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Island Hopping with Jahnavi Sievert

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Mana Culture Owner Jahnavi Sievert shares her favorite travel destinations.

By Mikaila Rushing, Photos courtesy of Jahnavi Sievert

In a small town in Costa Rica, Jahnavi Sievert and her husband, Jonathan, are woken by the sounds of frogs outside their window. They slip out of bed, pick up the frogs with a nearby bucket and drive to the top of the hill to relocate them.

Sievert, the owner of boho-chic boutique Mana Culture, is no stranger to travel. She was born in London and moved to Malaysia in kindergarten, and while she was young at the time, Sievert has never forgotten the wonder she felt living there, surrounded by nature, temples and marble streets.

“One of my favorite experiences when I was young was the feeling of getting off the airplane and knowing that everything was different,” Sievert says.

Sievert’s parents moved to the United States when she was still in elementary school, but she never lost her love for other cultures. When she was 22 years old and home for the summer from Alabama State University, she took a trip to Hawaii, and immediately fell in love with the culture and landscape. Much like when she was younger, Sievert stepped off the plane and was suddenly hit with the same feeling she cherished in Malaysia.  

Sievert and her family in Hawaii

“I think it just felt like home when I got there,” Sievert recalls.

When Sievert headed back to Alabama for her next semester of college, her heart remained in Hawaii. She placed a picture of the islands in a plastic jar and slowly saved enough money to return for Christmas break, except this time, Sievert remained in Hawaii and found work at a jewelry store.

Sievert has always had a passion for designing jewelry but had never sold many of her own pieces. That all changed when she and her husband decided to move to Austin after six years in Hawaii. Sievert began selling her pieces on South Congress Avenue and watched her business grow. Mana Culture now has three brick-and-mortar locations.

In each of her locations, Sievert is dedicated to carrying jewelry inspired by an array of cultures. Traveling is still a priority for her and her family, and it’s not uncommon for staff members to come along on their trips.

“We’re trying to make it a lifestyle job instead of a job that you just show up for,” Sievert says.

Here are Sievert’s top recommendations for your next getaway:  

  1. Hawaii. Sievert still loves Hawaii. She suggest skipping the tourist traps and going on a hike on the Kalalau Trail. It’s an excellent trip to take with a significant other, and the trail takes at least a day to complete, as it is 22 miles in total. The trail is meant for experienced hikers, but if you’re up for the challenge, there is some real majesty to be found in the Hawaiian mountains.
  2. Costa Rica. For Sievert, Costa Rica is one of the best destinations for those wanting to travel abroad with young kids. Her own sons, currently 6 years old and 4 years old, love walking the Costa Rican beaches. She and her family often stay in a Manzanillo, a village not far from the beach town of Santa Teresa.
  3. Bali. Sievert believes Bali to be one of the best places in the word for surfing. She and her family often stay in Uluwatu, at Mama Jenny’s, a homestay built on a cliff. There is a beautiful temple nearby with monkeys at the top.
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