Elona Karafin • Travel With Me - instagram lists #feedolist

elonatheexplorer

If you could be anywhere in the world right now and time / money / visas weren’t an issue ... where would you go? . . This concludes my Namibia series (for now)🇳🇦🥰

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A couple of days ago someone said that I was using traditional and religious Muslim attire as a costume in my profile picture. Besides these absurd words, I was disqualified from a written piece in a prominent circulation under the latter presumption. . . . This photo was taken at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, where being covered from head to toe is not just common practice, it is mandatory. In fact, all women that enter the grounds of the mosque are asked to wear “rental” abayas. . . . Through all my years of traveling to predominantly Muslim countries - I’ve only been celebrated by locals for my yearning to assimilate to their culture. I’ve been to countless mosques, I attended prayers, weddings, Islamic museums and I educated my audience on the wealthy culture that many Westerns stigmatize. Never once was I told that my abaya is disrespectful to an entire cultural and/or religious group. Never would I think that someone would tell me I’m using it as a “costume.” And the irony of it all is that the accusation came from none other than a Westerner. . . . I posted a similar short and sweet response in my stories and I want this engraved in my page, too. I am always willing to accept constructive criticism. I will always listen to your perspective and admit my fault if there is one. But before approaching me with criticism ... please make sure you have some merit. Because I will ALWAYS stand my ground. Thank you for all your kind messages in response to my stories - I am humbled to have you all following me and taking the time out of your days to let me know that my work is appreciated ❤️ • I am tired of how easily offended this generation has become.

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Snapshots from #Namibia🇳🇦 - which one do you like the most? . . . The first photo is from arguably my favorite day in Namibia. We went on a mini road trip to Swakopmund to see where the ocean meets the dunes. The drive reminded me of my childhood in Ukraine - Russian music, good company, windows open, & the wind blowing until we reached our summer home. It’s remarkable that even at the south of Africa, I felt home in the front seat of a Landcruiser. Namibia has nearly a thousand miles of coastline, and the landscape changes throughout: towns and villages, abandoned shipwrecks, dunes & more. I love the textures in this shot, see if you can spot our car! . . . The second photo(s) is our room view at @strandhotelswakopmund. It looks warm but, in fact, mornings during the Namibia’s winter can be as cold as 0 degrees Celsius! . . . I also watched Lion King yesterday and couldn’t get past the opening scene without tearing up. Making eye contact with a lion in real life was easily the most terrifying and humbling experience I’ve had thus far 🙈

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NAMIBIA 🇳🇦 - what do you know about it? If not much then you’re in the right place, grab a pen and paper & I’ll meet you at the bottom 😉 . . . • The Capital city of Windhoek used to be the Capital of German South West Africa (now a part of Namibia). In fact there are many 4,5,6th generation Germans that live in Namibia now. German architecture & even the language is still very prevalent in the country. • In Namibia, you drive on the left side & the steering wheel is on the right side. • The Namib desert (hint: where the name comes from 🤓) is said to be over 55 million years old and is the oldest in the world ( @wwf) • The highest sand dunes in the world are in Namibia & it is one of two places where the ocean/sea meets the dunes (the other is in Qatar!) • It’s one of the least densely populated countries in the world with a total population of ~2.5 mil ... in perspective, NYC alone has ~8.6 million people and it is 6 times smaller. • Namibia has the largest cheetah population in the world! • Untouched & underrated & you should visit before it becomes the hotspot that it deserves to be. . . . Have you heard of Namibia before?

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What you see: constant traveling, luxury hotels, occasional business class flights. . . . WHAT YOU DONT SEE: - HUNDREDS of emails going out each week pitching to brands. - Negotiations and re-negotiations. - Almost closing out a deal but getting no response or a last minute no. - Follow-ups. - 5 AM wake up calls to chat with clients across the globe in Asia. - Staying up till midnight to chat with clients in Australia. - 4-5 AM wake up calls to shoot content. - The editing processes. - Hours spent writing the blog, optimizing content, re thinking growth strategies, fixing site bugs, posting on social media, interacting with the audience to maintain loyalty, managing other social channels and maintaining consistency there. - Juggling NET30 - NET60 payments and budgeting accordingly. - Low seasons. . . . You know the famous saying that goes something like: “don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel” • it will always look luxurious and easy on the forefront - but everything you see is a byproduct of constant hustle. . . . Let’s be real, I can show you what happens behind the scenes from time to time but the reality is … most of my time is spent behind the computer screen. The second you stop to take a breath, you get lost in this space. All of the things above + the constant need to evolve and change tactics is the only way to get ahead and to stay on top of the game. That really goes for any business. . . . What do you think?

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21 years ago a couple of doctors in NYC cut open my chest & closed a hole in my little heart. It is the most beautiful scar I have. Seriously ... it’s practically invisible & runs right down my cleavage area. I never really know if people are looking at the scar or .... nevermind 😅 but it’s a great conversation starter nevertheless. . . . Scars may heal, blood counts may normalize, and years may pass but never again will the simple act of waking up to a normal, boring day as a healthy individual be taken for granted, nor go unappreciated ❤️ . . . Since I spent most of my childhood summers with my grandparents in Ukraine, they always treated this day as my “second birthday” or a resurrection of some sort. I had two birthday parties every year, one in July and one in September😎 Today is just a gentle reminder to live and love every. single. day. Because hey, you never know 🙇🏻‍♀️ . . . Let’s get personal, do you have scars? How do they make you feel?

