Winter is a tough time for traveling: delayed flights due to blizzards and traipsing through knee-deep slush is not much fun. Then there are language barriers, currency conversion, and jetlag to take into account—the not-so glamorous parts of traveling abroad.
The smell of incense fills the room as global music sparks the imagination.
Still, it doesn’t change the stir-crazy sensation that comes over us sometimes as we sit inside waiting while the streets are plowed of the season’s latest spate of snow.
Wanderlust is healthy, and thankfully, there’s a way to feel the excitement of culture and exploration without paying for a plane ticket or braving the bitter cold.
When winter’s got you stuck inside and travel seems impossible, visit your local Ten Thousand Villages store to explore finds from distant lands. Wandering among the shelves feels like a trip to an exotic bazaar.
The smell of incense fills the room as global music sparks the imagination. And as you touch the scarf hanging on the wall, admiring the texture and expert loom-work, you are suddenly transported to the home of the woman who wove it by hand as her children play quietly by her feet. Are you eager to see more? Follow me.
Our next stop is Uganda, where women gather raffia, sisal, or banana fibers to be woven into tidy baskets, spiraling with natural colors and patterns that accentuate the natural textures of the grasses and fibers used.
Blue and white ceramic pieces from Vietnam are soothing to the eye and smooth to the touch. It’s not hard to imagine the artisan’s hands expertly sculpting the natural white riverbed clay as it spins on a wheel—a tradition passed down through thousands of years.
In the mountain villages of Peru, silver jewelry is linked and hammered by hand. Incorporating semi-precious stones or mother-of-pearl for that perfect finishing touch, these jewelry pieces have a quality that you won’t find at your average jewelry store. As you gaze into the shimmery white shell of an abalone sea snail, it’s not hard to feel almost hypnotized, as if you’re teleported to those hills of the Andes where the alpacas graze.
Every journey must eventually come to an end. But the good part is that you can take a little piece of it home with you. When you surround yourself with any of these handmade items, stitched, sanded, or wrought with love, a little piece of that place comes along with it.