Elena – Elena’s Travelgram – Five Travel Questions

Taking on our Five Travel Questions today is Elena from Elena’s Travelgram which include some very unique experiences!

Elena at Ijen Volcano

Why do you love travel?
Probably, the biggest thing I don’t understand in life is how someone would not want to/love to travel. For me spending the a whole life stuck in one place, never-ever going somewhere new and seeing and doing, all the same routine each and every day is the worst case life scenario. After returning from my first long-term backpack trip to India, I clearly understood that traveling is all that makes me really happy – not the career, loads of money or some material goodies. I’m okay with being more with less. For me travelling is like getting out of the box – getting to know many different cultures, meeting new people and understanding the way they live, act and see things, makes you a better person in the first place. You start understanding the world deeper; expand your own comfort zone and conscience and eventually become more open, tolerable and mature person. At least that’s my case. Besides, when travelling you never know what exactly is waiting for you around the corner. My travels recently ended up in me becoming a France expat as I met the person whom I can now share my passion with.

What destination is top of your bucket list?
Oh, I’ve got huge plans! I discover new destinations every day and start craving for them so badly. To cut the story short, I’d name Mandalay, Burma with its rich Buddhist culture and amazing scenery; the disappearing Aral Sea with huge shipwrecks in the middle of the sand desert between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan; and relict Socotra Isles with one-of-a-kind nature to be found nowhere else in the world.

Where is your most favorite place you have travelled to?
For now it’s Amritsar, India. I was mesmerized by the beauty and serenity of the Harmandir Sahib (more commonly known as The Golden Temple) – the main temple of Sikhs. I’ve spent the whole day wandering around, making friends with the locals and listening to fantastic and calming music, played on traditional instruments by a small orchestra in the heart of the temple 24/7.

The Golden Temple, Amritsar

In the evening, I’ve enjoyed a simple, yet delicious meal, offered for free in the canteen nearby. It’s run by volunteers and supported by donations. Basically, anyone can volunteer in the temple and help to preserve its beauty.

Free meals at the temple

As well, I’ve taken best portrait shots here of old Sikhs, who visit the temple daily to meditate. There are five main attributes of faith that an orthodox Sikh should carry:

  • a turban, that covers head and most importantly hair that men usually don’t get cut too since childhood;
  • a metal bracelet worn on the right hand as a symbol of eternity
  • a wooden comb carried everywhere in with you
  • an iron dagger that can vary from in size from the smallest to full-length curved swords  
  • Katchera – special cotton undergarments that are worn under your daily clothes.

What is your most favorite memory or experience whilst travelling?
What comes to my mind first is me getting lost in the jungles at Kadidiri islet, Indonesia last summer. My two friends and I went to what seemed to start like a lazy walk through the jungles to a deserted beach, but ended up being a five hour hike through rainforest thicket in the dark without any torches. Eventually, we’ve crashed on clearing where we made fire and made a bedding of banana leaves to settle for the night when we were found by a team of locals dispatched for our search from the homestay. That was one of a kind experience for sure.

Deserted Island, Togean Archipelago, Indonesia

What is your favorite photo from your travels?

Rice fields. Central Sulawesi Indonesia

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