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.

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.

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.

Where 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.
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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

– Nature Is Our Church

Nature is our church, Chris looking out over mountains

 

Importance Of Nature In Our Lives

To compare nature with a holy place like church highlights the importance of nature in our lives. Treating nature as a church is for sure a great idea. Nature brings calm, relief from stress and is a place to get things into perspectives. Science also shown that increased memory, lower blood pressure and improve the mood. Even though this is something we all are aware of we still don’t take enough time in nature. How could we change this? For starters, one way could be to think more about the positive benefit nature gives us. Second we could make sure to make it a prioritiy to find ways to connect with nature. Connecting with nature dosn’t only mean to get out in the forest.

Time In Nature Helps Create Clarity

We all deal with difficulties in different ways. In one episode of the TV show Gilmore Girls, the main characters, Lorelei stands at a crossroad in life. She needs clarity and plans for a long hike inspired from the book Wild. Even though she didn’t end up doing the hike she still got time in nature which was transformative for her. She got insights on how to continue her life and where to go from where she was at the moment. Even though this was a TV show I still thought this was such a beautiful story. Many of us should turn to nature when things are difficult and we need some space.

Reframing The Word Nature To Nature Is Our Church

By reframing the word nature to nature is equals holy place, it helps to show the impact and importance. This reminder encourages us to get out in nature more and focus on taking the time. Nature brings us so much happiness and calm. Small actions, for example, notice to the blue sky or finding a favorite tree to sit under helps to bring that calm. Which small things could you do to connect with nature, starting from today?

 

Trying Out The 72-Hour Visa-Free Transit In China

Long Time Since Our Last Visit

It had been two years since I and Chris visited China last time. We needed some space after traveling mostly in China and spend some time in between discovering other countries. Each time I have entered China I have had different emotions and experiences around it. For example, first time was the romance, second time was more of the reality check  and the third time I started to see the bad sides. After that I felt I needed a break and discover other countries for a while.

Problems Faced When Entering China

Now, two years later we thought it was perfect to try the short 72-Hours Transit Visa during our travels in Asia. At first there was  a bit problem to enter the country. Since we had forgotten to print out our next flight we had no prof of transit flight. And we didn’t have it online and couldn’t get any wifi. Anyhow, we were able to solve it with some help. If we hadn’t forgotten to print the ticket it would have worked very smoothly.

Space Helped Us See What We Missed In China

When coming back, Iunderstood how much I had missed some sides of China. There are so many things I like: my friends, the awesome food, and all the contrasts. We ate lots of dinners, stayed with our friends and their family. It was warm feelings coming back seeing all again. During our time we also discovered old areas  that was going to be demolished and could document it. Like always in China we also made sure to get lot´s of time in the parks. The parks are really bursting with life. There are flying kites, people dancing, singing, playing an instrument, painting, drinking tea, playing games and lots more. The garden is like the living room!
I can totally Imagine stop over with the 72 hour visa again. To be be honest, now I really long for a longer period again. It would be amazing to spend some more time in the province Yunnan and a month of two in Shanghai hanging out with friends.

If You In Travel Asia, Don’t Miss China

For us this visa-free stay was perfect and I can Imagine that it will give lots of fantastic experiences for other travelers too.  China has so much to offer, it is worth traveling just for the food itself. There are plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans too. If doing things right, the 72 Hours Transit Visa is really smooth.
Why not make a visit to China on your next trip to Asia?

 

Hokkien New Years Celebration

So far we celebrated Chinese New Year every year since we become a couple. We celebrated in China, Kazakhstan, Sweden and now also in Malaysia.

Our celebration here, especially in Georgetown, has been to learn lots more about the Hokkien celebration and traditions. Most Hokkien people come from Fujian, Taiwan and there are also many here in Malaysia especially in Georgetown. We been lucky and been here during the start of Hokkien New Years and also meet quite a many Hokkien to talk about their tradition, culture and celebrations. Yesterday was the last day of the celebration of the New Year, also a day for many fireworks, performance and also the day when single women though oranges with the wishes for future love:).

Here are some pics we took during Hokkien New Years celebration in Georgetown

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“Little India” around the world

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Most people know that there exist many different Chinatowns around the world, for example in USA, Australia, Singapore and the list can go on.
Something that surprised me and Chris was there is also something similar called
”Little India”.
We choose to travel to both Singapore and Malaysia just because it is very diverse and multicultural countries. Even since I meet Chris I have wanted to introduce him to Indian culture and the aspects I like about the country. Now, I don’t have too, little India speaks for itself with Indian music streaming out of the speakers, Indian vegetarian food around almost each corner and the colorful clothes, dresses, flowers and temples that surround the areas. It really feels like being in India for a short period of time and this is the perfect introduction to the country.
Until now, we have been to three different Little India, in Singapore, KL, and Georgetown, Malaysia. I thought it would be interesting to share some photos and thoughts of these experiences.
Singapore

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This little India is very picturesque-.. and beautiful! The buildings have in general a good condition, are well preserved, and painted in strong and colorful colors. There are many Indian shops, cafes, restaurants. It is very easy to just sit down and order an Indian tea. The area is quite big and when walking around there, we mainly saw Indian people. We got the impression that it’s more common that Chinese people hang out in China town and Indian in Little India and so on. Still, a lovely place and bust of life and colors!

