2021 travel and blogging review

It’s that time of the year again when we love recapping the last year and reviewing all the things that happened to us travel- and blog-wise. 2021 was an amazing gift, full of opportunities, as we believe we should see every year to come. A review of 2021 is to follow.

So where did we go in 2021, and what did we do? Let’s dive into memories, experiences, and inspirations while they’re still fresh and strong!

We tried to continue the tradition we started last year, this time to do something cool on the 21st of every month. It came naturally in some months and was a bit of a struggle in others. The great news is that we actually inspired other people with this!

Rome on a Vespa tour, Italy

January 2021 review

Although we celebrated the New Year in Egypt, January was a bit of a low when we got sick with covid. We usually never fall sick and we did recover pretty fast after what felt like a summer cold for just 2 days, but we lost about two weeks of possibilities to travel for the sake of quarantining at home. At the end of the month, we managed to add some snowy day trips from Sofia, even a weekend in nature (in the beautiful Apostolite hotel).

On the 21st of January: We walked around Sofia center, exploring (and taking selfies, of course) numbers 21 of the streets, dropping coins (so people can find their fortunes), and stumbling upon the number 21 in many other ways.

February 2021 review

The mood had started to go higher so we had to splurge in some spa experiences. We started from the hyped 103 Degrees hotel in Sapareva Banya, then visited Bansko for some skiing and work from the mountain, then soaked into the healing waters of Ognyanovo, and finally traveled to North Macedonia. Even there we organized a spa weekend in Veles with Nace’s parents, having a blast of great spa center and even greater restaurant. But don’t think we were vacationing – it was mostly working, with just the right amount of play and relaxation after that. Bistra even took a TEFL course online.

After a difficult 2021, it is safe to say that everyone has travel on their mind for 2022! To help people plan and dream about where they want to teach English, The TEFL Academy has created an extremely comprehensive TEFL World Factbook to provide an up-to-date and accurate profile of the best places to teach English. The TEFL World Factbook is free for everyone to download from their website.

On the 21st of February: We finished another lovely weekend in one of our favorite Macedonian wineries – Queen Maria Winery. And just to mention – sunsets in February are magic!

North Macedonia, sunset time at Queen Maria Winery

March 2021 review

March started with work, work, work, and a short trip to Veliko Tarnovo. Then we planned a 10-day trip to the Maldives which turned into a 14-day trip which later turned into a month on those beautiful kissed-by-magic islands. We actually were fully online and working most of the time, benefiting from the time difference which gave us mornings full of adventure and exploration and the rest of the day – working. Another stereotype – diminished! You can work, have fun, and thrive in paradise!

On the 21st of March: We were staying on an island called Gaafaru and had just celebrated Bistra’s birthday on the rooftop with a manta ray cake. We forgot to take note of exactly how we celebrated the 21st, but it’s safe to say that in the Maldives it must have been perfect!

April 2021 review

After spending the first two weeks on the Maldives local islands, our mission back home was to sustain the motivation and the feeling of light and love for as long as possible. We felt we’re headed to the future with our first virtual wine tasting experience, which was actually quite fun.

On the 21st of April: We organized a virtual yoga practice where our group invited the sun with 21 sun salutations. And it worked!

Виртуална дегустация на вино с винарна Царев Брод

May 2021 review

The beginning of the month was marked by festivities and days off so we headed to Arda River and its meanders. We haven’t explored that part of Bulgaria much so we were excited! We had a short visit to our friends from Vita Rama in Bansko. At the end of the month, we branched out so Nace moved to our base in Greece and I traveled to Poland for a youth worker project on Theater of the oppressed.

On the 21st of May: Together with Petya, we watched a beautiful show of about 21 different dance performances in Largoto, Sofia, and combined with watching some amazing street performers. It felt like traveling the world!

Arda river meanders, Bulgaria

June 2021 review

In June, after the Teenovator finals in Sofia, we got reunited in Greece and started welcoming friends and family over. We felt like summer is slowly approaching, and we had decent beach time in the evenings and on the weekends.

On the 21st of June: We created an art installation on the beach of Vergia, which was the hardest thing we must have done during the year. But it was worth the effort!

Celebrating 21.06.2021 on the beach in Greece

July 2021 review

We took a break from our second home in Greece to pop up back in Sofia for a wedding and for a trip to Santorini. It was great to finally have the proper time to visit the island after our original mishap and a short drop by with a cruise ship. After that, I took off to Plovdiv for a theater improv training course and we eventually got reunited in Sozopoli.

On the 21st of July: We witnessed a magical sunset on a very windy beach called Sahara. And that’s for a reason!

Sunset at Sahara beach, Halkidiki, Greece

August 2021 review

After a youth project in Poland (second for the summer), we focused on working, meeting with friends, welcoming friends home, and gathering more suntan in Halkidiki. At the end of the month, we hopped on the ferry to visit three of the Sporadic islands – Alonissos, Skiathos, and Skopelos.

