Traveler and photographer Elina Melnik told us about her travels, future plans, and, of course, about her favorite jewelry pieces ✨
Aloha, Elina! We are so happy to meet you and learn about the travels. For starters, please tell us a little about yourself. Where do you live, what is your profession?
I live in Krasnodar, which is a city in the south of Russia. On workdays, I am a standard office clerk. But I try to devote all my free time to photography and try to travel more. I took pictures long before Instagram started its existence. But when it became popular, my photography acquired a certain goal and became even more interesting and creative.
Your profile in Instagram is a wonderful combination of photographs from travels around the beautiful spots of the planet. One day you're in Turkey, the other – in Abkhazia. How long have you been traveling?
Actually, not as much as it seems. In my collection of a traveler, there are only ten countries now. My first trip was five years ago. It was a package trip to Spain from the tour agency. Since then, I realized that this format of traveling is not for me, and began to travel by myself.
What determines the direction of your next journey?
I have a list of places I definitely want to visit. That's not the plan just for the year, but rather must-have for my travels. All the trips I have had were spontaneous. For instance, I came across cheap tickets or saw some photos taken in cool places and realized that I immediately wanted to go there.
And I also like to break stereotypes. When you first learn about the country from news, articles or Wikipedia, and have some perception in your mind, a certain stereotype. And then, once you arrive and see everything with your own eyes, everything is usually quite different. Thus you get a real image of the country and people there.
Name three things you always need when you go on a trip.
The most important thing without which I never go anywhere is a camera and a couple of photogenic things. Everything else is, to be honest, irrelevant.
What is a dream-journey like for you?
I don't really have particular travel dreams. I would rather call my dream to leave the office and just aimlessly travel by van. Actually, all my trips happen this way. But there are a few countries where I could go right away. If I have a chance to find myself in any part of the world now, I would definitely choose Iceland.
What are those things you find hard to get used to while traveling?
I would say there are none as I easily manage during all my trips. So I can’t even choose anything that seems complicated. I guess I just haven't been to a really dangerous country.
What's your favorite music during the journey?
That’s country music for sure!
Which place among latest visited did you like the most and why?
I would say it’s Armenia. One of the most sincere and hospitable countries. Soon I plan one more visit there but in a different season. Last time when I went there it was winter.
What has changed for you after you started traveling?
My perception of many things has changed. When you travel independently, communicate with locals and live a normal city life in another country, you do not feel as if you are a tourist. And you begin to feel love (or vice versa) towards this country. And, what is more interesting, you begin to appreciate your home country and feel patriotic.
Our latest Axis mini-collection is inspired by the mythical axis of the world - the connection of earth and sky. Ancient people imagined mountains to be such place. And what's your place of power?
The place of power for me are also mountains. They give me such a powerful charge of energy, inspiration, and clear thoughts.
What are your hobbies besides traveling?
In addition to travels, of course, photography. As long as I can remember, I have always had a camera in my hands. When I started photography I even shot on old film cameras. I had no intention to turn this hobby into a job. It's something that helps me grow and to look differently at this world.
What inspires you?
I am always inspired by the atmosphere of places that I visit. My Instagram profile is mostly about my travels, no matter whether it's another country or neighboring towns.
Tell us why do you like Aloha Gaia?
Aloha Gaia is a jewelry brand with special philosophy. Somehow magically jewelry is so attractive and gives me incredible energy.
Which jewelry would you like to wear?