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[Swipe 👉🏼] There over 200 billion stars in the Milky Way. 200 billion. Let that sink in. The human eye can only see a few thousand ... the camera lens, a few thousand more. . . . We had a long day that day. A lot of driving, a bit of work, a desert tour, a big dinner. Nights during Namibia’s winter months are cold - I’m talking in the negatives 🥶 consequently, we had no intention of going out to take photos. But while we walked home from dinner, the sky was like a dark silky smooth fabric and the stars were glittering even in areas with a lot of light pollution. We put on our warmest clothes and drove out as far as we could from the city lights. . . . Even to the naked eye it looked so fantastic: a milky river flowing through the midnight sky. A galaxy hundreds of thousands of light years across. Hard to fathom the latter reality. I could look at the stars all night. This was my first time shooting a Milky Way ... it’s not perfect, but it will get better with time 😊✨ . . . Have you ever seen a Milky Way? • A7 RII // 16mm // 30 sec // ISO 6400

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SWIPE 👉🏼 which photo do you like most? . . . Do you feel like money is an obstacle for you to do the things you love? For me it definitely was - which is why I am obsessed with constantly learning to take control of my personal finances. . . . On Friday, I joined one of SoFi's exclusive events at a gorgeous rooftop in NYC. SoFi is a company that can help you meet your financial goals and reach financial freedom. My favorite SoFi feature is SoFi Money which is essentially a checking and savings account in one. The funds you have in your account will earn you 2.25% APY (what you could make in a year) ... and with no fees! You are basically earning money just for keeping money in the account. That easy. . . . SoFi celebrates the accomplishments of its members by throwing parties like this one! They also offer free career services and financial advising. If you sign up today using my link (http://bit.ly/ElonaTheExplorer) you will get a $50 sign up bonus! • #ad #GetYourMoneyRight

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I know money isn’t always fun to talk about but if you’ve been following me for some time, you know my background in finance leads me to connecting you with industry leaders. • I’m very excited to be partnering with @SoFi and hanging out with their members at the Summer of Funds event on July 11th. They’ll be talking all things money and then I’ll be sharing the details with YOU! Make sure to follow along my stories on July 11th to get the inner scoop. I’ll be posting tips, tricks and more to help you #GetYourMoneyRight with the help of industry pro’s. • #ad 📸: @jerometraveller

elonatheexplorer

Sometimes I have bad days. I have shitty thoughts. I have memories that burry me lower, challenging my mental strength. And in these moments I remind myself that there are an estimated 200+ billion suns just like ours in our galaxy alone. There are estimated to be over 100 billion galaxies in our Universe. So 100 billion galaxies, each of them possibly having 200 billion suns. . . . A universe so LARGE and I’m just a small speck sitting on larger speck of dust floating around the sun (🌎 yes, I’m talking about Planet Earth). . . . Now, this isn’t to downplay my own problems - it’s just a fair reminder that dwelling on them is a very micro way of looking at life. I think of how large the universe is and remind myself of one of my favorite quotes: “the entire universe is within you” ✨ What is your favorite quote? . . . 📸: @t7prince // @cz_capture // @sspa1717 🇨🇳: @shangrilahotels @hainanairlines #HelloFrom Beijing, China!

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A bookstore out of my wildest dreams! This is Page One in Beijing - well worth the visit if you’re a bookworm like me ... or if you appreciate design & architecture 😍 what are you currently reading or what is your favorite book? I need to update my list! • For photos, it’s best to go there at night & the surrounding neighborhood is gorgeous, too! Thank you @shangrilahotels & @hainanairlines for bringing @tourdelust @cailaquinn and me to Beijing! • 📸: @sspa1717 // @cz_capture // @t7prince

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GET TO KNOW ME 👇🏼👇🏼 Name: Elona Karafin 25 Years old // Virgo 😬 // 5’6” Born in Kamenets-Podilsky, Ukraine (google it ASAP) Based in New York City! . . . When I was younger, I used to take my parents things, lay them out on the bed, and sell them back to them when they got home 😎 I also painted nails for money. My first job ever was at Verizon Wireless - I sold cell phones and cell phone plans and phone cases and I can put a screen protector on like a champ. . . . I was pretty much always a tomboy. Most of my friends growing up were guys. I know you often see me in dresses on Instagram ... but here I am in Beijing, getting in touch with my badass side. My parents call me Lola (pronounced: Lyo-lah in Russian) - but my best friends in Ukraine call me turtle 🐢 . . . My second job was as a financial analyst - started as an intern in college and got hired full time in my senior year. Parallel to this I invested my money into the stock market and into crypto currency. I stayed in my finance role for about four years and then resigned to travel full time and make something out of my blog, social channels, jewelry business and charity. . . . My pet peeves are: loud chewing, hearing someone’s music through their headphones, spitting, slow driving in the left lane, walking through the isle of the airplane when it lands and comes to full stop, ok I’ll stop there 😅 I dont eat mushrooms or onions 😌 . . . Your turn - tell me something about you! . 📸: @sspa1717 // @t7prince // @cz_capture • #DestinationChina @shangrilahotels @hainanairlines

