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Greatest Benefit of Long Term Family Travel?:

June 13th, 2018


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Greatest Benefit of Long Term Family Travel?

There are so many benefits to long
 term travel that it is hard to narrow
 it down to just one "greatest benefit". 





Greatest Benefit of Long Term Family Travel?  swimming with dolphins in Key Largo open ocean
There are so many benefits to long term travel that it is hard to narrow it down to just one "greatest benefit". It has been the best possible education for Mozart, plus taking the time to allow her to be fluent as well as literate in Mandarin and Spanish added life-long benefits. We all learned so much from traveling and experiencing our world deeply. Even though I had done extensive travel before our world trip, our ten-year family world-journey changed me and us forever. 

Greatest Benefit of Long Term Family Travel?  exploring Shanghai
Our travels ( and our blog) have slowed down now that Mozart has moved onto pursuing her acting career and singing and songwriting ( as well as a musician who plays five instruments).  Her world schooling allowed her to graduate high school at 14 and start college as well as her career very early. She is working with Grammy-winning producer Mikal Blue and will soon release her debut EP and album and those things take considerable time, focus and effort. Los Angeles is the mecca for TV, film and music, so it is our base for now and we're enjoying this new unique adventure. She has much to give to the world and our travels had a big part in that as well as her life-view that there are no limitations. 

Santorini, Greece relaxing as a family
But this change has also given us time and the perspective to think about our decade of non-stop travel and how that has impacted Mozart and each one of us. Because she has taken an early college and career track, we see how much it is now and will continue to affect her life's journey. Languages and travel opens one's mind and possibilities. 

Greatest Benefit of Long Term Family Travel?  Forbidden City in Beijing
The greatest benefit of long term family travel? The TIME we had together to enjoy each other, see the world, and just all the time to bond through adventures as well as just hanging out. Since we are older parents, one of our biggest motivations for our world tour was to not miss a moment with our one-and-only child, since childhood passes so quickly, and our travel really helped us do that, more than we ever expected. No matter how foreign or surprising our ever-changing exhilarating environment was, we always had the close, loving bond of our family-unit to anchor us. We thrived on being together 24/7 all 365 days a year.
Greatest Benefit of Long Term Family Travel?  Mozart Dee relaxing in Bora Bora
Mozart grew up around the world with two stay-at-home-parents and world-schooling, so had more time with us than most kids ever get and that keeps us very close even today when we are on the much more sped up. fast-track of typical life in America. TIME is the greatest gift we are given in this life, so we do sometimes long for those endless-summer, care free days and truly cherish that gift we gave to ourselves. Ten amazing years of living-in-the moment and having boundless freedom to create each day as we pleased. As glorious as all the sights were, and all the freedom, all that TIME together was the greatest benefit. 






Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity:

December 20th, 2017

Unnamed-6Inspiration & Resilience Through
Tragedies & Adversity

It's been an unbelievable year, from politics
to fires, hurricanes and floods, yet I found
the heartfelt inspiration of firemen gathering 



firemen honoring process for firefighter Cory Iverson
It's been an unbelievable year, from politics to fires, hurricanes and floods, yet I found the heartfelt inspiration of firemen gathering on overpasses to pay tribute to fallen firefighter Cory Iverson ( a  procession from Ventura to his home in San Diego), so perfectly symbolic of the love, strength and gratitude that demonstrates the resilience we are all being gifted. 

"Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you." L.R.Knost

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  Fires, Floods 2017
Yes, it is gut-wrenchingly tragic that he died in the Thomas Fire at just 32 and left behind a pregnant wife and two year old child, so that makes me weep. We have endless friends who were evacuated, some lost homes. Horrible. We woke up startled at five A.M. the first morning of the fires in early December to heavy smoke odor, alarmed that our own house was on fire even though we were far away in Santa Monica near the sea breezes. A few months ago, my brother's family home was flooded waist-high in Houston and they had to be rescued and evacuated, then my family and friends in Miami had to be evacuated. 

These tragedies affect all of us and we mourn the losses and senseless destruction. One day we are on the 101 shown in this photo and admiring the beauty of California, then the next we see this dreamlike photo of a fire-y commute, yet just a few days later we were on it and it looked perfectly normal again. Surreal times of big changes. 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  Firefighters Thomas Fire

