Eva is 72 years old although her couchsurfing profile says 62 (as a recommendation from her granddaughter who thought people would be less likely to host her because of her age.)
She’s been backpacking solo around the world ,escaping the winters of Prague every year.Her first backpacking trip alone was at 57.
Backpacker, grandma of three, and painter. She started studying art at the age of 14 and continued her studies in art onto university in Prague and has completed workshops of various art forms around the world. She has taught various workshops in Italy, Japan, and the United States.
Her motive for traveling began with these workshops and her exhibitions.
However, her first trip Backpacking alone began 15 years ago after her husband past away. These ongoing travels are simply for pleasure now. But at the same time, she says traveling alone in new countries and meeting new people makes her feel less alone.
She was living alone at her house in the countryside of Prague after the death of her long-time husband. Her son ,who lives in the city of Prague,recommended her that instead of paying for electricity and heat during the winter ( which is expensive in Prague) that it would be better to use the money wasted on heat and use it better to travel to warm countries during the winter.
She began her first trip at 57 and Thailand was her first destination.
Every year after that she has been traveling solo around different countries with warm weather. She’s already spent time in Argentina, Chile, Peru and Ecuador.
I met her in Fortaleza, Brazil . We were staying with the same couchsurfing host and we both arrived the same day . The day I met her she had just taken a 19-hour bus from São Luis to Fortaleza and I had come from an overnight bus from Jericoacoara. When she entered the house she was not carrying a suitcase on wheels, as I predicted. She entered with a full bright orange backpack.
She said I reminded her of her granddaughter who was 23. Her granddaughter went to live in Barcelona as an Erasmus student and lived with different women from all over the world. She said her granddaughter and I have a similar spirit, we are women who aren’t afraid to explore something new and to do so alone. And then she took a picture of me. I told her about my apartment in Quito, home of 6 multilingual, multicultural, females ( and how we all just ended up in Quito to follow our calling of chasing our dreams.
And I took a picture of her. And said I hope to still be wandering at 72 like her. She laughed, and I asked to take a final picture of us together.
Maybe we will run into each other again in another country. Maybe not. After the annoyance of taking overnight buses, carrying 20kg of stuff on your back, you really relapse and wish you were in the comforts of home. But then ..you meet someone like Eva and makes your soul and heart so happy to connect with a stranger, especially with another solo woman traveler who inspires you. It makes the weight of your bag and sleepless nights make it all so worth it.
Ladies, so you still think traveling alone is scary ?
This is Eva, she is 72 from Prague. She´s backpacking alone around Brazil for 2-3 months. She doesn´t speak any Portuguese and is a grandma of 3. Her first solo backpacking trip was at 57. She isn´t rich, shes an artist. She couchsurfs and stays in hostels and cooks instead of eating out.
Edit late November 2015 Eva went to Jericoacoara after Fortaleza. She ended up staying at the same arts hostel I worked at. Upon publishing this article, the owner of the hostel read this a loud to everyone while Eva was there. I received an email short afterwords. She said she was very flattered and that she was on her way to Salvador, Bahia.
Edit July 2016: I received an email from Eva this month, July 2016 inviting me to her art exhibition near Prague in case I was in the area. Unfortunately, as my nomad life goes, I am currently in Rio de Janeiro doing some reflections and groundwork for putting into place my mission.
If you are in Prague, go check out her exhibition and if you run into her, tell her she inspired me to inspire other women to be free. And she inspired me to keep writing about women like her!
Her Exhibit is currently running in The Gallery of Fine Arts in Hodonín in Czech republic until November 11, 2016. In czech, its called Galerie výtvarného umění v Hodoníně.