Traveler Tales – Christine Rivers
We’re very excited to launch our new monthly Traveler Tales series where you can hear about our journeys straight from the horses mouth. First up is our wonderful returning traveler Christine Rivers, as you’ll read below Christine has enjoyed many a journey with us, here’s what she has to say.
Which tour/tours have you taken with Traditions Mexico?
Textiles of the Oaxacan Coast, Profound Oaxaca, Purpura and Threaded Flowers – Huatulco to Oaxaca, Festivals in Chiapas , Day of the Dead in Chiapas , Chiapas – tour, Peru tour. Oh and also – a few day tours.
Why do you like this kind of immersive travel?
I like getting off the tourist track. With Traditions, we get into the artisan’s homes. We get an idea of how they live and work. We see the conditions they work in. How they work together. I am a weaver so I like to see the “exactly how” the weaving is done. How they measure the warp, thread the loom, weave. I love seeing the many techniques and the small differences between how each of the weavers does things. The weaving or pottery or whatever they are making, is an excuse to get closer to seeing the people, how they live and getting to know them.
This is the first company that I have found that does this kind of travel. Elaine Duncan and I found Traditions Mexico’s website many years ago and have kept coming back. The tours have all been great to absolutely fantastic! Just as I thought that I had done most of the tours, some new ones were added so I still have more tours with Traditions that I want to do.
Share with us something fascinating that you have learned.
There are so many things! You don’t need fancy equipment to create beautiful weaving & pottery etc. Two plates make a pottery wheel. A few sticks laced together correctly make a weaving loom. Working together the artisans seem happier than we are working alone. Dye stuffs come from insects, mollusks, plants, dirt.
Share one stand out moment with us.
Almost the whole Peru tour! That is my most recent one. Being up in the Highland village, in the mountains at high altitude, dancing in the Alpaca ceremony. The magic of being there and being included. We were dressed in traditional clothing in the communities that we visited. It is so amazing the technical, beautiful, fine weaving with fine hand spun yarn that is done in these remote places.
Also – most of the tour with TM guide Ana Paula Fuentes in Chiapas. The humble homes of the people we visited. Our local guide, Anita, who traveled with us everyday to introduce us to the weaving communities. We saw her in her role in the community, in traditional clothing everyday, until the last day when she wore jeans and showed us the modern Anita.
In what way has your travel experience impacted or influenced your life back home?
Travel in this way opens your mind to what lives are like in other parts of the world. It isn’t just travel to be in the sunshine. You really get to know the people. I appreciate more the weaving equipment that I have for doing what I do. I have had a lot to share with other weavers who are interested in the same things but haven’t been able to travel. Some of my friends have come with me on the tours. I have also made new friends who I meet again on tours.
Share with us something you brought home and where is it now?
I have brought so much home that I have a textile collection from my tours. Some of the textiles I use or wear – table runners, ponchos, huipils. Some are ornaments in my house. Some are in bins of my collection. I have shown the textiles and photos at weavers guild meetings close to home.
Food that you really enjoyed? Food that you didn’t?
I had trouble with the whole fish staring at me and how to eat it in a soup, with only a spoon. I traded for a tail end so it wasn’t looking at me. I have since learned to use a tortilla to hold the fish or chicken that is in a soup. The fish meal was in Chiapas and it was an honour to be served the very best that the family could offer. It was a special meal. The family borrowed a table that was high enough for us to sit at. They bought chairs that were what we think of as regular height. They usually sit on very low chairs or stools.
I enjoyed the meals in Teotitlan de Valle at Ria Mendoza’s (Tito’s sister). I have been there a few times now for meals.
We had a lot of potatoes in Peru. Some were excellent. The potato dessert was very ‘different’.
Funny anecdotes…. or a challenge that you can now laugh about?
Potatoes again! in Peru.
Talking with some of the women on our tour about how to use a squat toilet. Practise before the trip!
Terry and I worried about not having a wall or door that closed or locked in one hotel at the beach, near Huatulco. We laughed a lot about that one!
Tips or advice for people thinking about taking a tour like this in the future?
Be open to what the people have to offer. Be respectful of their culture and life. Be thankful for the food, art, craft, insights into their lives – that the people offer to you.
You will have to walk a bit. It isn’t luxury travel. It is so much more than luxury travel, but the accommodations are very clean and comfortable. This kind of travel is so much more than luxury – it is seeing into the lives of beautiful people so proudly in their cultures.
I will be back for more travel with Traditions!
Thank you Christine
If you are a past traveler and would like to share your tale get in touch we’d love to hear from you, email: [email protected]