“I am rich. I own everything that I have experienced.” – Latvian poet Māris Čaklais
Tell us about yourself
“Latvian. 37. Zane Enina”, these are answers to the FAQ when you are travelling. For more than two years I consider myself a traveler and a blogger. My other interests lie in yoga, books, plants and people – love meeting new friends and just love old ones.
Can you describe your life/lifestyle before this Nomadic life?
Back home I used to work in marketing and public relations; I did it for some 15 years. Had “everything” – nice house, beautiful and smart boyfriend, new car and everything you can imagine a “perfect life” should. Now I “have nothing” from some people’s perspective. Well, my house is still at its place but on everyday basis I can’t use any of these “comfy” things I was used to. Anyways, I’m not wailing about my “previous life” – I really liked my job – perfect bosses, passionate teams, great colleagues, interesting job – that’s why I did it for so long and that’s why it was so hard to leave. But there was always this travel bug – biting and teasing me, YOU should travel, you SHOULD travel, you should TRAVEL.
When did you start this trip? Where?
So, two years ago I left my job and almost the next day jumped on a plane to USA. Then followed Cabo Verde, Australia, China, South East Asia, Europe, Stan’s (Kazakhstan, Kirgizstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan), Balkans and now it’s time to explore South America.
We always have this ‘AHA, FUCK this’ moment when it made you realize that it’s time to go.. What incident is that?
No, for me it was not an incident and it was not a moment. It was a long, carefully thought decision. I think I wanted to travel since I was born, I just didn’t have enough time, money, courage (just name all other excuses people use) to do it earlier. Although life played a trick shortly before I was planning to leave – one of my lungs collapsed and I had to go through two surgeries and stay in the bed for two months. The doctor’s diagnosed a very rare lung disease that theoretically limits your life length pretty much and provides you with a long list of things you are not recommended to do – including flying, being in the heat and direct sun, being in the extreme cold, climbing mountains and stuff like that. Of course, I’m doing all of this. Still happy, still alive.
PREPARATION: How did you prepare for this trip? How long were you preparing?
Technically about one year, but theoretically – since I was born. I bought all the travel gear, paid my loans, saved up a bit, packed my backpack and left.
How do you fund your travels?
So, first two years I traveled only from my savings and went home from time to time, did some projects there, rented my house as an Airbnb during the summer and so on. Now, on this trip, it’s different. I do write for some magazines back home and I also make some money with my blog. Ok, not exactly with a blog, but blog is the reason and the platform. I call it my “20 euro project”. 20 euros is my daily travel budget (still trying to fit within) and everybody can buy one (or more) day of my travel, in other words be a sponsor of my day. On this day that person can tell me what to do – jump in a waterfall, hug a stranger, feed a street dog – whatever. Usually people buy their birthday and ask me to celebrate it; or, they buy a day when I’m going to some place they always were dreaming to go so they can see it through my eyes and have at least some feeling of presence. One of the greatest compliments I recently received from one of my readers was – “when I read your blog I feel like a boy from the book “Neverending story”, so involved in everything that happens”.
Another thing I do – when I’m a bit tired of active travelling, I stay at some place for a longer time (a week or two) and do a volunteer job, it means I don’t pay for the food and accommodation and I learn something new. Actually, I’m doing it right now – today I painted a wall of house in the central Chile.
But the main thing – it’s not important how much you earn, but how much you spend. The balance matters. So, I’m not the one who travels without money but the one who travels on budget. I use couchsurfing a lot, I’m eating a lot of street food, hitchhiking and doing other things that bring more fun to my travel and helps to save at the same time.
Where have you been (DURING THIS TRIP)? Which is/are your favorite? Worst? Tell us a story.
So, I started this trip in November in Ecuador, stayed there for two weeks, after that I went for a month in Peru. Then I took a plane to very special place for me which I was dreaming about since childhood – Easer Island and met New Year there. Now my travel continues in Chile. The plan of my current trip is to visit every country in South and Central America.
I never had really bad experiences on this trip, just some small issues. But loads and loads of good ones. Did crazy canopy rides in Ecuador, sandboarding in Peru; baked bread in a Krisna temple in Amazones; saw volcanos, waterfalls and jungles, made amazing friendships. And so on.
BACKPACKING ESSENTIALS: Things on your Backpack. What not to bring? What to bring? How heavy is your bag?
In Camino Santiago we used to laugh that everybody has all his fears in the backpack. I have a bag that corresponds to airplanes hand luggage limits, so I can always take my bag with me – it’s faster and cheaper. Some people are surprised to see that such a small bag contains everything you need for a year or more. But basically you need the same amount of things for a week or for a year. And actually you don’t need so many things as you think you do – this is only one of “travel learnings”.
I have been packing my bag so often, I think I did a good job this time. The weight of my bag varies between 6 and 10 kilos depending on the clothes I’m wearing at the moment and the food and water in my bag. Almost half of my bag weight consists of gadgets, it’s my weakness and need – I carry with myself a laptop, 2 cameras (big and expensive for photographing nature and small for busy and “dangerous” places), GPS device (has saved me many times and helps for geocaching) and phone. All those devices have chargers, wires, batteries and god knows what. Others are usual things – some clothes, hygiene stuff, sleeping bag.
Easter Island was my greatest dream and I just fulfilled it. Actually I don’t have a bucket list but embracing everything that comes in my way. Ok, I guess I have to overcome some fears – like dancing in pairs, teaching yoga, sleeping alone in the tent middle of nowhere, make a friendship with cockroaches which I hate so much, write a book.
