Marina Koyen grew up in Kaliningrad, Russia. She fell in love with Door County after spending the summer there in 2004, and moved to the US a few years later. She now lives in Madison, Wisconsin where she teaches yoga and leads workshops and retreats.
What’s the best gift you ever received?
A trip to Mexico, which was an introduction to a new culture and a new way of seeing things -- all the beautiful colors and food and the joy of life that radiates from the people. The opportunity to see things in a different way is the best gift.
What’s the best gift you ever gave?
Once I took a friend on a weekend trip to Door County, where she’d never been. The experience made a big imprint in her life & perception.
What is one thing that you wished more people knew about you?
How vulnerable I am. I wish people knew that about everyone, that we are vulnerable and we have things that we struggle with on a day-to-day basis. If we saw that more we wouldn’t be so hard on each other. We’d be more open and receptive towards one another because we each struggle with something.
When you realize that about another person it instantly softens you toward them and allows you to be more soft towards yourself. You realize you’re not the only one, it’s a human condition and we’re all in this together.
Do you have a bucket list?
I want to explore the world and the challenge is to narrow down to a plan or particular set of goals. I struggle with that because I want to do it all. But traveling in general is something that feeds my soul.
I would like to experience as many perspectives on life as possible and also I love people so it’s my intention to meet as many beautiful souls as possible. Human beings are fascinating.
Do you miss anything about the place you grew up?
Russian culture is very family-oriented and I miss that warmth of family connections. Although I have my family of friends here I really miss my blood family. I miss the food and the ritual of sharing food and conversation. When I visit my family sometimes we spend 3 hours over the breakfast table. That warmth and connection within the family is something I miss a lot.
Like retreats it’s a reminder to slow down, be, and enjoy the people you love instead of always running and doing and trying to solve problems. That time at the table is an invitation to be present with the ones you love.
Are there storytellers in your family?
Yes, and regardless of how many times the story has been told it’s somehow always fresh.
I have always been a worrier and caregiver. When I was 5 we took an overnight train trip and I was afraid my parents would fall asleep and we’d miss our stop. So every hour I’d find someone who worked on the train and wake them up and say “don’t forget to wake us up!” My parents like to tell that story.
Follow Marina on Instagram @marinakoyen.