Moneyless travelling: Estonian woman relies on goodwill

Moneyless travelling: Estonian woman relies on goodwill
For the last two weeks, Ms Elsa Saks (left) has been staying with Madam Jamaliah Jamali in her three-room flat in Circuit Road.

Estonian Elsa Saks has spent the last four months travelling around South-east Asia without spending a cent of her own.

Instead, she relies on the goodwill of people she meets as well as bartering for accommodation, food and travel expenses by doing work in exchange.

Ms Saks, who turned 29 on Wednesday, is now in Singapore, where she has been staying for the last two weeks with a woman who had helped her with directions.

In her time in Cambodia and Indonesia, she has had to sleep in clinics, fire stations, forest stations, bus terminals and train stations.

On some nights, when she could not find a kind soul to offer her a room, she would set up her hammock and sleep in the open.

Ms Saks, who quit her job as an IT systems support officer to tour South-east Asia, travels with three bags filled with basic necessities, a few clothes and her laptop.

She paid for her flight from her home country to Vietnam and then to Thailand. She spent a month in both countries.

In Thailand, she read about the concept of moneyless travel and decided to do it for the rest of her trip. Since then, she has visited Cambodia, Bali and now Singapore, paying only for her visas.

Random strangers have paid for her stay in hostels. In return for more expensive items like plane tickets, she has provided IT services such as designing websites to companies.

"I just believe that there will always be someone to help you," she said.

She said despite being poor, the people of Cambodia were the most warm and welcoming to her.

But she gets her fair share of rejections.

She said that while asking for directions in Singapore, many were sceptical and even shut her off before she could start talking.

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