NEW YORK – Vacation with an Artist (VAWAA) offers a new way to experience travel though booking a mini-apprenticeship with a curated master artist or craftsman, tailored to your skill level. Participants can select from 70 artists in 23 countries, including Greece, and send a booking request. VAWAA then contacts the participant and finalizes the details since each artist has a working practice and will do their best to accommodate requested dates in their schedule. Guests then pay online and after the details are confirmed, they enjoy their vacation and learning experience in the artist’s studio.
Among the travel experiences available, a four-day retreat in the beautiful countryside of Athens to create your dream collage and photomontage with artist Annette. When you need a break, enjoy the peaceful nature strolls, bike, swim or feast on Greek cuisine.
Also available, a four-day culinary journey through the history of Greek cuisine and learn to re-create the remarkable Greek food of the past among the olive groves of Mariana’s Cretan estate, where you’ll cook with ancient pots and local ingredients. When not in studio, journey into town for visits to the market and local wineries.
VAWAA Founder Geetika Agrawal spoke with The National Herald about the program and noted that another travel experience will be launching soon in Santorini on how to make pan pipes and another in Cyprus for printmaking.
TNH: What inspired you to begin this program?
Geetika Agrawal: The idea started 20 years ago when I was in architecture school. I traveled all over India working with local craftspeople, immersed in a place to learn different building techniques. A few years ago, when I was working at a fast paced digital agency constantly hooked to screens, I started craving the slow craft and makership process. I thought to myself, how could everyone experience the joy of disconnecting and making things with their hands. I loved the idea of taking time to get away from your cubicle to enjoy a different routine in a new place. Stress free travel with no to-do list. There was nothing out there that was similar to this so I decided to build it.
TNH: What is the most rewarding aspect of VAWAA for you and for those who participate?
GA: The most rewarding aspect is obviously the mini-transformations we’ve been able to facilitate in people’s lives – whether it’s helping them get out of a rut, or f
VAWAA guests can experience historic Greek cuisine made in the ancient way in Crete. Photo: Courtesy of VAWAA
ind new inspiration or build skills to work on their dream project. We are deeply grateful to all master artists for the generous work they are doing in supporting every VAWAA guest’s needs and journey.
We often hear the word “life changing” from those who participate. It’s amazing what people can do in a five-day trip. There’s no pressure or goals to have any work finished by the end of the week. And, there are no distractions, it’s very calming. Most people don’t treat their life with that type of mindset. Many people come out feeling rejuvenated and inspired, ready to collaborate or start a new project. Everyone has dreams and VAWAA helps activate them.
TNH: What is the most important thing people should know when they sign up for a mini-apprenticeship?
GA: No two VAWAAs are ever the same. Each VAWAA is tailored to your creative goals and interests. The master artist is your biggest supporter and guide. When you’re open to serendipity, the magic goes beyond learning inside the artist’s studio.
More information about VAWAA is available online: vawaa.com.
Historian and chef Mariana with VAWAA guest Sherry in Crete. Photo: Courtesy of VAWAA