Don't worry she's no Russian spy, but Dasha - the name Daria usually goes by - has taken some twists and turns that Hollywood would be smart to consider buying rights to for its next release. Read on to see how she accidentally on purpose ended up moving to Singapore with just a backpack in hand!
Dasha! Start us off with where you're from, and where you first ventured off to...
I am from Saint Petersburg, Russia. When I was nineteen I was studying economics, marketing and sales there, then heard about a work-study program in New York, and just decided to do it! But I was a nineteen year old kid... I didn't check things beforehand... so the first time I left Russia I thought I was going to Manhattan, but ended up flipping hamburgers in a trailer park two hours away.
I had no tv, no internet, no car... Then one day another employee fought with my work-study program leader, and quit. When he left he asked if I wanted to travel with him and his wife. So I convinced the program leader not to tell my university back in Russia I was leaving, and ended up traveling across the US with him as he visited family! I'm going back to the US next year for his 30 year wedding anniversary!
Daria's second accidental home!
Talk about #unlikelyfriendships! Where did you head to after the States?
Back to Russia, but I'd already decided to move to the UK before getting home! After my New York mistake, though, I decided it'd be best to check the UK out first before moving! So I went to the UK to take a three week TOEFL course and practice English. There was a guy in my course named Jurgen who annoyed me so much - he was always copying my answers! But by the end of the program we decided to do long distance, and now me and Jurgen are married.
From sneaking answers to taking vows is a huge step - what was the in-between?
We dated for four years but always lived in different countries. We were spending so much money visiting each other in Germany and the UK, and we decided to do something better with that money. So he moved to UK and we saved up HARDCORE for a year. We literally ate cup noodles for a year so that we could then go travel for a year!
Meeting at school in London...
...to married and living in Singapore!
Where did you guys travel for that year?
We couch surfed around the world! We started in the US, went to Central America, then South America... we actually stayed in Colombia with somebody who knew the Escobars and lived through all the Narcos events, but it's lovely there now! After that we flew to Africa, and when flying to Asia thereafter decided we needed to apply for jobs. We got to Thailand and Malaysia, and just as we got to Singapore, Jurgen got offered a job here. So we moved to Singapore with just one bag each. We never finished our trip!
Daria in Guatemala
and in Colombia, 2012.
What a crazy end to a crazy trip - was that the highlight of it?
There's a lot of things that we did along the way! In Guatemala, we found a place that had 400 dogs... so we stayed to help build the largest shelter in Guatemala... In Ecuador we saw a brochure for volcano hiking, and we decided without looking into it to just do it for my birthday. It turned out to be one of the worlds highest active volcanos (5,879 meters) but I wasn't even doing yoga at this point! I was so not fit, and it was one of those hikes where you have to be tied with ropes to your guide when you climb straight up... it was a super nice view at the end but I've never felt closer to death!
5,879 meters up for her birthday!
So you studied economics, marketing and sales and then ended up teaching yoga...how again!?
My first job here was at a concierge service organising travel, dining, and shopping for high profile consumers... half a year after starting I quit and went to India. It seemed like the most authentic place to learn yoga - which I needed by then! I did some private lessons for a bit when I came back, then started teaching at Yoga Movement!
We're happy that road somehow ended up here! Can't wait to hear about your next adventure!