I first met Elke a few years ago at a holiday work party. We both worked for the same company but out of different Toronto offices. Now, Elke and I share the same office space and at least once a day she makes me laugh with her sharp quips and exciting stories.
Elke is definitely an intriguing person. Once we became office mates I learned that she grew up in five different countries — Chile, China, the Philippines, Italy and Venezuela. Her mother worked for the Canadian Embassy, resulting in Elke living overseas until she returned to Canada for college in 2003.
Outside of the office, Elke performs in a burlesque troupe called The Harlettes. They recently celebrated their 10th anniversary, and this May Elke will be performing as a solo act in the London Burlesque Festival. It’s her first international show! Congrats, girl! 🙂
To find out more about Elke’s most recent trip to Peru, check out this blog post she wrote for work.
What countries have you visited? USA, Mexico, France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Switzerland, Lebanon, Malaysia (including Borneo), Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, Trinidad & Tobago, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Tanzania, Australia, Ecuador (including the Galapagos Islands), Peru.
What is your favourite place to visit? I am completely in love with Italy. I lived there for the first three years of high school and have visited several times since. I just love the history, food and lifestyle. Otherwise, I like to visit places that can offer unique and unspoiled wildlife encounters like Borneo or the Galapagos Islands; places that remind me that we haven’t completely let the planet down and inspire me to help preserve it. I also recently returned from a trip to Peru which was completely amazing – the energy in the Andes Mountains was palpable and the Incan history is fascinating.
What’s one thing you’ve learned from your travels? The world is a big beautiful place. It doesn’t take material things or money to make a person happy. The family living in a hut with no TV or regular electricity can be just as happy as anyone else. Our perception that we need nice clothes or material things is just that; a perception.
What’s one thing you must always bring with you on a trip? My DSLR camera. My favourite thing to do when I get home from a trip is go through my photos and edit them, reliving the whole trip again!
What are the top three destinations on your travel bucket list? At the moment: Mongolia and/or far Western China, Antarctica, and a tour of the National parks through the Western USA (Yellowstone, Zion, Yosemite and Monument Valley).
What’s the craziest thing to have happened to you while on a trip? The only thing that comes to mind is from a trip to Italy with one of my best friends. We were looking for a place to camp on the small island of Procida with no luck (it was May and we found many campsites were closed at that time). We met a man on the beach and in my basic Italian I explained to him our predicament. He offered to “help” first by showing us an empty store room under the restaurant he owned on the shore that locked from the OUTSIDE. No, thanks! Then he offered to call a hotel for us to see if they had room. From what he was saying on the phone it sounded legitimate to me, but my friend whispered to me that he hadn’t dialed the number of the hotel but another number. He had basically called a friend to come over. After groping my friends butt she insisted we leave and I understood the message “let’s get the hell out of here”. We power walked back to the main road with bear spray and pocket knife drawn. Our “helper” drove past us – clearly looking for us, but once he saw us he kept going! We found a place to rest our heads that night and it ended up being a highlight of our trip. We stayed four nights in a lovely little casita surrounded by lemon and orange trees and gardens. We also made friends with the owner’s daughter, who I still talk to today.