Travel Talk with Chelcie: Inspiring Artists to Live Abroad Like Locals
I’ve previously spoken to Betty in Zaragoza, Spain and Roshan in Sydney, Australia in my Travel Talk series, and today I introduce Chelcie, who manages a fantastic artist travel program, La Casa de la Artista. Read on to hear her story!
Hi Chelcie! Tell us about yourself.
I’m an artist in every capacity from Chicago, Illinois and am based in St Thomas Virgin Islands, although I travel most of the year. My work includes Managing Director for La Casa de la Artista and Brand Manager for Kindred and a travel-inspired line of fashions and accessories. I’m a photographer, and I also design jewelry and fashions and write for Potent Magazine and various blogs/websites.
What is La Casa de la Artista about?
La Casa de la Artista is an artist’s residency program that provides artists with an immersion travel experience. Our goal is to give artists a chance to experience a new place as a local. They live with and like local people, and we take most of the guess work out of their day, like cooking, cleaning and transportation, allowing them freedom to explore and create. In return, the artists share their talents with local youth, helping to give communities in need free education. Artists leave understanding the local culture and economy much better.
Sounds amazing! What is the biggest benefit you’ve received from running La Casa de la Artista?
The biggest benefit is seeing how positively the program affects everyone involved. It’s much different to visit on vacation than when you live with the inconveniences and benefits of the community. When your neighbor sells avocados you buy from him, not the big chain grocery store. The children gain so many new experiences they may never have otherwise gotten. Artists leave with a passion that’s priceless.
What’s the best place you’ve ever traveled?
I always say all of my travels are great because I always learn something. However, while in Thailand I was the guest of the daughter of chief of an Akah hill tribe. I was able to stay with them for a week, and it was extremely special. I was treated so kindly. I have dreadlocks and was shocked that, although they had never seen hair like mine, it took them about four days to ask a question about my hair. They were so respectful to me although I was so different from them. I often don’t get that respect in my own country.
That sounds like a fantastic experience. What’s the best advice you could give to travelers/expats?
The best advice I can give to people is to just do it. Most people spend way too much time worrying. It’s okay to get lost. It’s okay to spend too much money on a ticket or not get the best deal on a tour. These details you won’t remember afterwards anyway. What’s important is that you just go. We only get one life, and we can’t plan it to death!
I completely agree! What do you have left on your travel bucket list?
The world is my list; there isn’t anywhere that I don’t want to go at least twice. Even when you have been to one country, there are many rich regional and cultural differences within that country.
Want to be a part of my traveler interview series? Let me know!