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    Bring back a skill, with exclusive workshops from around the world

    There’s more to holidays than sightseeing or scouting for that perfect souvenir. We suggest you pick up a skill that’ll last longer that the ubiquitious bottle of perfume or prohibitively expensive shoes. From whiskey making in Scotland to surfing in Portugal, here’s an interesting line-up of choices. And for all you offbeat hunters, there’s a class on becoming a Maasai warrior!

    Skills-1cMake maple syrup
    New Hampshire, USA
    With the coming of spring, New England begins a yearly ritual: of turning maple sap into syrup. Called ‘sugaring off’, it involves tapping the tree, collecting the sap, boiling the water out and devouring stacks of pancakes doused in the thick amber syrup. Head to the Rocks Estate, a non-profit conservation education centre in Bethlehem, where you can take a horse-drawn wagon tour of the estate’s 1,400 acres, learn to drill and tap a maple, observe a working sugarhouse and, finally, make your own syrup. Best time to visit: between March-April. At Rs. 10,500 onwards. Details: discoveramerica.com or info@therocks.org

    Create perfume
    Grasse, France
    In the midst of mimosas and orange blossoms, lose yourself in the art of perfume making at the perfume capital of the world, Grasse. Conducted by aromatherapy specialists, Caroline and Patricia, the three-day course will give you an understanding of a perfume’s top, middle and base notes, the different types of scents and their typical ingredients. The first session will start off with creating your own signature scent, followed by working with essential oils to craft your composition. Finally, you get to create and bottle your fragrance. Rs. 41,749 approximately (excluding airfare). Details: golearnto.com

    Feed a lion
    Gauteng Province, South Africa
    Feeding a lion or cleaning up after a hyena may not be a skill, but who cares? We say you can still plan a holiday around it. Volunteer atSkills-11 the Kevin Richardson Wildlife Sanctuary, located within the Dinokeng Game Reserve, and do your bit for the animals.  Besides maintaining the sanctuary, duties will involve walks with the lions, building toys for stimulation, preparing food for the animals, river clean-ups, antipoaching walks and more—enough to keep you busy from dawn to dusk. You can choose between several packages: from a minimum of seven nights to a maximum of 28 nights. From Rs. 71,064  onwards (excluding airfare). Details: lionwhisperer.co.za

    Distill whisky
    Campbeltown, Scotland
    Here’s a new way to get a high: learn to distill your own single malt. The Whisky School run by the Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown— about 240 kms from Glasgow—holds ‘five-day terms’ under the tutelage of their director of production, F

    rank McHardy, who brings with him 44 years of experience. Students get to work alongside the staff, learning the process—from malting through mashing, distilling and warehousing to bottling. From 8 am to 5 pm, classes are on Monday to Thursday, with a written exam on Friday morning, followed by a graduation lunch. At Rs. 88,769 per student, it also includes bed and breakfast, four packed lunches, and work wear. Details: whiskyschool@springbankwhisky.com

    Hand paint ceramic
    Holland
    The Royal Dutch Delftware Manufactory is the only remaining factory that specialises in manufacturing the hand-painted ceramic the region is renowned for. Their workshops include a brief history of the production of Blue Delft, a tour of the museum, and a visit to the factory to see the master painter at work. You can also spend five days learning how to create and customise your own pieces, by painting with special paint on ceramic wares. In their two-and-a-half hour workshops, master tile, decorative plate, Christmas bell/bauble, medallion and vase painting. From Rs. 2,965 onwards per person. Details: royaldelft.com

    Skills-5aRide a dog sled
    Arctic Circle
    Get hands-on experience of living at the Arctic Circle with a trip to the Harriniva Wilderness Hotel, which boasts of an Arctic Sled Dog Centre with over 400 huskies. The holiday—which takes you through the breathtaking beauty of Finland —will have you spending three to seven days on the trail with your very own team of dogs, staying in wilderness accommodations. Each participant gets their own dog team of four to six dogs to cover distances of about 40 kms daily. On day one, you will be given a full briefing on how to bond with the dogs and manoeuver the sled. You will have to ride your own sled throughout, although experts will be on hand to help. At Rs. 1,00,000 upwards for the trip (excluding airfare).
    Details: thewhitecircle.com

    Paint the encaustic way
    New Mexico, USA
    Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the US and a favourite haunt of artists, writers and chefs. At any given point in the year, you can attend dozens of classes, from oil painting to creative writing. But one of the most interesting is the Encaustic, or hot wax painting workshop with artist Ellen Koment, winner of the 2013 La Vendeene award for excellence in encaustic education. The three-day workshop will cover the basics: from making the paint and heating the beeswax to their application and techniques. At the end, you will leave with your work, a file on everything you covered and a list of suppliers. From Rs. 29,200 onwards. Details: discoveramerica.com

    Be a Maasai warrior
    Kenya
    Ever dreamed of travelling back in time and becoming a warrior? Now you can ditch your hunt for a time machine and catch a flight to Kenya to attend their Maasai warrior survivor training holiday. The course will give you an initiation into the customs and traditions of the tribe and equip you with skills to survive and protect yourself. In your open air classroom, you will be taught everything from Skills-2bhow to use a bow and arrow, make fire and create your own medicines for common illnesses like a cold to serious ones like malaria. At Rs. 1,08,750 for four days (introductory)  to Rs. 2,71,890 for 11 days (not including airfare). Details: bush-adventures.com

    Master the waves
    Baleal, Portugal
    This one’s ideal for young travellers looking for a fun holiday. The Baleal Surf Camp is run by a family of professional surfers. The four-day course (two hours a day) will cover everything from how to float, handle the board, positioning yourself at sea, techniques to clear break zones and dealing with white water. If you are already a surfer, the crew will take you to spots where you can test your skills. You will be kitted out in top quality Quiksilver wetsuits and they allow you to choose from over 73 boards of various sizes and brands. The timings vary through the year, according to weather and wave conditions. At Rs. 10,000 upwards (not including airfare). Details: balealsurfcamp.com

    Throw a boomerang
    Cairns, Australia
    Throwing a frisbee is passe, especially when you can handle a boomerang like a pro. At the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in Cairns, learn how to throw the aerofoil from a Tjapukai Aboriginal warrior. Besides mastering the art behind the returning boomerang, you can also learn another traditional throwing instrument, the spear called the Milay. Prior reservations are not required. At Rs. 2,255 per person. Details: bookings@tjapukai.com.au or australia.com

    —Team Indulge

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