14th November 2019
Travel teaches us many things, and opportunities to pick up a new skills abound all across the world. Not only do learning these new skills give us a glimpse into different cultures, they also allow us the opportunity to support the people keeping those cultures alive, helping them to thrive. We've picked some of the best skills you can learn on our tours that might inspire a new hobby, help you to make new friends or create memories to last a lifetime.
Learn the unique and ancient technique of building walls in Colombia using earth, chalk, lime and gravel. The tapia pisada, or rammed earth method is a strong tradition used in the colonial town of Barichara and houses that have fallen to disrepair are bound by government decree to follow this method in order to preserve the village’s architectural integrity.
A social enterprise initiative gives visitors the chance to help out and practice this technique under the instruction of a local artisan repairing houses in the poorer parts of the village where they lack the funds to restore their homes, preserving the local architecture at the same time.
On the tranquil banks of the Mekong River in Laos, social enterprise Ock Pop Tok’s Living Craft Center offers a Natural Dyes Class as an introduction to silkworms and silk types. A truly hands-on experience, you will learn to prepare natural dyes, grown right there in the Ock Pop Tok garden and complete an array of three colour dyes. You’ll even be able to take home three silk skeins at the end of the day!
Ock Pop Tok aims to empower women and provide them a sustainable source of income, operating on fair trade principles and offering opportunities for continued learning and professional development, creating economic value for traditional Lao textiles.
We can also arrange for a weaving class, Hmong Batik class, and bamboo weaving class with Ock Pop Tock.
In Rasun, Jordan, visit the Calligraphy house - a socio-economic development located on the edge of a protected nature reserve where local women can teach you to write your name in Arabic script. Intended to provide these women with a new way to earn money and boosting the rural economy, they are supported through their studies of Arabic calligraphy. The classes include an in-depth explanation of the art of calligraphy and the Arabic alphabet and then you get the chance to practice your skills with careful guidance using a bamboo quill.
Learn to cook a traditional Keralan meal with a visit to The Bungalow and afterwards enjoy the splendours of your creation with your gracious hosts. The programme starts with your host, Neema, taking you for a short tour of the local market to source the ingredients you’ll be cooking with before heading back to her kitchen, where you’ll be taught the basics of Keralan cuisine, how to use traditional cooking equipment, as well as the best way to serve your dishes. Neema insists the most important ingredient in any Indian cooking is always love, so afterwards, enjoy your love-infused, home-made meal with her.
Out in the Arctic Circle, get to grips with leading your very own dog-sledding team. Once you’ve been given a briefing for the trip, you’ll be issued with your equipment, introduced to your team of dogs and pack your sleds ready for your journey. After your guide gives you a short lesson on how to handle the sled, off you go! Mush across a breathtaking landscape of snow-covered forest and frozen lakes, in search of the remote wilderness cabins you’ll be staying in on your journey.
Your team of huskies will be yours to look after every night, helping to prepare and feed them their meals. Not to mention a daily dose of ear-scratches and words of encouragement.
You’ll no doubt notice all the intricate wood art across the island before you even reach this workshop but once you watch a skilled woodcarver at work in Bali, Indonesia, you’ll be captivated. The level of patience and skill required to create these beautiful pieces of art are hard to fathom. So, you just must try your hand at this ancient craft yourself! Shape the wood under the instruction of a master woodcarver using traditional tools and techniques.