13 things you probably don’t know about Katja and Bojidar
On this website we do our best to convince you that you don’t have to be a superhero to collect unforgettable experiences from around the world. Bojidar and I are certainly no heroes, but we are brave enough to step out of our comfort zones from time to time in order to satisfy our deep interest in nature and foreign cultures.
Until now all posts on our blog were about equipment or travel know-how, but today we’d like to connect with you on a much more personal level. We’ll reveal some deeply personal things about us, and we hope that this inspires many conversations in which you also reveal a few personal things about yourself (feel free to write to us personally if you don’t want to post for everyone to see).
Katja and Boji: The Basics
We are quite an international couple: Bojidar (alias Boji) grew up in Bulgaria and studied in the USA. I grew up in Eastern Germany and studied in Germany, France and Belgium. I’ve also lived one year in Australia and New Zealand.
We’ve visited almost 40 countries so far, and we currently live in Hamburg — a really nice city in northern Germany.
We met via Facebook
Katja: In 2012, after a long-term relationship had come to an abrupt end, I was just starting life on my own again. My soul was yearning for new experiences, so when I came across the quote “The love of your life will be waiting for you when you start doing the things that you love” I cut it out and placed it in my purse, where I could see it every day. I also joined a group on Facebook where active people from Hamburg were getting together for hikes, bike rides and other fun activities. One day in early spring some guy posted a short message in the group: “Hey, I just bought a WV bus, and I want to try it out. Who wants to join me on a 4-day hiking trip through a remote Norwegian national park?” I read this and I was hooked.
Bojidar: In 2012 I had a management-level job in the IT industry and a ton of responsibilities. But all I cared about was travel and travel photography. I’d recently started a small gig on the side: teaching photography and Lightroom on the weekend and leading photography tours to India, Turkey or Italy 2–3 times a year. This may sound glamorous to you, but it was an impossible workload which left me with no free time whatsoever. I was quite new on Facebook back then, when late one night I read a status update of a colleague of mine that she was going on a hiking tour in Norway: “Just put a tent and food for four days in your backpack and experience the grand nature of the Dovrefjell national park” After a second or two of hesitation I clicked the “Join” button.
Katja: And the rest is, as they say, history… Two months after the Norway trip we became a couple, and this week we celebrated our third anniversary! We are now happily engaged, so I love you my dear and I am looking forward to the exciting life that lies ahead of us 🙂
We love to cook and bake
Although there are countless options for eating out in Hamburg we only do so when we are together with friends or on special occasions.
We love all kinds of salads and meals with fresh vegetables and whole-meal ingredients, fresh herbs and seeds. Our neighbor orders fast food almost every day, but we are the exact opposite. Our minds are full of cooking ideas and we cook quite often, usually vegetarian. While Boji mostly sticks to recipes he likes, I love to try out new cooking and baking ideas. I think this way we complement each other very well.
We do our best to lead a simple, healthy and sustainable life
We try to minimize the clutter in our lives, so we do not own a car or a house or a flat. We rent a small apartment in Hamburg and we ride our bicycles to work and the supermarket. Almost everything we need is within a 30 min bike ride from home, which is great. Whenever it rains outside (quite often in spring and winter) we put on our rain jackets and rain pants, and we ride our bikes throughout the year. Only when snow lies on the ground we take the subway to work. We love this feeling of independence, and in most cases we are even faster than public transport. But we need to become more reasonable and wear our bike helmet regularly. While Boji still needs a wake-up call, a colleague’s accident a couple of weeks ago was motivation enough for me to start wearing mine every day.
After moving together Boji and I donated or sold all the stuff we didn’t need to homeless people and on the flea market. And whenever there is a new product we need, we try to buy it used. It’s a small step, but it’s what we can do to minimize the incredible amounts of new junk being produced every day.
We try to avoid plastic as much as possible. Most of our food comes without packaging, but whenever it does, we actively choose brands with smaller packaging. And we always bring reusable cloth bags for carrying our groceries home. We also stopped buying water in plastic bottles. Since tap water in Germany is really good, we use a Soda Stream to turn faucet water into sparkling water.
At work and at home we always print double-sided or on already used paper. Each of us has tried several times, but unfortunately we haven’t yet managed to convince our employers to set all office printers to default to double-sided printing. But as soon as 1001 Unforgettable Trips has its own office, we will do it 🙂
At home we use energy from 100% renewable sources and rechargeable batteries. And we always take the stairs.
