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Brazil and its textures

Brazil and its textures

Brazil is where I was born and raised, although it doesn’t feel like home anymore. It’s been almost 18 years since I left it for my NY adventure. But going back is always fun, especially for my kids, who absolutely love everything about this place.

When you grow up in the midst of tropical/subtropical vegetation, the alpine scenery seems exotic to you. Now that I live near the alps, going back to the Brazilian jungle has the opposite effect on me. I’m truly fascinated by its fauna and flora. So much so that I feel like a tourist in my own country.

Taking the train down from Curitiba to the coast, was never in my plans while I lived there. But this time around I decided to give it a shot, despite the 40°C/ 104°F heat.

The train goes through Serra do Mar, the most preserved area of the Atlantic rainforest, and arrives at the colonial town of Morretes. During the trip the train passes through 14 tunnels30 bridges, mountains and beautiful falls.

The density of the jungle and the variety of species is impressive. You forget how green and humid these landscapes are.
Once in Morretes we strolled along the colorful façades from another era. The Nhundiaquara River is a scenic tree lined river that intersects the whole city. The origin of the name comes from the native Brazilian Tupi-Guarani language. Nhundi (fish) and quara (hole). Along the river banks you can contemplate beautiful tropical birds and the jaw-dropping vegetation.

The local culinary is delicious. The typical local dish is called barreado, which is slow cooked beef in a clay pot, served with cassava flour, rice and banana. It tastes a bit like Texan barbecued brisket.

All the tropical patterns and colors added so much to our trip. I couldn’t get enough of these textures I once totally disregarded. I guess the nostalgia factor always makes everything more magical then before.

After two weeks in the summer I came back to a grey Geneva in the middle of the winter, missing the lively Brazilian colors terribly. They got me so inspired I’ve started a new personal project I’ll be hopefully sharing more about in the next few months.

Happy new year to all!

For the love of Sicily!

For the love of Sicily!

In April I was approached by the owners of Sicily That’s Amore, a luxury tour operator in South Sicily. Sylvie and Luca are a couple who fell in love with this magical Island and decided to share their passion with others.

They had already launched their site a while back. They were looking to improve their online image and content to boost sales. Well, they came to the right place. No one loves traveling more than me, what made me their perfect Guinea pig.

The couple had done a fantastic job before opening their business. They personally hand picked all the boutique hotels, restaurants and third parties they work with. They literally put themselves in the shoes of their future guests. Everything was meticulously planned and selected with high standarts and authenticity in mind. 

I find that modern travellers are much more educated and informed about what’s there to do and how much it costs. But those who seek more upscale and original experiences don’t always know how to find ideas.

I personally find most of my future destinations through Pinterest, Instagram and digging through blogs. That’s how I get inspired. But it tends to get quite challenging when it comes to doing something out of the ordinary. And that’s what they master.

So to me, the main challenge was to create a presence that was equally inspiring and educational for Sicily That’s Amore to stand out. The experiences they offer can’t be found by travelers who search for destinations and activities on regular travel sites. They visit local farms, authentic restaurants and offer exeptional activivies adding their personal touch to them.

After a lot of reflection we’ve created a digital strategy aiming at collaborating with their partners and promoting UGC to amplify their message.

We also focused on improving their user journey by promoting their packages on social media and introducing e-commerce on their existing site. Pretty basic but a very important step for Sylvie and Luca.

In May we left to South Sicily for 4 days, to document and try out most of what they have to offer. We followed a detailed plan to cover as many places and activities as possible. We met incredible locals who told us beautiful stories we’ll soon be sharing on Sicily That’s Amore’s channels.

Sylvie and Luca’s knowledge and love for this place is what makes the whole difference between them and their competitors. It’s high-end and down to earth at the same time. A very unique experience.

I have to say that despite the long work hours, it felt so exciting that it made me want to do more of this.
Getting to learn so much about Sicilian culture from these 2 adorable people, was an amazing experience. I definitely fell in love with Sicily too.

We were pleased to launch their new content strategy and e-commerce site in September. Their 2018 packages are already available online. Wishing them a new year filled with bookings and inspiring new stories!

To learn more about Sicily That’s Amore follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Or head to their site. They’re also on Tripadvisor.

Kickstarter campaign, a first

Kickstarter campaign, a first

So back in March I had coffee with a friend and he told me he was launching a watch on Kickstarter. It was his first watch ever. He’s an architect who has a thing for watches, vintage car and airplanes. He showed me the prototypes and I quite loved them. Very minimalist, nicely designed, beautiful colors and genuine Italian leather straps.

