Helena has always been an adventurous soul. Whether it be hiking up a mountain in the Canadian Rockies or trekking around Iceland, to writing about far away places, she loves exploring. 

Helena loves to be transported, and to transport others, to new and different worlds. Enjoying traveling to anywhere she can, she loves writing about foreign lands she's been to, or ones she hopes to go to one day.

“I am so grateful for what I have been able to do so far. I have had experiences and made memories that I'll never forget."

~ Helena

Helena lived in South America for some time. She met many locals in the different countries she visited. Being the best experience of her life, she learned new cultures, different ways to do things, and some Spanish too. 

”I met a lot of inspirational South Americans. Many sadly have disabilities. Some have lost arms or legs due to accidents. Some have gone blind. And many are deaf. But they still have this inner joy that radiates from within them. They are happy with the little things.”
~ Helena 

During her journeys, Helena met some deaf ones who were never taught sign language. They cannot speak Spanish and they cannot read it either. They cannot talk to their family or friends. Often, these ones create a few “home signs” where they make a gesture which means something to them, such as “drink”, “sleep”, or “hungry”. 

With each family, these home signs are different, and deaf ones cannot communicate together unless they are of the same family and use the same signs. A gesture that means "hungry" in one household might mean something completely different with another family, or may not mean anything at all. 

These deaf ones that haven’t been taught a formal sign language have no way to hold a full conversation with anyone. Even though living with a family, they can lead lonely lives, not able to have long, meaningful discussions. Most who form home signs only have a limited amount of them made up. 

”Many of the deaf are born hearing, but because of sickness or accidents they become deaf. It happens a lot in childhood, and often their families do not have the money to bring them to the hospital for medical help. So their family nurses them back to health at home, but sometimes it’s too late, as they can already be deaf.”

~ Helena

During her time abroad, Helena met some deaf ones that lived in the countryside. Their families protected them and they never left the family farm. It was hard for Helena to witness, as these ones had no friends and no way to have proper communication.  

“In order to have rich, deep connections with family and friends, we need to have ongoing, good communication. When someone grows up not learning a language, they have no means to form such close relationships that make our lives more meaningful. These deaf ones do not know their country’s sign language, as each country has it’s own. Simply, these ones live solitary lives and, they just cannot properly communicate with anyone.”
~ Helena

Meeting these South Americans inspired Helena. She formed a new appreciation for life and for what she had. Things we might take for granted, such as speaking and understanding our mother tongue, gave Helena something to think about.

”It is a life changing gift to be able to talk about our day, to explain why we’re upset, or to say the three little words, ‘I love you,’ and to be understood. Being thankful for the things that I may have taken for granted has helped me now.”
~ Helena

“Thinking about the deaf and other South Americans with different disabilities, and how they cope, helps me in dealing with my disappointments.”

~ Helena 

On a fun note, while living in South America, Helena was able to travel around. Not only meeting the locals, she tasted the cuisine, and loved the diversity.

She saw iguanas, geckos, grasshoppers the length of dinner plates, armadillos, llamas, alpacas, and more.  

”I had a blast seeing the sights, but most important to me was meeting the people. It is so inspiring to see how even though they have very little materially, they are so happy. They love and focus on the little things. As tokens of friendship, they make lots of small, homemade gifts. Small things like that bring them so much joy.”
~ Helena 

Helena didn’t just stop at South America.

"My travel bug didn’t stop there. I’ve travelled throughout many countries in Europe, and I’ve been to Iceland and Central America, just to name a few. I love experiencing different places and their cultures. But, most importantly, I love meeting the people.”

~ Helena