Sonia Meyer, Author
My freedom of course came at the cost of having to support myself. I started out working as a model for high fashion and photography. When a marriage proposal briefly derailed me back in Europe, I switched to making my living with my brain and skills I had picked up along the way. The eight languages I had acquired by then, offered work in a variety of projects within embassies and large corporations. I chose projects of less than a year, avoiding nine-to-fives except for times of immediate money needs. For months in between I hopped into my car, and drove to where the mood or invitations by wealthy friends would take me. St. Moritz, Paris, Megeve, Rome, the Cote d’Azur.  It was while traveling through France that I happened upon traveling Gypsies and their caravans. I’d always stop and wave at them, especially they were parked in some meadow next to a brook for the night, their horses grazing free.  But looking at me, dressed in the latest fashion, driving a sporty car, they’d look the other way. Unperturbed I’d approach one of their horses instead, gently whispering words in Romani. It never failed to break the ice, one or more Gypsies (Roma) from among them would strike up a lively inquiry, of where what when and how, in French and my few words of Romani.

A child, for the first time in my life, I kept skipping along this mostly carefree life, until, on my way to meeting friends in Switzerland, I drove through a snowstorm and my car skidded off the road. I was stuck in Geneva, waiting for insurance money to reimburse me. Geneva in The Sixties was bustling with people from all over the world. I decided to look for work and spend some time.  I walked into the offices of an American Philanthropic Organization enquiring about work. What I encountered for the first time was a group of true idealists united in their fight against racism and their work with Jewish refugees. I started out as a translator/assistant to one of their social workers. It became a work of passion. For the first time I had the opportunity to work with documents describing the highly organized persecution and genocide of the Jewish people. It brought home to me the full tragedy of the war I had survived. I realized the immense luck of never having been caught. What struck me though, was that there was little or no mention of the parallel fate of  the Roma people, the close to two million Gypsies who had been brutally murdered, and seemingly forgotten.

I worked long days, but nights I still reverted to my newly acquired frivolous self. It was The Sixties, Geneva was a hub for the jet-setting rich and famous. In private clubs members of European deposed royalty, handsome rabbis and international socialites, Arabs and Israelis, rising tycoons, diplomats, danced through the night. An elite world dotted with spies like raisins in a cake. But the carefree part of my life was coming to an end. I formed a deep friendship with a brilliant American blue blood. Addicted to uppers, downers, alcohol and despair, in her schizophrenic mind she seemed to experience all the atrocities of a war she had not lived. One night I saved her life by rushing her to a hospital after an attempted suicide. First thing she did after she came out of a coma three days later was to repudiate me for not letting her die. But by then she had drawn me deeply into what seemed the dark side of me. Another offer of marriage popped up, this time from a rising tycoon. For the first time that offer contained a hook, out of the public eye, the man was generously contributing to refugees, my social worker friends were urging me to accept.

Confused, I needed time out, to re-assess. With lots of connections at my disposal on account of my work, I moved to Israel, diving into all aspects of that still new-born nation, vibrant and full of hope. I spent time with Bedouins in the Negev still roaming free. For the first time I came across nomads that suppressed their women. Gypsies would never survive that way. By the time I returned to Geneva, I decided once again that marriage was not for me, but I was eager to reconnect with my friend. We talked and decided to meet the next day. That night my best friend killed herself. The police told me they found her surrounded by photographs of atrocities in Vietnam. Geneva’s jet-setting crowd, of which she had been a belligerent part, kept on partying around the clock. Nobody seemed to care. It was a turning point in my life. I realized I could not emotionally survive if I remained alone.


Cont. : Life of a Modern-Day Nomad . . .

My life turned into a long chain of un-foreseens. My marriage of escape turned into a marriage of love, but an inner restlessness would not allow me to settle down. So, as agreed upon, at twenty-one I divorced and my wild zigzagging around the world began: from Northern Europe through France, Spain and Portugal, where I took a boat back to the States. What emerged almost at once was my inner core. I started to write. It had been writing all along. Just as I had watched my aunts and uncles test and mix their paint, so I had played around with words, sentences, setting life into words. At once I broke truly free. In the early morning hours I woke to a desire to sit down and write, pouring out my inner most feelings. The world around me started to grow clear, my written word explained myself to me, it healed the past. My writing was there at my side wherever I went. I felt not only free, but self-contained. At once opportunities, friends,  love,  but  most  of all luck blew my way.