The Impact That A Plant Identifier App Made To Our Life

plant identifier app, take photo of flower

Recently, Chris found a plant identifier app called Picture This, just take a picture of what plant you want to identify and let the app scan it. The app will give suggestions what it could be; you will see a picture and more information. From that, it’s pretty easy to see if it is correct, which it has been most of the times.

A general rule is that the more we know about a subject, the more interesting it becomes. This has recently proved to be true when focus more on trees. I think most things can be interesting if we stay open, curious and want to learn more. We want to include nature in our daily life and this is a great way of doing so.

Using this app when traveling helps us to learn about the plants and trees around us. We loved trees and plants for a long time, but it’s many times difficult to know what kind it is. With help from technology, we can now easily learn about several trees.

 I can now express how stunning the African tulip trees are with their magnificent red flowers.
plant identifier app, african tulip tree

I can also talk more about my fascination with the Banyan trees and that they belongs to the fig family. Not only are they fascinating by their size, shape, and root system, they are also Indians national tree, holy to Hindus, used for medicine in Nepal and a host of many species. From knowing they belong to the fig tree family, I can also see a connection to my small fig tree at home.

plant identifier app , banyan trees
And on travels, I learned that Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia and lots more. Knowing all this makes it so much more fun and also make a stronger connection to the place and to nature.
plant identifier app, hibiscus
 The plant identifier app is very cool; it’s a nudge to care more about plants and share the interest with friends. After you scanned a  photo of a plant, it’s stored in your library and is easy to find afterward. You can then share with friends and encourage them to share what they have seen too. Using technology, learning more about nature and sharing finds is a fun and profound way of connecting with friends.

Where to Donate Clothes in Sofia, Bulgaria

donate clothes in Sofia

Decision to Donate Clothes in Sofia

When writing this post, it is in the middle of November, and the weather starts to get a bit more chilly. Yesterday we decided to give away warmer sweaters to a second-hand shop. We considered a charity shop or to give to the homeless person on the streets, but settled for the charity shop. The choice won because we know that someone could choose the clothes by themselves and would like them.

Which Area We Went To
There is a street with several second-hand stores on Alabin Road, near Vitosha Boulevard, and close to Palace of Justice. Since it was so convenient with a couple of stores in the same place, we thought this would be a great place to go.

donate clothes in Sofia- open sign

Second-Hand Stores Don’t Accept Donated Clothes

In Sweden, it’s common to give away clothes to the store, washed and folded, so we assumed it worked the same way here. It turns out it doesn’t, and that’s why we decided to write this post to help others who plan to donate clothes in Sofia.
We went to the street with some warm sweaters to give away and started to enter the stores.

“Is this a second-hand shop?” I asked.

“Yes.” said the shop owner.

“Could we donate some warm clothes here?”, I kindly replied

“No, it’s a second-hand shop!”, the owner responded a bit irritated

“I understand, we want to give you some nice clothes to sell” we tried again.

“No, we only sell second-hand clothes” the owner responded.

The dialogue went on like this, and we couldn’t reach through.
We had similar experiences in several of the stores. We continued to ask if they knew where to donate clothes. Most of them said no, they didn’t know and seemed to not bother about the issue either. In Humana, a worldwide charity shop, they didn’t know what to do, but then gave us an email address to contact someone else and they might know.

donate second hand clothes- jeans

Advise to Try and Give to a Homeless Shelter
Some stores later and we got help with translation from one young girl and her mom. They told us that people don’t donate clothes in Sofia and that we could try a homeless shelter instead. It felt a bit weird to have to fight so much to giveaway nice and warm clothes that help keep someone else. Sure, we could go to a homeless shelter also, but we wanted to give away the clothes the same day and without spending half a day or more.

Finally, we found one store that wanted the clothes and was happy to accept them although we had to explain several times what we meant before they understood. So, this approach can work, but it it’s a long process to find the right store.

donate clothes Sofia- bag with heart, thank you messageWhere Do the Clothes Come From?
We kept wondering; the stores have lots of clothes, where did they all come from?
Which countries donates most clothes to Bulgaria?

