Plans for 2019-2023 - All of Africa, Venezuela, Brazil, Middle East, Europe, Russia, USA
I was the first foreigner to whom this Yanomami tribe, allowed to stay with them. I had the opportunity to attend and participate (dances, songs, hunting, shamanism) at the traditional Yanomami funeral ritual, where at the end of the ritual, Yanomami Indians mix remains and crushed into ashes bones of the deceased with porridge made of bananas and then drink this porridge. (I have not tried the porridge, because I didn’t know the person)
Tried “Parica” (yopo) with men, women usually not allowed to do Parica.
This was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. And I am forever part of this tribe and they are forever part of me.
Жизнь с индейцами Яномами.
The chief of Yanomami tribe Geronco, once told me a legend of a Yanomami woman. Her name was Adorini. She was the most beautiful and dangerous woman and all men would fight over her and she was very strong. When I asked him why he is telling me this, he smiled and said “you are Adorini”. It is definitely a beautiful compliment and I laughed.
YANOMAMI (YANOMAMO) TRIBE, AMAZON JUNGLE, BRAZIL
Her name is Nani. She belongs to Saramacca tribe (one of six Maroon peoples) — descendants of the African slaves brought by Europeans to Suriname to work on plantations in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In 1690 Saramacca rebelled against their masters, escaped and formed their own independent communities around the country. Saramacca carry themselves with pride and dignity.
A knife is used to make incisions on the skin and then a charcoal was placed in them, as a result, the wounds become raised scar tattoos. When I asked Nani how old she is, she said she didn’t know. I kissed her hand and told her that its wonderful that she doesn’t know her age. We laughed and gave each other a hug. In villages a lot of women (like this one) don’t cover their breasts and many kids run around naked. They are the truly free and happy ones..
- “Why did you come here?”
- “I came here to dance with you...”
Dance for Maroons is very important. They use dance for many occasions and ceremonies, even to this day. Saramacca tribe was the first group of 6 Maroon groups to rebel against slave owners in Suriname. Dance was used as secret messages to each other in time of slavery. They encoded messages of planned escapes within a dance so that slave owners could not understand them.
When I come to your country, I don’t come to steal your oil, gold or involved in deforestation of your jungles - that is what 1% of the worlds wealthiest people and organizations do...
I come to dance with you, hug you, laugh with you and help you in any way I can.
I come to tell you, that you are magnificent!
And to tell you “thank you” for letting me inside your hearts and your homes.
Back to the time I lived with local family at the Nicaraguan farm, tried my hand at milking a cow and also drank milk right from the source, just as it was done for hundreds of years by locals… yes, I have no filter, no fear and no shame.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
First foreigner to dance topless with the tribes at the Madang Festival in Papua New Guinea. People were coming over to say “thank you” for upholding their culture in the way, that it is supposed to be done. The Papua New Guinean press of course, completely put a different spin on it. (surprise!)
That time when I shook the whole Indonesian town to it’s core…
There is a reason they call me “Helen de Troya” …
Throwback to a time when me and my friend photographer, Dmitriy Komarov, with whom we traveled to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, left one of our travel bags with expensive photo cameras, documents and the laptop in a local shuttle bus.
We were rescuing it for about 24 hours and the whole town of Manado were helping us, because the news of American Actress losing all her things, traveled really fast on all social media and all the local press of Indonesia got involved too.
Brothel Matuari, the tour guide Ko-Harry, privately owned armed police Manguni and a lot of other people were involved in it.
“We got it back...to be more exact-I've got it back, but....all those detectives Manguni attributed all the glory to themselves! All mass medias said that.” - Dmitriy Komarov
Oh well...This is mass media, my friend… and there’s nothing you can do about that…
don’t ever believe anything you see on tv, read in a paper or hear on the radio… it’s all smoke and mirrors, kids.
All of it happened on the most criminal street of the city with the half of Matuari brothel in the middle of it.
Back to a time I met a very mysterious, very wealthy and very well connected Russian man by the name of S. by pure accident. He has a real tiger at home and not only one tiger.. this is me holding a gun that was a present to him from President Putin, while stroking a cat, that was a a gift from Medvedev…
Maybe someday I will share the story of this mysterious encounter.
Yes, people think I’m a spy… Because I have a Russian and American passports and look like that…
A lot of people also think I’m “Margo” from the famous novel by Bulgakov - “Master and Margarita” (If you have never read it, I highly recommend it! It is a true masterpiece.)