Bojidar (43 years old)
Married, divorced, has a 10-year old son
Like many people at his age, Boji went through the whole program before we met: got married, bought a small house together with his wife and they got a child together. Different ideas and expectations of life lead to a separation, and now Daniel lives with his mother. But Boji has always been nearby and takes great care of him as well. Daniel spends every other weekend with us and whenever possible we take him with us on our trips throughout Europe. Next year we are thinking of taking a three-week trip to Namibia together.
While sport has been a part of my life for many years, Boji was not interested in physical activity that much. From an early child age he’s been overweight, and only after the separation from his wife and the search for a new identity he slowly began to lead a healthier and more active life. Getting to know me obviously has changed him even more. 😉
Nowadays he rides his bike to work and everywhere else every day, and this year he started jogging together with me. He now runs up 10 kilometers and is setting his sights on a half-marathon in the future. What a change, don’t you think?
Boji loves everything around photography. Above all it’s street life and portraits in foreign cultures, but also landscapes that interest him most.
Until 2 years ago he had a photo company where he was giving workshops and lectures and performed photo trips as a tour guide to photographically interesting places. After he gave that up we started a photo blog together. I always liked to take pictures and to make photo books, but Boji really taught me how to use a camera and its lenses more effectively and to sort out bad images.
Structure & Thirst of Knowledge
What fascinates me is the workload Boji can deal with. He works very focused and structured and has this extreme need to learn something new every day. He would never leave home without his phone full of substantial podcasts about life, leadership, online-marketing, business, photography etc. and his earplugs of course. The bad thing is that sometimes his head is too full and he can’t fall asleep 🙁
A personal weakness
Even though Boji was raised very close to the Black Sea coast, he never learned to swim and he is afraid of water. Before him I’ve never met a person who can’t swim, so it took me a while to get used to it.
During our world trip Boji was very brave and snorkeled near the shore, but one day I’d love to show him the beauty of a coral reef and the marine life around it.
Katja (31 years old)
Active bundle of energy
I am not as extreme as many others at my age, but I love sports. Sitting for a long time in my office at work, on a plane, or in a bus makes me nervous and jittery. Once I get out I need to move around to compensate for all the sitting and to find my balance again. Until we left for our world trip last year I played volleyball for more than 15 years. Since our return I‘m taking great pleasure in jogging and in strength exercises by using only my body weight. Together with my colleagues I’ve even taken part in several running competitions and city runs this year. On the one hand it’s an interesting new experience which makes me wonder if I should give the half-marathon a try. On the other hand I don’t really need a show to motivate myself to go running.
I’ve always consumed only small amounts of meat, and for as long as I can remember I’ve preferred vegetables over meat. In my family I still have the nickname “Veggie Katja” 🙂 At the beginning of 2014 I reflected more and more on the consumption of meat and its consequences and decided for myself that I will reduce my consumption down to zero. My main motivation is to oppose industrial animal keeping as well as the destruction of the beautiful rainforest and the displacement of local tribes to make way for grazing cattle or for cattle feed.
I also believe that vegetarians lead a more healthy life and I love the variety and taste of vegetarian food.
Quote from a friend: “Best host ever”
I love to have guests over, especially for brunch or dinner. It’s a great way to exchange news in a cosy environment. When I can prepare soups, main meals or deserts and decorate plates with salad and veggie sticks for friends and family I’m in another world. If my guests are happy I am happy. Often Boji and I cook together, which is a great way for the two of us to relax after work.
So if you are nearby, just let us know and please drop for a visit 🙂
Nature at home
At the moment we have over 30 plants in our (relatively small) apartment. Visiting friends are stunned over and over again by the greenery and so am I. It’s a bit like escaping into nature in my daily routine. Taking care of the plants and watching them grow gives me the feeling of giving something back while forests are being chopped down all over the world. I often split up my plants or start new ones from offshoots, which gives me the feeling that I can “create new life”.
A personal weakness
One attribute that I would happily live without is that my feet get cold very easily. This is particularly disturbing when we spend time in cold areas or climbing mountains. When I creep into the tent and my feet are cold I have difficulties falling asleep, and when I do, I cannot rest well and I’m tired and grumpy on the next morning.
Well that’s us 🙂 Do you have any questions? Or do you agree or disagree with any of our life choices?