After some research online, I found out that most clothes come from Italy, Germany, Austria, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Humana, for example, has a sorting center in Slantchevo, 20 km outside of Varna. Some of the clothes they receive are then sold and shipped to countries in Africa.

Proceeder on Donated Clothes from Bulgaria
Red Cross placed several containers for second-hand clothes in Sofia during spring 2016. The garments are first disinfected then sorted and at last enter the stores or go to textile recycling. This procedure might be the answer why they no one is accepting donations.

Conclusion, Where to Donate
The best option would be the Red Cross containers, but the problem is, where to find them? I searched a lot online and even emailed them twice for a list of addresses but sadly got no response. If you want to donate clothes in Sofia, the best option would probably be to find someone to give them too or to try how it would work in a homeless shelter. Hopefully, the Red Cross in Sofia will update a list of addresses for their containers soon, so it will be a smoother process to give away clothes.

Photo Cred: Birgitte Tohm  Kaique Rocha ,neo8iam, Pixabay



This Is Why We Love Village Hopping

Village hopping near mountain northen India

What Is Village Hopping?

Village hopping is an excellent way to discover small villages and get more insight into local life. You might wonder, what exactly is village hopping? And what are the benefits of trying it out?

Village hopping means to discover villages for a shorter period, from a few hours to a few days. Sometimes it includes visiting several places during one day. It is a way to get a glimpse of local life but also a way to get some adventure.

Being Spontaneous While Doing Village Hopping

True adventure while traveling includes being flexible, spontaneous and let curiosity guide you. When doing so, you will meet interesting people, see new places and create memorable days. Village hopping offers it all, with the unique charm, closeness to nature, and local life. It doesn’t have to be a small village, suburbs or the outskirt of a city can also have a smalltown vibe.

These places can often be found in the more remote end stations on metro lines or buses. It is a refreshing feeling to step out of the bus and having a fixed plan on where to go. A fun and exciting way to explore a new area is to follow your gut feeling or go after visual clues. Some example of visual clues can be a mountain, a walking path or a house that looks interesting. If you spot something you are curious about, let that be your direction. During your way look at things you find interesting, notice small details. In most cases this approach is safe, but be aware of where you are in and the current situation. Not all countries have the same security and if not village hopping is better to avoid.

Interact With Locals and Learn About the Culture

Smiling is a universal language, most people respond and smile back. Being kind can open up for conversations, making new friends and get closer to the culture.

From earlier travels, village hopping has led us to amazing experiences. Some of them are making new friends, sharing a cup of tea and learn about local plants. This lets us see coffee plants, black pepper trees, and pineapple plants in the backyard of new friends.

We have also joined many different local festivals, for example, the women’s day in Laos, when a few local women invited us to join their celebration. It all happened because we got curious, followed the sound of music and then found their place. We didn’t talk much since we didn’t share a common language, but for sure it was fun to dance and laugh together. Meeting people like this helps to stay humble, feeling connected, and increase tolerance. Our cultures and beliefs can be different, but in the end, we all want to be safe, happy and have a good time.

Get Some Perspective by Slowing Down

Village hopping is not only about connecting with people. Sometimes, it can be about getting a bit of perspective, a place to think or connect with nature. Spending time in green areas and slow down helps to bring harmony into life, making it easier to be in the present moment and enjoy life. I like to find a sit under a tree, strolling around or go to a local café and observe daily life.


Village Hopping Is for Everyone

This travel approach is for everyone to apply, no matter your age, travel experience or language skills. There are many adventures waiting ahead or you! By being spontaneous, open and trying something new is a great way to invite adventure into your life.

