The year 2018 in 18 amazing places and experiences

It’s time to recap 2018! We put together our most amazing experiences and places visited in 2018. We know we’ve always been working hard towards our goals and dreams – to travel the world, engage with inspiring people, have memorable experiences, and contribute to a better world. And still, we feel so blessed, humbled, and excited to share all of the above with you!

The first part of the article is all about where we’ve been in 2018, what happened, and our favorite moments and experiences. In the second part of the article we share about 2018 from a travel blogging business perspective, hope you can take something out of it or at least have a good laugh!

Spain, Alhambra, road trip

Pamporovo – ski, retreat, and caravan life

We started the year with fresh air in the Rhodope mountains, a week of health retreat, and some skiing and snowboarding in Pamporovo. What better way to start the year? We added a night in a caravan nearby the ski slopes to live some more romance.

Каравана, Пампорово, Офис в гората, България

Babin Zub – the winter Serbian jewel in Stara Planina

Our tradition now says we can’t skip a visit to Babin Zub in winter, ski season just can’t finish without us running the slopes, trying Serbian food delights, or enjoying our favorite place for winter sports in the Balkans.

Serbia, Stara planina, winter ski resort Babin zub

Wine tour in Macedonia

We corrected a travel wrong at the end of winter – toured Macedonia (Tikves wine region) to find new favorite wines. We visited a couple of wineries and wine shops so our venture was a success. Part two might be coming in 2019.

Винен туризъм в Тиквеш, Македония - Попова кула

The art of drinking wine in Bulgaria

Speaking of wine, 2018 brought us to so many amazing wineries in Bulgaria as well. For example, we combined work and play in Starosel – the mineral pool and old Roman tasting room were a treat. We celebrated July Morning in our new tent on top of the hill near Villa Melnik – it was a blast! When we needed some peacefulness, spa, and good wine, we jumped over to Midalidare Estate.

Greeting the July sun from Villa Melnik winery

The spa of Pirot

Speaking of SPA, we tried something a bit different – Pirot in Serbia. It was not the best SPA but was a good time with friends and those Serbian kafanas are always ready to help you enjoy your time in the country!

Serbia, Pirot, SPA, game night at hotel

Seychelles – as lovely and affordable as possible

Bistra’s birthday present came a bit late but was totally worth the wait – Seychelles is so amazing! Those unbelievably secluded beaches, on most of which we were completely alone! Don’t worry – Seychelles can be explored affordably! We want to go back and dance on every Seychelles beach, or even better – maybe stay there for a longer time!

Best Seychelles beaches: Mahe, Baie Lazare beach

Thessaloniki – Street Food Fest by the sea

We spent a weekend in Thessaloniki to focus on the city, the sea, and the Street Food Fest. Nice way to start the spring, to indulge yourself with delights from all over the world, and to cruise the bay after a day of walking the city of the White Tower.

Things to do and see in Thessaloniki, Greece; Street Food Festival

Road-tripping in Southern Spain

We knew Spain would never disappoint us. But Southern Spain set the bar so high that we don’t know how we would visit another part and enjoy it so much anymore. Arabic and European influences, magnificent architecture, stunning nature, and don’t even get me started on the food and drinks. The post about the road trip in Southern Spain is taking so long but we promise it’s gonna be amazing, just like the trip itself!

Spain, Cabo de Gata, drone and road trip

Lavender quest vol.2

In 2018, we set on an endeavor to find photogenic lavender fields. We got so lost, that we found some balls of straw, fields of mustard, and other hidden gems. Eventually, we found a huge lavender field and waited almost until sunset to photograph and play with lavender.

Снимка с дрон над лавандуловите полета близо до село Блатница, България

Chalkidiki summer escapes

Another tradition of ours is hitting different spots on the Chalkidiki peninsula in Greece every summer. We’re usually searching for cool beaches, fewer crowds, and a healthy Mediterranean diet. We ventured to Athos and Sithonia, but the top pick in 2018 was working from a campsite for a whole week! So we basically did twice the work for half of the time, productivity goes way up when those stunning beaches and the sea motivate you to finish fast and go enjoy them!

