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If you’ve ever been to Colombia then you definitely seen the brightly colored Wayuu mochilas (or backpacks) that are sold in many places through Colombia. While they seem like a good touristy purchase (and they are!), let’s explore more behind the Wayuu symbolism and what the weavings actually mean to the Wayuu culture.

The Wayuu live in a remote rural area of Colombia called the Guajira Peninsula which actually extends beyond the borer of Colombia into Venezuela. …


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Our artisan family in Agra, India has a six generation history in creating the highly skilled art form of inlay stonework. This technique of marquetry, or inlaid stones, has a long history in Agra. Of course the most famous being the majestic Taj Mahal, taking inlay design to a whole new level. If you aren’t familiar with the intricate art of inlay, check out some of the gorgeous patterns and detailed inlay stones that form beautiful patterns and mosaics through the walls, ceiling, and even the floors of the Taj. …


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If you’ve had the opportunity to cross an international border lately, you know the process can either be hours long or a relative breeze — it’s luck of the draw. If you think it’s going to be terrible, there are time of day strategies to try to beat the crowds: go late at night or go early when the sun rises. Really in the end, it’s a bureaucratic line and you just have to wait.

Since the Ecuadorian immigration office is open 24/7, our strategy was to go late at night when relatively few people would be there. Um….no. When Nata and I crossed the border from Ecuador into Colombia we knew that we would have a line, but as we walked around the immigration control grounds we couldn’t believe that the line kept going and going and going. I literally burst into laughter as the ridiculously long line just kept getting longer as we weaved our way to the back of the giant fenced off area around the side and turned again and again around the back of the building. So there we were in a hugely long line where you couldn’t even begin to see the front as it twisted all around the outside of the compound — waiting in the cold. Really cold. We were not prepared to stand there for hours so we couldn’t have been more thankful that our artisan partners from Ecuador had given us alpaca wool blankets as a parting gift. …


Knowing my life’s purpose never came easily to me, how is that some people just know they want to be a lawyer from age 11 or a doctor or a fashion designer? I spent hours making mental lists of strengths and weaknesses, trying to figure out just what exactly I was good at. There were a couple of hints, but I wasn’t really sure how to put them all together. I knew that I was a go-to counselor for many of my friends, I was the first person to call in case of crisis — my boyfriend left, my parents are getting divorced, I’m just upset and I don’t know why — yes, those conversations and more came my way, and I actually enjoyed helping my friends through all these situations. I was the decorator for all my friends and even some of my family, choosing paint colors, pictures, and designs for their homes. I knew I was good at that too. I was a traveler, traveling to as many places as I could afford on my meager salary and time off. And I knew what drove me crazy, even though I couldn’t articulate it at the time. Being in one location behind a desk absolutely bored me. I would get antsy, so listless, and distracted — a feeling akin to being stuck in an airplane seat and having to just move about the cabin to stretch my mind just as much as my limbs. I came to realize later in life that I am not a good desk person. …

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