Chocolate Paradise to Be Found in Lviv – Ukraine

Lviv city, chocolate paradise city

Chocolate Paradise, Lviv

The Unknown Chocolate Paradise

I remember the first time we passed Lviv, it was back in late spring three years ago, on our way from Kiev to Warsaw. We only stayed in Lviv for two days but fell completely in love with the city that’s full of life, colors, and chocolate. After that first time, we actually returned to Lviv twice and the second time to stay for a month. There are many reasons why we decided to come back and stay for a longer time, one of them was that we found our chocolate paradise. Another factor was that we try to follow things that spark our curiosity and Lviv sure does.

Ukraine Should Be Famous for Chocolate

I always heard that Belgium is the best travel destination for a person who loves chocolate. I actually haven’t been there yet and are still looking forward to coming there one-day :). Right now, it’s not a big rush though, for being in Lviv has given me such good memories. For a while, I had the challenge to try local chocolate in all countries we visited, I even saved all the beautiful covers. During travels we have also visited chocolate museums, factories and cafés. So far, from all this, Lviv is my number one destination for enjoying chocolate.

My Favorite Choclate Store

The popular store Lviv Handmade chocolate offers a wide selection of flavors. I liked that I also could see how them the chocolate factory inside the store and the café with a rooftop view of the city.
I love staying in Lviv and be able to walk into the store and come out with a few pieces now and then to try out and enjoy:). I’m so happy to share these moments with Chris and find new favorites. Lviv is a chocolate paradise and I’m quite sure this is not the last time that we will come to this lovely city:)

Values in Life and on the Road

Values In Life Helps Us to Prioritize


values in life makes us feel happy and free

Photo Cred:karosieben

We are soon leaving again, this time for Singapore and Malaysia and decided to write down our values in life. Travels are thrilling, help to get new ideas, experience another society and get a glimpse of the world. We also want a life full of meaning, so we need to include more of our shared interests and values abroad too. We are looking forward to spending time in nature, join social events, making new friends and engage in the place where we are.

Our 10 Most Important Values

The list is a simplified and meant to be easy to follow. Like with minimalism, cutting out the fluff helps to get more time and focus on what’s important. We still need to go back and check the list now and then as a reminder and take action in line with values.

1. Contribute More to What’s We Care About

personal values in life - follow the heart
Photo Cred: kaboompics

We want to be a part of helping to create a better future even though it is just in small ways. One one of my birthdays, Chris fundraised money for the donkey’s in Morocco as a present. Ever since I saw the situation the donkey’s faced, I wanted to do something. Chris action was heartwarming and felt so right.

For Elin, the closest thing to the heart is to help animals and also raise awareness about their situation. Chris has the same feeling towards environmental issues. We both try to support each other in contributing more to these areas.

We try to contribute in more areas and in different ways, from volunteering, lending money on Kiva to feeding stray dogs, donate clothes and much more. The world can sometimes feel a bit dark, so doing something good makes it feels better.


2. To Live a Fun and Creative Daily Life

values in life- having fun and be creativePhoto Cred: Pexels

We always feel happier when we can be curious and explore new things. For us, this can be any activities that include having a fun, exciting and creative life. It can be to try out new interests, send the letter in a bottle, geocaching, upcycling, create new imaginary worlds. By purpose, we want to seek out the more unknown and obscure perspectives. It is about staying curious to have exciting experiences. Traveling and discover other countries, like India, Malaysia, Singapore, is something really love.  We aim to keep traveling and exploring more, join festivals, new years celebrations since we love to learn about different countries and cultures.


3. Connecting with Nature

values in life- connect with nature
Photo Cred: Walkerssk
We have always loved nature and want to give more priority to do activities related to nature. Nature has so much to offer us like giving us better well-being, less stress, and more harmony. There are also so many wonders and kinds of life to discover. We would like to add more nature experiences for example visit rainforest, go hiking, kayaking and see different animals. In total, we want more nature-oriented activities.  We try to include something nature realted in everyday life. We also use the plant identifier app to search for new plants and keep learning.


