Follow of the week: travel the world with Russian grandma Lena

Follow of the week: travel the world with Russian grandma Lena

25 August 2017

Follow this intrepid Russian grandma for the ultimate lifestyle inspiration.

Elena Erkhova is 90 years old and from Krasnoyarsk, Russia. She first found fame last year after a post on Facebook by Moscow-based Elena Papina, who told the story of accidentally meeting Erkhova while she was on holiday in Vietnam. The older generation in Russia doesn't travel much, mostly for financial reasons as state pensions are very low, so Papina was amazed that Erkhova not only saves up on her monthly pensions to be able to afford to go abroad but also travels alone at her advanced age. Erkhova, who is a Second World War survivor, did not have the opportunity to see the world when she young and first travelled abroad just seven years ago, when she was 83 years old.

After the Facebook post went viral, Erkhova, who is more commonly known as Grandma Lena (Baba Lena in Russian, a short form of babushka), has appeared on several TV shows to talk about her travels. She now has an Instagram account where she posts photos from her travels and snippets from TV appearances, which are now captioned in both Russian and English.

It was also Instagram that helped her find her most recent travel destination — an epic motorbike ride to Germany with some of her followers (of whom there are over 49,000!). The biker club members invited her to join them on 7,500 km journey from the subarctic Russian town of Novy Urengoy to Kassel to visit the documenta 14 art exhibition. She also recently celebrated her 90th birthday in the Dominican Republic.