Nguyen Qui Duc at his home.

Award-winning writer Nguyen Qui Duc at his home in Vietnam | VAWAA

Most people, if you asked them, would tell you that they’d like to travel more. They might also tell you that they’d like to spend more time on creative activities like painting, dancing, or even gardening. Now, because of the efforts of designer Geetika Agrawal, people can sign up for special vacations around the world where they’ll have the chance to meet real artists and work in real studios. The project, Vacation with an Artist (VAWAA), pairs creativity with creativity and helps form great relationships.

Agrawal traveled to 12 countries in 12 months to make VAWAA a reality. “I’m trying to help people realize travel can be a life-changing experience and lead them in many directions,” she says. In her travels Agrawal has been to places like Vietnam, the Czech Republic, and Argentina. She spends four weeks in each country and performs outreach for her program to get artists involved.

Once a user books a trip, they get to spend a few days with the artist in the artist’s studio—which could be a real studio, a house, or the great outdoors—to learn a specific creative skill. These sessions could be ten hours or a hundred, depending on what’s being taught. Sessions are open to one to three guests so there’s a chance that visitors be working with one or two other people, but there’s also the chance that it will be just the visitor and the artist.

“You’re going to be there for an extended period of time, not just a two-hour workshop, which you could find anywhere,” Agrawal explains. “After a two-hour batik workshop, for example, maybe you end up with a handkerchief or something. But to feel really enriched, you need to do something for a certain period of time, and because you’re spending time with artists, in a very personal way, it feels very special.”

Agrawal also hopes to bring good things to the artists in the VAWAA program. Artists can set their own fees and their work will hopefully get more visibility. At the very least, artists are able to share their creativity and impart their insights onto willing listeners.

Check out a complete list of participating artists here!