After careers in food and wine, hospitality, real estate development and even 10 years in corporate America, I decided to take a month off and travel to South America. I’ve traveled to Europe, Asia and Australia on many occasions for both work and pleasure, but had never been south of Mexico. I always loved exploring the local markets, for picture taking and for seeking out local treasures to bring home.
I decided to spend a week each in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Chile. That was back in 2001. I was very turned on by what I found. Most North Americans, like myself, have little or no idea about the Americas in the southern hemisphere. At best we have notions of third world countries, jungles, drug warriors, primitive and poor people that we sometimes see and hear about on TV or in films.
While some of this might exist, and to be sure they exist to some degree in the north as well, the richness and diversity of cultures, the food, wine and music, the warmhearted people and the art and design that abounds everywhere were a welcoming surprise to me. I was astounded at the sophistication and style in each of these countries.
I go back a few times per year now, especially in search of treasure for my shop. There is a very natural warmth, richness and texture to life in these countries, a different and vibrant expression of color, and a spirit about life that perhaps has been lost in our ‘more developed’ culture.
Life is closer to nature in the south, yet there is no shortage of sophistication and style to the interpretation of life in art, music and design that I have found exciting and refreshing, yet connected to my more traditional European roots.
Throughout my travels in these countries, I have been inspired by the color, texture, warmth and style of Latin design.