Mozart has been very busy with her acting work and in the recording studio with Grammy-winning producers, so life goes on and we haven't had that much time to absorb it all. Tragedies hit very randomly so even people involved in an area will have very different experiences, a lesson I learned in the 7.2 San Francisco earthquake when I happened to be in a place hit very, very hard where it looked and sounded like the end of the world, and many died, ( gave me PTSD for years) yet, some were lucky enough to be in an area like driving in a spot where they didn't even know it happened!! My brother has lived through several hurricanes and floods in Houston, yet his house never flooded until this one, but I also had friends in Houston who were not affected and some who had less flood damage like his daughter's house nearby, 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  Firefighters Thomas Fire
I'd read about Cory Iverson, but didn't know about the firemen's custom of honoring the fallen this way. My sister's brother-in-law from Northern California is fighting this fire as is another old friend who has a daughter Mozart went to school with in Santa Cruz and we have stayed in touch with over the years. We see it all on Facebook and keep these people and all those fighting and affected by the fires or floods in our prayers. Another friend is a helicopter pilot who helps with fires around the world. This photo captures the exhaustion of the hero firefighters in the Thomas Fire ( posted by @cookiesinheaven  on Twitter). 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  firefighters heroes 2017
We'd gotten up early on Sunday to drive to Agoura for a photography session for Mozart to be ready for pilot season coming up in January. On the way there, we could still see and smell smoke in the far distance as the fires continue ( now 55% contained), but otherwise seemed like an ordinary day. 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity Firefighters Thomas Fire 2017
On our way home, we became part of the procession honoring Corey Iverson. ( Photo posted by @AlSeibPhoto on Twitter) It was accidental and extraordinary. Such a powerful and deeply touching experience that defines 2017. 

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  firefighters heroes 2017 Thomas Fire
You can help his pregnant wife and child here. https://www.gofundme.com/nmkkc-for-ashley-iverson-and-her-girls 


Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  firefighters Thomas Fire 2017
Who could not be impressed by these brave men who risk their lives to save others? When I see tragedies, I always think of the famous Fred Roger's quote:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity firefighters Thomas Fire 2017 Heroes
 Be it  fires, or floods or whatever tragedy and adversary we must face in life, I choose to see the good and there has indeed been so many heroes in 2017. So much to be grateful for always and no matter what. Let's honor them all. 

My friends Terry Tillman ( that I have known for over 35 years) and his wife Keidi Keating with their toddler son, had to escape and evacuate their home in Ojai without much warning. As they drove away from the smoke, they had a brilliant insight to write a book, an inspiring guide for anyone who has experienced a natural disaster, whether personally, or through a fire, a flood, a hurricane, or an earthquake. One title idea for the book is 'The Light in the Flames: Blessings Received and Lessons Learned from the Thomas Fire.'

Inspiration & Resilience Through Tragedies & Adversity  fires & floods 2017
Despite the many hardships of this year, life goes on and we get stronger and more resilient, more woke, more grateful and inspired by the every day heroes all around us. God Bless all the firefighters and first responders. God Bless all the heart activists. God Bless the "Silence Breakers" who were the 2017 Time Magazine's Person of the Year and the #MeToo movement. 

There is much to be proud of and inspired by in 2017, so I look forward to 2018 as LOVE is louder than all the rest. We just have to open our eyes to it and trust all is unfolding perfectly and leading us to where we need to go.


                                                Be the change that you wish to see in the world. 
                                                                     -Mahatma Gandhi



Mozart Dee Sings Christmas Song on Good Day LA & More!:

December 12th, 2017

CW9wTiHUsAA2nZ0Mozart Dee Sings Christmas
Songs on Good Day LA & More!

If you want to get into that
holiday season mood, watch
Mozart Dee sing on Good Day LA 

Mozart Dee Sings Christmas Song on Good Day LA & More!
If you want to get into that holiday season mood, watch Mozart Dee sing on Good Day LA with her prestigious National Children's Choir! She performed last week with Grammy-winning composer and conductor Eric Whitacre at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the LA Master Chorale and will again this weekend. 



She loves being in this choir and even sang at Carnegie Hall with them in NYC. They are preforming "Winter's Dream" at Royce Hall at UCLA on January 13th. 

One of the great things about having a singer/songwriter &  musician in the family, is all the beautiful Christmas music we hear now, so let me share a little with you. Here Mozart sings "Santa Baby":

She loves to perform all year long, but even more so in this joyous season. Here is a Christmas Medley we did for Youtube from her many Holiday performances at Six Flags!



Mozart has come a long way from those early preschool years singing as she cuts down the family Christmas tree and making up songs at four as she decorates the tree, ....to now working in an amazing 10,000 square foot recording studio with Grammy-winning producer Mikal Blue at Revolver Recordings preparing her debut EP that will be released soon! 



Who is ready for the Holidays and what are your plans? Wishing you and yours a most spectacular time full of love, family and friends and a very exciting New Year ahead!



Mozart Dee Sings on "Born This Way" TV Show!:

November 16th, 2017

O88A5261Mozart Dee sings on
"Born This Way" TV show!

Singer-songwriter & actress Mozart
Dee was thrilled to appear & sing
on the Emmy-winning A&E TV show



mozart Dee Sings on "Born This Way" TV Show at Le PeTiT CiRqUe
Singer-songwriter & actress Mozart Dee was thrilled to appear and sing on the Emmy-winning A&E TV show "Born This Way" filmed at a spectacular fundraising event at the amazing Le Petit Cirque in Los Angeles!