Снимка с дрон как танцуваме на плажа до бар Goa на Ситония, Халкидики, Гърция

The surprise of culture, art, and history – Stara Zagora

The year 2018 surprised us with the city of Stara Zagora – we didn’t know what an amazing place there is in our own neck of the woods. The city has historic monuments and relics from ancient times, it features some of the most beautiful pieces of art (e.g. Museum of Religions) and the cultural calendar is just stuffed with events!

Музей на религиите, Стара Загора

Formula 1 Budapest – race on!

It was time for another Formula 1 experience – this time we chose Hungaroring near Budapest. We slept in our tent at one of the nearby campsites, then we would go to the nearest hill to pick our “seats” for the Formula 1 race. It was lots of sun and some heavy rain, but memorable as usual. We’re getting such fans that we planned our Grand Prix in Azerbaijan for 2019. Stay tuned!

Hungary, Budapest, Hungaroring, Formula 1

Apollonia Festival, Sozopol vol.2

2018 was definitely a year of volume 2 for many things. That includes the Apollonia Festival in Sozopol. We love the option to mix culture with the seaside, work during the day and play in the evening. We highly recommend experiencing the festival, because there are so many reasons to enjoy Apollonia!

Фестивал на изкуствата Аполония, Созопол, България

The magic of yoga homeland – Nepal

It was time for a long-distance and long-time journey. Bistra was headed to Nepal for yoga teacher training. Nepal is just one of those places you start to love when you stay there for a while. Living in rural Nepal with locals was an experience in itself. Nace joined later so the two of us can enjoy Nepal together, the country entered our list as number 70!

A month of yoga in Nepal - where locals and yogis meet

The unplanned dream that came true – Bhutan

We were riding a bus in Nepal for ten hours when we decided we might jump over to Bhutan. We planned and arrange the whole visit while riding the bus. Bhutan was a dream we didn’t know we’d accomplish so soon. We instantly fell in love with the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon! The people in Bhutan are truly fascinating!

How to plan a trip to Bhutan from Nepal, Tiger's Nest

From desert to dessert in Jordan

Taking advantage of a new flight line and its deal price, we booked the tickets to Jordan a long time ago. In November we visited the country, got to know the ancient city of Petra, browsed the desert, slept in Bedouin camps, dived near Aqaba, and verified that Jordanians are some of the friendliest people on Earth. Here’s a blog post with our favorite Jordan places and our itinerary!

Jordan, the ancient city of Petra

Young Wine Festival in Plovdiv Old Town

We had to wrap up 2018 from a sommelier’s perspective with the Young Wine Festival in Plovdiv. While it’s hard to remember a lot, we were sure that we spent a great time with young and old wines from different wineries in Bulgaria.

Дефиле на младото вино Пловдив

Christmas markets in Cologne and around

We headed to Germany to visit friends and check out Christmas markets in Cologne and around. As usual, Weihnachtmarkts are a big deal over there, and is no better way to stock up with some Christmas mood and gluhwein!

Drachenburg Castle and Christmas market, Germany

Travel bloggers year review 2018

In the spirit of yearly retrospections and New Year’s resolutions, we decided to share how our year went in terms of travel blogging. We appreciate the value of recaps every now and then to remind us how much we have accomplished and how wonderful our life is. So here’s our travel bloggers’ year in review, edition 2018.

Pinterest

We started working on developing new and eye-friendly pins for our posts. Pinterest is a huge thing when it comes to planning…well, anything. So we wanted to make sure our posts will be the most helpful for everyone who uses Pinterest boards for travel. Make sure you check out our Pinterest boards and don’t forget to pin our posts.

The year 2018 in 18 amazing places and experiences Pinterest
Pin us!

Affiliates

This blog post contains some affiliate links to services and products we like. If you book through those links, we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost for you. Thank you for helping us keep The Magic of Traveling going!

We were prejudiced toward affiliate programs until we realized that as frequent travelers, we would be the perfect affiliates for any kind of accommodations, transportation, or travel-related business. Now we’ve incorporated a few affiliate links in our blog – mostly to booking.com, rentalcars.com, and kiwi.com. As usual, we always recommend services and products we’ve tried so you can plan your trip just like we do. If you use some of our affiliate links, we’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

The Drone

Our travel family has grown – our new member is called DJI Mavic Air and it sees everything from above. We’re really hooked and we try to take it everywhere we go (and everywhere it’s allowed or doesn’t require much paperwork). Everything looks so much better from above, and we already managed to rediscover well-known places from another angle.

