Jodi Ettenberg

is creating podcasts, newsletters, and more.

Select a membership level

Bob

reward item
reward item
$5
per month
BOB THE BLUEBIRD.
You're pledging this amount because you enjoy my work and want to support me as I deal with my current limitations. Your pledge will give you access to my Patreon updates, and:
  • Your name on the Patreon thank you page on Legal Nomads.
  • Your name on an Instagram thank you post.
  • EARLY ACCESS to podcast details and news.
  • VOTING! Ability to vote on future topics for me to cover in a podcast episode.
  • Monthly video or audio AMAs on Patreon, as my health allows. You can submit questions that I will answer!
  • Shorter update videos about progress on the podcast and redesign, and anything else going on in the Legal Nomads universe.
  • Supporting me at a time where I’m physically unable to work as I used to.
  • A thank you image of your tier bird, Bob.
  • This is a general support Patreon. All tiers have the same access to the content on this page, and the same benefits listed above.

Fiona

reward item
reward item
$10
per month
FIONA THE ROBIN. 
You're pledging this amount because you enjoy my work and want to support me as I deal with my current limitations. Your pledge will give you access to my Patreon updates, and:
  • Your name on the Patreon thank you page on Legal Nomads.
  • Your name on an Instagram thank you post.
  • EARLY ACCESS to podcast details and news.
  • VOTING! Ability to vote on future topics for me to cover in a podcast episode.
  • Monthly video or audio AMAs on Patreon, as my health allows. You can submit questions that I will answer!
  • Shorter update videos about progress on the podcast and redesign, and anything else going on in the Legal Nomads universe.
  • Supporting me at a time where I’m physically unable to work as I used to.
  • A thank you image of your tier bird, Fiona.
  • This is a general support Patreon. All tiers have the same access to the content on this page, and the same benefits listed above.

Arthur

reward item
reward item
$25
per month
ARTHUR THE RAVEN.
You're pledging this amount because you enjoy my work and want to support me as I deal with my current limitations. Your pledge will give you access to my Patreon updates, and:
  • Your name on the Patreon thank you page on Legal Nomads.
  • Your name on an Instagram thank you post.
  • EARLY ACCESS to podcast details and news.
  • VOTING! Ability to vote on future topics for me to cover in a podcast episode.
  • Monthly video or audio AMAs on Patreon, as my health allows. You can submit questions that I will answer!
  • Shorter update videos about progress on the podcast and redesign, and anything else going on in the Legal Nomads universe.
  • Supporting me at a time where I’m physically unable to work as I used to.
  • A thank you image of your tier bird, Arthur (the Legal Nomads mascot).
  • This is a general support Patreon. All tiers have the same access to the content on this page, and the same benefits listed above.

163

patrons

About Jodi Ettenberg

In 2017 after almost a decade of building a business and community focused on exploration and curiosity all around the world, a spinal tap derailed my life and left me with a chronic cerebrospinal fluid leak, and disabled. I've created this Patreon to help support me in this next stage of my life and work, at a time when I am unable to work like I used to.

Where It Began

My business started out as a website, Legal Nomads, built in 2008 just before I set out on what I thought would be a one year trip around the world. It was meant to be a whimsical space to share my misadventures during a sabbatical from the law.

That one year turned into several, and the whimsical site organically turned into a creative and professional journey. It was beyond exciting to build something that allowed me to learn as much as possible every day, and share a view of the world that hopefully helped others to grow with me. At the same time, it was also full of entrepreneurial uncertainty as I floated further and further away from my legal background.

I love writing, and that's part of what helped me take the leap. I would continue to write even if no one was reading. But thankfully, people did read. Over time, Legal Nomads flourished and was featured in newspapers and magazines, and I moved into public speaking about community-building and the neuroscience of storytelling.

For over a decade, I travelled around the world full time, guided by insatiable curiosity and my appetite. I researched eating as a celiac in Portugal, Thailand, Japan, and elsewhere, building gluten free guides for those who wanted to follow in my footsteps, and detailed celiac translation cards in a dozen languages. I spent quite a few of those years in Vietnam, and the latter part of the decade in Oaxaca, Mexico — both to learn, share, and hopefully help readers navigate the world differently through food, even with celiac disease. I kept the site ad-free and without pop-ups or sponsored text links, focusing income instead on products I built that readers asked for, like a book about food, hand-drawn maps of (you know it…) food, and guides to some of my favourite places to eat in and visit.

