Welcome to Beyond Wild Places by Elisha Donkin
What is Beyond Wild Places?
Beyond Wild Places is a call to the wilder side of life. It’s a blog, journal, guide and travel brand aiming to get more people outdoors more often, because the world would be a better place if we all just stepped outside to breathe in fresh air.
Beginning under the name Going Somewhere, this blog simply inspired others to go somewhere new more often. Over almost five years, it morphed and changed and was eventually reborn into Beyond Wild Places.
This is the resource for anyone wanting to explore new places. You can find informative travel guides, beautiful images, and inspiring stories to help you get outside and get wild.
The emphasis here is on national parks, road trips, hiking trails and camping spots. You’ll find everything that you need to know about visiting some of the wildest places left on earth, including how to do it better and more sustainably.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker looking for some inspiration for your next challenge or a complete newbie who isn’t sure what to pack for a day hike, you’ll find everything that you need right here to inspire you to go breathe that sweet fresh air into your lungs.
Go seek more wild places.
Core values of Beyond Wild Places
Exploration – The curiosity to learn and discover new places, new experiences, and new faces.
Inspiration – To encourage others to get outside and shape the future of the travel and outdoor space.
Sustainability – To do things better and protect the precious wild places that we have left for future generations.
Informative – To equip others with the knowledge and information to adventure more often and more sustainably.
I’m a small-town girl from the Yarra Valley in Victoria, Australia and I’m the author, photographer and creative behind this website. I’m assuming you want to know a bit more about me and my story, so here goes.
I’m a travel writer, photographer, blogger, content creator, hiker and vanlifer. At least, that’s a rough summary of what I do.
It’s been a bit of a wild ride, a lot of travelling and a constant desire to chase whatever it is that currently sets my soul on fire.
But, travel has always been in my blood – the travel gene, I think they call it.
I was brought up with stories of the time my parents took a truck across Africa and rode motorcycles through South America. For as long as I can remember, I had a world map above my bed and would spend evenings staring at it, trying to memorise all the countries of the world and trace with my finger the route that I might one day take.
At five years old, I told people I was saving my pocket money to one day travel the world.
In 2014, at the age of 21 and after having worked up to three jobs at once, I finally left for a 14 month solo trip covering three continents. I did everything a young girl, full of energy and intrigue would do and I ticked off so many typical “bucket list” experiences.
I travelled from south to north along the eastern side of Africa. I went white water rafting in the Zambezi River, climbed Kilimanjaro, spotted lions on safari in the Serengeti and taught English in a Maasai community in Kenya.
I moved onto the Middle East where I climbed Mt Sinai, went to a protest in Palestine and got lost hiking around Petra.
Then in Europe, I trekked a section of the Lycian Way with my mum, went island hopping in Greece with my then-boyfriend, visited friends in England and Denmark and hopped on a ferry to Morocco so I could sleep under the stars in the Sahara Desert.
My last continent was South America. I went horseback riding with a crazy guy in the jungles of Colombia, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, got bogged at 5am in the salt flats in Bolivia, fell sick in the middle of the Amazon and wrapped up my epic trip in Rio. Phew. It was a real whirlwind.
While I had originally thought of this trip as my once in a lifetime chance at adventure, I soon discovered that I actually craved an entire lifetime of adventure instead. The few years following that first big trip, I was hardly home for longer than six months before leaving again.
I returned to Kenya twice more, hopped over to Uganda, went back to Ecuador and made my first trip to India. And by 2018, I realised I wanted this travel thing to be my life.
Around this time, I also made a conscious decision to do travel differently. I began to slow my pace down, concentrate on the experiences and the people and finally get my words, images and stories out there into the world.
In 2019, I travelled full-time for 12 months undertaking a slow overland journey by (mostly) public transport across Asia. I visited Thailand, Myanmar, India (again), Nepal, India (and again), Bhutan, Iran, Iraqi Kurdistan, Turkey and finally into the Caucasus, including Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
My hiking journey
If you told me when I was a teenager that I was going to grow up and enjoy hiking, I would have laughed. I had been traumatised as a child by being dragged on hikes in the Grampians with my family, when I cried all the way and whinged about rolling my ankle.
After doing mostly guided group treks on my initial overseas trips, I took a leap in 2018 and decided to head off across the desert on a solo hike. I did the 223km long Larapinta Trail in Central Australia in the middle of that year and haven’t looked back since.
I’ve completed solo hikes around Australia and overseas, including the Jatbula Trail in Northern Territory, Great Ocean Walk in Victoria, multiple treks in Nepal and the Mestia to Ushguli trek in Georgia. I have plans to complete some major thru-hikes in the coming years.
I started a blog back in 2014 to document my 14 month solo round the world trip. It was basically read by just my family and friends. In 2017, I decided to re-start my blog under the title, Going Somewhere, and I began focusing on more helpful guides and posts.
At the end of 2021, I decided to take the blog in a new direction and rebranded to what you see here now.
After writing stories and taking photos out of the pure joy of storytelling and to share the world with others, I took a leap back in 2018 and began getting my work published on other platforms and for reputable publications.
I began calling myself a freelance writer and photographer. And I soon had both my words and images published by Lonely Planet, Matador Network, Travelogues, The Culture-ist, and Travel Play Live Magazine.
Since the pandemic hit, I had to make a decision about whether to continue pursuing freelance travel writing despite the travel industry almost coming to a complete stop.
I switched gears a little and have delved into content writing in the travel and outdoor space. I now create content for a range of websites, blogs and brands, including The Irish Road Trip, Hotels.com, Ceduna Online, Larapinta Trail Trek Support and Vanketo.
Amongst all of that, I’ve also managed to somehow graduate from my Master of Development Studies!
With the pandemic hitting the world in 2020, I was confined to my home country of Australia. I decided to make the most of it and I acquired an old Toyota Hiace van off my mum and set off exploring more of my own country. I’ve lived most of 2021 on the road living the #vanlife and I’m pretty sure that’s how my immediate future is looking like too (although in an ungraded van!).
If you want to keep up to date with where I am at the moment, I suggest you follow me on Instagram where I post regularly.