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[SWIPE➡️] A Muslim Quarter is probably the last thing you think you'd see in Central China: several blocks inhabited by over 20,000 Muslims, a dozen mosques, and scattered halal food and Arabic souvenir shops. . . . A quick history lesson is in order: Xi’an was the starting point of the ancient Silk Road 1,000+ years ago. Many merchants and students from Persia and Arabic countries lived, studied and worked in Xi'an ... eventually marrying and having kids. . . . The Muslim Quarter is colorful, it's loud, it's crowded and it smells absolutely horrible. When I saw it, I feel in love instantly. The energy vibrated through me: I couldn't understand a word anyone was saying, I couldn't make out what that fried 8 legged thing on a skewer was and it was so loud that I couldn't hear my own thoughts. Those are the moments I live for. The Muslim Quarter is popular among tourists and locals alike and it is well worth the visit! . . . If you want to feel the energy of this street, check out my China story highlight 🇨🇳☺️ . . . What is your favorite street in the world? I need some inspiration for future trips! • 📸: @tourdelust ⛩: @shangrilahotels @hainanairlines #DestinationChina

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Did you know that the Eiffel Tower is taller in the summer than in the winter? Extreme heat (in the summer) causes metal to expand and in the cold it contracts. The Eiffel Tower is a relatively simple structure, though. The CCTV building (outside my window view) - is not. . . . The CCTV headquarters in Beijing has a gravity-defying structure. Beijing also has extreme weather so the expansion and contraction of the building material is inevitable. The joining of the towers was done early in the morning on a cold winters day during a uniform temperature! . . . Many buildings in Beijing are somewhat of a structural fantasy ... so many unusual designs, three dimensional illusions, loops and lights - it is well worth the visit, just to see what all the “futuristic movies” portray 🤩 . . . What’s the most fascinating building you’ve seen? . . . ⛩: @shangrilahotels, China World Hotel 📸: @tourdelust & @cailaquinn #DestinationChina #ShangriLaHotels ✈️: @hainanairlines

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The Great Wall of China - is actually not quite a wall! What do you know about it? . . . - It is equal to half of the length of the equator! (~21,000KM / 13,000 Miles) • - It is not just a Wall; there are trenches, watchtowers, fortresses and barracks • - More than 1 million laborers were used for construction of the project, making it the largest (or longest) human engineering project • - The wall is not a single line. There are many walls as part of a defense network (some run parallel) • - Rice and rice flour was used in its construction! • - During peak season, the Wall sees almost 70K daily visitors 😳 • - The area where I am standing, called Mutianyu, is considered to be one of the steeper hikes of the Wall ... therefore it is less busy. If you get there at opening time - you will pretty much have the Wall to yourself :) . . . Have you ever been to the Great Wall of China? What are some World Heritage Sites that you’ve seen? . . . 📸: @tourdelust ⛩: @shangrilahotels @hainanairlines #FlyHainan #DestinationChina

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If you had to choose between true love or unlimited flights to any continent, would you choose Asia or South America? 😂 . . . This was my fourth time in China and the glory of it is that every single time it’s a different experience! To be honest - I was under the presumption that Xi’an would be this busy city: crowds everywhere, bikes, mopeds, packed touristy areas. To my surprise, it was quite the opposite! . . . Here I am at one of the most well- preserved Buddhist holy sites with a history that traces back to over 1,300 years. I know I say this all the time but I can’t help to be amazed every time I stand in an area that has SO much history attached to it. And look at it: it looks immaculate! ❤️ the preservation of history in China is simply unparalleled. . . . SWIPE ➡️ for a mini #BTS :) 📸: @tourdelust @shangrilahotels @hainanairlines #Xian #ShangriLaHotels

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“Drug” Addiction - here’s mine. . . . Every few weeks I get sucked into this world. I can’t help it. Every few weeks it’s something different. It feels different. And it’s why I keep longing for more; eager to see what will happen the next time. It has now taken a toll on my personal life: a relationship shattered, friendships slowly distanced, & important events missed. And it’s difficult for me to talk about it because I don’t think anyone understands. Every time I keep thinking that I will take a break which will last longer than the last. A pause. But I can’t stay still for long. From the outside, my life looks perfect. And let me tell you ... when it’s good, it’s REALLY good. . . . But sometimes, my experiences are far from perfect. Sometimes, I see things that shake me up to the core. Some weeks I enter a world that’s unfair; a world that angers me and makes me feel helpless because I know I physically can’t change it. I wonder why I have it easier than others and these feelings haunt me. The more I do this, the less I care about my own body. I am tired. . . . This “drug” is travel. You see, I’ve been to unimaginable places. I’ve had too many nights during which I gently forced myself to stay awake, simply because I didn’t want them to end. I’ve had too many tears of joy. But on the flip side, I’ve seen too many people suffering ... I’ve seen darkness ... I’ve seen pain in the eyes of those that don’t have the most basic needs. And it angers me. It vibrates through my soul every time I think about it. . . . But the yearning to learn through these experiences and the ultimate goal of changing even a handful of lives - it keeps me on my tippy toes. I can’t stay put for more than 2 weeks, even if my personal life and my own body are at stake. And that’s something I have to learn to manage. Not every trip is “deep and meaningful,” but every trip fills a subconscious void - like a piece of a bigger puzzle. . . . Does anyone relate? . 📸: @tourdelust #ChinaWorldHotelBeijing @shangrilahotels @hainanairlines #talkswithelona

