This 91-Year-Old Russian Grandma Became An Internet Sensation By Travelling The World On Her Own
Yeah, I know, I know, traveling is a tricky deal nowadays with the pandemic at large. But, it doesn’t hurt to take a look at the times when people were able to travel, before all of the lockdowns and quarantines.
And this story isn’t your run-of-the-mill travel thing, oh no. Its protagonist is actually a 91-year-old woman from Russia who had, despite her very venerable age, been traveling places. And not just around Russia, mind you, but also outside its borders, whether it’s an exotic location or not!
Yep, Elena Erkhova, more commonly known as Baba Lena, a babushka (or simply granny) from the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, traveled to places you wouldn’t expect a 91-year-old to go, and documented her travels across social media.
Alas, Baba Lena passed away in 2019 at the ripe age of 91, but she has left a legacy of her travels on her Facebook. We invite you to celebrate Baba Lena’s life in the list we’ve compiled below, and to remember that it’s never too late to go do something, especially if it’s something you always wanted to do.
In The Tuva Republic
So, meet Elena Erkhova, a 91-year-old lady from the Siberian City of Krasnoyarsk, Russia. She seems to have always been an avid traveler, and back when the Soviet Union was around, the people did have a lot of opportunities for travel, albeit in a more closed environment. But hey, the union was gigantic.
Back in the 1970s, when she was in her 40s, Lena had a chance to travel to Prague, Poland, and East Germany—some of the countries that were allowed as travel destinations outside of the Soviet Union.
At The Parthenon Of Books, Kassel, Germany
Joining The Culture Of The Taino Indians
But travel was never cheap, and her journeys were cut short due to the fact that she didn’t have the time or the money to do any of it... until she turned 83, when her passion for travel was rejuvenated and she decided she once again wanted to see more of the world.
In an interview with Ananova, Lena said that her friends had asked her why never traveled. She had the money at that point, after all. And she thought to herself, “well, why not?”
The Naadym Festival, Tuva Republic, Russia
Rafting In The Yenisey River (Mongolia / Russia)
Lena used to save up money from her pension as well as selling flowers and knitted goods. And this worked for her to be able to travel to places you wouldn’t expect a 91-year-old on a Russian pension to travel to.
Locations include many places around Russia, e.g. Republic of Tuva, Novosibirsk, Mount Elbrus, and Moscow, as well as places outside Russia, like Germany, Thailand, Tenerife (Spain), Italy, Vietnam, and many more.
At The Riu Garoe Hotel In Tenerife, Spain
During her travels, she wasn’t afraid to take part in a variety of activities. For the most part, it was sightseeing and visiting truly spectacular places, but she is also seen riding a camel in Israel or a motorcycle in Vietnam—Vietnam style—going rafting, partaking in cultural endeavours and celebrations, and more.
During one of her travels, she met a fellow Russian named Ekaterina Papina. Papina shared a picture of her encounter with Lena—who, by the way, always traveled alone, making it all even more amazing—and the picture managed to go viral online, receiving over 14,000 shares on Facebook.
The Geographical Center Of Asia
Since then, her grandson created a social media presence for Lena and started documenting her travels on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Unfortunately, Grandma Lena passed away from cancer back in 2019, and her YouTube and Instagram were emptied out. Only her Facebook account still stands as a memorial and legacy of her travels.
The Moscow Skyscrapers
Belokurikha, Altai, Russia
Beach Carnival Night In Thailand
And her legacy lives on. We’re still talking about it, but many other news outlets have done that too. To date, the elderly lady had over 8,000 followers on Facebook, over 5,000 followers on Instagram, and over 750 subscribers on YouTube, though these numbers could have been greater back when she was alive and people simply withdrew from these particular pages as they became empty.
Monkey Beach, Tonsai Bay, Thailand
Hagia Sophia, Istanbul
Parus Sanatorium, Novosibirsk, Russia
For Russian speakers, there is a video—a documentary, more specifically—about Baba Lena called How To Travel At 90? — Babushka Lena, detailing her travels and experiences during them.
In The Tuva Republic
Saint Basil's Cathedral, Moscow, Russia
Phi Phi Harbor View Hotel In The Phi Phi Islands, Thailand
Lena is a prime example, one of many, in fact, that proves it’s never too late to start doing something you love. Lena came back to traveling at 83, a mere 8 years before her death, and her travels were quite concentrated during these days, showing just how energetic she actually was.
Travelling To Tuva Republic
In The Mount Elbrus Area, Russia
Note: this post originally had 31 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.