On the 21st of August: We went on a boat trip from Nikiti along Sithonia’s coastline.

Boat trip from Nikiti, Halkidiki, Greece

September 2021 review

After great peaceful times on the Sporadic islands, we got back to Sofia for our intensive Greek course. We celebrated our anniversary in Rome and Tuscany, riding a Vespa, drinking wine, and visiting country number 80 (The Vatican) together.

On the 21st of September: We did a casual wine tasting at a lovely wine bar in Sofia, followed by a lovely theater play.

Wine tasting at a wine bar in Sofia, Bulgaria

October 2021 review

Having tremendously improved our Greek, we traveled to Istanbul for a long-awaited but impromptu-organized Formula 1 weekend. We didn’t practice Greek a lot, but we did travel to Italy for the second time – this time to visit Bologna and San Marino. Later youth work was calling again so I traveled to a village to take part and co-facilitate a training course.

On the 21st of October: This day will be marked by some absolutely gorgeous nature in Bulgaria, and a viewpoint that is absolutely off-the-beaten-path.

View over Vacha Dam Reservoir, Bulgaria

November 2021 review

November we started in Greece with some pretty great weather and in Slovakia with some pretty great books (on a Biblioguidance training). Just in time for Nace’s birthday, we traveled to Puglia to celebrate with sassi, trulli, opera, and other magical Italian creations. We managed to turn winter mode on by a spa day and later traveled for a work+play trip in Finland where the Christmas mood was up.

On the 21st of November: We pampered ourselves with a spa day in Belchin Garden Spa Hotel.

Spa hotel Belchin Garden, Belchin, Bulgaria

December 2021 review

We started the last month of the year with a visit to our nephews in Germany (with all the perks like Europa Park – the largest theme park in Germany, pillow fights, ice skating). We focused on finishing up the work for the year and on our trip to Lanzarote for a change of office, scenery, air, and probably many other things. We celebrated my dad’s anniversary and then on the 31st, took off to Italy (for, right, the 4th time this year) to meet the New Year à la Dolce Vita.

On the 21st of December: We hiked the Sendero Litoral de Jameos from Punta Mujeres, contemplating volcano and ocean views.

Trends and milestones from 2021

Now that we summarized our travels it’s time to talk about blogging and business. But also about how our lifestyle changed or started to change. The latter is an interesting phenomenon to observe especially since the pandemic added such a huge chunk of external factors.

One very positive trend for us is cutting time on social media in favor of putting more time into creating helpful and useful content for our readers. We noticed that we post less and less on Instagram and Facebook live from our travels, as we prefer to be present and focused on the experience. Later we craft all the articles, posts, newsletters that we believe will be of great help and inspiration for you. We plan to keep up with this and spend our time where we can create the most value.

This year we recruited a permanent guest author who will be contributing on a regular basis. We’ve already received amazing feedback from our readers and we can’t wait to see what our new team member will create in 2022!

Sometimes we miss 2012, 2013, even 2014, when we used to write literally whatever came to our minds and publish it instantly on the blog. There is huge freedom when you just create without planning, analyzing, predicting outcomes. And we want to feel that freedom as much as possible, that’s why we started publishing spontaneous posts, posts with no focus keyword or intention. Just go with the flow. And we believe emotion and magic come from freedom, so we will try to have more of those articles and videos in the next year.

Speaking of spontaneous, we want to return to our spontaneous trips too. Our three Italian trips this year proved that it can be done, on a budget, and with as many elements of surprise as one wants. One of the main lessons of the pandemic for us was plans can be ruined in a matter of hours so we want to re-learn to travel with no expectations and plans.

We had one very good example of how even plans in business can go to hell in a matter of days and how we need to learn agility and flexibility even more. We had this affiliate partner and our work together was starting to bring in great results in terms of revenue for us. We created an article that took more than 20 hours of work within 2 weeks (editing excluded!) and published it planning to see results in the first half of the year. Only after a few days within publishing, the partner announced they’re stopping their affiliate program. Long before we could score any revenue, all our work became irrelevant. Or at least irrelevant to our business.

On the positive side, we managed to have several successful partnerships with amazing companies. Our yearly revenue has increased by 33%. More and more often we get approached by the right businesses, with which we share values and mission, and this is such an amazing trend. We find the right companies and people to create the future of traveling as we want it to be!

We managed to publish “The Magic of Traveling in Tanzania” book to Bulgarian this year. It took a bit longer than expected, but we feel that book projects just take their time even when it’s about a mini-book of fewer than 15K words. We got in touch with so many libraries and community centers that were happy to introduce our books to their readers and members. And the plan is to keep doing so!

After more than 30 new articles and more than 25 new videos in 2021, we can’t wait to see what 2022 will bring! We want to continue focusing on traveling with purpose, digital nomadism (our own version, of course), well-being, publishing books, and connecting with people!

None of the above would be possible without your tremendous support! We love you and we wish to have you in our extended travel family in 2022!

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