During my travels, I have realized that for some reason, awesome people tend to gravitate towards awesome places. Therefore, it should be no surprise that I first came across this awesome person in Why Not Hostel in Tbilisi, Georgia. Unlike most other serious stiffs out there, this awesome person hadn't forgotten that life should be playful instead of stressful and was always ready for wander and adventure, even when it comes to joining a bearded coffee fiend on a trip to rural mountain villages. Now, fresh after our journey together, let me introduce Lena.


Little did I know at first, but Lena's trip to Georgia almost didn't happen at all. Originally, she was planning it with a friend, and at last minute, something happened and her friend had to drop out. Everything that was planned could no longer be, which for some people would have ended any possibility for a trip right then and there. But for Lena, it did not. Instead, she threw herself fully into the experience and decided she was going to make the most of her time in this country of which she had never been and knew very little about. And when I say 'make the most of her time', I'm not speaking in hyperbole. From sun-up to the early hours of next morning, Lena seemed to do everything. Within two days, she had walked the entirety of Tbilisi, got invited by a group of local university students to a birthday party, and quickly befriended Georgi (the hostel cat).

However, it was during a trip we did to Mt. Kazbek where one of Lena's most awesome traits came to light. Right after we arrived, even before we got to the guesthouse, something happened. A dog ran out onto the street and bolted right toward us, but instead of barking and biting, it went right up to Lena and rolled over on it's back so it could be pet. And it didn't stop with the dog. Every animal we came across, from the guesthouse cat (they have one too) to the many wandering cows and sheep, and even the lone donkey all were drawn to her. Lena just has this overall presence. She's open to the world and all the people and animals within it. She tears down barriers, defies borders, and seeks to make meaningful connections and friendships.


ADVICE: Be like Lena. Befriend everyone and everything you can and never forget that life can be fun and joyful.