About Helene

I am an American living in Slovenia. I moved here for love and married my best friend in the whole world, Jaka. You will probably see him around in some of my posts and videos. He flies the drone to get those incredible shots you see in my videos and posts and is the best travel partner a person could ask for.
If you watch my Instagram stories you might see other characters; our cat Gucci and chickens Luna, Dirt Bike, Sidney, and Hawky. They are some entertaining animals!
As for me, I’m 34 years old and spent the first 26 years of my life in the US where I received a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Applied Cultural Anthropology. Since then I have lived in Mexico, Italy, England, and now Slovenia.
Wandering Helene grew out of my desire to share my experiences traveling and living in new cultures. I want to share the places that often get overlooked, but are full of amazement and beauty. 

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What is it like to live in Slovenia?

I think it is pretty great. Slovenia is centrally located in terms of Europe and the country itself has everything to offer. I live in the capital, Ljubljana, and a one hour drive can take me to the Alps, or the wine-growing region, or the seaside. I can easily drive into Italy, Austria, Croatia, or Hungary. Living in any new country has its challenges when it comes to navigating a new bureaucracy, language, even something as simple as going grocery shopping can be difficult when in a new place.

What is with the castle obsession?

I wish I knew. No really, it just happened and now this is my life.
I was never a girl obsessed with princesses or fairy-tales and during my studies, I sucked at archaeology so much. Now I find myself visiting castles, palaces, ruins of palaces anywhere I can. My first castle was in Italy. It was quite old so the inside was bare, but I could walk along the grounds and even upon the castle wall. It felt magical. I was just so impressed with the sheer impact a castle makes on a landscape or town, and that people built these with their hands is mindblowing to me.
The more I reflect on castles, specifically as a structure, and how they changed meaning, purpose, and importance throughout history they are a valuable tool to understanding some aspects of a culture and place.

What is your favorite part of travel?

Food! I love every aspect of experiencing food; trying new disheslearning about new cuisineslearning new recipes or techniques, or even learning how products are made.
When I know I will be traveling to someplace new I try to dig around to find out what the local dishes are and where is the best place to try them. Sometimes it becomes a bit more random, and we will drive until we find some small restaurant in the middle of nowhere, where they don’t even have a menu.
I am passionate about local food. I try to grow some of my own and trade with others when possible. I love trying local dishes, family recipes, learning about why certain ingredients were used over others. How the history of a place influenced its cuisine and how the local people feel about their local dishes. There is something truly special there. (Yes I have those gears moving, always trying to figure out a way to share these ideas in the most sincere and appetizing way possible.)

What is on your travel wishlist?

My travel wishlist items are a bit grand, but isn’t that the point of a wishlist?
  • Photograph the Northern Lights (Norway or Finland)
  • Travel through Patagonia (Argentina + Chile)
  • Road trip through Japan
  • Hike and photograph Mt Zion National Park (Utah, USA)
  • Road trip from San Diego to Alaska (US + Canada)
  • Ride a hot air balloon (anywhere)
If you happen to be looking for a content creator to sponsor for any of the items on this list please do get in contact with me.

Where is your favorite place to travel in Europe?

My most dreaded question of all time. I think everywhere has something special and whenever I sit down and try to think about the answer it gets even harder. It depends on the time of year, how much time you have, what are your interests.
If I had to narrow it down to a country I would say Italy, and not even for the big cities, but rather for the small towns, hidden alleyways, and tiny restaurants that were carved into the side of a mountain. It can be quite difficult to navigate Italy outside the cities, but when you do, you will be rewarded.

How do you afford to travel?

Well, I don’t travel full time so that is a lot cheaper, and most often I travel to places close to me, so once again, cheaper. In 2018, I flew only 3 times, and in 2019 I will only fly 4 times. I don’t think you need to spend a lot of money or travel extremely far to experience something new and interesting. I’m also trying to be more mindful about my impact on the planet. I used to fly at least once a month and now just a few times a year.
I also prioritize travel. I don’t buy a lot of stuff – I try to buy as minimally as possible. Travel is something that I value and it brings me a lot of happiness so I skip the nights out with expensive drinks and opt for hitting the road Saturday mornings to explore a new town.
I travel cheap and I travel local (although it is cheating since I am not a local), but where does my money come from? Freelancing! You can actually hire me for an absurd range of tasks. I have been freelancing online since 2012 and haven’t looked back.

2 thoughts on “About Wandering Helene”

  1. Helene,
    This is a great site. My girlfriend and I are planning on visiting Slovenia some time between October and December. We are interested less in touristy activities and more in culture and people. Do you know of or could you recommend people that may be willing to spend time with us as a guide/facilitator during our visit?
    Thank you, in advance, for any assistance.

  2. I would recommend to proceed with caution when considering to work with Helene: I contacted her on 6/12/22 for an interview for an article I am writing and after having a little discussion we mutually agreed on the time and date – 9/12/22. When the day of the interview (11/12/22) came, I waited for more than 30 minutes for her to join the zoom call but she never did. There was never a conversation where she disclosed she would need to cancel or reschedule.
    I am sure she must had a good reason to miss the interview, however, she never communicated that with me after the meeting date, at least out of courtesy. As a result, I nearly missed my deadline. So, I would advise other journalists to take this risk into consideration when booking an interview or a similar type of work with her.

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