 

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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Our conclusion and impression for KL itself were that it felt a bit hard to get an overview of
the city and that is also true for little India. It was not a very defined area like in Singapore and the buildings were not that colorful or well kept but it definitely had its charm.
We found an Indian cinema and bought tickets and saw a movie called… about Indian female kickboxers. It was an interesting experience, we felt the honor is a bit different but like in other Indian movies it was a lot of drama, feelings, dancing and a happy ending.
In KL little India, we also had the amazing Indian food we wrote about before and met some really nice people.
Georgetown, Malaysia

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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.

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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.

 

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 created a list with social messenger apps to use in different countries. 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.
To learn more about the world and itś countries we started to watch short videos from each country.

 

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?


 

 

 

Can the impossible become possible?

We are soon leaving Portugal for our 10 days trip to Morocco and our first time in Africa. It feels very exciting and we are both really looking forward to this. We hope to get to know some people in Morocco, visit the Sahara dessert and do a short interrailing from Marrakech to Fez.

Since we are getting closer to 2016, we are thinking more about next year. I think it’s very hard for us to choose one path or another. We want both and be double, Tiny house people and Digital Nomads people who explore the world.

In some ways, tiny house is a perfect match for a minimalist lifestyle. We value experiences and a mindful way of living where we include things that make us happy. We want to live simple and travel in a simple way too. No fancy stuff but choosing things that will give us lovely memories, stories and an interesting life.

Travels are also very minimalistic, we almost don’t bring anything and living in another place for a longer time is another kind of everyday life with lots of new perspectives and lessons. We learn more what we need and what we appreciate in life.

In another way it feels like we are crazy in having this thought, how could we build a house, put effort and money and then be away traveling for many months years, living in other places when we have a lovely home. Still we really love to learn, explore and grow as persons and we feel that we force us to do so during travels. Should we then instead focus all our effort only on travels and don’t make life so complicated?

We don’t have any answer yet but lots of questions and thoughts.

Photo Credits Amber Avalona

Our Thoughts On Being Semi-Nomads

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We decided to be transparent and write about different aspects and period in our life with thoughts, struggles and happy moments  that we have along the way. Right now our we discuss a lot what it means to be a nomad for us and how to adjust it to our dreams and the lifestyle we want to create.

Right now it’s so many blogs out there that share what it means to be a Digital Nomad and how nomads live, what values people share and so on. The information and posts contain everything from what’s a good amount of time to spend in each destination, how much stuff to own and for how long time people have been on the road without any “fixed” home.

I think people are “selling in” this lifestyle and how it should be and what values to have. The real value is for everyone  is to try it out by themselves to find what works for them and creating own values.

For us,  we feel divided between freedom of traveling and having a place to where we can be closer to nature, start more projects and reach out to friends and family. It would be totally possible to rent a place for this periods and home base can of course be anywhere in the world however it would be very nice to have an own home and a place we don’t need to rent and is always there waiting for us when we want to come back. This feels like a path to a simplified lifestyle, we want to enjoy life more and on our terms.  Combining a tiny house on wheels that we design and build with simplicity and lots of travels feel like something we would enjoy.

We have started to think more seriously on this as a step towards being more semi-nomads. It’s still very scary thought and it feels like a big commitment regarding time and money.

One positive side on this is that tiny house starts to get more popular in Sweden and around Gothenburg right and there are plans of creating a group of people who will start to build.

It’s very hard for us to take any decision about this and we have had this thought for about two years now. Some days we feel it’s better to just keep going and travel and other times it feels like it would be nice to have a place to spend half a year and to travel the other part of the year.

We see what happens, but we plan to keep writing ours though during this process here. If there are anyone else are having the similar thoughts we would be happy if you reach out to us. :)

Picture from from Pixabay.

Connect With Nature

Quote

bench-560435_1920 pixabay

“Parks are like outdoor living rooms, it is placed to relax, hang out with friends, gain energy and increase general well-being. ”
-Elin & Chris

When choosing a permanent place to live most people think a lot about the neighborhood and if there are any area and with parks nearby. Unforntantly this is nothing we calculated when we choose our short term stay.

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