Lena is mother, wife, manager, and world traveler who has been exploring most of her life. As you’ll see, she is quite a busy woman! Fortunately, Lena has super generously shared her strategies for traveling while parenting, working, and running her own travel blog. You can check out many of her adventures on Travelletters, her beautiful site, at the link below. If you’ve got questions for her about how she juggles her hectic schedule, drop a question in the comments! I can’t wait for you to meet this Woman of the Week.
I am 39++ (41) yo, married with two teenagers. I was born in Kiev, Ukraine (former Soviet republic) but moved to Israel when I was 17 yo. I met my husband while living in Israel and moved to Norway when I was 20 yo – my hubby is Norwegian. I work full time as a manager at a private chiropractor clinic, just finished my MBA and will soon start looking for a new job.
Why do you travel?
I have always loved to travel. I don’t exactly know why, but I think I got the travel bug when I was traveling a lot between the age of 13-17 due to my participation in judo contests – doing sports in Soviet Union was a huge deal 🙂 Now, I travel because I love to learn and explore new cultures, I love history and architecture – especially ancient and I love to explore new places and try new food.
Travel makes me grow, makes me tolerant and more open to our differences and it teaches me patience.
How do you balance work and travel?
Having full time work and youth with activities every weekend it can be difficult to find time to travel. In Norway we have 5 weeks vacation and extra days off during Easter and Christmas and I plan around these. You can come far during your long weekend breaks and our last long weekend break was in Hong Kong 2 weeks ago. We left on Friday and came home on Tuesday – which gave us 3 whole days down there. We never take more than maximum of 3 weeks off during summer vacation, that way we save at least 2 weeks which we can use through out the rest of the year. This year we have already been on long weekend to Kiev (Ukraine) , Wissembourg (France), Hamburg (Germany), roadtrip in France for 10 days in summer (we had a total of 14 days summer vacation) and Hong Kong. We are going to Norwegian mountains in 2,5 weeks for a long weekend and to Gothenburg (Sweden) in December. We are also going for a few days to Edinburgh (Scotland) in November for my graduation, assuming I will pass my last exam :), and will take an extra day off to explore the city (never been there). Some places we bring our youth with, but mostly we go alone. We dont have any grandparents who can “babysit” so we had to drag our kids along when they were younger. Now they stay usually with their friends when we are away.
I am not a digital nomad and nor have I desire to become one. I love to travel and explore, but I also love to come home and let the experiences acquired during travels to sink in. For the past three years I have also been studying for a master degree, besides a full time job and still we managed to go places. We can’t have it all and there is always a trade off between time, money and places you want to see. But if I can do it, so can you! If you have any questions just let me know, I will be more than happy to hear from you!
What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from your travels?
The best lesson I have learned on my travels is to not have any expectations, because every time my expectations were high I got disappointed, and opposite. I have also discovered that pictures on Instagram lie, even mine 🙂
Share one of your favorite travel memories.
One of my best travel memories would Venice. I totally fell in love with that place – despite the hordes of tourist, dirty channels and prices. We were on our 20 year anniversary and we just wandered around, had gondola ride, had amazing Italian food and of course Italian wine. Getting lost in narrow streets that lead to the water, finding small hidden restaurants or sitting by the water watching sunset – was amazing!
If you could share one travel tip with other women, what would it be?
I love to research my destinations and always have some sort of plan. I don’t always follow the plan but it gives me some kind of security. Listen to people and their advises but always go your own way and make your own discoveries – your experience will most likely be totally different from theirs. I have my own travel blog and if your read it you’ll see that I don’t give advises or recommendations, I simply write about my own experience and discoveries.
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Sarah is a 24-year-old working in juvenile justice who loves to travel the world (if you haven't gathered that already). I'm a proud cat mom, coffee-addict, and Harry Potter fanatic with an over reliance on list-making. Welcome to my little slice of the internet, where I'll try to convince you that work and travel are NOT mutually exclusive.