I can surely say that what you think you attract. While reading the blog Adventures of Bulgarian Mermaid (you can find her also on Facebook and Instagram I was thinking how cool it will be to interview this girl. And that’s because of her passion and the example she gives to others in pursuing your dreams no matter what.
Well, a few messages later, here we are. I never thought that blogging will give me such great opportunities to connect with so many amazing people. But it happens.
When I am reading her stories I am thinking that dreams and goals have indeed to be chased. And sometimes we forget that just one step is enough to make our life full of adventures and memories. And this step is to walk out of our comfort zone, to add some passion and not to overthink. But first we have to realize what dreams mean to us, are they so important or are they just а temporary state of mind.
But enough with the thinking and talking. Let’s see what Maria has for us. She talks about some of the nicest places, festivals, and activities (including yoga) in Colorado and she prepares us for our om trip to this part of the States (no matter we didn’t plan anything yet). I am going to finish this long introduction with a quote which best describes this interview.
I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met.
How do you imagine the ideal “om trip”?
After a number of surf retreats and multiple yoga festivals, I would definitely say that the ideal “om trip” must include sun, water, yoga, hiking, and delicious, healthy, local fare! I am also a fan of “snowga” to incorporate yoga into my winter sports activities and vacations (snow is frozen water after all :-).
For the last year, you lived in Colorado, USA. Is it Colorado an “om” state or no?
Colorado boasts some of the most famous yoga festivals (Wanderlust, Yoga on the Mountain, Hanuman, Alive) and some of the best yoga teachers live there. Add to that pristine nature, high mountains peaks, plenty of wilderness, hot springs everywhere, roaring rivers, farm to table food options and amazing energy and you’ve got the real deal. A lot of people move to Colorado for the outdoor adventure, the mindfulness, the spirituality, and the opportunity to live stress-free.
Three things which we absolutely have to take with us when we travel to this part of the States.
Hiking shoes – you will never be indoors 🙂 (maybe you’ll even end up sleeping outdoors, it is spectacular!!!).
Sunscreen 50+ SPF/polarized sunshades – with over 300 days of sunshine annually and many peaks over 10,000 ft you will need to protect your skin and eyes while enjoying the great outdoors.
Swimsuit – it may not sound like a beach destination but Colorado has plenty of natural hot springs in many parts of the state. Add to that lakes and rivers and I bet you’ll be in your bikini sooner than you know it 🙂
How to look like the locals?
DO NOT dress up. DO NOT do your hair. Head to dinner with the same clothes you hiked in all day. Wear your ski pants to apres-ski in town. Frequent clothing optional hot springs. Change by the side of the road. We all do it. No one cares about your appearance. They care about the sparkle in your eyes and your passion for adventure. And always have all your outdoor gear and a spare change of clothes in your car. You never know what opportunity for adventure will suddenly arise. You wouldn’t want to miss it, would you 🙂
What should we absolutely try when we’re there?
The great outdoors in any season – skiing, snowboarding, backcountry touring, snowmobiling, rafting, kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, 4-wheeling, horseback riding; see wildflowers; live country and bluegrass music; taste amazing craft brews; real grass-fed beef; wild caught game meat; stay on a ranch, see how the locals still live, wear cowboy boots, go gold panning or rock hunting for semi-precious stones.
Where would you take us to have a cup of coffee (or tea)?
I am a huge coffee aficionado and I try to test the local beans at every small town roastery. Aviano in Denver is to die for, despite the price tag, First Ascent Coffee Roasters in Crested Butte is another favorite of mine where they roast their own beans, stop by the Big Shooter in Kremmling if you want to see real cowboys (not for coffee :-)). For tea lovers, there is an adorable authentic tea house in Boulder, while the coffee addicts can head to Boxcar Coffee Roasters and have their minds blown off.
The place you’d like to share with us?
Southwest Colorado and the San Juan Mountains. I’d like to take you to the small towns with less than 1000 inhabitants, show you the remains of the mining industry that put Colorado on the map, take you through high mountain passes with jaw-dropping verticals and no guard rails, hike a snow-capped peak, dip in hot springs afterwards, savor some craft brews and grass-fed beef. Southwest Colorado is remote and not on the map for first-time visitors but that’s what makes it so special and unique to me. It is the real deal, hope you are not scared of heights, dirt roads, and mountain folks 🙂
We can’t travel around without stopping by some galleries and museums. Tell us about some of your favorites?
