About

Welcome to Eastern Heart Western Mind! I’m Nadja: Digital nomad, worldschooling mom, South African expat in India, and lifelong student of finding calm in chaos and beauty in everything.

I’ve lived a thousand lifetimes and never get tired of reinventing myself. Because there’s still another nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand to go.

 As a professional

I’ve had many roles and experience in a varied number of industries. But I’m much more than just my job titles.

Two years ago, I exchanged the monotonous lifestyle of same place, different day for that of a digital nomad. Travelling from country to country, I’ve had an office everywhere from tropical island beaches to the snowy foothills of the highest mountain range on earth. I’ve worked sitting inside planes, fishing boats, ferries, taxis, buses, and while riding on the back of a motorbike.

Sometimes I work as a journalist because some stories beg to be told. Sometimes in marketing and communications, because I enjoy matching the ideas of visionaries with people whose lives those ideas will touch. I’m a speaker, an advisor, a teacher, and a coach, because engaging with others fires up my inner fuel.

As a writer

Writing’s what flows through my veins, and I’ve been doing it since shortly after the invention of the stone tablet in 3,400 B.C. Sometimes I do it for the money and silently hate myself for monetising my passion. Sometimes I’m in the throes of writer’s block and would gladly be chained to an office typewriter if only it’d bring dem alphabets back to me.

As a writer, I get off on making connections between the seemingly disparate. When I’m not copywriting or ghostwriting (I know, I know – I stopped that cold turkey), I might be caught publishing business-related – or not – thoughts on LinkedIn or Medium.

My current writing project is writing a book about feasting on a prayer buffet. For 365 days, I’m test-driving the prayer rituals and practices of major (and sometimes obscure) religions around the world, to see where it takes me as a non-religious person. Stay tuned for news from the frontlines of my prayer mat!

As a parent

Mom to a 12yo boy, we’re a house where ADHD and autism is a reality. To us, these are not “disorders” that need “fixing”. As an adult female on the autism spectrum, a diagnosis was – quite literally – life-changing. In the best possible way. As the parent of a child on the spectrum, I don’t view his neurodivergence as anything other than our version of normal. Being neurological merely is someone else’s definition of normal.

Alexander is an unschooler turned worldschooler, now that the world is quite literally his classroom. (Teacher’s Plus, a teacher’s magazine, featured his learning journey and living education) As a lifelong learner, I’m not far behind. Sometimes we’re each other’s cheerleaders, sometimes our learning journeys converge and we head in the same direction for a while.

As one half of a loving whole

In one of the biggest plot twists ever, I joined the Fairytale Club when I met the love of my life a year ago while travelling. After a failed relationship I’d been in for most of my adult life, I vowed celibacy till I found the proverbial The One. Even though I was sceptical AF about whether that sort of thing even exists. (“And if he doesn’t exist, so be it, cat lady here I come: I’m done with breaking hearts and having mine broken”.)

The irony of us walking into already other’s lives – a mere 12 days after my previous relationship of nearly a decade came to an end – was not lost on me.

Together, we navigate the ways of love and commitment, and the joys and challenges of an intercultural relationship, which – thanks to the peculiarities of my Western mind – can be quite something!

Therefore, we no longer country-hop but instead have made India our new home. (Read an interview I did with The Wealthy Backpacker’s The Global Lifestyle on being a digital nomad in India.)

As an expat in India

India changes you, inside and out. There’s a reason the “Going to India to find myself” cliché exists: It’s spot-on.

The Indian may seem poor to we rich Westerners, but in matters of the spirit it is we who are the paupers and they who are millionaires.

Mark Twain

Eastern Heart Western Mind, the name of this site, reflects the dichotomy we’re facing in the modern world. Our individualist minds that tell us to prize logic, security, and success and forego the “insanity” of listening to our own intuition. To sacrifice who we are in favour of what the world tells us we should want. We’ve lost the art of allowing heart and soul to guide us. We’ve lost the art of living.

This blog is my lived-in experience of how to get it back.

The West can teach the East how to get a living, but the East must eventually be asked to show the West how to live.

Tehyi Hsieh

10 Comments

  1. Hi Nadja you don’t know me, I saw your story in a friends facebook post. I am wowed by what I read and I have so many questions! I never heard of unschooling or worldschooling before. My daughter is also 12 and she is aspergers but she is in school and her education is important to us so what can you suggest? I subscribed and cant wait to follow your blog please share lots of details so us moms at home can also dream a little!

    • Nadja @ Eastern Heart Western Mind Reply

      Hi Jessica, I’ll definitely write a post on autism and unschooling/worldschooling in future. It’s important to work with what your child needs, but they are definitely not mutually exclusive! Thanks for subscribing ❤ Moms who dream are the best moms

    • Nadja @ Eastern Heart Western Mind Reply

      This story has come a *long* way and you’ve been in my life for so many steps along that path ❤ Love seeing how our lives evolve, and those of our amazing kids!

  2. You are the coolest mom ever. I used to think my life will be over if I become a parent but you’re so wicked, you make me look forward to it. Now I just need to find a guy that doesn’t suck. Love seeing you guys do your thing!

    • Nadja @ Eastern Heart Western Mind Reply

      Haha thanks Trace ❤ I think the concept of parenting is daunting (it sure was for me!) but once you meet your little one, it’s love at first everything, and then life just takes on a natural wow factor!

  3. I’m so happy you finally started a blog! You inspire so many of your friends with your stories and your life and your way of looking at the world. It was about time to write it all down! Watching you make your dreams come true makes the rest of us dare to dream that we can do it too. I have learned so much from you and continue to be inspired by your life and your bravery every day. And you’re a normal person just like me so I know if you can do it, then so can I. You are my shero, girl!

    • Nadja @ Eastern Heart Western Mind Reply

      Thank you, dear Lauren! ❤ This “It’s for other people” thing is all too real, when in fact, in some or other area/s of our lives *we* are the “other people” *other* people say that about!

  4. You’re an amazing individual who is smashing down every door in her way. I love this blog post. You and your son are truly amazing!

    • Nadja @ Eastern Heart Western Mind Reply

      Thanks, Lungs! It’s taken many highways to hell and back to get here but we got here

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