Jungalow in Italy | Seek The Uniq

Jungalow in Italy

Day one of this year, I turned a year older. I didn't particularly want anything but time with family, away from my laptop. I had just that and way, way more. But before I could peel myself away from my laptop, I did, what could easily be one of the boldest things I've ever done for myself. I signed up for a creative workshop with Justina Blakeney (whoa!), in Cinque Terre, Italy (double, triple whoa!). Gift to self, done. 

I didn't know what to expect. Darn, I didn't even know if I was pronouncing 'Cinque Terre' correctly. All I know was that I needed a good creative recharge not just for myself but for STU as well. Or maybe I was just looking for the perfect excuse to finally put those STU Escape pieces to proper use.

Five months later, I've perfected saying CHEEN|kweh TEHR|reh (only because it's really fun to say out) and I, along with my trailing husband (quite literally, having hiked most of the trails in Cinque Terre while I was busy ) found ourselves on the rocky coastline of the Italian Riviera. 

We arrived in Riomaggiore on a stormy afternoon the day before the workshop. We thought of just staying in after that hike from the train station but when the skies cleared up, we stepped out and boy, were we delighted! Lemon trees everywhere, limoncello in every bar (which is more cafe than bar, by the way), lemon-hued houses every corner-- trust me, no bad lemon here! 

The beauty of Cinque Terre deserves an entry all to itself, but let me just tell you this: the moment I laid eyes on that little dock with water breaking gracefully, colorful boats parked randomly, and vibrant houses piled onto each other behind me, I was tearing up. At this time, I was very well convinced that this whole trek to the other side of the globe, for a 3-day workshop, was all worth it-- and it hasn't even started.

No better backdrop for Escape Shop's star piece, the Turkana, than here.

I was so looking forward to meeting Justina come day one. Huge fan here. Her book The New Bohemians is my bible on design and interiors. I always get supercharged just flipping the pages. No one knows modern boho the way Justina does. So, imagine my delight meeting her. 

Photo by Azzurra Biagi

But wait, did I mention that the venue was in fact in a real(!) castle on top of a hill?

Photos by Azzurra Biagi

Our most fabulous host, Bianca of Italian Fix, greeting us by the door.

10,000 ++ steps everyday!

Photo by Azzurra Biagi

Jungalow Queen giving us a warm and jungalicious welcome. 

Photo by Azzurra Biagi

This view!

Photo by Azzurra Biagi

37 creative women in one room. It's overwhelming, energizing, and utterly inspiring.

Photo by Azzurra Biagi

It was easy making friends.

We were asked to wander around town and take IG-worthy photos.

Photos by Azzurra Biagi

While waiting for our tables at the piazza in Vernazza. 

Photo by Azzurra Biagi

 Happiest in the company of good wine, amazing food, and lovely people.

 Photo by Azzurra Biagi


 Photos by Azzurra Biagi

Dinner while the sun sets.

 The dress that launched a thousand Ciaos!

For our short lunches, we managed to down a bottle (or two) of local wine and all the soppressata and prosciutto in the world. 

Photo by Azzurra Biagi

We could do this all day.

Scavenging. OMG.

 Photo by Azzurra Biagi

When I grow up, I want to be like Justina and/or Bianca.

There was so much to take in from those 3 short days. From igniting creativity, to knowing the difference between authenticity vs originality, to finding your North Star (end goal), to keeping good company.

Though I am not about to give away all details here, as you might want to sign up for the next one, my greatest takeaway would be to feed your soul with positivity and all good things follow. May not always be the case but it sure gets you a little closer to your North Star. 

Best gift-to-self. Ever.

Grazie Justina, Bianca and all the lovely ladies I shared this most wonderful experience with. And GRAZIE MILLE Italy!


Your utterly inspired Purveyor-of-the-Uniq,


Mikka Padua
Mikka Padua