Since I love being outdoors, I would recommend checking out farmers markets and summer festivals in Colorado instead of heading to museums. Mountain Fest in Carbondale is a true representation of life in the mountains, Buena Vista has the oldest whitewater river festival, Breckenridge has its fair share of brew fests, Vail offers the Go Pro Mountain Games fest, Steamboat and Telluride both have amazing music fests, Aspen has a great film fest and a food and wine fest, and if you are in the area don’t miss the Peter Lik gallery in town 🙂
Which book do you think will be most suitable for our trip to Colorado?
Anything by John Muir or a Native American Wild West adventure book. I read them all the time and I think I was born 150 years too late. I would have loved to witness the era of mining, outlaws, and robberies in the Wild West.
When did you start practicing yoga and why?
I started about 10 years ago searching for stress relief while pursuing my graduate degree in the US. From a practice complimenting my running routine in graduate school to easing my ever-building big city high-stress job issues, it became a weekly must and eventually an every-other-day occurrence which benefits extend way deeper in my life, well being, and healing than I ever thought possible. Eventually, I took my yoga outdoors thanks to a couple of friends who led beach and backcountry yoga classes and found an even deeper connection with Mother Nature.
Where would you take us to a yoga practice? Can we practice yoga outdoors?
I would preferably take you outdoors. Whether on a beach, by the roaring river, at some hippie hot springs, or on top of a mountain peak, the closer we stay to Mother Nature’s energy, the more our practice benefits from the connection. Luckily, there are plenty of organized options for yoga outdoors in Colorado (even the festivals are held outdoors) if you are not yet comfortable with just your own personal practice.
Do you practice yoga while you travel? Tell us about your healthy routines on the road.
I most certainly do. I try to visit a local yoga studio at every destination where I stop for a night. That includes small mountain towns, big cities, resorts. I stay away from the big national chains and search for unusual yoga offerings if such exist – mountaintop yoga in Acadia, Maine; farm yoga in Upstate New York; yoga at the hot springs in Colorado, yoga on a boat in New Hampshire; yoga with goats in Massachusetts.
There are lots of clichés about Americans, which ones proved to be false when you moved there?
The USA is such a huge country that I can’t say there is one cliche that encompasses all of it. I’d rather focus on the individuality of every state and how different they are from each other. It is like visiting different countries with their own culture, values, and way of life. You just use the same language and currency 🙂 I try to compare it to Europe and all the countries you would cross on a 10 hr road trip. And then appreciate all the peculiarities of every state, get to know more about its history and people, and try to understand it better.
Where should we go after visiting Colorado?
I would recommend renting a camper van in Denver and heading on a #vanlife adventure to Utah and Wyoming. It is the ultimate road trip, you’ll visit many national parks, which are the highlight of the American West, and you will get the real taste of Wild West adventure. Don’t worry, I have done it many times as a solo female traveler, it is absolutely safe living out of your car in that part of the country and you’ll meet many fellow dirtbags 🙂
Something about Mary(ia)
I am Maria (aka @BulgarianMermaid), born and raised in Bulgaria, world traveler since the age of 3 (blame it on my crazy parents), outdoors aficionado since the age of 23 (better later then never), aspiring surfer and snowboarder, former exercise and fitness junkie, mindful yoga practitioner, amateur dancer, wellness and nutrition follower, strong believer that everything is possible, loving life and riding it gently on a natural high!
With a big passion for travel and the Wild West, I quit my high powered corporate job, sold all my belongings and headed West to chase my dream of surfing and snowboarding the most famous resorts in the US on a budget. 27 US states and 23 countries later, I write about my solo female travel adventures on http://www.bulgarianmermaid.com and I’m currently visiting my parents in southeast Europe, surfing in Portugal, exploring all Mother Nature has to offer, staying kind and humble, and sharing my love with the folks that cross my path. Thank you for stopping by and happy tails.
Maria, aka @BulgarianMermaid
P.S. All pictures are kindly provided by @Maria (@Bulgarian mermaid)