Give us your full name please.
Do you have a preferred name or a nick name you like?
Nope. Simply, Elena is fine.
What nationality are you?
Which country do you use as your base?
Currently, I’m an expat in France and spend most of my time in Besancon, unless I’m not traveling.
Which country would you like to live?
Frankly, I just don’t know! I’m extremely fond of the French lifestyle and food (and wine of course!), however I don’t think I’ll stay in France for the rest of my life.
I think I really need to see more of the world and live in a few more countries before I can answer that question : )
What is your favorite way of travelling?
With a suitcase that can fit on board (even for 1+ trips), slowly eating my way around the country. I’d say I’m more of a budget traveler, though I will definitely splurge for adventurous activities and food.
What is your take on travelling and sustainability?
I always learn of the local customs first before traveling to a certain destination, especially a remote one. Absolutely socially acceptable things in the Western world, may offend people of the East and South. Besides, dressing appropriately especially for women is important if you would like to make friends with the local and avoid unnecessary attention.
I always buy local food and products, opting for street markets instead of supermarket chains to support local manufactures.
When was the first time you travelled alone and where to?
When I was sixteen with my friends to Bulgaria. It was more like an endless party, than actually traveling, though I did saw some beautiful sights of Varna and gorgeous Old City center of Nesebar.
What did you make of your first solo travel experience?
If talking about my teeny trip, not much J Probably, only that it’s worth parting less and explore more. But I came to that point a few years after.
What is you most memorable travel experience and what made is so memorable?
Definitely, getting lost in the jungles! That story happened last year in Indonesia at a tiny islet of Kadidiri, Togian Islands – a paradise-like islands, in around 14 hour very ride from Central Sulawesi coast.
There’s no wi-fi, electricity in day time, cell-phone recipient or ATMs on the island, yet you’d hardly feel bored with so many amazing diving and snorkeling spots, indigenous people settlings, jaw-dropping beaches, volcanoes, deserted islands and the jungles of course.
This story is somewhat silly, as my friends and I went tracking to the jungles in midafternoon (it gets dark on the Equator at 6 pm), without a torch, guide and dressed completely inappropriate. The path was muddy, twisted and all covered in deep tropical vegetation, so no wonder we got lost on our way back to the homestay.
Four hours of wanderings through the thicket brought us nowhere and we’ve decided to camp for the night at a small clearing. Luckily, in a few more hours people from the homestay found us and brought back home.
- Did you know that coconut coir works great for kindling fire? (in case you have a lighter, of course)
- Mobile phones
- When you track the jungles wear long sleeves and pants or you’ll end up with terrible cuts.
- Always, always take a torch with you!
What countries have you been to?
Apart from Ukraine and France: Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Russia, Romania, Turkey, Egypt, Japan, India and Indonesia. Listed in no specific order.
What country are you looking forward to visiting the most?
Myanmar. Sunrise over Bagan temples, floating down the Irrawaddy River and Inle lake sceneries have been captivating my mind for quite a while.
The Philippines come next on my list as I’d love to learn surfing and Siargaoisland looks like a perfect place to do it! Besides, pinoy people I’ve met so far are extremely friendly and hospitable, so I’d love to make new friends and explore the country in a local way.
What do you enjoy most about travelling?
This sense of discovery bursting inside you with each new step you take. I’ve found the most amazing places when taking wrong turns and leaving the maps aside.
Discovering new traditions, languages, lifestyles, customs and even foods – that what makes me want to travel even more!
How do you prepare for a new travel experience?
- Search for food recommendations and nice (a.k.a budget-friendly, yet serving yummy local food) to try.
- Write all the address of places I’d like to visit, hotels and cafes to my travel notebook. (You never know when your phone battery will die).
- Make sure I took a solar charger for my tablet and phone.
- Re-check what I’ve packed to my suitcase and take away at 30% of clothes that most probably I won’t wear more than once.
- Bug fellow travelers online with questions I have about the destination and a few personal recommendations J
Out of all the things you need to do to travel, which one do you like the least?
Visas. Being a second world country traveler some days is complicated; I can’t show up at the airport, get my passport stamped and roam around Europe or the UK for 90 days. Instead, I have to keep all my papers in order, have a legitimate job, solid bank account and so on…
Sometimes, I get really tired of this endless paperwork to be made prior my travels.
However, there are a lot of legitimate ways to travel long-term around Europe, Canada, US or Australia like educational programs, internships, volunteering and many more.
If you ever feel discouraged from travels due to visa requirements, just search for other options to obtain it or visa-free regions for your nationality.
Do you have a favorite city?
The more I travel, the harder it gets to choose a “favorite” something. So, I’ll name Kyiv ‘cause it’s my hometown J
Do you have a favorite country?
Well, I’d say India will always have a very special place in my heart. A dazzling land of controversies, cultures, languages and religions blended together into India’s unique allure. You’ll either love India, or hate it (or both at the same time :D), but it won’t leave you indifferent for sure!
Who is (are) you inspiration in the travel world?
Anna and Maria – two Ukrainian girls who’ve set on a rtw trip with just 2.000$ in their pockets. They’ve hitchhiked most of their road, got two free ship rides and even one free plane ride (!!!) and ain’tno stopping on that.
Probably, the most reckless and inspiring your adventures I’ve ever heard of.
What travel blog(s) do you follow and why?
My Feedly feed has quite a lot of blogs listed, that I’ve recently grouped in the next lists:
- Fellow French expat blogs. Those are people I can highly relate too and get an advise or talk over a rant, or just share the same musings J
- Expat and lifestyle blogs. Non-French based. I love getting to know more about certain destinations from an expat perspective. Usually, they notice more amazing small things that a local may not pay attention to. Oh, and I love various cultural quirks and language-related things that you come across as an expat.
- Europe travel blogs: rather self-explanatory I guess.
- Backpacker blogs: people who nailed the art of being frugal, but not cheap.
- Misc: blogs I’ve couldn’t include into any other category, but I still love reading them a lot for numerous reasons.
In general, I will read and follow a certain blog if:
- I can relate to the author’s story in some way
- I think that’s the type of person I would make friends with in real life
- the blog isn’t boring with endless top-10 lists or all sponsored posts, hotels reviews or other type of boring content lacking the author’s personal voice.
How can you followers or people interested in you connect with you?
I am relatively new to blogging about travel, however I have been passionate about travelling for as long as I can remember. As one of the principal travel blogger for Travel Friendz, I am constantly learning more and more about travelling and journeying through exciting exotic places that I am yet to visit in person, but through researching them for travel articles and posts, I have learn a lot about. I hope you find some of my articles and blogs interesting and informative.