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*CHINA SERIES* 🤩🇨🇳 . . . I recently came back from a week of adventures through Xi’an and Beijing with @shangrilahotels. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect itinerary & group of people to share all the epic moments with. I felt so in my element ... and my creative juices were overflowing. This is a good pivot to talk a bit about what I do! . . . It’s easy to look at my page from the side and think “just a bunch of pretty photos of a pretty girl traveling the world.” I won’t sit here and explain why that doesn’t even scratch the surface of what I do. When @shangrilahotels invited me to stay in some of their elite properties in China, I was honored. It is a brand that I’ve built a tight-knit relationship with over the last few years through both charity projects and personal travels. The fact that they trust my voice and my vision to portray a story and represent them, is humbling to say the least. The fact that YOU listen, pushes me harder. . . . The goal of this trip is to show you Xi’an and Beijing from my point of view. To give you my unique perspective on the sights the tastes and the feelings I felt. The goal is to show you the jaw dropping views from my hotel rooms and the automated, heated toilet seat (😉). It’s to tell you about the wealthy histories of the two cities and to show you local experiences first hand. . . . For me, every single “pretty photo” is a way of articulating and curating a story so that YOU would want to follow my exact footsteps and visit too! I may not have the best photos or the best edits but my only true objective here is to teach you something new, and show experiences from unique perspective. I received so many positive messages in response to the stories I posted (check them out in my highlights) ... it makes all of this WORTH IT in a field where it’s very easy to feel unworthy. . . . Have you ever been to China? . . 📸: @tourdelust #ShangriLaHotels

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I JUST RESCUED SOME WINE ... IT WAS TRAPPED IN A BOTTLE!! 😏🍷 . . . My beach essentials include, of course, a bottle of white wine. Anyone that knows me, knows my wild obsession with wine. I spent my 21st birthday in Napa Valley and have since been to many more epic wine regions and tastings. I travel FOR wine and sometimes, I even travel WITH wine (I brought a bottle of @farnientewinery Chardonnay to Turks and Caicos!) . . . In the summer sun, nothing comes close to a chilled glass of Chardonnay by the ocean: it is creamy and buttery and perfectly balanced ... with ripe flavors of honeydew paired with a mouthwatering citrus finish. . . . What is your drink of choice? 📸: @venturetravelist (sponsored)

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Turks & Caicos! Let’s talk about these 40+ islands & cays, shall we? . . . No income tax, capital gains tax, property tax, inheritance tax, or corporation tax in the Turks and Caicos Islands. (Hope some of you are into Finance like I am) So how is this country funded?! Answer on the bottom 😇 . . . It’s easy to see why T&C is an attractive place to both live in and visit. The water is absolutely pristine (better than Maldives if you ask me - check out my story highlights) and it is home to one of the biggest barrier reefs in the world! If you’re into water activities, fantastic cuisine and spectacular views - add Turks and Caicos to your list! . . . The crème de la crème of luxury hospitality is @theshoreclubtc. With 8800 square feet of total privacy, six bedrooms, a private pool, stand alone tubs, a butler and a fully stocked fridge - this was easily the pinnacle of my recent travels. . . . For those of you still reading, the primary source of revenue actually comes from tourism! Custom import duties + an accommodation tax makes up nearly 50% of the countries revenue pool. . . . Have you ever been to Turks and Caicos? . 📸: @venturetravelist

elonatheexplorer

15 years ago was a very dark period in my life. I was barely breaking 60lbs, I had no eyebrows or eyelashes and I thought about death roughly once a week. Entering junior high school while all the girls were experimenting with makeup and hair straighteners, I stared at my bald self in the mirror wondering if any man would ever find me attractive or even love me. This is cancer. . . . How you think, is the single most important thing for well being. It can make you or break you. Slowly, I started working on myself ... I began working out my body and my mind. I went to the gym twice a day and I read every book I could find. It took a while but it became very clear to me that until I am 100% happy with who I am - no one else will ever make me happy. And that is a universal truth. . . . I love to dress up, I love beautiful hair and makeup ... I also love my natural look, beach waves and a @albionfit swimsuit that hugs me in all the right places. I love the feeling of “sexy.” The confidence that perspires from every pore. It changes every time, depending on the circumstance. To you, it may be excessive. To you, it may be just another swimsuit picture. To you, showing body may be unnecessary ... but to me it’s more than a dozen years of getting over the mental and physical repercussions of cancer. It’s the years of bullying and years of not feeling “good enough.” I worked for it long and hard and I will never hide it 😇 . . . This swimsuit gives me so much life - it fits like a glove and is the perfect color, style and quality 🤩 . . . What makes you feel confident? SWIPE ➡️ . (sponsored) #GoingPlaces #TalksWithElona 📸: @venturetravelist

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Have you ever had a day when you walked on a soft, white sandy beach at sunset? The wind is blowing in your face and you almost feel like you’re in the climatic scene of a movie? You turn your head and see a handsome young man lounging in a beach chair, reading a book. All of a sudden he looks up and your eyes lock. You think nothing of it and keep walking down the shore ... • . . . moments later, a tap on your shoulder. It’s him. “I couldn’t help but to talk to you,” he says. You exchange numbers and meet for drinks later that night. You spend hours talking ... laughing ... and hoping that the night won’t end. Two years later he proposes on that same beach where your eyes locked during that magical sunset. • • Yeah well, I haven’t had a day like that either. • • 📸: @venturetravelist Say hi ... what ya doing for #MDW? 👋🏼

