Join the Journey to South Africa

giraffes in game reserve

Have you always dreamed of going on safari?  Well, now is your chance!

Join the Journey to South Africa, August 26-Sept 3, 2017 with IAMSHEGLOBAL.  Guided by travel agent and global style blogger, Sheena Dersidan, this small group, arts and culture based journey is your chance to explore the land, discover the culture, and connect with the people of South Africa.

Highlights include:

  • Jazz Safari
  • High Tea At Mt. Nelson Hotel
  • Mandela Walking Tour
  • Cape Malay Meal
  • Cape Winelands Tour
  • Langa Township Visit
  • Cable Car Ride to the top of Table Mountain
  • Guided Game Drives
  • Walking Street Art Tour
  • Sunset Cruise
  • Traditional Cooking Class

Space is extremely limited.  Click the links below for the full itinerary and booking forms.  Feel free to contact IAMSHEGLOBAL@gmail for more information.

Happy black family
Visit and connect with locals in Langa Township.
Vineyard in the hills of South Africa
We’ll spend an afternoon sipping artisan wine and taking in the scenery of the Cape Winelands.
African masks for sell
Shop for handmade artisan crafts at Green Market Square!

 

Table Mount Cable Car in Cape Town South Africa
We’ll take in a panoramic view of Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain.

 

2017 South Africa Itinerary

Inclusions & ExclusionsPIF – ReleaseCC Form

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Join me, as your personal guide on this Journey to South Africa!

 

 

Join the Journey with IAMSHEGLOBAL

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If you know a bit about me, you’ll know that after finishing interior design school and working various jobs, I found myself working for a tour operator, designing safaris to Africa. I was able to travel abroad quite a bit for the 5 years I worked there but I had this itch, a feeling I couldn’t shake, a knowing, that I was meant to be my own boss and pave my own road.  After much contemplation, almost to the point of being paralyzing, I quit my regular paycheck, my regular schedule and my regular cubicle for a life all my design.

That was seven years ago, this month to be exact, that I made the choice to follow my dreams.  No road map in hand, no instructions to follow, just my drive, my vision, a very supportive husband, trial and errors, lots of workshops, reading, learning, traveling, dreaming big, bumps along the way and a burning desire that kept me motivated all this time. All of it has brought me to this moment where I combine my 15 years of personal and professional travel experience with my attention to detail, sense of wonder, love of the unique and desire to share the beauty and magic of this amazing world with you.

Today, I am launching my inaugural global, arts and culture based shopping journeys to Thailand, South Africa, Morocco and India. I have spent months designing every detail of the itineraries and I will personal guide the trips to ensure you create the most amazing memories.  I have chosen to keep these groups small, no more than 12 passengers and each journey will focus on the arts and culture of the country we are visiting with direct experiences with local artists, musicians, chefs, craftsmen, wine makers, painters. I believe the art and culture is the soul of a country and I have created these journeys so that we can travel and connect on a more personal level with that soul.

This is the blossoming of my dream and whether you take flight with me to far off lands, gain insight from my blog posts or get inspired by my social media, my only hope is that you “Join the Journey”. ~ Sheena

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Photo credit: April Bellotti Photography

What I Bought In Ensenada

For many, Ensenada is town to get crazy in, drink a few cervezas (or 12), let your hair down and act a fool. I recently stopped in Ensenada on friend’s birthday cruise and while we were there to party, I am always on the hunt for interesting and unique items.

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The main street of Calle Lopez Mateos is chock full of tiny cafes, street vendors and small shops.  It’s short enough that you can stroll one side, browse the wares and come back to something you fell in love with, without having to go very far.

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These little masks are made from coconut husks, hand painted and decorated.

While some of the street vendors and shops are selling items that are traditionally Mexican,  like hand tooled leather bags, turquoise and silver jewelry and sandals, many are selling tourist junk. Jewelry and handbags from China, sarongs from Indonesia, etc. The more places I travel, I am noticing this is becoming a common trend and it breaks my heart.

As we walked down the street, a colorful window, full of dancing Day of the Dead couples and metallic skull banners caught my eye and I had to stop. Little did I know I had discovered the most amazing, two story shop, selling handmade art and wares from all over Mexico. Jackpot!!

Bazar Casa Ramirez, carries all handmade products crafted from the hands of Mexican artists. Different states and regional influences are found in the art dotting the walls, the dishes on the shelves and the bags hanging on the racks. This store is a feast for the eyes and the soul.

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store shots

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I was immediately drawn to these hearts, handmade in Michoacan. I loved the color and decorative metal pieces. It was explained to me that all the metal pieces are “Milagros” or miracles, used by the grateful to offer thanks for prayers answered. There are symbols representing fertility, health, happiness, safety, and you can rub the one you are in need of as you say your prayers. Being a person who lives in gratitude this piece really connected with me so I purchased it.

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I also loved these small straw bucket bags, which are made locally in Ensenada. It’s the perfect size to fit your essentials for traveling or a Summer music festival and I love the pop of color. I may change the strap to a longer one so I can wear it cross body.

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I fell in love with the coconut masks we passed on the street and they had a few in this shop as well. I’m a fire sign and a collector of masks so this little “Fire God” caught my attention and held it. He came home with me too!

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The last items I bought were these tin Day of the Dead ornaments, from Oaxaca, to add to my travel inspired Christmas tree next year.

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I bought all of these beautiful handmade items for less than $50 and couldn’t be happier with my treasures!  Bazar Casa Ramirez is located at Calle Lopez Mateos 498-3, Edificio Ramirez, Ensenada, Baja California. They don’t have a website, so you’re just gonna have to get there in person! I promise, it’s worth the trip!

