Category: Tea Travels

A Guided Tour of Rural Crafts in India

We were very luck to find Gouthami for our trip to India. Before she started her own travel company – Travel Another India – she spent 20 years working in social development and had made many great connections with craft people all over India. Gouthami introduced us to so many artisans and we had the pleasure of meeting many President Award winning craft people in remote villages. Here, she shares her knowledge on crafts in India with our readers!

From Gouthami:

Craft is the second largest employer in rural India after agriculture. In most villages you will find some form of craft – the potter, the weaver, the basket maker. It is still a way of life rather than an art to be practiced for its own sake.

Photo 1 Woman in Nuapatna

In this picture you see just that. I visited the village of Nuapatna in the state of Odisha in Eastern India with the Tea Collection team.

Nuapatna is famous for its intricate Ikat weaving. In the background you can see the spindles of yarn casually stuck into the pile of sand, while the woman in the picture is wearing a hand-woven ikat sari as she goes about her daily chores.

Spain, Greece, France and beyond!

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world)!

And we’re off to the races! We have been planning our backpacking trip to Europe ever since our bosses gave us the go-ahead. No one would ever believe that we would lug all our possessions in backpacks, but we sure did!

First stop… Chicago for a 9 hour layover. We took the L into the city and explored Millennium Park in our matching uniforms (totally unplanned by the way).  After making our way through 100% humidity, we got back to O’hare with plenty of time to spare before our flight to Madrid. We arrived in Madrid at 6AM local time, but our room wasn’t ready until 1PM. We grabbed a map (and free wifi) and proceeded down Madrid’s most famous thoroughfare, El Gran Via. We stumbled upon a deliciously classic Spanish breakfast (torta, toast, and of course jamón). Our first taste of jamón was salty and delicious and we couldn’t get enough of it.

Tea Travels

When out and about in Madrid, we always ended up at Puerta del Sol. Some way, somehow we always ended up in this massive Spanish square that’s hustling and bustling with people at all hours of the day and night. After getting lost trying to look for the world famous San Gines churros, we finally found them down a deserted alley. It was definitely worth the puddle splashing! This churro isn’t like the typical American amusement park churro with cinnamon sugar coating, but plain fried dough that’s begging for the thick melted chocolate lava. 

Paris for a Month

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world)!

Ready to really experience life somewhere else, Kelly Poper and I set off to Paris for a FULL month! With much planning we were able to find a wonderful apartment in the Montmartre neighborhood with WiFi and all the amenities that we needed to be able to continue to work from home. Only difference, we would be in a foreign country!

It didn’t take long for us to fall in love. This city is AMAZING! We tackled it the way any OCD, Type-A gals would: with a map and a daily list. Each day we would pick a different neighborhood of Paris, hop the Metro, and spend the morning exploring. It was my personal goal to try a Kir (Parisian wine cocktail) in each neighborhood. Goal achieved! We left no stone unturned! When the day was over, we would head back to our cozy Parisian apartment, turn on our computers, and work into the early hours of morning (San Francisco time!). This sounds tiring, but it really was ideal for getting to explore Paris in daylight!

A full month of wondering by foot and subway through this city and I’m going to admit something that you probably already guessed: a month isn’t enough!!

San Juan del Sur; A Beautiful Fishing Village

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Katy and Laura, two of our design veterans here at Tea, traveled to Nicaragua for sun, surf and sand.

We had no plans for Thanksgiving and after another summerless year in San Francisco, a tropical holiday sounded like just what we needed. We both had been hearing a lot of great things about Nicaragua so we decided why not? We planned a brief but action filled four day trip.

San Juan Del Sur

Day 1:

We arrived in Managua and drove two hours to San Juan del Sur, a beautiful fishing village forty minutes north of the Costa Rican border. The town is surrounded by lush volcanic mountains. There are several well-known surf breaks nearby. 

Sayulita: Culture, Exploration and Family

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Cristina , who helps create beautiful product (with exceptional fit!) here at Tea, spent a week in quite Sayulita, Mexico with her family.

Our family was in need of a vacation (not having taken one since before our daughter was born). It was important to us that we went somewhere we could relax, yet share with our daughter a little culture and sense of exploration. We settled on Sayulita, Mexico an eclectic beach and surfing village with exceptional people, arts, activities and culinary offerings.

