Treehouse in Taznania, lake manyara safari

Hi, I’m Misha. Welcome to my luxury wilderness travel blog.

I seek out intimate luxury travel experiences that provide guests with a deep connection to nature. Whether it be a wilderness lodge, wildlife safari, guest ranch, or farm stay, I will show you the best that each outdoor-focused destination has to offer.

An Interview with Vanessa Rivers

This week’s adventure babe is surf instructor & eco swimwear designer, Vanessa Rivers. Vanessa is also a world traveler and author of the blog Glitter & Mud.


Most biographical write-ups speak of what a person has accomplished in their past, or what things they like, or some other external factors. But I believe what really makes someone who they are, is what’s on the inside. And so I have some personal words about this weeks adventure babe, Vanessa Rivers, that I would like to share with you before you read her interview below.

Vanessa Rivers and I met in Santa Barbara ten years ago and instantly hit it off. From the start, we shared the same sense of humor, as well as the same drive to be adventurous and enjoy life to its fullest. Even better than that, Vanessa is the type of girl who is happy to do anything or go anywhere. She is always positive and chooses to live her life looking towards the light instead of the dark. She is kind, generous, helpful, and honest; always willing to lend a hand. When I think of Vanessa, I think of bright yellow happy flowers, which is why this image of her up top really resonates with me.

Vanessa is an authentic person who truly cares about others and would do anything for the people she loves. Making new friends wherever she goes, she works her magic in just the right way as to leave a long lasting smile across everyone’s faces.

Vanessa is a hot blonde who can rock any bikini but she remains down to earth and never lets anything go to her head. Coming from someone who has personally witnessed Vanessa jumping through hoops and over hurdles to achieve her dreams, I’ve come to the conclusion that she is someone who is truly unbreakable: a strong and smart woman, who is taking on the world one eco bikini and one destination at a time. Big credits to her mother, whom I’m sure was just as strong a woman as she. Sadly, Vanessa lost her to cancer years ago.

On a happier note, I’m honored to be able to call someone like Vanessa my best friend. It must’ve been in God’s plans for us to remain close lifelong friends because Vanessa has fallen in love with, and recently married, my husband’s best friend. Though they currently reside in London, the four of us make plans to see each other quite often, meeting up at all different ends of the earth.

Stay tuned to see Vanessa and I on our big road trip adventure through Canada in just 2 weeks. (scroll down to read the interview)

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A short video of Vanessa & I being our usual dorky selves

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1) What made you decide to start a bikini line?
“I grew up on a solar-powered eco ranch in San Luis Obispo. My stepfather, Todd Fisher, also had the first electric car in the county and he instilled an awareness in me that we must all do our part to protect the earth. Surfing is another one of my passions, and has led me around the world looking for waves. After I graduated from UC Santa Barbara I spent a few months in Hawaii and found myself in bikinis every day, but I could not find a cute swimsuit that was eco-friendly and functional. So I began working on a line of stylish, affordable swimsuits, made in the U.S.A. out of luxe, high performance recycled fabric. After years of works (lots of trial and error! lol) SUMMERLOVE SWIMWEAR was born!”

2) What made you decide to start a travel blog?
“I have always loved traveling and have been lucky to get to travel a lot in my life, first cheaply sleeping in surf hostels or my surfboard bag on the beach. And now I do a lot of trips with my husband Steve, who also loves to travel. So started as a way for me to share my adventures and inspire others. Traveling is the best thing you can do for yourself. I am so humbled each time I set foot in a new place on this beautiful earth!”

3) What are your favorite ways to “get wild” when you travel? (surfing, snowboarding, skiing, hiking, nightlife, etc.)

“Surfing and snowboarding are my two favorite sports on earth!! I LOVE going off snowboarding jumps so I guess that is “wild” in a way! LOL (Here’s a video). I also like to hike and run. I’ll do just about anything to get outside in fresh air!”

4) You’ve been all over the world. Where is your favorite place so far? Is there an experience that stands out in your mind over everything else? We’d love to hear about it.

“One of my favorite trips of all time was our Yacht Week trip, sailing through Greece last summer! We had an all girls boat and every girl was so cool and fun. I did Cliff jumping and that was beyond scary, but thrilling! I also loved our stay at Nikki Beach Porto Heli. I am hoping to go back there again this fall! I love Greece! I feel bad their country is having such a hard time right now. I think it’s important that travel bloggers continue to visit and share stories from their travels there to encourage people to visit, which will help the economy. It’s such a gorgeous country!”

5) Which blogs / influencers do you follow?

“I love many blogs but right now I am especially loving Jinna lost her father two years ago and went on a journey around the world in his honor. Her story is very touching and resonated with me having lost my mom to cancer when I was 25. I love blogs that are real and raw and full of emotion. Jinna really wears her heart on her sleeve and shares not just her travels, but a piece of herself with her readers. It is not an easy thing to open your heart to the world.”

6) Do you have any special travel tips you’d like to share with my readers?

“The best travel advice I can give is do research! Get a sense of the big picture of where you are going and what you want to see and do when you arrive. Sometimes it is OK have no plans but if you are in a place for only a day or two you need to know the import sights to see and stuff you want to do ahead of time and make a plan for doing them so when you arrive you are ready to go explore!”

7) Advice for anyone considering starting up a travel blog?

“Never give up!! It takes some writers only months to get a successful blog going and others years! If you start a blog and love writing don’t give up. You will be surprised how much your writing and techniques will improve over time.”

“Also take a travel writers workshop! I just took one last week and left thinking wow I wish I would have done one sooner. I learned so much!”

8) What’s next on your travel agenda and what’s at the top of your bucketlist?

“I am going on a girls trip to Canada in two weeks and I can’t wait.! I’ve never been to Canada and am very excited to spend time with my girlfriends. We are flying into Vancouver and spending a couple days in Whistler at an Inspirato house and then going on a road trip to Banff! I love mountains, lakes and rivers. As kid I spent, my summers in Montana at my grandpa’s house so I feel content and happy in the great outdoors.”

9) What’s up next for Glitter&Mud and the direction you would like to take your blog?

“I plan to write more about surfing and snowboarding in the future. I haven’t found many travel blogs that cover surf and snow destinations around the world so I would like to offer that to my readers.”

10) Tell us some fun facts about yourself that people may not know.

“Peanut Butter is my favorite food on the planet and I especially love peanut butter ice cream!”

“…and I love pot-bellied pigs and am obsessed with @prissy_pig!! I had a pet pot-bellied pig named Pinkers, growing up on the ranch. I have been living in London the last three years and we don’t have room for pets at our flat, but when I move back to California I am getting another pot-bellied pig! So if you see a blonde girl in an eco bikini, walking a pig on the beach, that will probably be me!”


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  • Mish!! Of course you made me cry reading this! I love you bigger than the sky!!!! And then you made me die of embarrassment. I forgot just how dorky that box sliding video is!!! Haha!! Miss you so much! See you in Canada! Woohoo!

    August 18, 2015

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