An interview with an inspiring traveler: Ela from Germany

Travel gives you many different and important things. A certain type of knowledge for example, or a better understanding of yourself and of the many different people who inhabit this strange rock in the middle of nowhere that we call Earth. Among those many things there is certainly one that could be the most, or one the most, important: new friends.

Ela is one of this new friends, a very interesting and energetic person, one that has an inspiring story that started not with travel but a few years ago, in a “normal” setting, with a pretty classic daily routine, a routine that she decided to shatter. At the moment she is traveling and I don’t want to waste time with a long introduction so now let’s go with the interview and with the images that comes also from Ela.

You can find her at her IG elaauskoln.

1 – Let’s start with a little bit of context. Can you tell us something about your story? Where do you come from and why did you decide to change the course of your life?

I grew up in a poor family and had the chance to make a holiday only 3 times in the first 21 years of my life. I saw so many interesting photos of places all around the world, I was really obsessed and hungry to know where all these places are, the different cultures, the oceans, the different world. Geography was my favorite thing! So it was the dream of my life. Once… this was my favorite answer. And then the Expo in Dubai at the 22.02.2022 it changed my whole plans, my future. I felt how tired I have been after all the official 30 years of hard work and all my worries, stress and existential fear. I decided to quit everything. Back to work it took to me 8 days to clear my situation with all official offices and to cancel my job contract. 

Ela Thailandia

2 – To decide your itinerary, the places that you want to visit, did you make a plan or you are just improvising?

I had many ideas of places I wanted to visit. But in the end most of the way to or from the place to visit was improvised.

3 – I love practical questions and the daily not-so-glamorous life of a traveler. Fro this point of view, do you have a daily or monthly budget? or do you just simply do what you want to do?

Difficult question. I wanted to save money where its possible, but on the other hand to get the most of it. So the only thing I had was a monthly budget for accomondation, trying to keep it. On the other hand, I spent more money in visiting places, like sightseeing, museum, special locations etc. The only way to save money was and is always: food. 

Ela davanti al Taj Mahal

4 – I love to travel light and I try to do my best to take with me only the essentials. In your case, you are living, not only traveling, so tell us how difficult (or easy) it is to have all your life in just a couple of backpacks.

I thought it would be much more difficult and I was scared to miss some things. But I am impressed, that I packed tooooo much, and from location to location I am leaving some things, but on the other hand, I am getting many presents of locals, or other travelers, that I can’t say no in this moment, like a water bag, or some nice scarfs… So I am getting better and better. I started with 18 kg and 8 kg handpack. Now I am around 15 kg with 7 kg handpack. Going on my next trip to South America there will be other equipment needed, so I can leave my snorkel stuff at home.

To keep the answer short: I have everything with me, what I need. From cosmetics to dancing shoes, trying always to wear nice clothes and not the typical backpacker style. That’s my sophistication, my claim.

5 – So far travel around the world is better than you thought or harder and more difficult?

To answer here I would like to know how to understand your questions.
To travel in terms of transportion its much easier then I thought.

Ok, I want to be more precise with this question. I was asking if, especially as a woman traveling alone, you did find more or less difficulties with locals, more or less dangerous situations and so on…

It’s easier than I thought.
My lifetime attitude: the more honest and heartfelt my smile and my laughter, the more respectful I am, the greater the joy of the people about our encounter. If they also get to know, that I’m traveling alone, I get a lot of respect from the locals and they are also helpful, men and women alike. I really learned also to trust more, not to be too suspicious and I am always listening to my intuition. I’m brave, I’m not afraid, but I have big respect for/of some situations. The way I behave at home is how I behave when travelling: Don’t be late at night, don’t get drunk, dress appropriately, for example: I am wearing a gym bag instead of a handbag, and sometimes also a “wedding ring” to signal: no, not available. The curiosity of kids is also often a funny bridge to the locals.

Selfie di Ela in spiaggia

6 – I think we discussed the idea that time is so undervalued. People usually value money and they don’t consider so much time, the only thing that is just passing and cannot ever increase. Do you think about time, do you value time?

Please dont laugh about my honest answer now: My time is RUNNING! I am feeling like I am in hurry to see all places, because every day cost you money in terms of transport, hotel etc. I have to calm myself down all the time! I am spending a lot of time to find new places, hotels, transport etc. but therefore I am the happiest person enjoying the time at these places. Does my answer make sense???

NDR – I can say it certainly does. For me, at this point, I learned how to slow me down.

7 – What do you think about solo travel? I’m sure most people don’t really understand why we travel solo. There is in my opinion an absurd idea that if you don’t share something with someone, that something is less important, less real. What do you think about it?

It wasnt really my choice of traveling solo. My dream was, to start a worldtrip with my partner/husband. But I “lost” so much time of waiting for this moment. My choice than was: still waiting or going solo. So I decided to do it solo. And I LOVE to share my impressions!!! I love to share happiness, to inspire people etc. But even not sharing, I agree, its not less important! Most of my shared stuff is Happiness. The sad moments are also very important, but these ones I am sharing only with a few people.

Ela surf

8 – People learn a lot of different things while traveling. In my case, travel has made me humble. While traveling I learned that you are not so important. Is there something that you learned while traveling?

I agree in one point: travel also made me humble, in many ways. But on the other hand: I am not only traveling to “see”. My biggest “motor” or motivation are people. And also their celebrations, where you can see, what, which way people are celebrating. I learned so much of how to be satisfied, without expectations, happy, how to handle problems etc. On the other hand I learned, that I also inspired many people. We are talking of learning how to swim, going to special places, to handle special situations, changing of thinking, teaching children headstands or handstands… one my biggest moments have been one months ago: one 59 year old guy in Japan wrote me: Ela, I quit my job, thanks for your inspiration. I learned, that traveling means: learning on both sides, locals and travelers. 

Ela in Asia

9 – When I talk to people about traveling they usually say “ohhh I envy you so much, I wish I could do that” but what I really think is that people don’t really want to travel that much. What do you think?

Totally agree!!!! BUT: I guess they have the same reason like me before. Fear! Your biggest obstacle!!! The most people are not open to hear that but a few are…

Foto di Ela in thailandia

10 – Well, the usual difficult question. Tell us your 3 favorite places in the world.

:)))) yes, it is difficult! 

1. Japan

2. Phillippines

3. places I didn’t visit till now :-)))) 

Well, I want to thank Ela for taking the time to answer my questions and I hope some reader can find ideas and inspiration for his/her personal journey, not only travel.

If you want to read about other traveller I leave here some links:

How Sarah Griffith changed her life

Le avventure nel mondo di Alessandro Salvatori (italian)

From the Philippines to the world: an interview with Daniel Forteza

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