnishings garage—containers and drawers and cabinets—in order that I will get admission to issues however no longer have them cluttering the counters. As a result of I will’t bend, it manner maximum issues should be at waist degree. There’s numerous decrease drawers that I will’t get to, however circle of relatives is helping me snatch issues if I want them there.

It’s additionally been in reality great to usher in one of the most souvenirs from my travels for the primary time. The photograph under is my studying nook, with artwork from my first travel to Asia in 2004, and a papier-mâché woman from my years in Oaxaca.

The duck is new, and pleasant.

apartment ottawa
My studying corner
2022 09 12 16.57.00
My status table corner, the place the sausage will get made.

I’m most commonly breaking even, due to my group

Once I changed into disabled, I frightened about how I might beef up myself going ahead. I didn’t wish to be a burden on my circle of relatives, however I may just slightly sit down up let by myself have the option to generate income. Even though I’m privileged that my circle of relatives would by no means let me starve, it felt very difficult not to be capable to beef up myself in my 40s

To start with, my celiac translation playing cards have been promoting relatively neatly, and looked like some way that I may just no less than have some passive source of revenue to pay expenses I incurred. 

When Covid hit, on the other hand, no person traveled any more — and my gross sales crashed to close 0.

I then began my Patreon club, upon the urging of this beautiful group who requested for it to assist beef up my very modified existence. (For the ones unfamiliar, Patreon is some way for readers to pledge per month routine memberships, in go back for Patreon-only advantages.)

Many of us arrange their memberships with tiers that experience other get admission to. The extra you pay, the extra you could have get admission to to. I determined to have equivalent advantages throughout all tiers (a “beef up solely” club), since I used to be involved my well being would intrude in my skill to present the advantages my Consumers deserved. I sought after folks to pledge what they have been happy with. 

Clearly, my tiers are birds. Birds with names.

jodi ettenberg patreon
Screenshot from my Patreon web page

We’ve had Zoom calls with the group, I do movies answering questions (even if I’ve gained so much much less questions of past due so much less of the ones!), I’ve completed some video tutorials on meditation ways, and the Patreon group will get updates about what’s happening extra ceaselessly.

I’ve misplaced some Consumers in fresh months, all bringing up monetary problems as the rationale. Understandably, as the whole lot has develop into dearer, we lower the extras the place we wish to. Total, regardless that, the Patreon supplies a slightly constant source of revenue circulation at at time when I will’t paintings as I used to.

That signifies that I don’t wish to chase down paid paintings to make ends meet, and will as an alternative center of attention on elevating consciousness for my situation, and sitting at the Basis’s board of administrators (which is unpaid).

In 2021, my celiac playing cards began promoting once more since commute picked up. On every occasion I’ve “uptime” to be had, I paintings on updating the present celiac guides I’ve, and on operating towards new ones. There are a number of new international locations within the works, two of which which can be out being beta examined now with celiac readers who will supply comments.

Taken in combination, and with my meals map gross sales (see under), I’m making ends meet.

Entrepreneurship is in most cases anxiety-inducing, because you by no means know if one month will fare neatly in comparison to the following. Including to that, I anticipated that after my existence modified that my target market would too. Not ready to percentage amusing commute pictures or meals tales, I puzzled if I’d have any person studying in any respect.

I’m grateful that a lot of you’re nonetheless right here.

My spinal csf leak is strong sufficient that I’ve behind schedule going again to Duke

I am getting emails each and every week asking why I’m no longer pushing for surgical treatment, or extra blood patching. I believe that is a type of very non-public issues that many of us don’t perceive. It used to be an excessively dramatic remaining blood patch, and I should be prepared to just accept all the hazards for me to return. 

After the CNN piece got here out, I spoke with my physician at Duke and he presented to patch me once more. It is a cheap factor, for the reason that I used to be sealed for 8 months all the way through the remaining patch he gave me. However I additionally wanted an epinephrine jab at the desk all the way through that very same process, and my immune machine has long past into overdrive since.

I used to be additionally instructed I’ve a situation I’ve no longer written a lot about known as adhesive arachnoiditis, the place my spinal nerves are clumping in combination inflicting numerous ache.

There are different issues that consider. It’s no longer a make it possible for the patch will paintings, particularly as we will be able to solely use blood since I’m allergic to the glue. Whilst blood-only does paintings for lots of, with a connective tissue dysfunction within the combine, fibrin is harder (pun supposed), which is why they went with it for me within the first position.

So it’s an issue of accepting dangers, however amongst them that I might finally end up web unfavourable—no longer simply that the patch would possibly not paintings.

This mixture of things, along side my few hours of ‘status up time’ an afternoon, has led me to push out patching for now.

I’ve hope that the science evolves to beef up a greater chance for my therapeutic. There are new imaging ways, procedures, and ongoing analysis for this situation. So far, no longer a lot has proven to be appropriate to my advanced case, however you by no means know.

I do plan to get remedy sooner or later, as a result of signs abound. Once I stand, I nonetheless get the “mind sag” feeling of my backbone being smushed through my mind. I’ve numerous nerve ache and again ache, and neurological problems. And I’m thankful that Duke is prepared to patch once more.

I’m simply no longer there but.

The hand drawn maps of meals that I designed were promoting since 2014. The plan used to be, and stays, to do ten international locations in all.

This 12 months, I’m in spite of everything liberating the Canadian meals map—it’s solely been 3 years within the making! The prolong is all mine, even supposing my artist Ella has had New York Instances bestselling books pop out in the intervening time.

Many of the meals Canadian bring to mind as ‘our meals’ are colonial dishes. There have been no “ketchup chips” or poutine previous to Columbus, that’s evidently. I sought after to incorporate Indigenous dishes as neatly, and I reached out to the experts in Indigenous meals in Canada each to verify I used to be together with a cross-section of dishes, but additionally to make sure the spelling used to be proper.

I’m hoping it’s a extra inclusive map because of this.

food map of canada by legal nomads
Meals map of Canada in 12×12 layout (with out name)

The store that properties my maps used to be stagnant since 2016, once I arrange a now-defunct theme and disregarded it ever since except for so as to add new maps on the market.

In spite of that, folks have purchased maps! And despatched me their photos in their maps in all places their partitions. I’m additionally extremely joyful to have orders for brand new eating place openings, with my map decorating their partitions for the delicacies in query.

For this vacation season, I sought after to revamp the store so it higher replicate the manner of the LN site, now that I’ve redone issues right here. I did the store redesign myself, as a result of I sought after to replace issues as I am going…. So it took me awhile.

Behold! Outdated store:

hand drawn maps of food

And, the brand new store:

New Legal Nomads Art Shop

Yay! Test it out right here. I’m nonetheless solving some insects, however it’s most commonly completed.

Phew, I believe that’s the whole lot.

Thanks to your beef up, and for coming alongside in this very peculiar trip.