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Elena Erkhova | Elena Erkhova and Taino Indians | Source: Facebook.com/Baba Lena Erkhova
Elena Erkhova | Elena Erkhova and Taino Indians | Source: Facebook.com/Baba Lena Erkhova

83-Year-Old Grandma Escaped World War II and Abusive Husband to Fulfill Her Dream of Traveling the World

Salwa Nadeem
Sep 18, 2022
08:00 P.M.
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After living a difficult life, surviving World War II, and bearing the pain of living with an abusive husband, an 83-year-old woman did the extraordinary. She stepped out of her comfort zone to fulfill her lifelong dream.

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We all wish to travel the world, don't we? Many of us dream of seeing the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. In contrast, others wish to experience snorkeling in the Maldives and go on a safari in the jungles of Africa.

However, we all want to experience these beautiful things before we age. Surprisingly, the woman in today's story embarked on her exciting journey of traveling the world on her 83rd birthday. Scroll down to read about her experience.

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A Rollercoaster Ride

Elena Erkhova's life was no less than a rollercoaster ride. She witnessed multiple tragedies but always remained hopeful. When she was just three years old, both her parents passed away at a time she craved their love.

Erkhova was too young to understand the concept of death when her parents died. As she grew older, she understood they were watching her from above. Her next trial began soon after she turned fourteen.

While most 14-year-old girls played with their friends and explored their fashion sense, Erkhova witnessed World War II. She was a fearless girl who wasn't ready to give up.

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A New Beginning

As Erkhova grew older, the time for her to tie the knot came closer. Soon, she was no more a single woman. Erkhova shared that her married life wasn't that good. Her husband was an abusive man who didn't even spare his own daughter.

Then, the grandmother-of-two embarked on her first dream trip.

Erkhova spent her life protecting her daughter and trying to give her the best life. She put her dreams and wishes on the back burner for the sake of her little girl, unaware that her life would soon take a beautiful turn.

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Her Dreams

In the 1970s, then-40-year-old Erkhova got a chance to fulfill her dream of exploring the world. Her first international trip destinations were Germany, Poland, and Prague. Erkhova's first traveling experience was a breath of fresh air for her.

What restricted Erkhova from traveling the world were her finances. She never had enough money to visit the countries she wanted to until she turned 83. Erkhova recalled:

"My friends asked me why I never went traveling. They told me, 'You have the money.' And I thought, 'Why not?'"

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The Adventures

On her 83rd birthday, Erkhova's friends connected her to a travel agency and got her a passport. Then, the grandmother-of-two embarked on her first dream trip. She explored Thailand, Italy, Vietnam, Spain, and many other countries.

Erkhova liked to call herself "Baba Lena," and her travels were not only about seeing monuments and museums. She went river rafting in Mongolia, rode a camel on Israeli sands, and traveled on a bike in Germany.

Baba Lena mainly relied on her pension to fund her trips and the income she generated from growing flowers and sewing. She was a determined woman who proved that fulfilling one's wishes knows no age restrictions.

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Traveling Alone

While Erkhova was in Vietnam, she caught Ekaterina Papina's attention. Papina was a young tourist and Erkhova's countrywoman. She was amazed to see an elderly woman visiting an unknown country alone. Papina said:

"I was surprised by the way she was so adventurous in her thinking and how clear and bright she was at her age."

At that moment, Erkhova struggled to explain to the waiter that her soup was too spicy. Besides conveying her message to the waiter, Papina assisted her in setting up an Instagram account.

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Her Travel Journal

The idea of sharing her travel journey with the world seemed interesting to Erkhova. Traveling the world after staying in an abusive relationship was a refreshing experience for her. She shared photographs of herself in different parts of the world on Instagram and soon gained popularity.

"It's easy to make friends when I'm away because a lot of people wonder [at] my age and ability to travel, and they want to help," Erkhova said. She loved interacting with people from other countries.

The grandmother had checked most countries from her bucket list when her life took a different turn. Erkhova had been suffering from terminal lung cancer for years, but she didn't let her condition discourage her.

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Her Last Post

Ever since she rose to fame in 2016, her followers kept inviting her to their countries. In her last Instagram post that she shared on December 8, 2018, she said to her Brazillian followers:

"Thank you so much for your kind words and well wishes! I will definitely come to Brazil."

After turning 91, Erkhova's health started deteriorating, but she never canceled her travel plans. Unfortunately, fate stopped her from visiting more countries after she fell sick in January 2019.

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Leaving a Legacy

"She was in a very grave condition. We did what we could," Erkhova's doctor said after she passed away. However, that didn't mean people would forget the globetrotter.

Erkhova left a legacy that inspired people of all ages to explore the world. With her determination, she proved that age is just a number.

After her demise, her grandson created Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube accounts on her behalf and uploaded her travel photos there.

Share Erkhova's inspirational story with your friends and family for their daily dose of motivation. They might plan a trip to their dream destination after reading this article.

Click here to read another story about a woman who couldn't walk after a horrific motorbike crash. She traveled around the world on her husband's back.

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