TARNOVORUNS Initiative started at the end of 2014 year in Veliko Tarnovo. The project is based on Kalin Vassilev - Carnegie Mellon University (Carnegie Mellon University) and a postdoctoral fellow at Cambridge University, a tireless enthusiast and dreamer. We talk about the realization of a dream and how to maintain the health of mind and body openly and without surroundings.

In the beginning, tell us a little about yourself ... Who, in fact, is Kalin Vassilev?

I was born and raised in Veliko Tarnovo. I was interested in languages, friendships, cultures, sciences like biology, chemistry, physics, computers. And because I wanted to develop my personal qualities on a larger scale, after graduating from the High School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics here, I continued my education abroad. Contrary to today's typical stories, I did not leave to escape. I felt that there was a whole world out there that could give me a lot to become a meaningful person. A citizen of the world…

From 2002 to 2006, I pursued a Bachelor's degree in Biology and Chemistry at Gettysburg College, USA. I was very fortunate that in the year I was admitted to this university, a modern new science center opened its doors. New labs, new equipment, interesting experiments, "strong" professors. In graduation, I was also honored with a university award for my entire contribution to the department of Biology. I was offered a doctoral position at one of the Top US Universities, namely Carnegie Mellon University. There, I had the privilege of participating in the development of new genetic biosensor technologies. These were also the years of personal strongest personal development. Somewhere in the middle of my PhD, the feeling and need to stay attached to Bulgaria took precedence.

From 2012 to the beginning of 2014, I spent my postdoctoral specialization in Cambridge, England. I researched the applicability of the biosensors I created in the neural cells of the brain and how to visualize the contacts between those cells in real time.

Sounds really exciting! What about the TURNOVER cause? When was the idea born and how did you get it right?

At the beginning of 2014 I returned home to Bulgaria, and after about 6 months, I formed the informal civic group TARNOVRUNS, which grew into an official non-governmental organization. It's an innovative organizational model, brand, or just a place - a community. It donates people with health through free, educational, practical and motivational events: outdoor training, running, yoga, mountain hiking, cycling, seminars, counseling, rounds, information campaigns, camps and more. For the past two and a half years from absolute zero we have reached tens of thousands of citizens from the Veliko Turnovo region and all over Bulgaria. And we have over 13 live 000 visits from citizens. We ran over 350 free events.

When one puts these most ordinary numerical facts in context, then the answer to the question: "How does it work?" Becomes clear and the context is: no finances, no contacts, no office, no projects, no awards, no awards and no salaries. The answer begins with stoic steadfastness, irreproachability, stubborn persistence. The details are very, of course. A rich set of technological skills, in-depth knowledge of several sciences, open-mindedness and flexibility, a sense of social environment. The mission has not been completed. It is carried out continuously.

You have studied and lived in the United States for a long time. Why did he not realize his dream there but return to Bulgaria?

It's really hard for most people to think about and understand my choices. With such a summary, the possibility of high-tech development with attractive financial capabilities is indisputable. But with the passing of the years, I firmly began to feel the need to bring back knowledge, experience and faith in Bulgaria. Think global, act local! My home is also my home. My decision was to give my energy and motivation to my hometown. There is a pressing need for people like me here. I didn't have many friends, my family was missing a lot, and the clichéd phrase that "Bulgaria is a paradise!" Is not so far from the truth.

I want to have a natural life tied to good real food, clean air, crystal water, family. And if I could accomplish this while using my knowledge and my attempt to “stir” the ossified Bulgarian society, it would make me happy. Over the years, I began to make decisions based on simple words: happiness, love, peace, friendship. Complex phrases such as "high financial capacity" I decided to leave in the background. There are thousands of Kalinovans in America, with knowledge and experience many times richer than mine. People like me are needed here.

Is it true that Bulgarians are one of the sickest and obese nations in Europe, according to recent studies? And if so, what do you think this fact is?

Oh yeah! The myth of the Rhodope grandmother centenary is not true for a long time. These times have passed and our nation is deeply mired in its health problems. To toss in a few statistics that I try to share with everyone: We are number one in heart disease in Europe and over 65% of our people over 60 age is leaving for this very reason. With 78%, we are the most inactive nation in Europe, our children and youth are at the forefront of weight gain, and we are leaders in smoking. All of these results are common diseases. And if it is an illness - a state of living, then we reach the most important factor - personal choice! Decisions are made by each person, every day. This is not about finances, governments, lack of opportunities. This is an ossified, apathetic and demotivated society. Yes, many secondary and indirect causes and factors originate from this basis. But it is much better to treat the cause. Examples are all around us. Here, a dozen outdoor fitness centers have already been built in Veliko Turnovo in the neighborhoods. But they are empty and destroyed by humans. If both 100 and 200 platforms are made, the result will be the same. There are many such examples of apathetic, lazy and short-sighted attitude in our people.

Many people will say that a healthy lifestyle requires a lot of time and money…

Even if we accept this as true… Don't they require a lot of valuable things in life, time and money? Aren't health and the only body we have the most important things in our lives? Shouldn't we spend enough time on them? Shouldn't we spend more on important things and less on nonsense?