My Current Situation

Unfortunately, these days, I cannot physically write or give speeches. In 2017, a spinal tap led to a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, which causes me incredible pain when I am standing up. I am left with very little ‘uptime’, the standing time required to live my days. CSF is a liquid that bathes and supports the brain and spinal cord, protected by a membrane that keeps the CSF where it’s supposed to be. When there is a hole in that membrane, the CSF seeps out – a CSF leak.

What does this CSF leak in my spine do? For starters, it means that every time I stand, the low CSF volume causes my brain to painfully ‘sag’. It also leads to other symptoms like dizziness, nausea, nerve pain, blurred vision, and impaired balance.

I went from building a business I loved while traveling the world, to spending 23 hours of my day in bed. 

The fix for a spinal CSF leak is a blood patch, where they inject blood into your epidural space and it seals the leak site. For some, surgery. Some people have chronic CSF leaks where the procedures do not stick for a variety of reasons.

I am one of those people.

I had four rounds of blood and glue patches, but I am still leaking. The last one went very poorly when I went into anaphylaxis on the table. I have not yet returned for a fifth procedure due to other complications, which sadly make the treatment even more risky for me.

These complications include nerve damage in my spine, and an immune condition that has required me to limit the foods that I consume. So not only can I not stand much, or work much, but I’m also very limited in what I can eat.

All this to say: I may be the worst food and travel writer ever?

Jokes aside, my day to day is a remarkably sharp contrast to what it was. As you can imagine, it’s an incredible difference and has required a lot of effort during the last few years just to accept and adjust my mindset to the limitations of my present.

There’s a granular calculus and an opportunity cost to everything I do now. For example: if I stand and type for too long, I have to give up on making my own food, or sometimes even showering that day. I simply don't have the pain tolerance and ability to do both. My world has gone from the absolute freedom to create and eat anywhere I choose, to the itty bitty small of trying to predict whether I can make a meal for myself or not. 

Still, I am here today, alive, feeling loved, trying to find gratitude for what I can and remind myself that human connection is part of what sees us through. And although my physical mobility may now be severely limited, the curiosity that led to a life of travel and exploration around the world is still here. It guides me now on an inward journey, one that has already connected me to you, my community, in new and deeper ways.

And one that I hope to continue sharing.

Thanks to You

Throughout these complicated, sometimes shocking few years, you amazing readers have joined me on the ups and the downs. When I went for my procedures to fix the CSF leak, you cheered me on. When the leak re-opened after 8 months of being sealed, you shared your grief for me. And when I mentioned that I was mulling ways to support myself given my limitations, you asked for a Patreon to help provide a stable income during this very different time in my life.

With your support, I hope keep at communicating, sharing, teaching, and learning to the extent I can. With limited capacity for output these days, being able to continue creating is a huge percentage of what keeps me afloat mentally.

So here we are.

This Patreon will help support the following:
  • Funding my operating costs so that I can keep my websites and projects afloat.
  • Supporting the launch and production of my new podcast, that will allow me to create and share content with you through a more manageable medium given my current condition.
  • Helping me convert my blog posts about chronic illness into audio form in order to make them more accessible to others (I will work with a sound engineer to do this).
  • Paying for artwork and web development in the redesign of Legal Nomads, including for a new home page, logo, and site flow that reflects my present.
  • General support for me as I navigate this new, limited, way of life.

What about you?
Given the erratic nature of my limitations, I made this a support-only Patreon. I’ve offered three tiers of general support with the same level of access and benefits. I don’t want to promise something I can’t deliver to you, so I’d rather give full access and add tiers if my health allows.

Here's what you'll get with your tier pledge:
  • Your name on the Patreon thank you page on Legal Nomads.
  • Your name on an Instagram thank you post.
  • Early access to podcast details, Legal Nomads site redesign, and news.
  • Ability to vote on future episode topics for the podcast.
  • Monthly video or audio AMAs on Patreon, as my health allows. You can submit questions that I will answer!
  • Shorter update videos about progress on the podcast and redesign, and anything else going on in the Legal Nomads universe.
  • Supporting me with a stable income at a time where I’m physically unable to work as I used to.
  • A thank you image of your tier bird, one of Bob, Fiona, or Arthur.

Many of you have asked how you can help support me since the spinal CSF leak changed my life.

If you’ve enjoyed my soup recommendations, my years of ad-free writing on Legal Nomads, or want to see the podcast through, this is the best way to provide support today. I would be honoured for you to join this new Patreon community.

With your help, I hope to continue sharing the work you love.
xo,
Jodi
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 4 exclusive posts
4
Images
1
Video
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 4 exclusive posts
4
Images
1
Video

Recent posts by Jodi Ettenberg

How it works

Get started in 2 minutes

Choose a membership
Sign up
Add a payment method
Get benefits