Adventures with Maria Stoyanova, Creator of Travelling Buzz
October 1, 2019
Wanting to share her experiences, Maria started her online blog Travelling Buzz in 2013 to share useful information about travel destinations in Europe and beyond. Now, Maria hopes to inspire her readers to travel and be more adventurous. Whether it's strolling through a charming Bulgarian town to hiking the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, Travelling Buzz offers first-hand recommendations and tips for your next adventure.
The Travel Pad talks to Maria Stoyanova, as she discusses her projects, travels, and experiences.
Tell us more about yourself!
My name is Maria Stoyanova, I am 27 years old, from the small country of Bulgaria. I have travelled all over Europe and the world, but called Sofia my home for the last 10 years. The reason for that are my studies - I have a Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD degree in Economics with a focus on Tourism.
My passion for travel and all things digital led me to pursue a career in the travel industry. I’ve worked in the tourism industry for the past 6-7 years doing digital & influencer marketing, PR, event organization, and more. Currently, I am a Content Manager at Travel Massive - an open network of tourism industry professionals with regular events all over the world. Meanwhile, I am a travel blogger at Travelling Buzz, a co-founder at the Bulgarian Travel Bloggers Association, and am working on various other tourism projects.
Last year, I’ve lived in sunny Malaga, Spain for 4 months which gave me the opportunity to get to know a different culture and explore the south of Spain even more. My next adventure is moving to the Netherlands and embrace the remote work and expat life in the west.
What is Travelling Buzz about?
I created Travelling Buzz as a place to share practical travel tips about places in Europe, and now the world, with a focus on adventure travel, city trips, and travel in Bulgaria.
I try to publish useful articles about the places I visit or spread the word about less-known destinations. Since I’m based in Bulgaria, I travel a lot here as well and share my experiences on the blog.
In the last years, there is a growing interest in the Balkans. I’ve also noticed there is not enough information in English about Bulgaria. That’s why I try to share practical info about my country as well, so other travellers can enjoy their trip here and spread the word among their friends.
How did you start and what motivated you to share your adventures with the online community on Travelling Buzz?
It all started around 5 years ago when I first travelled abroad - to Sicily and then Paris. When I visited those places, I was surprised by many things I wish I knew before my trip. Such as how to get discounts on hotels, or that European Citizens under the age of 25 can visit the Louvre for free.
All of this first-hand experience led me to create a place where other travellers could prepare better about their next trip, or learn about destinations they didn’t knew about - which is the case with many places in Bulgaria.
What was the biggest challenge you have encountered while travelling?
It is always a bit challenging to find an authentic way to connect with locals and to help the local community as much as possible. Sometimes, it’s hard to visit a place and not feel and be seen and as just a tourist, especially if you go for a short visit. So it is challenging to create a deeper connection with a place.
I always welcome insiders tips and ideas about how to be more respectful and make your visit benefit the locals more. Of course, many of this knowledge comes with experience but I don’t think it ever comes naturally so we have to be more aware of how to be smart tourists and travellers.
What is the one food from home you miss the most when you are travelling?
The Bulgarian yoghurt and cheese. I definitely miss those tasty local products, I can’t find anything similar in other countries.
Some may say that Greek yoghurt can substitute ours. As much as I like it, there’s nothing as good as Grandma’s Yoghurt (“Na Baba” is a famous local brand of yoghurt). Bulgarian yogurt is also a base for other products, such as “ayryan”, a cold yoghurt drink, and “tarator”, a cold yoghurt and cucumber soup - perfect for the summer.
The Bulgarian white (“sirene”) and the yellow cheese (“kashkaval”) also taste like nowhere else in the world. I am so used to the taste of our dairy products, that it’s hard to convince me there’s something better out there.
Name one person who inspires you and tell us why he/she inspires you!
People who aim to create a positive future for travel are my inspiration. Anyone who is somehow involved in the industry and tries to promote a positive change can spark a light in me and inspire me to do better myself.
At the moment, this is the project Khwela Youth Tourism Stars by Kim Whitaker. Khwela (which means “climb” in isiXhosa) is an innovative hospitality academy in South Africa, which teaches previously disadvantaged female students through online learning, a three-week overland trip through the country, and a five-month paid internship in Tourism and Hospitality.
Fortunately, my job at Travel Massive introduces me to thousands of such inspiring examples of tourism change-makers.
What are some of the most interesting/memorable experiences that you have after travelling to so many places?
Some of my most memorable experiences include visiting Morocco and hiking the High Atlas Mountains while living with Berbers for a couple of days and learning some of their cultural quirks and local words.
Also learning how to surf in the Canary Islands; spending a week in Sardinia with 150 people from all over the world and discovering the best beaches and cultural spots in the islands; living in Malaga and exploring the local food scene for 4 months; spending two weeks in Kerala, India as part of Kerala Blog Express in 2018 and getting to know the local tourism scene… these are trips I can never forget.
Where do you see Travelling Buzz in 5 years? What are your aspirations and goals for the next 5 years?
I want to continue to create useful, practical travel content as I’ve tried to do in the last 5 years. But what’s new is that I like to focus on helping the tourism & travel industry as well - by showing great examples of travel businesses, and sharing what I’ve learnt from my job for the industry.
I’ll continue doing that with Travel Massive by organizing educational events, discussions, and content for the industry in Sofia and around the world.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Try to be more aware of your travel footprint and think about how you can help the local community through your travels.
All photos courtesy of Maria Stoyanova.
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