What I Bought In Jaipur

Jaipur, named the Pink City, for the salmon hued outer wall of the old city,  is by far my favorite city in India.  The old city center is a shopper’s haven, filled with streets lined with shops brimming with handmade delights.  Head straight to “Badi Chaupar”, one of the central shopping streets. It’s a good point from which to branch out and discover the small side streets.

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Jaipur is known for its jewelry.  It is the hub for cutting raw stones, like emeralds and sapphires and setting them in beautiful, intricate designs.  I was able to see this process first hand, which made me appreciate the work that goes into each piece of jewelry.  You can easily find a wide variety of modern and traditional Indian settings.  These shops are usually located away from the hustle and bustle of the city center, allowing for an air-conditioned, calm shopping environment.  These shops take credit cards and some bargaining can be done but reserve your intense bargaining skills for the shopkeepers in the market.

Raw, uncut gemstones
Raw, uncut gemstones
Cut stone in a temporary setting, ready for polishing.
Cut stone in a temporary setting, ready for polishing.

Handmade Lakh bangles made from tree resin and decorated with rhinestones are produced locally as well.  Bangle shops are one of my favorite places to visit in India.  There are endless color combinations and designs to choose from.  Traditionally, they are sold in sets of 4 or 8 pieces, though I tended to buy larger sets, enthralled by the sheer amount of variety available.  “Maniharon-Ka-Rasta” is a street in Jaipur with multiple bangles shops.  I recommend going there during the day as we ended up there around 8pm and many of the shops were already closed.

The material used to make Lakh bangles allows it to be heated and stretched, which can be done in the shops, if you need a bigger size.  I have a lot Lakh jewelry pieces (necklaces, earrings and bracelets) and I must share that the bangles are the most delicate of all my pieces.  They are fragile and can break quite easily.  I would not discourage you from buying them but I did purchase many other bangles in India (metal bases with decoration, rather than the Lakh) and they are much more durable.

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Bangles being heated and stretched.
Bangles being heated and stretched.
These are the bangles I bought. The top row are all Lakh bangles and the others are metal bangles I bought in Hyderabad.
These are the bangles I bought. The top row are all Lakh bangles and the others are metal bangles I bought in Hyderabad.

The variety of handcrafted items continues in Jaipur’s textile shops.  There are a vast array of closet sized shops selling clothing, leather slippers, scarves and textiles, all of varying degree of quality.  The shops on the street are bustling, with shopkeepers trying to lure you into their shops with a bargain.  I did buy some lightweight harem pants in various colors and patterns to wear while I was there, in the extreme heat of India.  I was able to negotiate a better deal by buying a dozen pairs at a time.  That may seem like a lot but they made great gifts for folks back home.

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I am all for a game of haggling, but when the heat is oppressive and you just want slow down a bit, I recommend visiting one the larger stores, off of the main drag, where you can shop a bit more peacefully.  We visited a wonderful shop, Krishna Textiles, that I would highly recommend going to (located at Opp. Golimer Sadan, Near Hotel Glitz, Sitaram Puri, Amer Road).  I am only sharing this place based on my personal experience, not because I was asked to.  I really appreciated the owner, Manu and how he treated us when we visited.  There is no pressure at all to buy.  You can browse at the massive variety of items they have from bedding to pajamas to silk scarves to bags to tunics, without being bothered or hassled.  They eliminate haggling by providing you a reasonable price at the start.  If you are interested in something in particular, they will assist you and show you a variety of options until find you what you are looking for.

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Block printed table linens
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Hand dyed silk scarves
Manu, the owner on the right, showing buyers some of the wall hangings
Manu, the owner on the right, showing buyers some of the wall hangings

You can also view the block printing technique being done by hand, in their studio in front of the shop.  This technique uses vegetable and natural dyes, hand stamped with wooden block stamps, in a layered pattern on cotton or silk.  You can purchase items displaying this technique in the shop as well as bolts of fabric if you want to make something with it when you get home.

Natural dyes used in block printing
Natural dyes used in block printing
Each pattern on the textile uses a different stamp, applied in a layered pattern.
Each pattern on the textile uses a different stamp, applied in a layered pattern.
This finished piece could be a table covering or scarf.
This finished piece could be a table covering or scarf.

Jaipur is also known for “Blue Pottery”, bold white and cobalt blue handcrafted dishes, tableware and accessories.  I did not get to visit one of the shops selling the blue pottery but it gives me something new to check out when I return.

Jaipur is one of the best cities to get your shop on!  If you get the chance to visit, I would love to know what treasures you find!

This is what shopping delirium looks like. I was checked out, chillin' (why, yes, I'll wear that turban) while my friend was still fiercely bargaining!
This is what shopping delirium looks like. I was checked out, chillin’ (why, yes, I’ll wear that turban) while my friend was still fiercely bargaining!

Sheena’s Sidenotes

  • Definitely get henna done in the city.  I got both hands, front and back done for around $14, in about 15 minutes.
  • Make sure you visit the Amber Fort.  The mirrored Winter Palace is breathtaking.  There are many forts in India and this is one of my favorites.
  • Grab a samosa at L&B, the oldest snack shop in Jaipur, in business for the last few hundred years.
  • If you can, stay at Rambagh Palace. With 120 peacocks on the property, it is a dream and one of my all time favorite hotels in the world
Henna I had done in Jaipur
Henna I had done in Jaipur
The ceiling of the Winter Palace at Amber Fort. The light of one candle would reflect in all the mirrors, replicating a starry sky.
The ceiling of the Winter Palace at Amber Fort. The light of one candle would reflect in all the mirrors, replicating a starry sky.
Amber Fort
Amber Fort