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YERRRR! (that’s the short and sweet way we say hello in NY ... true New Yorkers will respond accordingly 😉) And speaking of NY ... if you live there, are traveling there, or would like to travel there next week on May 31st - I’D LOVE TO MEET YOU! . . . I am hosting a meetup alongside @tourdelust at the fun, interactive (& photogenic 😏) #POPFunhouse at the West Edge in Chelsea Market. The meet up is absolutely free and will take place between 5-7PM on the 31st of May. . . . PLOT TWIST: My friends from @godomrep, who are kind enough to put all of this together, are giving away an all inclusive trip for 2 to Dominican Republic - you’ll be automatically entered if you follow them, show up and post a photo with me (or without me 😆)! . . . I am hopping off a red eye flight from China on May 31st, taking a shower, and coming straight to the event so I don’t want any excuses 😇 Come hang out, let’s have fun and most importantly let’s be friends! Tell me in the comments if you’d want to come - and tag someone who should go 😎

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📸 How to achieve this shot: • hang over the side of the pool • hold your breath • strain your neck • use your ENTIRE upper body core • tuck your butt in • arch your back • stick your hand out and beg for help • try not to drown . . . Was it worth it? 🙃 . . 📸: @venturetravelist inspired by @marisahampe 🙌🏼 📍: @theshoreclubtc #ShoreClubTC

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1, 2, or 3? Which perspective do you like the most? . . . Flower fields were never really my thing but rapseed covers 16% of Czech Republic and it’s impossible not to incorporate it as part of a “local vibe.” While pretty, rapseed causes a lot of controversy in the local area. For one, it smells absolutely horrible. It also requires a lot of fertilizer and herbicide which is in turn harmful to the environment. . . . @regionliberec #RegionLiberec 📸: @tereza_havrankova & @lukasmartinek

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As with many professions, cruise ship crew members have a list of secret code words that they use to communicate. Grab your notepad, and I’ll meet you at the bottom 😉 . . . • A 30-30 means the crew is asking maintenance to clean up a mess • “Alpha” is a medical emergency and “Bravo” is a fire • Crew members call the the boat “her” instead of “boat” . . . Beyond this, it is also impossible to outsmart the crew in terms of alcohol ... all the beverages are poured with a jigger and if you’re too intoxicated? Your on board credit card gets disabled! The most popular alcoholic beverage on board (shockingly) is a cinnamon fireball shot. On a week long cruise, @royalcaribbean estimates that guests will consume around 3,000 bottles of wine, 7,000 pounds of chicken breast, and almost 100,000 eggs 😵 . . . Which photo do you like more? 1 or 2? . . 📸: @oneikatraveller #NavigatoroftheSeas #PerfectDayatCocoCay

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Greetings from my first cruise ship experience ever! It took me a mere 25 years to commit to a full weekend on a massive ship that can fit nearly 4,000 people. It feels like I am in a little country of its own; we have EVERYTHING on board: restaurants, bars, a hair salon, basketball court, rock climbing, water slides, escape room, a movie theatre, Starbucks, casino ... and the list goes on. . . . Arguably my favorite part is the diversity of the staff: roughly 1,500 people from all around the world. Every staff member has name tags with their native country and I’ve already made friends with a few fellow Ukrainians 🥰🇺🇦 . . . So far so good ... and much more to come once we dock at Coco Cay Beach, the @royalcaribbean Private Island ... and then off to Nassau 🇧🇸 . . . Have you ever been on a cruise before? . . 👗: @missjuneparis 📸: @jenniferscamera @oneikatraveller #PerfectDayatCocoCay #NavigatoroftheSeas

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The year is 1264. Bezděz Castle. The Gothic Chapel where I am standing (now 2019) has likely just been completed. Twelve Sixtyfour ... it’s easy to say the year but difficult to put value on it. So let me try: . . . In the 13th century around the same time is when when Fibonacci familiarized the Western world with Arabic numerals (0-9). . . . It is when Genghis Khan became the Great Ruler of the Mongols and when the Mongols conquered parts of Russia, the Jin Dynasty, the Kievan Rus and more. . . . It is the time of religious wars ... also known as the Crusades. The Fall of Normandy. The signing of the Magna Carta. . . . These examples are just a minuscule part of the time period - but it puts things into perspective and makes it that much more unreal to stand in a building so old and so well maintained. The Liberec Region of Czech Republic is about an hour north of Prague and it shares its borders with Germany and Poland. It is home to many historical sites, castles, lakes and picturesque towns. In fact, in 2007 a site dating to 4,500 BC (!!!) was found there ... this dates all the way back to the Neolithic 😩 . . . Thanks for tuning in to today’s brief history lesson 🤓 now tell me, have you been to Czech Republic? . 📸: @lukasmartinek 🏰: @regionliberec #regionliberec 👗: @nadinemerabi

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I have a little contest for you ... keep reading, and I’ll meet you at the bottom 😉 . . . As I’m packing for a short stop over in Florida later this week, I wanted to share a few snippets from my last trip with @theritzcarltonfortlauderdale 😍 Fort Lauderdale is the older, more conservative sibling of Miami Beach ... it is home to beautiful beaches & boating canals as well as many restaurants, bars and high end shopping malls. The Ritz-Carlton is one of my favorite properties because of the stellar service, spacious rooms, delicious food & a plethora of amenities. . . . Scroll through these photos and tell me ... which do you think are shot on an iPhone vs. DSLR? (this is tricky 😉) whoever guesses right - I’ll send you a postcard from my next trip, and a little gift! . . #RCMemories . . @brendan_butler let’s do this again 🤩

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There is something spectacular about watching perfectly choreographed fountains dancing to classical tunes. The Bellagio fountain takes up 22 million gallons of water in it's lake! . . . A few years ago, if you had $250,000 in spare change - you could've picked one song of choice to play at the fountain. This experience came with a bottle of Ace of Spades champagne and some other goodies. A private butler would bring out a gold box filled with song selections and a single red button that would start off the fountains. Sorry to those of you who are still interested in splurging on this experience 😉 . . . Where is the prettiest fountain you've ever seen? . Dress by @showpo

