Meet Gina Petrovich — this Kelowna woman is always on an adventure, and now she’s willing to share her unique view of the world with our readers. This Monday we, at the Capital News are running her introduction. Next Monday we’re going to share her first travel column. It’s genuine and from a local view. Better yet, it will give you something to daydream about when the weight of the Mondays sets in.
In the last three years, Gina Petrovich has been to 18 countries and thinks that’s a pretty small number, compared to cruise travellers who can visit multiple countries in one trip.
“It’s mostly since I started travelling alone. I did the Euro trip with family and all I learned from that was how not to travel with family,” the Kelowna woman said, laughing.
“There’s so much to see, so every time I leave I usually come home with some crazy (story) or misadventure mishap and I’ve just learned so much and met some really fun people,” she said.
The 36-year-old’s mishaps include almost missing her first day of work at SunRype as she remained trapped in Bali due to an erupting volcano and when she burned her retinas after experiencing snow blindness while hiking in Peru.
But that hasn’t stopped her from travelling. Petrovich recently visited Hong Kong for a week and plans to visit Jordan and Isreal next for the history and culture.
She joked that since she doesn’t drive, it’s easier to get around in other countries than it is in Kelowna.
“I was telling my friend it was easier to get around Hong Kong than hike the Coquihalla summit and I really want to hike that,” she said.
What started as a solo trip to New York a few years ago led to her passion for travel, which fit nicely with her photography hobby, she said.
“My first of two trips to New York City… but just that, like the feeling of liberation just getting on the plane, getting off the plane, running in the Toronto airport, which seems to be a thing, I can’t be in that airport without running and crying.”
“A New York minute wasn’t enough so I was back for another minute within a year,” she said.
And travelling along allows her to make new friends.
“I find for me, when I’m with a friend, I’m looking down and talking to my friend, when there are new friends (that could be walking by in front of me),” she said.
Her trips include Hong Kong, Hawaii, New York, Peru, Bali, Thailand, Europe, Mexico, Jamaica and more.
There’s a common misconception with travel is that you have to quit your day job in order to go far, Petrovich said, adding people often aren’t utilizing the time they have.
“People aren’t making the most of it because it’s in their mind that they don’t have enough of it…. Five days in Hong Kong is better than no days in Hong Kong,” she said.
“To be able to keep your job and travel, you don’t have to go somewhere close and quick, you know you can go far when you only have a week, but you don’t have to quit your day job,” she said.
She booked her Hong Kong trip the day before she left while on her lunch break.
Even though she has faced challenges during her travels, she said it’s part of the experience, like how she didn’t know a word of Cantonese.
“I’m a vegetarian, so I went into a restaurant and I’m like ‘am I going to end up eating meat? Is this a mushroom? Because it looks and tastes like meat,’” she said.
“I love how I feel doing it… its a very rewarding feeling knowing that three days ago I was at work and now I’m in Hong Kong, riding on this crazy people car ride.”
Some people call her crazy, but she thinks she’s one of the luckier travellers because she gets to experience these things and come away with a good story.
“A lot of people come out of Bali and say it was beautiful, I come out of Bali and (say I got cool pictures of an erupting volcano.)”
Petrovich will be writing a travel column for the Capital News every two weeks.