Vietnam? Check. The inspiring story of an 89-year-old Siberian grandma who travels the world

By VnExpress   October 27, 2016 | 02:40 am PT
'I have just started living my life.' 

At 83, most of us would never want to leave home. But for Yelena Yerkhova, it's time to travel the world.

Now 89, the adventurer from Siberia is still hitting the road, twice a year and on her retirement pension.

The Siberian Times reported that Yerkhova has just returned home from a solo trip to Vietnam, where she learnt how it felt sitting on the back of a motorbike, splashed in the sea with young backpackers and explored local cuisine.

She doesn’t speak English, according to the Siberian Times, but the language barrier seems to be the least of her worries. She is visiting new countries, exploring new cultures and making new friends every year.

“I have just started living my life. My parents passed away when I was three years old. When World War II started, I was 14. I was not happily married to my husband who often hit me. I spent my whole life doing nothing but working. When I travel, the world seems wide open in front of my eyes,” the grandmother said in a television interview in her hometown.

She made her first trip to the Czech Republic. Then she continued her adventure to many other countries, including her latest destination Vietnam.

In Vietnam, two young backpackers from Moscow noticed her as she was trying to explain to a waiter that her dinner was too spicy. They got inspired by her story, said Yekaterina Papina, on a Facebook post.

The 89-year-old avid traveler not only had the courage to hit the road but also dared to do wild things like going for a swim in a stormy sea, said Papina, who, with a friend, had to hold each one of Yerkhova’s hands so that she wasn’t knocked over by strong waves.

Yerkhova is turning 90 next April. Right now she is packing for the next destination: Israel.

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