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TRAVEL TIP!!! Today I found out that @qatarairways is offering round trip business class flights from $2,450 if you book between today and May 6th 😳 I received so many messages after my last flight (which is valued at ~$10K) ... that I had to share the news with you. . . . If you’re planning a trip to Doha or any 160 other destinations that Qatar Airways covers - this is an opportunity of a lifetime, because an experience in the #QSuite is a vacation in and of itself! . . . Travel Hack: Qatar Airways offers a stopover program in which you can transit for up to four nights and pay as little as $23 for a 5 star hotel. Doha is a great stopover destination and you can get a good dose of it in just a few days. . . . Keep in mind, bookings have to be done 90 days in advance with a minimum stay of 7 days. Popular destinations include the Maldives, Bali, Hong Kong, Kenya, Vietnam and more 🌎 if you’re interested - the link is in my bio & in my stories! . . . Swipe to see some of my shots from Qatar 🤩 Which one do you like the most? . . #LikeNeverBefore

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1 or 2, which picture do you like more? . . . Not your ordinary restaurant - I am surrounded by two stories of 25,000 books (no pun intended 😇). This is David Rockefeller's book collection, some dating back to the 1800's. . . . The name Rockefeller should ring a bell. The philanthropic contributions of the Rockefeller family are absolutely staggering. The book collection is now on display at the NoMad Las Vegas restaurant ... many of them have various inscriptions written by family and friends of the Rockefeller's. I cant think of a better and more meaningful accessory to compliment that grand chandeliers, maroon velvet, and mahogany bar 😍📚 . . . Dress by @showpo @vegas #Vegas

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ASKING FOR A FAVOR! ⬇️ . . . Tag the first account that comes to your mind when I say “unique”, “creative”, or “inspirational” - could be in terms of visual content or captions. I feel like things are starting to feel very repetitive on here - too many photos and locations are the same. Too many captions lack substance. I want to see something new ... help me (& others) discover new accounts. . . . This flatlay was inspired by @qmike ... by far one of my favorite accounts on Instagram (he should easily have a million followers). I wanted to recreate one of his flatlaya and features some of my own summer essentials ☀️ let me know what you think!

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In honor of #EarthDay - I wanted to share this magical property: an eco lodge made up of scattered tree houses that are nestled in a luscious tropical jungle on Dominican Republic’s north coast. Eco lodges are very unique and can offer you a lot more than you think ... at a very attractive price ☺️ . . . @dominicantreehousevillage is a simple property that promotes ecotourism and sustainability. It is 100% dedicated to using local materials and labor. All inclusive packages start at $2100 per couple for 4 nights / 5 days and that includes airport transfers, food, accommodation, unlimited zipline, ATV, boat ride & horse back riding. It is, romantic, private and, of course, good for our planet 🥰🌎 (there are many other packages, too!) . . . I lived in a tree house in Bali and I have to say it was one of the most unique experiences I’ve had to date! Ecotourism is growing in popularity & rightfully so ... I’m definitely looking forward to staying in more eco resorts in the near future. Have you ever stayed in a treehouse? Would you stay in a treehouse? . 📸: @nicoleisaacs

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Reading and watching news about terror attacks always leaves a feeling of unease in me. This morning, the news was a particularly hard pill to swallow - I stayed at the @shangrilahotels Colombo right around this time last year. I became friends with the staff. I dined in the same place that was attacked this morning. Now, I have no idea if all the people I had the pleasure of meeting ... are even safe. . . . The targets of the attacks were members of Sri Lanka’s small Roman Catholic minority who were attending Easter Mass and guests at high-end hotels. The coordinated attacks ripped through churches and hotels killing hundreds of people and injuring many more. Sri Lanka was a war-torn country for so many years and just recently started to experience a bit of calm, which has now been broken. . . . Not much more to say here - I hope everyone is safe this weekend and Happy Holidays to those of you who celebrate ❤️#breakingnews

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Colorful colonial-era houses are stacked on the streets of Puerto Plata like a pack of starbursts 🍡 Now, these colors might not mean much to you, but they’re the same as the Ukrainian flag 🇺🇦 ... my motherland which also happens to be the country I’m going to next! . . . The building in the second photo is over 200 years old! You’d never be able to guess because now there’s only a small modest shop there. So much history to explore in such a short walk. Worth the visit ❤️ . . . Which photo do you like the most: 1,2 or 3? . . 📸: @tourdelust @godomrep #GoDomRep

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Which photo do you like more 1 or 2? Какая фотография вам больше нравится? • Ever heard the phrase “when it rains it pours?” You know when one bad thing snowballs into this big pile of sh!t that the universe is supposedly throwing at you? There’s actually an explanation for it: it’s called negative bias! . . . Negative bias is our natural tendency to focus on the bad things. This focus overshadows all the good things that happen to us. By design, we are prone to dwell on the negatives and forget the positives - who designed us faulty beings 🥺 . . . Acceptance is the first step and now that you’re braced with this information, next time you have to program your brain on the positives, even if they are very small. It’s not easy, but it’s doable. Next time you catch yourself saying “when it rains it pours,” remember it’s only what you’re creating in your head 😌 . . . . . . 📸: @nicoleisaacs 🏠: @seahorseranchcabarete @godomrep #GoDomRep

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WINTER IS HERE 😈❄️ WHERE ARE MY #GOT FANS AT?! . . . A BILLION people are expected to tune into the final season of the most expensive TV series of all time (suggested reports say season 8 cost $90 million). The main cast members get paid roughly $500K per episode alone 😦 . . . For those of you watching, you still have some time to touch up on your High Valyrian on the @duolingo app 😇 Tune into my stories tonight to follow along our Game of Thrones Party! . . . For those of you not watching - if a billion viewers aren’t a testament to this being one of the greatest shows in history ... then I don’t know what is 🥶😰 . . . Do you watch GOT? What do you think will happen?