In the end, both statements are not plausible. First, a healthy normal, environmentally friendly life is many times cheaper than expensive junk. And to put it most simply, as proper food and movement, these two aspects can be cheap enough. Proper nutrition, such as copious amounts of fruits, vegetables and stews, can be several times cheaper than packaged junk and expensive animal disease products. And the traffic? That for the first time I hear it costs some money to move around freely and train wherever you want in the city and the region.

And as for the time requirement, I would not consider it to be something more than any other activity. Yes, it takes more time than doing nothing. But in the long run, everything else will come out saltier with interest: time spent in sickness, lost years of life, money spent. When a person has a plan, a schedule and save all that wasted time, he would have enough. And here it is not a professional athlete with two training sessions every day. The details and strategies are many. If there's a will, there's a way.

Let's set an example with you… How is Kalin Vassilev doing one day?

I am not the typical example that many people could follow. My daily life is controlled by myself, because that's how I wanted to build my life. Of course, not many people wanted it that way. Also, I train more than is necessary for most people. I start with about a liter of freshly brewed herbs. Now summer I turn it into iced tea with about 30 lumps of ice. A spoonful of honey is my habit. After 40 minutes, I have breakfast over the season. Summer full of fruits, nectars, fresh fruits. Sometimes muesli, stews, healthy sandwiches. I train one or two times a day. Sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening. It depends on the season. And from 10 hours in the morning until very late in the evening, I work on my mission. All my tasks are mixed with moving a non-stop wheel around the city. I jump from task to task. I bring my laptop with me and sit and work in any place in Veliko Tarnovo. And my day-to-day goes on with lots of vegetables, stews, more fruit snacks. Depending on the day, I also conduct all social events of the organization. Dynamics are high, I manage to eat in 95% of cases naturally, strong and fresh. I balance with quick nature walks in and around our city. I try to go to bed on time, but not every time I succeed. When your mission is huge, I'm ready to make the right sacrifices.

And the food? The internet and the media literally flood us with information about how bad everything we eat can be. And this is not about semi-finished products and fast food, but about useful and natural products, such as fruits, vegetables, cereals, which are increasingly genetically modified and filled with nitrates. What is your opinion on the matter and your advice?

I act on the principle of striving for the best choice I can make. I do not go crazy about perfect diligence in everything. Yes, I am familiar with the food cases, but I do what is possible. Let's deal with the main biggest problems, they will produce more important results. Sort of like the "Pareto Principle" (According to the "Pareto Principle" - known as the 80 / 20 rule, by doing 20% of our work, we get 80% of the benefits of doing all the work - auto notes). Let's deal with the basic 2-3 things that will give 80% of the results. Let people eat fruits, vegetables and stews. Let them minimize or completely stop meat. Let's take the path of health and avoid big mistakes.

How am I doing? Well very easy. I know the people from the cooperative market in Veliko Tarnovo and shop from a select few people. I support the local. Yes, my family respects rural traditions and I am favored in this regard. I would like to help a lot more and that will happen. I am also familiar with the various products available in supermarkets. I do not stumble across false pseudo-healthy junk or nonsense. I do not need powders for 30-40 BGN for 100 gr. Or another new nut of 40 BGN / kg. Many of the things I buy, sour, or wash carefully. There are a few small steps, but they help a lot.

What are your food favorites?

It's hard for me to decide! I have no favorite. I eat quite seasonally, compared to what is offered fresh. Well, yes, I have favorite things, but it's not an obligation. For example, I adore mangoes, but it's not here and I only eat it 2-3 times a year. Otherwise, I eat all the fruits in abundance and much. During the green leafy season, I eat whole buckets of greenery. I love tahini slices of honey, I love a lot of liquids, watermelons, peaches, parsley. Everything! For recipes, visit my Facebook account. I have an album with over 300 photos. Our site also has an album with many pictures and recipes. I love everything. No bananas!

It seems like everything is happening to you easily and smoothly ... What is the secret of TURNOVORS success? How do you manage to attract so many participants and so many followers and supporters?

I mentioned this at the beginning of the interview, but I want to add something more important… The attitude! A huge part of the success lies in the attitude and the individual time spent: to the people, to the volunteers, to the donors, to the participants. We do not have the ability to pay fees or buy gifts. But I express my gratitude with collages with everyone's faces. I make them happy with photos, with kind words, with smiles. I did all this to be close to people, not far away. For this, the individual attitude is very important.

The spring in Tarnovo was full of events organized by you. What to expect in the summer?

Events crumble. The training did not stop. We also recently spent 7 days with over 14 Yoga Practices in Nature - Yoga Week. May we have time to organize many more yoga practices outdoors. In the spring we also started organizing bikes and we have 3-4 planned for the summer. We continue with mountain passes to near and far places. We are constantly changing the locations of many of our events so that we can cover different neighborhoods and also enjoy the diversity of our city. We will also probably try to organize some healthy "three days" in the Balkans. Something to do with fresh fruits, vegetables and lots of personal attention training.

In the end, though, our most important goal remains to build a Health Free Information Center. For the last year we have left this idea to mature, and also to accumulate more momentum. We applied for several business competitions with her and refined the concept. And now comes her moment. Of course, no one helps us and we will try to collect the necessary amount of 80 000 BGN through contacts and donations.

And finally! What is your advice for achieving harmony, happiness and health?

My personal formula is running! When alone, in nature, preferably above 2000 meters above sea level and aiming for a peak. And when it is combined with love for your mate, everything is tied up in a towel!

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