Featured post: The inspiring Yana from Travel Art, Chiangmai



About one and a half years ago, I was backpacking in South East Asia. Koh Lanta was one stop I made but luckily I chose that small non-touristy island to stay for few days because I got a chance to meet a passionate girl who was always behind the bar serving me some cocktails. Yana is an Ukrainian girl who left her hometown to be in Thailand to volunteer for 3 months but turned out 7 months staying on that beautiful island to find the definition of happiness. During the time I spent on Koh Lanta, I gotta get to know Yana and her passion for art. I still remember how impressed I got after seeing her art works. After one and a half years, I feel happy to have followed her journey and her works all this time.

So, what is the story of Yana Shvets?


In Ukraine, Yana always thought that having a job and working hard to earn good money would satisfy her. Hence, she worked in an PR company and she was proud of what she had done. However, after awhile, she realised that it did not fulfil her. Yana asked herself – “What is happiness? What is like to be fulfilled?”

After spending months to think about what makes her happy, after sipping several cups of coffee each night and letting her mind lost in thoughts, she decided to quit her job and her flat, and took an internship for 3 months in Greece. In 2014, she wanted to go somewhere warm and easy to enter with the  Ukrainian passport so there she flew to Thailand and got a volunteer job. After that, she luckily got adopted by a Thai family in Koh Lanta to work for them for awhile. During this time, she spared her time to pain more and sold her amazing works to several people. She felt happy. Those 7 months had fulfilled her and brought her back to life. They got her realised how happy she had been doing things that made her happy.

Late 2014, she decided to move to Chiangmai to take part in a volunteer project. She met up a group of digital nomads and it brought her thoughts of being one of them.
“Is it possible to earn money doing what you are passionate about?” – that’s the one question in Yana’s head.

art and coffee event_free

And then, that’s how TravelArt was found.

Yana’s goal is to inspire people in wherever she stop by to paint, inspire people to take a risk and do what they really love doing but not just follow the social standards. Yana’s started several workshops based in Chiangmai, Thailand to help people learn about watercolour painting and inspire them to create art. Talking with Yana and listening to her sharing how happy she was seeing her students grow and their works getting better, I was inspired. Not much of an artist or painter but the power of her voice passionately shared with me gave me a push. She travels, she works and she inspires. Let Yana inspire you as well!

“Art will be always with me no matter what I do or where I go”
-Yana Shvets

Follow Yana and her works on Facebook, ArtFinder and don’t miss out her workshops in Chiangmai.

Thailand: To Mae Tang

One thing I enjoy so much about travelling alone is meeting cool random people. It has given me the chance to see so many different people from different countries with different backgrounds. Checked in a guesthouse in the old town of Chiang Mai, I randomly met a guy hosting Couchsurfing. He is a friendly gay guy called Porsche (that’s how he calls himself). After a few line conversations, he offered a trip to Mae Tang. ‘Why not?’ – I thought. DSC_1203 We started a trip with some snacks in the market close by our guesthouse. Somehow I always ended up picking the wrong food. We started driving around noon. Coming with us was another Dutch guy staying in the same accommodation. We hit the road with full of excitement- music was on, we sang along. It felt superb being on the road to explore new places, and this time, I did not know where we were heading. First stop was the Tiger Kingdom. Oh well, let’s touch some big cats! The route we drove was a beautiful road. Two tree rows were standing parallel along the road. Flowers were falling slowly from the trees. The whole road was clear for us to drive real fast. I was feeling absolutely merry with what were surrounding me. There were banana leaves, palm trees, dogs and chickens running around on the street, the sun shining gave the road a touch of glitters. How cheerful was that? The most important thing must be a good travel companion. Porsche was such a funny and warm-hearted guy. Sam didn’t talk much though because of the hangover the night before 🙂 DSC05324

DSC_1206 Our last stop was a slide waterfall. It is located in Kangkued village, Maetang district. I wouldn’t call it a waterfall because the water in fact doesn’t really fall. The dare was to slide off that ‘waterfall’. It was definitely not something I would like to do. Besides my fear for water, that looked kinda scary. The slide is about 4m high and it leads to a little water hole that is about 2.5m deep. To some people, that was not a problem at all. However, it terrified me quite much. Knowing nothing what you could expect after the landing scared me. I was standing on the top of the slide and looking down. The cold water flashed to my lower body. It took me at least 5 minutes to calm myself down. With all the cheerings from Porsche and Sam, well, I decided to sit down slowly and get myself together. Bloop! It was not even 2 seconds and I hit the pond. I was freaked a bit because I couldn’t reach something to stand on but I managed to get off the water. I gotta say, it was really cool. Scary but cool. I realised I just managed to face my fear and got over it. I wouldn’t dare to do it again but I know I can get over the fear. Anyone can. DSC_1257


DSC_1267 We headed back to Chiangmai with a good feeling. The sun was setting. And we enjoyed the music that was played along the road once again.

Thailand: Two sides of Bangkok

It was a right decision to have my weekend in Bangkok. Being here at its craziest time was kinda cool. I stayed in a French guesthouse located in a small alley between 2 busy roads – Rabuttrim and Khao San but I still got my quiet nights.