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1 or 2? Which picture do you like more? Какая фотография вам больше нравится? 📸 . . . For me a perfect day is waking up in a warm climate somewhere out in the ocean on a boat or a catamaran. It’s having the freedom to jump in for a swim or to snorkel ... to drink crisp rosé ... and to be in good company 😇 if you find yourself in Sosúa, you can do just that with @tiptopcatamaran, make sure to reach out :) . . . How do you envision your perfect day? . 📸: @nicoleisaacs ⛵️: @godomrep #GoDomRep

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If you could go anywhere in the world right now and time, money and visas weren’t an issue - where would you go? . I really want to go on a 3 month “around the world” cruise 🌍🙈😂 . I’ve been waking up at 5:30AM every morning to catch sunrise and each time was spectacular [& worth it] 🥰 . 📸: @tourdelust 🌅: @seahorseranchcabarete @godomrep #GoDomRep

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Sosúa is a city on Dominican Republic’s northern coast - as you can probably tell, it is well known for its beachy and boating culture ⚓️ the diving spots here are recognized worldwide: there are coral gardens, sunken vessels and thousands of fish 🐠! . . . Another interesting fact is that Sosúa was home to about 700 Jewish WWII refugees that were welcomed on the Island between 1939 and 1945. There is a synagogue and Jewish Community Museum near the city center! . . . Do you enjoy water activities or land activities more? 🤔 • 📸: @nicoleisaacs ⛵️: @tiptopcatamaran @godomrep #GoDomRep

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I am back in Dominican Republic for the first time in 15 years! Like many people, I imagine DR as the Mecca destination for large all inclusive resorts. And while the latter is true, in the last few days I discovered that there is SO much more to it. . . . Mountains, caves, jungles, and humpback whales are never the words that I would put in the same sentence with “Dominican Republic” - when in fact, those are exactly the things the Northern Coast of the island is known for. If you watch my stories & highlights from the trip you’ll easily think I’m somewhere in Southeast Asia or, at times, in Europe. @godomrep have shown me parts of DR that I would’ve never thought existed! . . . Have you ever been to Dominican Republic? • Heartfelt gratitude goes out to @aj_trela and @calmurph for making my vision come to life. This shot took over 90 attempts 🙈 #GoDomRep 🏖: @seahorseranchcabarete

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Perspective - which one do you like more? 1 or 2? . . . Flying in @qatarairways #QSuite is a travel experience in itself. A private escort through security and passport control, wining and dining in an exclusive lounge, and then 5-star service in a private cabin - that’s a mini vacation on top of the trip! . . . I’m still the girl that will book a basic economy Ryanair flight and use all the money I saved on air travel to drink wine ... but I’ll also never say no to an experience like this 😋 Make sure to check out the new @trtlpillow Pillow Plus, which I have with me on all my flights - even in business 😉

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Believe it or not, I was been bullied a lot when I was younger. “Bald with no eyebrows, too skinny, too fat, limping, etc.” The issue with bullying is it that it usually plays on real insecurities. If you ever question the impact of negative words then this fact should be sobering: I VIVIDLY remember the things that other kids said to me FIFTEEN years ago. Word for word I can repeat some of the hateful things they said. And guess what? During my lowest moments, the little voice inside my head likes to send them to me as a friendly reminder. . . . The other issue with bullying is that it’s really not as simple as “not caring about what other people say.” Anyone that’s dealt with negativity knows that a part of you is still wounded deep down inside despite all the fronts you put up. Over time, I find that the best way to deal with insecurities is to be a better person overall and to, essentially, “work out other muscle groups.” I read A LOT, I learn about life and the world and everything in between. I work out. I eat healthy food. I travel. And all those things combined make me a better person. . . . At the end of the day I learned that when things impact me adversely, it’s because I am not 100% happy with myself as an individual at that time. My “down” moments occur when I am not working to the best of my abilities … and that’s when all the words from the past come back to haunt me. There is nothing that can impact me negatively when I am at my prime and “prime” is slowly becoming a permanent state of mind. It’s natural to feel sad sometimes and its natural to be impacted by the ignorance of others - the key is how and when you bounce back from those feelings. The 🔑 is to work on yourself. . . . How have you dealt with negativity before? Share it here so it helps someone else! . . . I am not a professional but if you feel like you need someone to talk to please feel free to message me. Since being sick, I’ve spent a lot of time talking to complete strangers and mutually sharing struggles and positive vibes. (You can also read more captions like this one by clicking here ➡️ #TalksWithElona) . . 📸:@misshattan #QatarAirways #LikeNeverBefore

