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Issue 05
 
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Traveling, Loving, Sharing...

Meet Katerina Stavreva and Yinon Horwitz: Travel influencers committed to sharing the transparencies of roaming as a couple, while building a successful relationship, and business. (Couple goals!) 

Their story begins in line at a NYC Sweetgreen— a line Yinon usually avoids by ordering online, but that day, by chance, he didn’t. After chatting up Katerina about the length of the line, the two hit it off and he realized he should have asked for her number, so he waited outside and took the leap. The rest is truly history, with their relationship taking them on an international journey, from Italy, to Israel and back to their home in Brooklyn. 

What Katerina originally began as a blog and platform to share her travels slowly began growing once she posted with Yinon. So, instead of shying away from couple photos, she switched her account to reflect how they were building their relationship, and how they traveled as a couple. 
 

“We realized that building a great relationship is a skill just like anything else, and it can be learned and practiced. When you travel together you get to know each other so much better, you spend so much time together and encounter so many challenges that teach you so much about yourself and about each other in such a short period of time. And there’s so much we’ve learned that we just wanted to share it with our followers on a more personal level, rather than just talking about how beautiful a place is or where we found the best sunsets.” — Katerina Stavreva 

The authenticity and tangibility of genuine love allowed for organic growth as Katerina found herself sharing posts that explain nuances about their connection, answering DMs on relationship queries and her stance on love and travel in general. 

With captions that encapsulate the highs and lows of relationships, Katerina addresses complete joy, vulnerability, profound emotions and insecurity; completely relatable feelings for any young couple to navigate in a world of perfect Instagram posts. 


She writes, “Always wondered why people say being in a relationship means getting “tied down” or “settled down”… why is the word “down in both of these?! With the right person, you feel more “up” than ever. More creative, more free, more ready to take on the world. Our relationship didn’t put borders around us, it gave us the safe space to be fully ourselves and there’s nothing more liberating than that.”
 

I sat down with the couple in SoHo a few months ago, immediately feeling their joy and love off-the-screen and I knew I had to share their story.

I hope you find as much genuine joy and love in them as I did. Katerina, and Yinon, thank you for shining such a radiant, honest light on what it’s like to date today, and providing so much hope and inspiration to not just live as world citizens but as complete optimists in love <3 

Katerina, you were blogging prior to meeting Yinon; tell me a little about this. What was your focus?

K - I was still focusing on travel before I met Yinon but I was struggling to find my purpose. I loved traveling to warm places, hopping from one tropical beach to another, but I didn’t really have a larger message for my audience yet. Once I met Yinon that changed really fast.

 

Once you met (which is an incredible story in itself and we will get there). How did you transition to a "couples" page? How did your audience respond to it?

K - Initially we continued taking the same type of pictures I’d always done. But after things got a little more serious, it naturally made sense to include Yinon in my photos as he was becoming such a big part of my life. We started to get so many positive reactions from people who heard our story of how we met, how we are building our relationship, how we are not afraid to make big decisions. So we both realized our relationship is not just a bonus to our travel pictures, it is actually something we really want to share with the world and help more people believe in finding something similar.

 

Okay, let's talk about how you met, because I think it's relevant to travel, and being open to new possibilities. You met in line at Sweetgreen, Yinon, how did you secure a first date from that?!

Y - To be honest, I barely got her number. After we talked for a little bit at Sweetgreen, I told her, “It was nice meeting you” and left. It was only when I went outside that I realized I was probably an idiot for leaving so fast. So I stopped and waited outside with a big smile on my face and then walked her back to her office. I was so nervous I barely asked for her number. I texted her a few times but she didn’t seem too into it at first. But I didn’t give up and eventually she agreed to meet me for a drink.

You are both from Eastern Europe (Katerina from Bulgaria and Yinon from Israel). What are the chances you'd move away from home and meet in New York?

Y - Sometimes we’re convinced it’s insane but sometimes we think it really makes a lot of sense. We both came from really small towns and dreamed really big, we share very similar family values, we both always loved traveling and throwing ourselves in unfamiliar environments. So maybe meeting each other took a bit of luck but the fact that we hit it off so fast is not surprising.

 

Once you officially began dating, when did it become clear you both enjoyed travel? Yinon, what did you think of the platform Katerina had built?

Y - We talked about traveling even before we went on our first date. It was just inevitable that it came up so fast. Her platform, it was actually a little scary for me at first. As soon as I realized how many followers she had I got a little intimidated. But I also loved the fact that she was someone with a voice, and someone who expresses her creativity and really goes after what she wants.

K - I want to add, I actually was also a little worried about what Yinon would think of it, because not every guy is super into social media. I didn’t know if he would think it’s stupid or if he would be the kind of guy who doesn’t really enjoy taking pictures. But he was so supportive about it from the start and really involved in it so I loved that.

What do you find is the most challenging part about this career path?

K - The thing I struggle with the most is having to be constantly “on”. The way social media platforms work is that you basically need to post and engage all the time or you become irrelevant. It’s not like a regular job where you can clock off at 6 p.m. or just enjoy the weekend and not check emails. I do really enjoy doing it so it doesn’t feel like work, but sometimes I wish I could just be off social media for a week.

 

Now that you travel together, tell me about the process of the moments you capture? Who is photographing?

K&Y - We love traveling with friends or family because they are usually able to capture natural moments the best, and they see us through the lens of love so that comes through in the photos. We do still take a lot of photos with a tripod too, when we travel just the two of us. But even in those cases we are not spending too much time scouting locations or looking for the most picture-perfect spot. We kind of just try to enjoy ourselves and capture whatever looks pretty.

Katerina, you write the captions; tell me about these.

K - Most people know that if you work hard you can be successful, or be really good at sports. But not a lot of people talk about relationships in those terms too. There’s so much we’ve learned that we just wanted to share it with our followers on a more personal level, rather than just talking about how beautiful a place is or where we found the best sunsets.

 

What are some of your favorite destinations? Maybe most surprising destinations?

K - We just went to Israel a couple of months ago and I loved it so much more than I expected! The Dead Sea was probably the biggest surprise for me because it’s such a unique experience. My favorite places in the world are the Philippines, Greece, Italy, Japan. 

What's on your radar at the moment? Where next?

Y - We are planning a trip to Hawaii, which we are both so excited about! This is our first time there, and it has been a dream for a while now. Australia is high on our list too and we don’t know whether to do it before or after our wedding next year. We also really want to go all over Africa - Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt...

 

Who in travel inspires you?

K&Y - Two accounts we’ve been stalking a lot lately are @chelseakauai and @earthyandy. They both really put their hearts into it, and it really shows.  

 

Do you have any advice for those who find you as inspiration? Or for anyone looking to jump into travel blogging?  

K&Y - Something a lot of people don’t realize is that blogging and social media require A LOT of work. It takes time to get somewhere with it; it’s very rarely an overnight success. But if it’s truly your passion and you’re willing to put in the work, it can be an extremely rewarding career.
Our advice is not to put too much thinking into amassing followers or going viral, but to focus on figuring out what value you are providing to people. Why should they come back to your page regularly and what are they leaving with? Once you figure that out and find a way to express it in a genuine way, you know everything you need to know about blogging.

Don't miss a beat in their travels or relationship by following @katerinastavreva on Instagram. 

AND, don't forget to enter to win a full-service complimentary travel planning package with The Luxury Travelist:


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Xo,
J
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