Journeys and Travels have interviewed a sexy, crazy and fun backpacker in the name of Alexandra Kovacova. She is one of the living inspiration among many women who choose not to stay in their sullen office cubicles or domesticated homes but is on the road, backpacking in countries far and away from her hometown of Snina.
Alex, as I fondly call her, speaks Spanish, English, Czech and Slovak. She has an MA in English and Spanish Philology from the Palacky University, in Olomouc, in the Czech Republic.
The following are her answers to our Meet the Backpacker’s questions.
- What are the best and worse experiences you have had while travelling as a backpacker?
I don’t think there are any worst experiences. The experiences that don’t quite go to plan usually make great dinner party conversations. For example, I once spent 12 hours in a minibus taxi in southern Africa sitting next to the person with the biggest backside on the bus which meant half of mine was leaning over the seat for the entire kamikaze journey. When I finally reached Johannesburg, I had to share a bed with my (male) travel partner because all the dorm beds were booked. It wasn’t pleasant at the time, but I laugh at it now as it’s a great little story!
- Do you go solo or in a group? Why?
Both – because travelling solo or in a group offers different experiences. I don’t like limiting myself to one form of travel over another, because each one has something different. I like travelling solo because you’re not having to consider anyone else so you can do your own thing, but I also like travelling with others as you get to share experiences as well.
- Can you share to us what is meant to you by travelling light as a backpacker, in the context of both literally and figuratively?
I can’t stand lugging too much crap around. I try to keep my backpack weight at around 11-12 kilograms. All I need is enough clothes to stop me from being smelly, a small laptop, and a camera. That’s it!
- How far have u been to your journeys as a backpacker, in terms of those insights you have gained?
While we might do some things differently, human beings across the planet are more or less the same. We have more in common with each culture than you think!
- Were there instances you find yourself in the middle of nowhere?
Oh yes, many times. But there are always people around to help you out if you need it. The vast majority of people in the world are great human beings. When I’ve asked for directions, sometimes I’ve been given a lift to where I need to go!
- How is travelling as a backpacker to you in relation to your obligation to yourself and those who follow you, perhaps in this aspect, how does your travel inspire you?
It’s the little things. It might be some unpretentious place that looks daggy on the outside but the family cooking is superb. Another example was that I really enjoyed going to the La Paz (in Bolivia) cemetery on the Day of the Dead. There were people singing, eating food with their deceased relatives. It wasn’t a sad occasion – rather, it was a more uplifting experience that treated death as a part of life.
- What tips can you give to those who wanted to fill the earth by travelling?
Just go and do it. You are going to be a long time dead, so you may as well enjoy the time you have alive! No one on their death bed ever wished they could have spent more time at work!
- As a backpacker, what was your most reflective moment?
There have been many, not just one. Most of them have been fantastic. Such as standing in front of Iguazu Falls and being belted by the spray. Or just checking out what animals do on safari in Africa. They usually happen in the wide open spaces for me, as I like checking out the world’s natural wonders.
- Looking back at where you had been for the last 5-10 years, how has travelling shaped you?
I have a quote that says ‘the more I learn about other countries, the more I learn about my own’. Travel definitely broadens the mind. While there are different ways of doing things, there is no single right one. The reason we all love travel is that you like a new place because of the differences – not despite of them.
- Where is the best place you had been to recently that you have left your footprints (inspiration)?
This one was a real surprise package – Samoa, which is an island nation in the South Pacific (this is independent Samoa, not American Samoa). Samoa was quite refreshing because it is understated and not spoilt by tourism. Definitely not a tourist trap, but a great place to relax and chill out. The locals there are so friendly and unpretentious, that I want to go back for a return trip!
Alex is the lady blogger behind Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler.
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