4. Have Good Relationships, Make New Friends and Staying in Touch

values in life- friends stay in touch Photo Cred: StockSnap
Relationships affects us more than anything. Friends, families and  pets all have a important influence on our life and happiness. We want to have give enough time and love for the onces that are close to us. And we want  to be social both home and on the road, making new friends and join social events.  In the end, the people from travels are the ones we remember the most from the trip. We want to make sure to take enough time to meet friends and also be better at staying in touch during travels.


5. Be independent

values in life- independence
Photo Cred: Free-Photos
Independence can mean a lot of different things. For us, it’s to be able to be more independent in our life related to the society we live in. That means finding new and creative ways of being semi-nomads and how to solve housing. If we don’t go for a tiny house, we would need to find another alternative solution that’s equally good.


6. Making Mini-Experiments

values in life- miniexperimentPhoto Cred: PIRO4D

We want to focus on creating mini experiments and try out new areas we would like to explore. It is hard to know things without trying them, finding ways to try out and see what works feels right.This approach can help lead in the right direction and to set priorities. Mini-experiment feels like a great way to grow, try new ideas and areas.


7. Personal Growth and to Inspire Each Other

values in life, personal growthPhoto Cred: Free-Photos

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”
-Gail Sheehy

This quote describes’s our viewpoint of personal growth, we want to discover more colors of life. We grow when facing challenges, trying different things, and get perspectives. Some of our challenges we choose, other we have to tackle. Having a growth mindset is useful in all situations.

An Active Life Creates Good Opportunities to Learn

Travels help us understands more about our values in life. To be in another culture helps to question how we currently live and also inspires us. There are always ways to upgrade and to develop in different areas of life.

Reading is so peaceful and gives many new ideas. Having a great discussion and then reflect makes it more clear on how to change and then put it into practice. I love journaling; it helps to connect to values and reflect on what’s going on and why. Meditation is also a great tool to zoom out, understand more about our thoughts and practice to let go.

As a couple, we share many values, interest, and goals. We try to give each other space to grow and don’t have a fixed picture of each other. A person is in constant change, and this is good to know and accept. We do our best to encourage each other, and we talk a lot:). No one is perfect, and we both lack understanding and energy sometimes, but we try our best. In total, we do talk a lot about what’s valuable for us, for each of us and why.

8. Keep Learning and Stay Curious
values in life- keep learningPhoto Cred: Gellinger
 Being curious and never stop learning is an excellent approach to life and makes it more fun. There are so many things to learn about and discover. Kids are curious, this often tend to decrease with age, but luckily that is not always the case. We want to have curiosity as a important value in life, to keep learning and explore new areas.


9. Minimalism – Less is More

values in life- minimalismPhoto Cred: Pexels

Minimalism is ever-present still it’s something we have to remind ourselves about again and again. We don’t carry or own many things but when a urge for something we have to question it. Do we need this? What will it add? How much extra effort and time does it take, like repairs, charging, related to how much the benefits it gives?

In general, we focus on experience and the value that gives us. Minimalism is about finding and choosing whats important and remove the rest. This is a never-ending yet rewarding process.


10. Prioritize Health

values in life- wellnessPhoto Credit: congerdesign

Eating healthy can be tricky on the road and even more so being a vegetarian. We always have this as a focus, and try our best to find solutions. Restaurants often offer vegetarian options, but many times dishes don’t contain enough nutrition. Having an own kitchen is the best solution but not always possible. When we don’t have a kitchen,  we try to complement with eating snacks like nuts, protein bars, and fruits.

At home, things are less complicated, and we try to eat a lot of whole food. Of course, we both love pancakes, chocolate and such now and then.

Food is related to our mood, performance, and health, so we want to eat as much healthy food as possible. And of course, find ways to add more exercise like long walks, going on hikes, cycle and so on. For us, it’s essential that we have the energy and health to take on adventures and not feel limited:)

This is our list of values in life for now. This is a guideline how we want to and strive to act. Over time we might add or change the list depending on our values.

If you where to write your values and focus areas in life, what would that be?