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Trading Selfies for Sketchbooks

Almost 10 years ago now, I was hired as Manager of Operations for a bespoke, group tour operator, and the first time I ever joined a river cruise was also my first time as a Tour Director on one. The journey was aboard a sold-out, full charter of AmaWaterways' AmaVida, Ama's first boat on Portugal's divine Douro River. One of the groups on our charter was comprised of Harvard alumni, and at the final dinner on board, I joined a Harvard gentleman and his wife who I found fascinating. While others were off with tour guides, he would find a scenic spot to sit and use watercolors to capture the scene. He showed me his collection at the end of the cruise, and they were remarkable. I was invited months later to an exhibition where he had our whole river cruise on display - in sketches and paintings of villages and vistas we'd seen along the way. What a marvelous way to remember, I thought....

Excerpt below from 2/19/2020 Virtuoso article by Jen Rose Smith can be found HERE.

Channel your inner artist on vacation. Do it. Sign up for that painting class in Paris or spend the afternoon getting inspired by the California coastline views from your hotel balcony – these high-quality, easy-to-pack art supplies will help.

Caran d’Ache Pencils

A matched set of pencils from the Geneva workshops of Caran d’Ache are crafted using wood harvested in Swiss forests. Lightweight Grächen pine and Jura beech wrap silky graphite perfect for quick studies. $26,

Hushwing Watercolor Palette

The packable Ultramarine Palette of four handmade watercolors from Virginia-based Hushwing evokes dreamy seascapes and bluebird days. Founder Kirsten Cooner, an artist, mulls each batch by hand on a glass slab. $48,

Raphaël Travel Brushes

Founded in Paris in 1793, family-owned brush workshop Raphaël tucks three travel-friendly, collapsible brushes into a sleek case that can clip onto a pocket. With two round brushes and a quill brush, Le Voyageur is expedition ready. From $21,

Fabriano Sketchbook

Bound in red fabric, the six-by-nine-inch, acid-free Venezia sketchbook from Italian papermaker Fabriano is adorned with a pattern that evokes the Piazza San Marco. $24,



Nine Muses Travel offers a premium experience with flights, guides, drivers, rental vehicles, and the best accommodations to maximize your time, with expert advice on how to get the most out of any destination. We INCLUDE amenities for you at the world's finest hotels, the BEST OF THE BEST!

  • Complimentary room upgrades at check-in, subject to availability

  • Complimentary daily breakfast

  • Early check-in / late check-out, subject to availability

  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

  • And more!

Nine Muses Travel works with exceptional suppliers who add unparalleled value:

  • Expert guides: artists, historians, naturalists, unique locals with insider tips & insights

  • Flexibility with your touring - See and do as much, or as little, as you prefer!

  • Custom-designed routings

  • Exclusive experiences

  • 24/7 real-time support

  • Comprehensive travel protection plans

Nine Muses Travel designs journeys to inspire artists, arts lovers and the culturally curious.

Danielle Dybiec

Founder & President

CLICK to send a request


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