If you read it, you will understand why I added a reference to it, between these two photos…
Garrobo Grande Pyramids & The Stolen Gold Of Nicaragua.
Garrobo Grande (Piramides de Garrobo Grande) is the pearl of Nicaragua and of all Central America. Only a few people know about it and it’s very hard to find.
It’s not just stones and grass, in the photo. This, my dears, is the oldest pyramid in all of Central America and is among the 5 oldest in all of Latin America.
(Read full story HERE)
Next to this pyramid there are 4 small ones and other ancient traces carved from stone. Archaeologists worked here 25 years ago for the first time. And for the second time, just some 18 years ago, an archaeologist named Jorge / George / Jorge Espinoza (speaking Spanish and English) came to this area with a guard that was armed. He persuaded the local people in the villages to work and dig pits in all 5 pyramids, the local people were paid well and were fed 3 times a day.
This was the beginning of one of the biggest thefts in Nicaragua and Central America.
This is not written and not told anywhere. This information you can get only from the lips of those who 18 years ago witnessed this story.
This was my home, where I swam naked everyday with turtles and fishes. I hired a local boat with captain and lived on remote islands, with no service or people for about 2 weeks total. “Papa" as I called him, taught me many things about the sea and how to fish with only a line. I camped right on the beach, fished, said hi to wild monkeys and lived my own incredible “blue lagoon” life.... with zero tourists! Coron Island, Philippines.
Don’t be afraid to step outside of the box and help locals directly, while enjoying authentic, fun, wild and otherworldly experiences for much less, than the official price tag of tourism industry, that robs local people of their deserved money. The captain of the boat treated me like his own daughter. He taught many little secrets of “how to survive in the wild”. Don’t be afraid to go directly to a local person with a boat and help the local families in need.
"Thank you for wonderful experiences with you. For me you are my daughter not by blood, but by heart. Thank you for treating me like your true father. - Your Papa"
This is written now forever inside my handmade notebook, that was a gift to me from an artist in Vietnam. From now on I ask people, who hold a special place in my heart, to leave me notes or anything else they want to place inside of it... perhaps a drawing or a smiley face or leave it blank...
I hold on to this notebook, as if it's my life vest, in the darkness of days, which sometimes enter without knocking. For so many years I was not able to call anyone "Papa" (father) ... until this journey in the Philippines.
Since 2002 I have been dancing barefoot on these endless roads across this world without you.
I waltzed and tangoed waves of oceans and seas without you... The silence, beauty, vastness of deserts and sounds of jungles I felt within my every cell without you... Without you, yet with you... The spark in your eyes, has found a shelter inside my eyes... Your intense passion towards life, now burns through the pages of my life, thrusts through deceptions of caged dreams, gives hope and joy to others and sometimes hides from storms within the castle of my soul... I love you, papa. (Click for the story)
(If you still have a person, whom you can call dad or papa, you are lucky... if you still have that person and you haven't talked to them in a long time for whatever reason, call them... if they did wrong by you, forgive them and give them a hug... you might not have that chance tomorrow...)
“The Wild In Me Honors The Wild In You”
At a rehabilitation center in Zambia. 2011
Travel is about the people you get to meet and the moments you get to share with them... Travel is about dissolving and melting with the soil your dusty boots stand on...
It's about the courage, love and lightness you are able to bring to someone else's heart...
Numbers today - (updated June 2019)
Visited 70+ countries and territories, lived (1 month - a few years) in more than 20 of those countries.
Visited ALL Southeast Asian nations.
Visited ALL Central and South American nations, except for Venezuela.
My feet have danced on 6 continents out of 7.
Home bases in 3 nations.
Traveling with 2 passports from 2 different continents.
Let There Always Be A Road...
For years now I travel and live in places with almost non-existent wifi connection...
(it's a wonderful life in a way : )
Right now this type of lifestyle makes it much easier to just publish one photo with a short story to Instagram, than trying to edit, upload media and publish a story in www.mselenalevontraveling.com But whenever I have enough time and good wifi connection, I try to publish stories and photographs.
I get emails asking if there ever will be a book... maybe... maybe not... It's really not that important... not to me.
But yes, maybe someday I will put several books together; one with photographs, poetry and notes and one perhaps will be a memoir...
I also hope someday to sail around the world indefinitely... yo ho yo ho and many, many many bottles of rum...