I have had the pleasure of talking with Yana, a traveler from Ukraine that does amazing things. We were talking about Thailand, about art, about how to find yourself while traveling… And I thought it would be nice to interview her for The Women Team… So here she is, Yana.
1 – So, who are you?
I’m Yana Shvets. I’m 24 years old. Born in Ukraine.
I am currently developing my own brand that’s called Travel Art.As I live in Thailand I am working on different projects, one of the most important ones is my sketchbook. It’s Eco-friendly and Acid Free, and I think it’s the best gift you could get to any artistic soul. Using the Etsy platform to sell it.
I’m also offering “crash-courses” on painting, like this one, teaching people how to use watercolor to improve your skills or even find a new passion.
2 – When did you start traveling? What was the first place you went to?
I was born in a small town in the south of Ukraine and traveling was my biggest dream since I was a child.
So I spent my first real salary on the first real trip abroad. I went to Poland for a weekend and this was where the “travel fever” hit me. Since then I’ve been on a trip to Europe every 3-4 months, always solo and always catching up with locals. The biggest value for me was to live the life of local people so I was doing my best to connect with citizens.
3 – Where are you now? How long have you been there?
Currently I live in Thailand.
It was an unpredictable trip to the country of smiles to escape Ukrainian winter and it turned out to become my home base for already 2 years. I used to live on a hippie island in the south of Thailand. It was an authentic experience because I was “adopted” by Thai family of 8 people just because they wanted to help me out as I didn’t have a place to stay at that time and no idea how to survive in Asia. I’ve got lots of adventures related to Thai lifestyle, yoga and meditation, realization of my true passion etc, before I finally moved to Chiang Mai city. It’s a city in the north of Thailand where I started to take an action towards my dreams and where I currently live and build business.
4 – Other than the Etsy store and the online courses- what do you do for a living?
I am passionate about art and no matter what type of job I used to do before, art always had been something special for me. So I decided to unite 2 most enjoyable things for me, art and traveling, and build a business around it.
This is how TravelArt brand appeared (follow Yana on Instagram)
I started from creating my first online course where I teach how to paint a cute dog in watercolor step by step After that I launched a little store with my artworks for sale.
I also host personal workshops in Chiang Mai city where I teach people watercolor techniques and share my art experience… You can see a little bit of the vibe in my workshops in my Facebook.
And finally I decided to create a sketchbook that would be perfect for an artist, professional or beginner. So I painted a cover myself, found people who create handmade mulberry paper and designed inner pages. Now I have a very special personal sketchbook made by my design, eco-friendly and acid-free. It has a bonus inside: a page for coloring. I also created a special package for it so his sketchbook can be a perfect present for someone you care about: it’s wrapped in a mulberry tissue with a lovely tag .
5 – When did you start creating art?
I started painting at the age of 7. I remember the day when my father brought me a book about art. Instead of following each step I just made a copy of each drawing I saw there… I tried different media during my artistic path but now I stick to watercolor. It gives a lot of freedom to experiment and enjoy “happy accidents” that happen because of the unpredictable water flow. Watercolor brings me to a meditative state and helps to focus.
6 – The most interesting question, for me at least, is- How do you meet new people when traveling?
I am very open and can easily start a conversation right on the street with a random person. That rarely happens in Ukraine where I’m coming from but it’s so easy when you’re traveling and when you are surrounded by likeminded travelers.
Also Chiang Mai city is special in its own way: there are so many activities, events and groups. You always can find people who share the same values, ideas and interests, just leave your apartment 😉
7 – What is your advise for people who are looking to start the life of a traveler?
My advice would be “don’t afraid to get out of your comfort zone”. The most beautiful and life-changing things start to happen when you leave your own stereotypes and rules behind and just take an action toward your craziest dream.
You ALWAYS will make it happen (travel, become an expat, whatever) if you really want changes in your life. It’s just people mostly focus on the failure instead of the possibilities. Traveling is addictive; just make the very first little step…
Thanks Yana, it’s been a pleasure… I will be coming by to Thailand soon- so hope to see you there!