Khao San Rd is known as the street of crazy night parties. I hadn’t had anything in my mind what to expect. Then, I was there. I was lost in a crowd of people at 11pm on a Friday night. The whole street was packed of people. Music was on. Some bars seemed like having a competition of who has better and louder music. Along the street does not only have bars and beers but also many food carts. Pad Thai, Coconut, and ‘insane’ insects. Just being here that I know why people say Bangkok is crazy. I was surprised by some businesses that Bangkok offers. Maybe a bit overwhelmed of what was actually moving around me. At one moment, people were all on the street dancing. Beers in hands, smile was on each face. My eyes were caught up at some lady guys dancing and trying to get a ‘customer’. Then the clock ticked midnight, police came from all directions and tried to shut all the bars down. Oh well, it was some kind of an act, I supposed. The moment the police were away from the spot, the music was on, people danced, again. The night life on Khao San just went on just until 2am. Bars were closing. However, the party seemed not over yet. A Sunday night, I hit a club for a pre-fullmoon party with N. The night of a Sunday night seemed not much a difference from other nights of Khao San. The party was over at 2.  For us, it was not nearly an end. In fact, the business of Bangkok’s night life is just started. N and I asked around for an after party and in fact, we got into a tuktuk for just 40BHT to get there. Quite a price huh? It was a 20 minute ride around Bangkok to get to that place. We were waited somehow. The amount of people any Tuktuk of Taxi bring to the club will be written down on a paper and I suppose they will have a share from that. At that moment, we realised why the trip was so cheap. Anyway…

Besides all the crazy party nights, the noise from the traffic, Bangkok has its quiet side. I spent a day walking along the riverside. Hopped on a boat and went to most attractions. Strolling around for awhile in the extreme heat of Bangkok… After a while, I found myself lost in an area that there was no tourist. ‘Bangkok could actually have a place like this?’ – I questioned myself. I was looking for shadow to hide there for a bit and led to a small temple. It was just a plan to dry my sweat but I stayed a bit longer sitting in the quietness. It seems pretty hard to find a quiet place in Bangkok because of all the traffics. And there I was, still! Most temples that I visited in Bangkok, they are quite touristic. Having a moment being surrounded by no one but the still were rare.  Time passed and time to move on.

I didn’t have a chance to explore more areas of Bangkok. However, I was there few years back so I didn’t really miss anything. But great thing, I got an opportunity to meet up with a friend that I met in Hanoi three and a half years ago.

From here, I was off to Koh Lanta!













Thailand: Hiding out on Koh Lanta

It was a change of plan. I had doubted my trip to Myanmar and thought of where I would be going after Bangkok. Oh, Fullmoon party in Koh Phangan island? Koh Tao? Koh Lipe? Too many options for this beautiful country. At the last minute, I decided to book my flight from Krabi to Chiangmai. Therefore, Koh Lanta was my next destination. It is just a perfect hide-out for me.

At first, I found myself a bit lonely going to a honeymoon island just by myself. I was in the bus with couples hand-in-hand, or family sharing their laughters. However, by the time I reached the shore, I felt totally in peace. Maybe being alone is not too bad? After 20 hour travelling, I got myself a bungalow and headed right away to the beach. I fell asleep without knowing it, didn’t care about my surroundings if there were couples cuddling or kids running around. I couldn’t feel any better.

Many people have wondered why I am travelling by my own. Besides the fact that I don’t bother why not, I want to give sometime for myself to figure out what I want to do the coming time, to learn about myself better and find peace in my heart. And yes, I have found the perfect place to think. The moment I drove myself real fast along the beach with the motorbike I rented, I felt free. I freed myself from the troubles, from all the matters that were left behind in my real world and I letted myself to find my inner peace. I felt every single thing around me – the wind going through my hair and breezing on my skin, the smell of the sea, the delighted sunshine glowing on my whole body… I appreciated so much what I was having at that moment. I got a bit lost while driving. A little reflection – I felt lost myself, not only of the way, but also in my life. Well, life is always like that. You sometimes feel lost but you somehow manage to find your way out. And same to me, I did find my way to get out of the maze.

This place does not have so many tourists and I was so happy about it. I could calmly enjoy the sunset at 18:30 without many people on the beach. And sure was, it was a beautiful sunset at 18:30. The sun became a giant egg yolk and blended in the dark blue sky. The water became golden with a spark of glitters. At that moment, I wished I could just blend myself in, just like that.


Then the night reached to this island. I loved the fact that I stayed in a bungalow that was 20 steps away from the beach. I took a stroll spontaneously on the beach at one night. Some restaurants were still open and had music on. The dimmed candle lights could be seen from a distance. Oh, it could be very romantic if I was with someone. Crickets chirped. Waves pounded the shore. I looked up and there were stars, sparkling over the dark sky. The full moon light illuminated equivocally behind the trees. That moment is so hard that impossible to find in the city. I was soaked up in the dark for a while. The only thing I hated was the mosquitos. But I wouldn’t do a crazy thing if I was so bothered by them. I ran to the water. Having my legs in the cold water felt just amazing. I could have actually dipped my whole body in unless I was not having my phone in my purse. And just like that, another day on this beautiful island passed by.

Waking up in the beachy morning  sun was absolutely my favourtie thing there. Having been travelling for few weeks, I never got a real good sleep as I got here. The first thing I heard in the morning were the bird singing and the wind blowing… There, I was the laziest person on earth. But why not? I was happy. I did nothing further than feeling the nature and enjoying myself. The time on Koh Lanta I learned to appreciate my time being alone. Somehow, it just got into me – my inner self. I might have not had all my answers but I have found the most important thing that I wanted for this trip – peace in my heart.