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I think it’s time for a reintroduction! My name is Elona, I am 25 years old. My life was supposed to be very different than it is now. I was born in a city called Kamenets Podilsky in Western Ukraine. My parents came to America as refugees when they were younger than I am now, with a few hundred dollars, and a with child (me). I spent my childhood doing various extra curricular activities using the last of my parents’ money ... I particularly excelled in swimming and ballroom dancing. . . . In fact, the goal was for me to do one of those professionally and to land a college scholarship. A few weeks after I celebrated my 10th birthday, I was diagnosed with a rare type of bone cancer which took me on a rollercoaster of dozens of surgeries, chemo therapy, and a shattering revelation that neither swimming nor dancing would be in my professional future. . . . Nevertheless, I graduated from college with a degree in Finance and Economics and aspired to be an investment banker. I began working as a financial analyst and started my charity Checkmate, Cancer! in my senior year. After working many long hours/weeks, my boss at the time convinced me to travel. (To be honest, I was hungry to make money not to travel) . . . My first big trip was to the UAE for only 4 nights, because I was so worried about taking time off. The rest is history 😇 I took a few more "long weekend" trips after that and realized that peoples general idea of travel is inaccurate: you'd be surprised at how much you can see, do and enjoy in a short period of time ... without breaking the bank and without putting your job at risk. I started blogging about my trips to help other young professionals think outside of the box about travel and my work got picked up by major publications. . . . My aspirations of becoming an investment banker were overshadowed by my eagerness to see the world and to learn through personal experiences. Perhaps, this was and is a very "young" mentality. (I'll get back to you guys in 5/10 years). anyways now here I am on a long weekend jaunt in Qatar! . . . Tell me something about you! Let’s be friends ☺️ • #LikeNeverBefore 📸: @eastcoastfeastcoast

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SWIPE ➡️ Photo vs. Video? . . Today we spent the morning eating breakfast on a helipad in the middle of Doha’s skyline. I know. I typed that correctly I promise 😌 . . . Qatar is a country where a natural disaster is least likely to strike ... it is also arguably the safest in the world. So naturally, I felt the need for a little adrenaline rush 😇 . . . 📸: @misshattan #LikeNeverBefore #QatarAirways @shangrila_doha

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Greetings from Doha, Qatar 🇶🇦 if you’ve never heard of it ... Qatar is the wealthiest country in the world 🤑 it’s also relatively small with a population of ~2.6million (that’s nearly 4 times smaller than NYC alone!) . . . I’ve only been here for roughly 12 hours and already stuffed my face with Machboos, Karak tea and Shisha. It feels good to be back in the Middle East - as per usual, the hospitality is simply unparalleled 🥰 . . . Stay tuned for more & check out my stories to see an out-of-this-world experience with @qatarairways in their new #Qsuite cabin! For now - I’m exhausted 😫 I promise to be more insightful soon. . . . Have you ever been to Qatar? #LikeNeverBefore 📸: @eastcoastfeastcoast

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Reposting because the last time I posted it ... Instagram had an outage. Go figure 😄 . . . What are your plans this weekend?! . . . I am so stoked for this coming week - I will be going around the world (literally) in the next 7 days! From NYC to Doha, from Doha to LA, from LA to Las Vegas and from Vegas to NYC .... and from NYC to 🙈🤔 . . . 📸: @ofleatherandlace #sixsensessamui

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(#ad) Money is a taboo topic. Do you know why? It's because many people feel like they SHOULD know how money and personal finance and investing works ... and ultimately they are too embarrassed to ask basic questions. We live in a world where too many people don't know the basics of personal finance ... all because they don't know where to start. Here is one fact: anyone can get started with investing ... even without a huge starting balance ... and even without experience. . . . I recently stumbled upon COIN, a super simple investing platform that manages your money (you can start with as little as $50), and it invests your dollars into companies that support the causes you care about most. COIN uses a complex methodology to rank the companies that have the greatest impact on various areas such as climate control, gender equality, clean water, better health, and more. When you open a COIN account, you’ll have the ability to choose three impact areas that are important to you. COIN's automated investment platform will then create a diversified portfolio specific to your choices. It's that simple. . . . For those of you that don't know, I graduated with a degree in Finance and Investments & spent the first four years of my career in Finance. I believe that investing is the key to financial stability, when executed correctly. COIN is really shaking up the industry. As a cancer survivor, promoting better health is embedded into my moral fiber. Better health is an impact area on COIN's platform that invests money into companies impacting United Nations Global Goal 3, Good Health and Well-being, which aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Whether you are new to investing or simply looking to diversify your existing pool - I encourage you to give COIN a try and use promo code COIN2019 to receive $50 when you invest your first $100. Click the link in my bio to learn more! . . . Do you invest your money? . . . 💸 @InvestWithCoin 📸: @ofleatherandlace 🗺: @ritzcarltonkohsamui

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Where are you traveling to next? ✈️⛵️ . . . The second part of March, if everything goes as planned, will likely be one of the craziest travel itineraries I’ve ever had. That’s all I could share for now ☺️ I’m also working on some very exciting partnerships with companies that I’ve been using for a while, so I’m excited to share with you things that will absolutely be of benefit 🙌🏼 . . . One important thing I want to talk about this coming week is money and personal finance. A topic so taboo, that almost no one really dives too deep into it. I want to say one thing: you can start investing with little experience & little money. In my stories, I opened up the floor to questions which I promise to keep anonymous. Ask me anything and please don’t be ashamed of not knowing enough. I really want to remove the stigma of being embarrassed to ask basic questions that can take your life on a course to financial freedom. Note, I’m not an adviser and can only speak on what I learned from my degree & years of research and personal experience - I’m also always eager to learn from others who are knowledgeable in the field :) feel free to pop in my stories and leave a question!