Arlong then forced Nami to work for him when her natural talent for cartography was discovered. Therefore, Nami made a deal with Arlong: She'll help him only if she can buy Cocoyashi Village from him. Arlong agreed and made Nami a member of his crew. She carried the mark of Arlong's crew on her left shoulder (normally covered by her shirt) to seal the deal. After that, she sought out filthy, greedy pirates and took their ill-gotten loot and buried it at her hometown until she had the amount needed.
But when she met Luffy, he and others proved to be her lone exception, simply because they weren't typical pirates. She and Luffy briefly crossed paths several times while Nami in the middle of her capers, but it isn't until their coincidental encounter with Buggy that they formally introduced themselves. It's also when Nami discovers just how different Luffy is, and not simply because he's a rubber man. For one thing, he seemed to have a purpose in life other than to steal and rob. He had a definite sense of honor and courage...and he actually saved her life. Grudgingly, she agreed to a loose alliance (as she put it) with Luffy's crew and to supply her much-needed navigation skills in Luffy's quest for the Grand Line. Besides, it'll do two other things for her. First, traveling will give her more chances to make more maps. Second, she'll probably run into more pirates and more loot to steal.
She later ditched Luffy and gang once she had the amount needed, but she was devastated after she learned Arlong had no reason to keep his word when he revealed the location of her loot to corrupt Naval officer Nezumi. But Luffy and the other helped liberate Cocoyashi and Nami rejoins the gang for the long run. Though Nami prefers to use her wits and stealth to steal her way to the top, she isn't defenseless physically. She carries a staff that's normally strapped to her leg in three pieces. When she needs it, she can whip it out and snap it back together.
Nami lived in Kokoyashi Village.