Brainstorming with @direnzo_watches this afternoon. I see great things in your future 👁🔮👍🏻

A post shared by Clarissa Patrianova Valaeys (@clareeeesssa) on

I was really impressed he was able to do all that on his own, while working full time as an architect in Geneva. He took night classes to learn the principles of watchmaking, spent time designing them whenever he could, found vendors to produce them and made it happen with no one’s help.

That proves that when we put our hearts in what we do, nothing can stop us.

Since I’ve been working in the watchmaking business for quite a while now, I had the urge to help him launch his baby, and during 6 months we worked countless nights and weekends to create his Kickstarter campaign.

It was really exciting and challenging at the same time, given we had almost no budget. But we found other passionate people to give us a hand. Seems like everything falls into place when it’s a great project, with great potential.

Matt Goodman, a British filmmaker with whom I had worked in the past, agreed to be the director. Jennifer MacLeod, a Canadian producer with tons of experience helped us immensely with the cut/s, behind the scenes content and much more. Juan Ortega, another architect friend and fierce triathlete, kindly accepted to be our model. Mariano Godoy, created the track for the film and is coming up with a playlist for Direnzo’s community. Sergio Godoy, the founder and designer of Direnzo Watches, was our 3D designer, social media photographer, community manager, stylist, makeup artist, you name it 🙂  We all did our share with much love and dedication.

I’m very happy Direnzo has reached its pledged goal in 4 hours only on Kickstarter, and is still selling great. The campaign is ending in a few days. It is quite an achievement for a micro watch brand in a sea of other brands, specially in the era of smart watches. But I guess there will always be room for new exciting and stylish brands such as Direnzo.

I’ve learnt quite a lot during this whole process and will be involved in the creation of a new Direnzo model very soon.
Read more here.

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We don’t always get to choose our clients or projects but I’ve been rethinking my career and making a few changes in the way I work.

I’ve always wanted to make a difference, to help others and fulfill my life’s purpose. I know it sounds cliché but it’s the truth.

I’ve recently started creating mood boards about what I want to do in the next few years, thanks to a dear friend who gave me this brilliant idea. Besides I’m a mood board freak. All my projects start with a mood board, so why not plan my life that way?

Apart from my goals, wishes, plans, I wanted to have more work-life balance.

My mom is a social worker. She taught us how to care for others since we were little. But there are so many ways of giving back and what I’ve tried so far hasn’t really resonated with me.

I have always helped friends and family with design needs but it was little favors here and there. Nothing that impactful that could change their lives or mine,  and I wasn’t as dedicated as I should have been. I figured they shouldn’t complain if they were not paying.

But I’ve recently accepted to have parallel projects to help someone or a cause, that can benefit from my services, but can’t necessarily afford me. That’s the part of my mood board where work overlapped with making a difference. And so far these projects have come to me naturally. I have a few already lined up. And they’re all really exciting!



I want to introduce you to Ashok Sharma, our amazing tour guide in India. He’s been doing this for the past 25 years.

We were there earlier this year. It was the most unforgettable trip of your lives. He was able to accommodate all our requests, including stopping several times in the middle of nowhere for pictures, asking a family of gypsies to stop their camel caravan so we could meet them, getting custom-made clothing delivered to the restaurant we were eating at, etc. He surprised us day in, day out with unique experiences and his generosity.

He showed us anyone can be a tour guide but only a few can be extraordinary.

And that’s what I’m applying into my life. Anybody can do what I do but I want to excel because it doesn’t only fulfill me, it can make a real difference in someone’s life.

I grew up in Brazil and have seen lots of poverty, but India takes it to the next level.

Ashok was born in Kanpur, a large industrial city on the banks of the Ganges River. He had a tough childhood but he was given the opportunity to become a tuk tuk driver very early on and he’s been driving tourists ever since. He studied, he had a hard-working mom who till this day is his biggest inspiration. He lives in New Delhi with his family of 10.

He said he hopes he’s fulfilling his dharma (true life path). I’m sure he is.

Ashok reached out for help a few months back and despite my limited time I decided to lend him a hand with what I do best, branding and content creation.

Usually when I travel I take way too many pictures. In India it wasn’t any different. I normally post them on my @nouvellepatrie account to keep track of my travels. But this time around I’m glad I’ll be using them to help Ashok’s business reach travellers like me, searching for a tour guide like him.

So lack of time should never be an excuse. It’s always a matter of prioritising.

Check back soon for a sneak peek of the work I’m doing for Libera Tours India.

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