This Globetrotting granny could be the next Instagram starNever too old to travel: A Russian grandmother’s adventures exploring the world have enchanted an entire country
About six years ago, Yelena Yerkhova discovered a passion for travelling. At the time, she was 83-years-old and she began to explore new countries and cultures. Having recently returned from trips to Vietnam and Israel, now aged 89, she is embracing modern technology and sharing her experiences with others on her social media accounts. This little lady could be set to become a new Instagram star.
Almost no one calls her Yelena. For most people, this globetrotter is known simply as Grandma Lena, and even she prefers to be addressed this way. Before now, her previous work commitments were the reason she never decided to discover the world from her Siberian home in Krasnoyarsk - and of course, the Iron Curtain meant most destinations were restricted for decades.
With hands and feet
So, this grandmother now has a lot of catching up to do. Although she doesn’t speak English, it’s no impediment for the elderly woman to explore new horizons. In Vietnam, she rode piggyback on a moped, jumped into the warm sea, and didn’t shy away from the local cuisine. In fact, this is how her story came to public attention in the first place. Using her hands and feet, the traveller tried to explain to her waiter that the food was very spicy. Two women from Moscow happened to be nearby and helped Grandma Lena. They started talking and were so impressed by the old lady that they posted her pictures to their social network accounts. Since then, all of Russia has become enchanted by this tiny tourist. Now she also has her own Instagram account which is managed by her grandson and others.
An eventful life
Even a local TV station has covered her story making the Krasnoyarsk resident something of a celebrity. “I feel as if my life is only beginning now,” Grandma Lena told the journalists of TRK7. “When I was three-years-old, I lost my parents and then at the age of twelve, the Second World War began,” she movingly described her early years. Later she endured what she herself called a “miserable marriage” and since her divorce, has entirely earned her own money.
But when the resourceful Russian finally had time for herself, she decided to travel to the Czech Republic. Lena enjoyed the trip so much that she returned four more times before daring to venture to Germany, Poland, Turkey, Vietnam and Israel, where she even rode a camel. Now, twice a year Lena goes travelling using money from her pension. In addition, the Grandma is still working a little as a seamstress and florist.
If there is enough money, the next big target is already within reach. For her 90th birthday, Grandma Lena wants to travel to the Dominican Republic.