1_Countryside

A 45 minute scenic jungle drive along the Pacific coastline from the Puerto Vallarta takes you into Sayulita.   The small town consists of 3 to 4 main streets all centered on the village square with a striking church.  All destinations are within a few minutes walk to the beach.  The city is full of wildlife, especially iguanas.

Sayulita, Mexico via Tea Collection's Studio T

A Peaceful Sanctuary in Mexico

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Tami, one of Tea’s creative guru’s, took a week to herself to indulge in a simple, quieter way of life.

I recently became intrigued with the idea of a yoga retreat in an exotic locale far removed from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. My initial research came up with options in Bali, India, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Mexico.
I chose to go to a retreat center, Prana del Mar, in Baja, Mexico because of its amenities and convenience (a short 3-hour direct plane ride from San Francisco). Close to Los Cabos, Prana del Mar a far cry from the wild party scenes of Los Cabos. It’s located in the middle of the Mexican desert with the mountains to one side and the ocean with a private beach on the other. Run completely off the grid and on solar power, it’s an eco-conscious slice of heaven that doesn’t skimp on comforts.
Baja Mexico
In addition to the location, the retreat itself was really made special by the trip organizers, Alchemy Tours. Silvia was the yoga instructor, meditation guide and general life guru. Jake coordinated all the activities, assisted in yoga and was always ready for any question with a great sense of humor. The two of them eased any fears I had of traveling on my own to practice yoga with a group of strangers.
Soon enough, those strangers became friends. We got to know one another pretty quickly as we practiced 2-3 hours of daily yoga/meditation and explored Mexico on the many planned excursions. There were lots of firsts for me on this trip: first time surfing (glorious fun!), first time horseback riding (scary at the beginning but so peaceful by the end), first time ocean kayaking, first time holding a puffer fish while snorkeling (adorable–it looked like a Japanimation character!) and first time whale-spotting.
We were also able to visit a small, sleepy artist town called Todos Santos. Full of artist galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants, it was a nice chance to get a taste of Mexican culture beyond its stunning nature-inspired activities.
Baja Mexico
With the perfect balance between solo nature time and group activities, this trip was truly a relaxing and mindful experience for which I am so thankful!

Riding Trains in Germany

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Esther, who handles catalogs and emails here at Tea, traveled with her family to Germany to catch up with relatives.

Every summer, my husband and I take our kids (now 8 and 7) to Germany to visit our families. The kids always look forward to seeing their Omas and Opas, aunts, uncles and cousins in Bonn and Cologne. It is important to us that our children are immersed in the culture of their parents’ native country, that they get to experience German traditions and learn to appreciate the similarities and differences between countries and cultures.

Germany

Every year while in Europe, we go on little adventures. We have taken the children on quick trips to Paris, Brussels and Berlin. Always by train – their favorite means of transportation. The ICE train travels at up to 300 km/h (186 mph). It often runs parallel to the freeway and the children love being faster than the cars – especially when there is no speed limit on a particular stretch of Autobahn!

On German trains, children under 15 ride free when traveling with an adult. During the summer months, there are special kids’ tickets, which can be exchanged for goodies on the train. In the past two years, children received a free Popsicle. This year, the goodies were a coloring book, colored pencils and a toy ICE train.

Riding Trains In Germany

Our 2013 adventure took us to Nuremberg, where we strolled through the old streets, marveled at the medieval castle and its almost fully intact wall (with moat!), and enjoyed the local specialty of Nürnberger Rostbratwurst. To satisfy the children’s need for playtime, we went to the Playmobil FunPark, adjacent to the original Playmobil factory.

On the way back to Cologne, we opted against the high-speed ICE trains and chose to take the scenic route through the picturesque Rhine Gorge instead. If you asked my kids, they would say it’s “the river with all the castles”. They don’t understand the meaning of UNESCO World Heritage Site yet.

Loreli -  Rhine near St. Goarshausen, Germany

The train ride along the Rhine Gorge also took us past the Lorelei. This rock soars high above the water where the Rhine is at its narrowest. A strong current and rocks just below the waterline have caused many boats to sink here. Our children of course wondered why I was taking a picture of a rock. I told them the legend of the Lorelei, who sits on the cliff, brushing her golden hair, singing an enchanting melody, distracting shipmen and causing them to crash on the rocks. I’m sure someday they will understand the beauty of the poem.

As we were getting off the train in Cologne, the kids asked what our adventure is going to be next year. That’s when we knew we had done something right.