Name: Ellen D.
Occupation: Travel Agent
Current Country Count: 50
Music: Enjoy some Belgium music while reading more about Ellen. (Click on the videos above)
Ellen and Blaire joined us on the journey from Almaty to Bishkek. We enjoyed hikes, conversations about travel, and just some good ol' laughter. On her final night of the trip before a competitive match of Uno commenced, I was able to ask her a few questions.
And the spotlight begins….
When Did you Start Traveling and Why: I think I was 5 or 6 when my family started traveling. My first solo trip was when I was 19. I went to China because it was something I… you have this idea about but I didn’t know anyone that went there. So it was something quite unknown to me, that’s why I went there.
What is Your Most Memorable Country and Why: Zambia. I think because of the people. Because the locals are very authentic. There isn’t much to do but it is fun to walk around. It is typical to walk around. The waterfalls and national parks. Going out. They said it is really dangerous but it really is not. Victoria Falls you can walk up to the edge of them. It is really cool. Bungee jumping was quite memorable as well.
What Is Your Inspiration To Travel: I came to Central Asia because I had no image in my mind what it was like. That is why I like to travel so I know what it is like. Culture is really important to me, so I try not to go to Western Countries. They are really beautiful. But the difference in culture, nature as well is what I like. Meeting people is important as well. It is nice to make connections all over the world.
Do You Buy Any Souvenirs: Yes, usually small things. I pack lightly. Jewelary or really small things I can hand out to my family. But lately I have been collecting masks and other decorations.
How Often Do You Travel: A couple of long trips. This is the first year I am actually in a job. I think 3 times a year is a good amount for longer trips and then some city trips.
How Long Do You Normally Travel: So far, a couple of months. 4 – 6 months. I did some smaller trips 1 – 1 ½ month trips. But, I would say a normal trip (now that I have a job) could be 2 weeks to a month.
How Do You Afford to Travel: Living like a cheapskate (laughs). Not going out that much saves me a lot of money. I don’t go out drinking a lot. It’s my job as well (working in the travel industry) and I have always saved up since I have been working. As soon as I get my paycheck I put money aside to go traveling. In the past, I did as much work as I could to save up money then quit the job to go traveling.
How Do You Plan Your Travels: Actually I don’t usually plan them. I do look up some things on google so I have an image of the main things I want to see especially on the longer trips. When I get there I just find what I want to do. I find the main things and then build around it.
How Much Time Do You Take Off Per Year: 26 days. But it really depends on how I plan it. I can get more out of it (if I work overtime).
1) I feel like a lot of people are quite scared to travel because they have heard things or the media. I just feel like that shouldn’t stop you going somewhere. The same thing in Thailand there was one or two bad news and that really made people ask if it is really safe there. I found it really safe. Media can give the wrong image of the country. Don’t be scared.
2) When you do have time to travel, unlimited amounts of time, I think it is best not to have very fixed plans. I did it once and booked all of my flights in advance. But the feeling is different when you can change your plans when you meet other people. When you are on longer trips I feel your plans will always change depending on who you meet and the places you are at.
3) Pack lightly because you can wash your stuff as you go. Also, you don’t always need an expensive, professional back pack or travel gear. You don’t have to invest a lot of money.
4) Don’t worry or stress too much because most of the time things work out even if you do get is a messy situation. Also remember, things take longer than expected. Don’t stress. It might be different, not be what you expected, but just take it easy and slowly.
Ellen and Blair left the tour the following day. I have enjoyed getting to know you Ellen and hearing about your adventures. I am glad we could share in this journey together. See you next time - in another part of the world!