Born in Ottawa, raised in a Canadian diplomatic family in New York, Saigon, Cape Town and Addis Ababa, Nicholas Woodsworth briefly considered a return to Ottawa in his late teens. He eventually became a foreign correspondent and staff travel writer for the London Financial Times, settling in Aix-en-Provence with his wife, Jany. From Seeking Provence:



Who could return to a frozen and fusty northern city after growing up like that? After that who could return to any steady or conventional life at all?The answer, I discovered, was that I didn’t have to. There are lives and professions that can accommodate even the most vagrant habits. I have always felt happiest in out-of-the-way places. Eventually I settled to foreign correspondence, a job that seemed to suit me. I moved on to travel writing, a job that seemed to suit me even better. Fifteen years later I was still travelling hard and writing hard for the same London paper.
Every destination attracted me, especially the next one. I lived a fractured, disassociated life. The more time went by the more I felt the centrifugal force of my own movement pushing me further out into an orbit that left me less and less attached to the ordinary things of life. At the time it hardly seemed to matter. In my gypsy habits everything was an isolated and ever changing one-off, and I knew no other way of going about it.