Another Monday and yet another interview, there are just too many superbly interesting travel bloggers out there. I never thought this feature would be so popular and that so many cool bloggers would agree to be a part of it. But here we are again with another sensational travel blogger. Hitting 10 different countries in the last 4 months alone, its no wonder this is one of the most detailed interviews I’ve conducted. Clear your morning schedule and have a read of this …
1. Name? Yelena Ogan
2. Age? 27
3. Twitter Handle? @memorybackpack
4. URL? http://backpackofmemories.com
5. Home Town? I was born in St. Petersburg, Russia but call Chicago my home now
6. Current Location? On a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala, India
7. … Business or pleasure? A few months of complete pleasure escaping Corporate America
8. Tell us a little bit about what you’re up to at the moment. Best bits, worst bits etc.
My husband and I have been making our way around the world in the last 4 months. We’ve been to Iceland, Scotland, England, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Greece and India this far. We are currently traveling through India, which was a bit of a culture shock after the Greek Isles. After getting over it, we are having a great time exploring the cuisine, culture and currently beautiful backwaters of Kerala. It is such a unique country, like none I’ve seen before in my years of travel. Though it might take some getting used to, it is worth visiting, exploring and eating you way through, I know I am! Best food of the trip so far.
LETS TALK TRAVEL
9. First travel experience?
When USSR finally fell and Russians were able to travel, my family took a long weekend trip to Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. I was blown away by the experience. I was 13. The next year, I crossed the Atlantic with my family and moved to the U.S. – that’s when the travel bug was truly planted. I get a high from adjusting to new cultures – it was a tough transition blending in with American teenagers in a high school located in the middle of a corn field, Ohio.
10. Future travel plans?
On this trip we are planning to explore South East Asia after India. Right now the plan is Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Hong Kong. From there, we are headed to South America. Argentina, Brazil and Peru are musts but we haven’t planned that far in advance yet…
11. If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?
Istanbul. I fell in love with that city and wouldn’t mind going back there any day.
12. If you could avoid going anywhere tomorrow where would it be and why?
That’s a tough question to answer. There are a few places I haven’t enjoyed, of course. I may have felt uncomfortable or had a difficult time but I would never say that a new country is not worth going to. As far as returning, I am not eager going back to Germany. Though it’s very Western, progressive and modern, I’ve traveled through the country and never felt like I could connect to the places or the people I’ve met.
13. What 5 items would you not go travelling without?
- My iPad: it’s light and fits in my day bag so I can easily take it on a long train ride and read a good book or walk around a city and pop into a coffee shop to surf the web.
- Headband Flash Light: don’t have to hold it in your hand so your hands are free to brush your teeth when electricity is lost in a hostel or wear it when walking on a side of a really dark road on a Greek island.
- My Pacsafe Purse: pacsafe is an worthy investment for every traveler. My day bag is water resistant, RFID safe, slash proof and has a number of other safety features, not to mention stylish. Four months into this trip, I have nothing stolen (knock on wood).
- Patagonia Carry Y’All Bag: so glad I got this as a gift right before the trip. We’ve used it nearly everyday from carrying groceries to our hostel to using it as a carryon on the plane;
- HyperDrive hard drive: to store the amazing shots we have taken around the world. You can import photos directly from the SD card and using the iPad Camera Connection kit you can easily upload photos to the iPad. You have to have a storage/backup plan in place for photographs during any long-term traveling. From our iPads we upload our best shots to Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/photos/backpackofmemories).
14. Best bit of advice you’ve received?
You have one life to live. No matter how much money you make, how many degrees you get, you’re still going to die. Turns out that there is no carrot at the end of the stick when you do everything the society tells you to do so live your life the way you want and create your own rules.
You shouldn’t go to an X country.
16. Best bit of advice you can give readers of this piece?
Anyone can travel – if you have the travel bug and have true desire to see the world. You can do it: fight your fears of uncertainties and seek out opportunities to get out there. Reach out to me firstname.lastname@example.org for how-to tips!
17. Favourite ice cream flavour?
It varies. Right now it’s actually plain vanilla! I guess it might have something to do with the current pursuit of a more minimalistic lifestyle.
18. Apple or Andriod?
Apple of course! I’ve been a PC my entire life until I started traveling full-time – Apple makes it easier to pick up and go while getting everything you need on your iPad or iPhone.
19. Blogger or WordPress?
WordPress was the right choice for us. The wordpress.com (as opposed to the self-hosted .org) makes it easy to get started and easy to port to your own domain. They provide plenty of file storage and detailed traffic statistics – and we don’t have to worry about administering our own server. The WordPress iPad app has been helpful on the road too.
20. Hostel or hotel?
Hostel: I’ve been in hostels that are on-par or even superior to some hotels. If you want privacy, you can always get a private room. For instance, the hostel in Kiev that we stayed in is more modern and is much nicer than most of the hotels in the area. Needless to say, also cheaper! The true value of the hostels is in the unique atmosphere they provide for backpackers that makes it easy to meet other travelers and creates a sense of community, which is worth more to me than my own shower, swimming pool and a high-def TV, though many hostels offer all of those things.
21. Guilty pleasure?
Indian TV. Of course ridiculous Bollywood movies are mesmerizing but they also have half the channels in English, which is a huge treat when traveling to most of the locations I have on my bucket list.
22. Your chosen super-power?
Well I feel like I already got one – the little blue book we call U.S. passport. I can already go almost anywhere in the wold – that’s the superpower I wanted growing up in Russia. If I had to choose now…I guess it would be traveling anywhere and everywhere and having immunity to diseases so no vaccinations are needed before I go and a resilient stomach so I never get an upset stomach and miss a minute of a good time abroad.
23. Airplane seat – isle, centre or window?
Isle now, my preference used to be window for a long time. I guess your priorities start to shift the longer you travel.
24. What song/album are you listening to right now?
Adele’s 21, helps me stay inspired and connected.
25. Thank you for answering my questions, as a gesture of thanks I allow you one whole paragraph to shameless plug of your website …
We are two people who share the desire to grow and evolve in our lifetime as opposed to settling down for the “American Dream” lifestyle. We are currently on a journey around the globe – seeing, feeling, tasting, connecting and writing our way through this wonderful world we live in. We are constantly packing up our memories, packing them in our backpacks and sharing them with our followers. Follow us at http://backpackofmemories.com
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