If you’re looking for a travel blog that has a lot of information about living and working in France then this blog for you. Elena is originally from Ukraine but currently lives and works in France and shares her insights and observations about what is like to live there. She also writes about other countries that she visits and you’ll find a lot of inspiring and helpful blog posts about the places that she had visited.
Get to know more about Elena and follow her blog at Elena’s Travelgram.
But before you leave this page, check out my short interview with Elena.
How did you discover your passion for travelling?
“Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated with foreign lands and cultures. The best present I got for my B-day was a four volume encyclopedia with lots of illustrations and maps of all 6 continents. (Yep, I was nerdy as a kid.)”
“I spent years flipping through pages, circling cities I want to visit. Dreaming that when I finally grow up, I’ll go see them all!”
“Becoming an adult, I always stayed devoted to my dream and was making tiny leaps towards it before finally, going loose and making travels my priority.”
What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?
Probably, the day when I nearly missed my flight from Paris.
My original itinerary of getting to CDG seemed so smooth. But it was the day when everything that could go wrong, went wrong.
While waiting for the bus, an announcement caught in my sight “Approx. time of journey is to CDG – 1.15, excluding traffic”. It could be okay, but
a) I’ve counted on a 15 min drive as it was stated on the website.
b) There was a huge traffic jam starting from the stop and stretching for miles…
I rushed to catch the RER train going to the airport, but the workers went on strike (a common thing in France) and no one knew when the text train would come.
Time was slipping away like crazy.
I ran outside and caught a taxi, but again traffic jams everywhere. I hated Paris narrow streets that day so much. With a visa valid for just one more day, a broken phone and tablet and huge doubts if I have enough money for a new ticket same day, I made it to CDG in 17 min till the plane departure.
Ready for everything: plead, cry, make a scene just to get boarded at that plane. (I was really desperate).
Anyway, it occurred that the flight was scheduled later than I thought, so I had around 30 min to get to the departures. A shit load of time 🙂
It wasn’t actually the first time I was getting late for my flight from Paris. A few month before that I rode the train ticketless (correction: with tickets to the wrong direction) being extremely late too…
Seriously, I have never been freaking out so much as on that day.
What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?
“Hiking up Ijen volcano in Indonesia. It seemed like a terrible experience in first when I was nearly crawling up the path, still in the dark, cold and sweaty. But once I made it to the very top with the sun going up behind my back.
Wow. The scenery was so surreal and jaw dropping that I quickly forgot about that crazy way up.”
What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?
“That may sound really trivial, but I realized that traveling is what I want to do for the next decades.”
“You see, I used to be pretty obsessed with making a career, getting some sort of top managerial position, earning a very decent living and so on.”
“But a 3 week trip around India made me realize, that isn’t my real dream.”
“Not anymore at least. I feel great living on less and seeing more of the world. Two weeks a year for travels certainly isn’t enough for me.”
What keeps you going? What keeps you motivated?
“Yep, I rarely have my bags fully unpacked even when I’m at home. Sometimes, I do feel tired of being on the move all the time, so I stay longer at a certain place. Take a break, relax and do some cheesy touristy things that can be fun too!”
“Once I made a decision to change my permanent address to a life on a suitcase. Travels make me a better and a happier person, keeping me engaged with exploring new cultures, learning languages and getting unique life experiences that I definitely won’t get by staying at the same place all the time.”
“Am I running away from something?”
“Nope. I’m rather chasing the new things I haven’t yet tried.”
This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?
“It’s absolutely not possible today, but I’d love to travel with Marco Polo. Making history and discovering unknown regions seems mind-blowing to me! Oh, and I’d love to help him write his book.”
Where’s your favorite place in this planet and why?
“The people I’ve met and talked to there were one of the most amazing company I met in my life. I was deeply fascinated by traditions and the atmosphere, making this place so unique and worth the visit!”
What’s your best tip for newbie traveler?
“The world isn’t as awful as the media are imposing.”
“The more I travel, the more I realize there are so many misconceptions and ugly stereotypes, misguiding people from traveling to certain places.”
“The French are by no means rude! But extremely helpful and pleasant even if you don’t speak French well.”
“It’s okay to travel around India as a solo female. Same goes for Egypt. Be dressed modestly and avoid “bad neighborhoods” just like anywhere else in the world.”
“Venice is pricey, buy you can still enjoy it on a budget.”
“My list can go on and on, but you’ve got the idea already.”
What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?
“Trekking to the jungles in Indonesia without any guide and even a torch. Result: we got lost. It was really silly, rather than scary.”
“We were on a small islet Kadidiri at the Togean Islands, half of which is covered with dense rainforest.”
“One particular evening, having nothing to do, two mates and me decided to check out a deserted beach at the opposite shore. On the way back, we took a few wrong turns and soon realized we’ve lost the path completely.”
“Four hours of aimless wondering and wading through tropical thicket, brought us to a clearing with a tiny shed, a banana garden and a primitive irrigating device pumping water from a nearby pond.”
“Dirty, tired, with cuts all over legs and arms, we’ve decided to crash here for the night. It was dark already and the only source of light we had was a dying mobile phone with no recipient.”
“Eventually, in a few hours we’ve been found by the locals from our homestay.”
“If anyone’s planning to track the jungles – at least take a torch and cover up your legs. Or you’ll end up all scratched like me.”
How do you fund your travels?
“Saving and budgeting. Most of the money I earn today come from a long-term contract with one marketing company I have been working for last few years.”
“I finish the project = I take a break and go for a long trip. (but sometimes, it still means working on the road)
And some freelance gigs I got after starting my blog.”
“I wish I had a trust fund or won a lottery….but nope, most of the days I work my ass off hard to earn enough cash for a new crazy trip.”
How do you keep yourself safe on your travels?
“Sometimes I travel solo, other time with my partner or friends’. Probably, I’m lucky, but I never got into serious troubles while traveling.”
“I don’t dress glaringly and avoid hanging out in cheesy places or getting drunk with strangers. Use your common sense and everything’s going to be fine.”
What do you think about yourself?
“Oh, I’m really bad at this.So, I’m just another twenty-something, bold enough to chase my passion of traveling and living a location independent lifestyle. Sometimes, it’s tricky as my passport has certain limitations and I can’t roam the world as freely as I’d love too….so currently, I live my life between two countries – Ukraine and France. Plan cool, budget-friendly getaways around Europe and writing travel tales at my blog – ElenasTravelgram.com.”
“Elena’s Travelgram – I’m up to telling inspiring travel tales and show you around some amazing places around the globe. Get inspired to embark on a new journey no matter how challenging it may seem! Oh, and I also talk of what it’s like to be an expat in France, how to have awesome adventures on a tight budget and where to get cheap flight deals and accommodation. Follow me in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.” – Elena
Editor’s Note: All pictures are provided by Elena