This past week I had the incredible honor of traveling with Tegu's US cohort down to Honduras. I was tasked with documenting their trip and creating two special films, one about the Tegu World Cup and their "boundless play" philosophy, and another about the color story of Tegu toys. It was a whirlwind of a week, and I can't wait to get started on editing these stories together. I will be sure to share those as soon as they are completed, but for now, read on to find out a little bit more about what I've been up to.
I arrived on Monday morning, after a very early flight to Miami and then connection on to Tegucigalpa. My travel buddy and Tegu designer, Terra, and I were greeted by co-founder Chris Haughey. Chris took us on a bit of a tour of Tegucigalpa and then we headed to the soccer fields where the Tegu World Cup was getting underway. After an exciting day of soccer, family games and delicious, local Honduran faire, we headed into the city to meet the rest of Team Tegu who had unfortunately been delayed several hours. The first three nights we stayed at the lovely Humuya Inn. The first night was all excitement as everyone snacked, chatted, and got (re)acquainted. It was particularly special for me to see how passionate the team is about Tegu and particularly about their annual trip down to Honduras.
The team spent the next two days at "Manufactura Tegu," Tegu's factory just outside of the big city. I had a special opportunity to tour the factory and to learn about how Tegu Toys become Tegu Toys. It is a fascinating process and while some of the processes are top secret, I will say that the entire operation seems like a beautiful, perfectly synchronized waltz, and it was a dream to have the freedom to capture it exactly how I wanted. During filming I had a wonderful assistant, Catie, who is a former Tegu design intern. Having her there as a helping hand was invaluable. Really, the whole team was ready to pitch in at any second, and I am so grateful for their kindness, willingness to hold lights, and all the offers to help me cart around incredibly heavy bags. Our busy days also included tasty catered lunches of typical Honduran staples like rice, beans, chicken or pork, and of course, tortillas! On Tuesday night we had a lovely Italian dinner in the city and on Wednesday evening we shared a beautiful meal, hosted by Chris and Cindy Haughey at their home just outside the city.
On Thursday morning the team boarded an incredibly tiny plane that took us from the center of Honduras to a gorgeous town in the north of the country, La Ceiba. While in La Ceiba, we stayed at The Lodge at Pico Bonito. I don't think I've ever been surrounded by so much lush, natural beauty. After everyone arrived there were some important meetings to be had, so while the team met to discuss the future of Tegu, I took some time to get organized, start editing and of course, capture some of the otherworldly, natural beauty that surrounded us.
After several, long days of hard work, everyone was really looking forward to Friday's special excursion to white water rafting and zip lining. After much hesitation, I finally decided that I would use a special water proof case and bring my camera rafting. I said a little prayer and boarded the raft, hoping that the Amazon reviews about the bright orange Ziplock-bag-looking contraption were indeed correct. To my immense relief, my camera stayed dry and I had a blast rafting down the river capturing all the action. I never realized what a workout rafting is, it took more brain power that I had imagined to keep myself upright in the boat, but it sure was worth it! After a two-hour rafting trip we went for a canopy tour. It was a thrilling and very interesting experience. It was fun being able to capture the team swinging through the trees - a lá George of the Jungle. We enjoyed several meals in La Ceiba, including lots of baleadas, and one night ventured to a delicious, local seafood restaurant where just before our departure we were treated to some "guifiti." It was a lovely gesture of hospitality and fun to try.
After an exhilarating, but very exhausting few days, we headed to bed so that we might be up in time to catch our ferry from La Ceiba to Roatán. The ferry ride was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Let's just say I was beyond thankful to see dry land after the 2-hour aquatic journey. Our last two days in Roatán were an absolute delight! We stayed in gorgeous villas on Pristine Bay, surrounded by breathtaking views of the Caribbean. While in Roatán, some of us went snorkeling and deep sea fishing, some relaxed by the beach, piña coladas in hand, while the more athletically inclined of the bunch went for long jogs, played rounds of golf and enjoyed a few friendly games of tennis. The time we spent laughing in the pool or chatting in the evening was so special, and I can't think of a better way for this phenomenal experience to come to a close.
I truly could not have wished for a more awesome group of individuals to spend this past week with. I would like to especially thank the team responsible for coordinating all the travel and accommodations, without them we'd (or at least I would) likely be lost in a tropical forest, attempting to make friends with large jungle cats. In some regards I felt like a little kid at summer camp, loving life and cultivating lasting relationships. Having seen first-hand the tremendous work that Tegu is doing, I encourage everyone to check them out and to buy lots and lots to Tegu toys for everyone they know!