I love to travel. It doesn’t matter, if it’s the first country or the 20th I visit, I am always eagerly waiting for the answers for dozens of different questions before I finally leave the airport lounge. How hot or cold is there? How does the air smell? Are people friendly? Will I like the food? How does the public transport work? Do I need to bring a mosquito net? And will I get help if I happen to be sick or lost?
Besides writing, beadwork is the main form of expressing my feelings and thoughts, and my trips often result in a piece of jewellery. That’s how Borneo, Serendib and The Traveller Collection were born.
Recetly I returned from Nicaragua after a one month journey through colonial cities, rainforests, coffee plantations and turquoise blue waters. It was my first time travelling to America. I had a chance to test my Spanish language skills, drink rum from a coconut, explore a colourful country and meet its positively wired, accommodating people, who lived through many tragic, sad years over the past centuries.
While I love to visit bead shops in foreign countries, most of the time I bring home treasures which were originally not intended for jewellery making. Rocks from the mountains, shells from the sea and driftwood from a waterfall have already been incorporated in pieces of jewellery.
I wonder, which memory and which treasure I brought home from Nicaragua will be the first to turn into a beaded jewel.
Will it be the vibrant city of Granada with its freshly painted yellow, green, blue and pink buildings, and the rare golden coloured 25 centavos I collected from the merchants of the city? Granada was the first place I visited after I arrived. It was there that I slowly started to realise how exaggerating the fearful tone of the guide book is. There aren’t scorpions in all the shady corners of the room, and very few tarantulas are invading my shoes during the night. While staying reasonably alert, it’s ok to go out for a drink or two in the night, and when in need, my very basic Spanish can go a long way with the welcoming people of Nicaragua.
I’m wondering, what will become of the treasures I found in the sand while discovering the remote, tropical island of Little Corn. They bring back memories about the days spent diving and the nights spent drinking rum and talking about friendship, love and the big, beautiful world around us. The sharks, rays, octopus and turtles I’ve seen underwater… The sun, which was already burning my cheeks while I was looking for freshly baked coconut bread in the village in the morning, and the slight chill I felt while we were speeding in the motor boat for a night dive, for the first time in my life.
I am looking forward so much to work with the lava rocks I collected when climbing atop of some of the many volcanoes of the country! Several of them sleeping for centuries, some of them with a living fire and molten lava inside. I will always remember the hot, black ash and the sulphurous smell of Cerro Negro. The muddy slopes of Maderas and the treat after the exhausting climb: the view of its big sister Concepción.
On our hikes to the rainforest we were lucky enough to meet some of its inhabitants. The jaguar left behind only a footstep, but we saw colourful poison dart frogs, iguanas, a sloth, and monkeys playing high above us on the branches. When we stopped to dip into a gentle river in the forest, I stayed behind for a bit on the bank to collect some rocks. I already have ideas for all of them!
Do you also like to collect ‘memories’ on your travels to use them in your jewellery?