Buzludzha UFO monument, Bulgaria

New Book Draft

After some serious writer’s block, we finally did some hard work and finished the first draft of our new book. We want to publish in Bulgarian at the beginning of 2019, so keep your fingers crossed so we have the muse and time to do it! It’s about our adventures in Central America, and we don’t even have the title yet! Any ideas?

Press Trips

We focused on more quality press trips this year (we had to turn down some really nice offers as they overlapped with other important trips). So we keep on getting more and more excited about meeting lovely people in places where we didn’t expect. For example, the press trip to Stara Zagora was a blast and we realized people over there are actually working hard to promote their beautiful city of the Linden tree and the region.

Presentations

Our favorite part of traveling is being able to share our amazing experiences on the road. So we did quite a lot of sharing in different events this year. Central America, Bhutan, Camino, how to travel more, how to enjoy more… We’ll keep the spirit in 2019!

The Magic of Traveling: Follow the locals” book

Well, officially we published our first book in English at the very end of 2017. But we’ve been working hard to promote it and get the word about it going. We feel very empowered by the positive review so far, and we need more. That’s why we will also highly appreciate anyone posting a review of it on Amazon, Goodreads, or their website.

Follow the locals book EN autumn promo

Consult on travel topics

What makes us really happy is the fact that in 2018 we’ve received the most travel-related questions than ever! We’ve helped tens of people plan their dream trips, and we’ve consulted a lot of folks on how to plan, organized, and do their travel endeavors. It’s really magical how people are starting to travel independently and we couldn’t be happier to help.

A partnership doesn’t equal free service

Every single week we have to turn down at least one offer for a partnership. And we’re not bragging about this fact. Actually, we’re complaining. Because we receive offers that sound like “you do some work for us, and we will give you free exposure”. Thank you, potential partners, but if you consider that some professional travel bloggers will do you favors for free or for “exposure”, we need to talk about your priorities in business. Even a social media shoutout would take a few hours of our time, not to mention the skills and hard work to get where we are. So don’t mask your free favors under “partnership”. Maybe if you were honest to ask straight for a favor, you’ll have better chances.

Looking for mutually beneficial fits

We turn down about 85% of the offers we get because we’re just not a good fit. If you’ve been following us for a while, you know how we feel about authenticity, thinking alike with the people we chose to work with, and believing in and using the products and services we promote. It’s as simple as that. Unfortunately, nowadays it’s considered a bad thing to turn down money because of your audience’s trust. Our travel manifesto is here.

TV jokes

We never turned down an offer for a TV or radio (or YouTube, or any other channel) show. This year, however, we had a very unpleasant experience with quite unprofessional Bulgarian National TV individuals that not only wasted our time but also didn’t cooperate and stopped even communicating with us as soon as they had received the compensation for their “effort”. Being a TV celebrity was never one of our dreams and we’re clearly doing favors to those people so they have content for their coverage. Maybe it’s time to stop being so nice to everyone.

Sneaky hosting companies

Our previous hosting company quietly raised its prices leaving us no choice but to switch to another. And the migration of this website is no joke! It was unplanned and took way more time than expected. But that’s life – you walk on the street and an apple hits your head… or a sneaky hosting company makes sure you don’t sleep for at least a week.

The nomadic lifestyle, home office

We continued to build our semi-nomadic lifestyle. We managed to work from some really exciting places all over the world, like a campsite in Greece, a yoga academy in Nepal, and a cafe in Jordan. We hit a lot of restaurants and hotel rooms in Bulgaria in search of the perfect spot to find concentration or at least conduct phone calls. It was not always easy, but remote work can be done and it can be your lifestyle.

книгите за пътешествия се раждат в обстановката на плаж, море, бар

The Magic of Traveling Tours coming

And the big surprise: we’re planning on developing TMOT tours in the forthcoming year. We’ve been getting a lot of “When will we be able to travel with you, guys?” questions lately. So we’re thinking of actually taking like-minded travelers to some amazing places and experiencing them to the fullest. With some luck and collaboration with the right partners, our first tours are about to happen in 2019. Yey! Stay tuned!

Euro Trip 2019 Cover Приключение с влак из европейските столици

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