I met Rachel on my second day in Thailand. From the moment we met, we clicked. I am still to this day very
grateful for meeting her when I did. Not only did she become one of my best friends, but she showed me the ropes of Thailand. She warned me about Thailand’s gansta dogs (story to follow soon), taught me the basics of the Thai language and introduced me to the good and bad beer of Thailand.
Even though we live on opposite ends of the world, we still manage to keep in touch via Skype and Whatsapp on an almost daily basis. This is one friendship that has now officially proven to last. Apart from her friendly, hilarious and bubbly personality, Rachel has an amazing gift. She creates the most beautiful things from seashells.
Here is my little interview with my creative friend…
Tell everyone a bit about the awesome Rachel I know.
My sister and I were born in Honduras and adopted by an Italian mother and a father of Hungarian
descent. We have lived a nomadic life and grew up living in Zambia & Saudi Arabia. I’m oh so grateful for the opportunities I have experienced with our family together.
Once I graduated from college, I had to figure out a way to get back abroad. I was a lost soul that didn’t visualize myself settling down in the U.S. I worked in the customer service realm for a couple of years but that didn’t do justice. In German they say “fernweh” – yearning for far-off places, the opposite of homesickness. I felt this quite often and knew I was ready to begin my journey overseas. My sister first decided to take the leap to Central America. She was teaching English to third-graders in Honduras so I decided to visit her and the students which ended up being a great experience. “POOF!” That’s when I realized I wanted to teach English abroad. During my time abroad, I have always been drawn to nature and befriending people from all walks of life. You can usually find me at a beach collecting seashells singing the Muppets version of “Kokomo,” or dancing all night long to all types of music genres no matter the occasion.
If you could be anywhere right now, where would that be and why?
Europe hands-down! Ireland is high on my list. I love the people, the history, the music and culture. You are not ever far from natural wonders and the ocean which makes it such an enchanting place. I would love to have a good craic with the Irish watching a rugby game or two. There are several other places I would love to be as well, the rest being, Scotland, Norway, Croatia, Finland, etc etc…. the list goes on!
Tell us where you have traveled and which country was your favorite?
I started off in Thailand (that’s where I eventually met the lovely Ms. Claudia Jones) and from there on, I bounced around Asia from Korea to the Maldives to China to Vietnam, and had a breather in Indonesia. I put back on my pair of wings and flew over to Europe starting with the Ukraine to Hungary, and ended up in the land of ideas, poets and thinkers… Germany!
Living in the Maldives was quite surreal. I’m a fan of the island life, clear blue skies, the ocean and seashells. You hop on a ferry boat and you’re on another island within 15-90 minutes, I couldn’t ask for more. The sea creatures were a highlight as well, it’s amazing to see everything in its natural setting.
How did you get your idea or concept of your business?
I have collected loads of seashells during my travels abroad and thought how I could create something beautiful with them. The moment truly sparked when I was reading The Alchemist along a beach in Quang Ngai inhaling a bag of chips and staring down at the sand full of beautiful seashells. I soon realized someone else was by my side munching on my snacks too, a wee little crab! That’s when I realized I wanted to create the seashells into flowers. It was a strange moment but an exciting one.
FYI – all of the shells I have collected are found upon the sandy beaches, no deep sea diving for occupied seashells: I want nature to take its course.
Where will we be able to find you online?
You obviously have packing and traveling down to a T. How have you managed to travel with all your business (seashells)?
Well, I haven’t ever been materialistic from the beginning: Good riddance of unnecessary gadgets,
items, and valuables! The chances of them being lost or stolen is too much of a risk. The most important piece of clothing has been underwear, you never know when you’re going to have an accident! With that being said, I was able to pack a good amount of seashells in my suitcase. I also decided to wear several layers of clothing before checking in my suitcase at the airport so I didn’t have to fret over over-weight luggage.
What motivates you or who is your major source of inspiration?
My mother and my twin sister. They both have molded my beliefs and artistic abilities along with true dedication in what they want to pursue in life. The ocean does wonders as well. It brings me back in touch with nature and my free spirit.
What has been your greatest challenge thus far in your life?
My greatest challenge has been building stability in my life. It’s hard to stay in one place for more than six months. One minute I’m preparing to settle down and commit to a long-term dream job and open up an art gallery/health and wellness center with my twin and the next minute I’m ready to leave it all behind and hop on a plane back abroad and experience the unknown. I’ve been living in the U.S for almost a year and I’m eager to fly back to Europe. It’s only a matter of time… 🙂
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
I was very reluctant to sell my artwork abroad and assumed that I would only find success in America. I was afraid I wasn’t in the right country for the type of craft work I sold and I didn’t know where exactly to begin. With the help of amazing locals and supportive friends, I went from selling my artwork in Germany at local flea markets on a cardboard box to selling my work at annual festivals which ended up being a huge success. Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends for help and have the desire to pursue your passions in life regardless where you are. Most importantly, love what you do 🙂