EXPERIENCE: Worst Experience on the Road? Memorable? The best?
Again, no really bad experiences on the road, but many heart touching –the world is a much better place than we usually think it is. Maybe not the worst, but the most stupid experience was missing my plane from Europe to Australia. Already the morning started a bit unlucky – my train to the airport was on fire so I had to wait for the next one. I arrived at the airport already late and then the check-in employees told me they can’t let me in because I had forgetten to receive an electronical visa (what usually is a 5 minute automatic issue), I was so nervous I wrote the request not to the government’s official site but some agency found on google. Anyways, the result was I missed three planes and had to buy a new ticket which was kind of expensive. So now I check all visa details really carefully, it was a good learning experience.
But other than that, nothing. Usually when I get into some problematic situation at the end it leads to something really good and turns into the best experience. For example, In the USA I couldn’t find a place to sleep (ok, it was too expensive to me) next to the North Rim of Grand Canyon so I ended up sleeping few hours in the car (which is theoretically forbidden). But because I slept so close to the place I woke up really early and walked to the viewpoint even before the light started to appear – so I watched one of the most spectacular sunrises of my life.
Or in Tajikistan – me and my travel mate stayed in the worst “hotel” you can imagine. We already spend the night before in the train and were really looking forward to having a rest but instead ended up in very cold and dirty place with no water and toilet, but the window towards the road on which trucks were driving uphill all night long made a nice “lullaby” melody. And we had to leave the place very early because of some regulations. But due to that we arrived to see Iskandarkul lake while it was still sleeping and the color of the water was incredible. One hour later the lake was still beautiful but the magic was gone.
I think so far my best experience in my “travel life” was walking 900 km pilgrimage way in Spain, Camino Santiago. So much love, pain and hugs in 40 days, it feels like I lived a short other life there.
LOVE ON THE ROAD: How’s your lovelife while travelling?
Just loving the road for the moment. And life on it.
TRAVEL INSPIRATION: Who’s your travel inspiration? Have you met an awesome person while on the road, can you describe him/her and why he/she is awesome?
I think my travel bug was born because of the books. Jules Verne, Jack London, Gerald Darel and many others are guilty for that. And, of course, Norwegian adventurer and writer Thor Heyerdahl– he is my main hero.
The man I met while watching sunrise at the Great Canyon, he was also traveling alone and he was 82. My second couchsurfer, Alex from the USA, was traveling around the world only with couchsurfing for 9 month and she was 65. People like them are showing an example to me that age doesn’t limit your travel adventures, just your mind or body sometimes.
On the road I’m meeting amazing people. I’m always so deeply touched by kindness of strangers – so many people have shared their home, food and heart with me. And other people who travel… Only on this trip I already have met so many great people – Spanish girl with an angel’s voice Amaya, my helpful Argentinian friend-in-hike Charly, American Ali and Swiss-Italian Giovi – travel buddies who “adopted” me in Lima, You guys. People always ask – don’t you feel lonely when you travel alone – how can I?
How long are you planning to do this lifestyle?
I have no idea – no plans, no promises. I will ask this question again myself after one year, let’s see where I’ll be, how I’ll feel and what I’ll think then.
LESSON LEARNED: What have you learned during this trip?
For me travelling is something that makes a life brighter and soul wider. You cross the borders of countries and you cross your own ones. You grow tolerance from inside and outside. What is normal in one place is unusual in another, welcomed in one, forbidden in other.
Travelling brings a lot of uncertainty – you often don’t know where you’ll sleep the next night, who you’ll meet, what you’ll eat. So, often, all you can do is rely that everything will be ok and embrace what comes. You learn to trust more – on goodness of people, of destiny, of chance. And things are always sorting out, in one way or another, and usually, at the end, you find yourself in amazing situations with amazing people.
You get to know countries, it’s people and habits, its loves and hates directly, not through the books, movies or mass media – what a luxury. You create your own perceptions; you have your own experiences. And seeing other countries makes you evaluate yours more, at least I can see the beauty of my country more clearly now. The things that looked so usual before – for example, like mushroom picking – feels more special from the distance.
And you evaluate small things and big “things” more. Did you felt happy and thankful for the hot shower this morning? Clean bed linen tonight (and a bed itself)? For a possibility to hug your mum, husband or a friend?
LIFE AFTER/FUTURE GOALS: What are you planning to do next? Goals in life?
I like couchsurfing a lot, but more than surfing I enjoy hosting. So, my dream is to create a place where people could be close to nature and themselves – there would be yoga classes available, different hand-crafts, some animals and a bit of organic farming. One part of the accommodations would be built as animal’s homes – a cave, a nest, a bee-house, another would consist of traditional houses from different countries like a wigwam or yurt and so on. The majority of the interior would be made of recycled materials.
Most of the time I’d spend there, but during low-season I’d continue traveling and writing. Of course, it’s just a dream, I have no money. But I think dreams are more important than money. So I keep sharing this idea with people, you never know how things can work out. Maybe some millionaire is reading your blog and decides to sponsor my dream. Or a man with golden hands and heart who can help me to build that.
Advice on readers who are planning to do this kind of life
In one sentence: “Just do it!”. And don’t be afraid. Of the unknown, of your future, of what others might think or say (they don’t really care). Just follow your dream whatever it is – don’t prepare too long, don’t postpone, do it now. And don’t be jealous of what others have but evaluate and be thankful for what you do.
You may contact me through the following:
Facebook account – https://www.facebook.com/zane.enina
Twitter is: @enina_zane
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / mugursoma.lv