Hanne Hellvik of Cochabamba BOLIVIA

41. Featured Traveller 
Hanne Hellvik
Blogger : Traveller  
(Cochabamba, BOLIVIA)
I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list 

Hanne is just one of the most patient persons I have known on the web.  She is a twenty-something traveller from Norway who likes meeting people in every place she visits. She wants to learn about each and everyone's culture and tradition, their stories and more importantly, she has the desire to be a part of their lives.
Though she does not have so much money to use in her travels, she will continue visiting countries of Belize, Honduras and Mexico, not to mention her big dream to see more of East Europe and first visit to Cambodia and Vietnam.

Budget and planning for a trip is something that Hanne consider very important to be able to cut cost of her travels. She usually live with the locals, which is most of the time, with free accommodation, food and transportation. With her experiences, she still believe that there are many kind people around the world who welcomes and open their doors to strangers like her. It's amazing!

Her advice is to rely on the locals, not on travel books. "Ask only the local people about their culture and their way of life. Interact with them, ask for the best and safe place to go. No one knows their country and culture better than the people living and growing up in it", she says.

The above information is to sum up our featured traveller's mission while travelling. In her website, Places, People, Stories, she blogs for tips on how to deal with the local people and she will tell you why planning a trip makes you happier than actually taking one. Contact Hanne if you want to know more. Find out where her mission takes her.

* * * * *
As a kid, I travelled a lot with my parents, mostly, in Europe. 

When I started my masters in Development Management, the travel became more intense and long term. The second semester, I moved to New York. Thereafter, I visited Sri Lanka, Maldives and Malaysia. 

Subsequently, I decided to fly to Nigeria where I worked for a local NGO and with HIV/AIDS. I also visited Benin, Ghana and Togo before moving back to Nigeria to write my master thesis about the armed conflict between Muslims and Christians in the country. It was a life changing experience for me to live for so long in a dangerous zone where several people were killed due to the armed conflict. As well, I had to adapt living, most of the time, without the basic services like water and electricity. 

After Nigeria, I moved to Uganda to start a development project in the slums of Kampala with a couple of friends before heading to Cuba to learn Spanish. I brought my knowledge in the language when I moved to Bolivia for a few months and worked for a local NGO.

I met the love of my life in Bolivia and I wanted to stay longer, but had already booked my tickets travelling to Peru, HongKong, Thailand and India. In India, I had another internship for a local NGO on water management. Eventually, I returned to Bolivia where I worked as the director of a local NGO working with street kids for two years. It is here in Bolivia where I am based right now and continue travelling to other countries (mostly in South and Central America) whenever I can. 

You can see how often I move from one country to another. It is an indication that my travels will not end soon. I still have many places in my wish list. 

I have visited a considerable number of countries though; Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom of Great Britain, United States of America, Cuba, Curacao, Panama, China, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Benin, the Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Togo and Uganda.

Be in touch, I may be in your neighbourhood or in your own home one of these days. I will be pleased to meet you!

Of all the countries I have visited, I want to give a bit of information on the three of my favourite destinations.

San Blas, PANAMA
A pretty unknown destination. It consists of 365 small islands located in crystal clear water. It reminds a bit of the Maldives. However, it is more primitive. You cannot find a single hotel. You will therefore live in local cabin made of straws. All the islands are settled by the Kuna Indians that have autonomy over the islands. 

I love the place. It is a great place to relax and stay at the beach while discovering the wonderful and interesting culture of the Kuna Indians.

Ganvie, BENIN
Another unknown destination. Ganvie is a village built on stilts over the water in the middle of nowhere. The village have over 20,000 citizens. The residents do all their daily activities from their wooden canoe. Up to this day, it is the largest community in the world known to live on water.

Salar de Uyuni, BOLIVIA
The salt desert of Bolivia is maybe the most beautiful place I have ever seen. When it is raining, it looks like you are walking on water. I recommend a trip to Salar de Uyuni for its unique landscape. A three-day tour, all inclusive, is affordable and very cheap.

Don't forget to take warm clothes with you. It can be very cold at night. But it is all worth to freeze a little just to see this amazing place.

From the desk of: 
Freddie Miranda
A blogger and a Canada-based freelance writer. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send him a message if you will @ fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail.(dot)com.

Watch for these blogs! 
They all have been travelling for many years and I can guarantee that all of them have travel tips that all of us can learn and benefit from.  I have to thank all other fellow travellers who have responded to my invite.  I will definitely publish your stories as soon as details is completed.

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Are you a traveller who would like to share your travel story with our blog and our readers?  Then, I'd love to hear from you! 
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