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'The 3am stop at a remote station miles from home is a moment you will remember for the rest of your life.'
Jon Pearson (Telegraph Online)

Young at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world

By The Siberian Times reporter
26 October 2016

Yelena went for her first trip abroad aged 83, now she spends all her pension on travelling.

Off we go - 89 yo Yelena on a trip to Vietnam. Picture: TRK7/The Siberian Times

Yelena Yerkhova is just back from a solo trip to Vietnam where she rode a bike, splashed in the sea and explored local cuisine. She doesn't speak English, but it didn't stop the Siberian adventurer from getting herself exposed to new cultures and making friends. 

Two female tourists from Moscow noticed her as she was trying to explain to a Vietnamese waiter that her dinner was too spicy.

They volunteered to help and got so taken by her story that they posted about the round the world babushka (grandmother) on social networks. 

Since then her story has captivated Russians. 

Yekaterina Papina, one of the Muscovite tourists, said the daring pensioner wasn't scared by a stormy sea and went for a swim. 

'Me and my friend went into the sea with her, holding each one of her hands so that she wasn't knocked over by waves. She wouldn't have managed to swim on her own,' said Yekaterina. 

oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 


oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 


oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 


oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 
Yelena with her Russian friends and alone on a trip to Vietnam. Pictures: TRK7/The Siberian Times


The story about Yelena went viral on Russian Facebook, prompting interest from a TV channel in her native Krasnoyarsk. 

'I feel like I've just started to live,' she told TRK7 TV channel. 'I lost both my parents when I was three, Then, when the WWII started I was 14. 

'I spent my young years working at the front, then had a miserable marriage, left my husband and kept working ever since. It was like I saw nothing, and suddenly the whole world has opened up for me.'

oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 


oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 


oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 
Yelena was born 1927 and went abroad when she turned 83. Picture: TRK7/The Siberian Times


 If it wasn't for her girlfriends, she wouldn't dare to leave Siberia, Yelena said. 

Her first foreign trip was to the Czech Republic which she enjoyed so much that she came back four more times. Then she branched out to Germany, Turkey, Poland and Vietnam. 

Yelena travels twice a year, saving her pension to afford the trips. 

Tour manager Yevgeny Yevtikhov who usually makes her next booking said he never seen a senior so eager to explore the world. 

'This is my eighth year in tourism, and Yelena is certainly my first and only client who has enough stamina to go for destinations up to 7,000 km away from Siberia,' he said. 

'There are no limitations from our side, we just have to make sure she has a special insurance cover.'

oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 


oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 


oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 
She is my first and only client who has enough stamina to go for destinations up to 7,000 km away from Siberia. Pictures: TRK7/The Siberian Times


Yelena will turn 90 in April, and right now she is on way to her next destination. This time it is Israel. 

This is what Domodedovo airport in Moscow where she stopped over en route to Israel posted earlier today:

'An infamous grandmother Lena visited us! She is 89 years old and a secret of her incredible stamina is that she never stops going.'

Shalom! Yelena pictured earlier today transiting through Domodevo airport in Moscow. Picture: dme.aero 

oung at heart - 89 year old backpacking babushka roams the world 


Comments (3)

I hope you make it to Canada one day. This age group sacrificed so much and have such a history to share. May the journey continue to be long and interesting.
Sid Finster, British Columbia Canada
04/11/2016 12:34
6
0
What a wonderful brave lady...life is not about the things you did but the things you didn't do. Life is like reading a book...if you stay at home, you have only read the first page!
Stay healthy and mayyou travel the rest of your life
Jacob Kobus, Lund, Sweden
03/11/2016 04:26
8
0
Shalom! Young at heart and a world traveler....we chould all learn a lesson from this brave and wonderful lady of Russia....We should never be too old for trying new and different things in life...She is a grand example of living a full life.
Ozzie Finley, Point Pleasant, WV
26/10/2016 02:03
16
0
1

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