Mozart Dee singing on TV show "Born This Way"
Teen prodigy Mozart worked in the recording studio with multi- grammy winning producers Charlie Midnight (James Brown, Hilary Duff) and Jan Fairchild (Mos Def, Gwen Stefani) who created the inspiring featured song "United We Stand For Love" that she sang with Nation XO on the show. 

Mozart Dee Sings on "Born This Way" TV Show!
The show was also a sold-out fundraiser to help LeapsnBoundz and spread the message of inclusion. Susanna Midnight and Nathalie Yves Gaulthier teamed together to create entertainment that inspires and changes the world. 

Mozart Dee Sings on "Born This Way" TV Show!
It was a very heart-touching show with the cast of Born This Way ( which features seven young adults born with Down syndrome) and circus performing children from Las Vegas, LA, and Utah along with Mozart and the Nation XO girls. 

Mozart Dee Sings on "Born This Way" TV Show!
One cast member of the show, Elena, who is half Japanese and half Australian, played traditional Japanese Taiko drums magnificently and each one touched the audiences hearts. 

Mozart Dee Sings on "Born This Way" TV Show at Le PeTiT CiRqUe
Mozart had a great time from the moment she arrived backstage in the beautiful green room. 

Mozart Dee sings on "Born This Way" TV Show at Le PeTiT CiRqUe
Just watching the children who are amazing circus performers warm up, stretch and get their costumes on...

Mozart Dee sings with  Le PeTiT CiRqUe
....as well as exotic make up done was super entertaining! Like having a birds eye view to a whole new world.

Mozart Dee Sings on "Born This Way" TV Show at Le PeTiT CiRqUe
The packed, sold-out house loved the show and Mozart and the other girls in Nation XO were all part of the stupendous 

Mozart Dee Sings on TV Show "Born This Way" at Le PeTiT CiRqUe
finale with their song "United We Stand For Love" and joined by the cast of "Born This Way" 

mozart Dee Sings on "Born This Way" TV Show at Le PeTiT CiRqUe
and the Le PeTIT CiRqUe artists who used sign language to the song that she and Nation XO were singing. 

mozart Dee Sings on TV show "Born This Way" at Le PeTiT CiRqUe
Truly an exhilarating "inclusive" night full of love and inspiration for all involved and we were grateful Mozart was part of this. When I get the exact air date I will add this to this post. So many exciting opportunities are coming Mozart's way, so stay tuned! 




Soultravelers3 Wins Another Top Travel Blog Award!:

November 7th, 2017

Travel-blogs-badgeSoultravelers3 Wins Another
Top Travel Blog Award!


We're so grateful that Soultravelers3 
has made so many Top 100 Travel Blog 
lists and just got another one!


Soultravelers3 wins another top travel blog award!


 We're so grateful that Soultravelers3 has made so many Top 100 Travel Blog lists   & awards and just got another one!

Not only has Soultravelers3 been featured in the New York Times, ST3 won two Lonely Planet Travel Awards,   starred on a BBC travel show and we were also featured on a Huffington viral Post, thanks to Tim Ferriss who has featured us as a Case Study in the new edition of The 4-Hour Workweek....to name just a few.  

( The 4HourWorkWeek is a mega hit that was on the NYTimes best selling list for over seven years). 



  Nick Bowditch,Australia's Family Travel Expert, called us " pioneers in both family travel and blogging and micro-blogging about it."

There are so many travel blogs on the internet now, so it is an honor to be chosen. Check out this great Top 100 Travel Blog list at smartlad.

Mozart Dee exploring Europe and the world at five

From traveling the world together non-stop for a decade, starting when Mozart was five as we explored Europe while she gained full literacy in Spanish...

Mozart Dee in China at 12
to jumping for joy in Beijing, China at the Forbidden Palace as we explored Asia while Mozart added total fluency & literacy in Mandarin Chinese.....

Mozart Dee road trip across USA at 14
..to road tripping across the USA  to explore her own country deeply from "sea to shining sea" ...

Mozart Dee with sunflowers in London at 16

 ...to traveling all over Europe this summer for Mozart's solo pop concert tour and Keynote Speech, we've learned so much and have had so much fun sharing all we learn and experience with you our wonderful readers!

Feeling so much gratitude for all of you and all the adventures along the way. 



Heroes, Travel and Gratitude!:

October 20th, 2017

UnnamedHeroes, Travel and Gratitude!

Have you noticed that every trip 
is heroic and every travel adventure 
involves heroes and deep gratitude? 

Heroes, Travel and Gratitude!

Have you noticed that every trip is heroic and every travel adventure involves heroes and deep gratitude? That's been true for our many journeys on our world tour, but even more so on our recent summer in Europe, once-in-a-lifetime mother-daughter trip that was  the #MozartIgniteTour!

Heroes, Travel and Gratitude!

We have so many heroes to thank because they went way above and beyond all expectations and keep us glowing in happy memories and lifetime gratitude, long past our adventure together. 

Heroes, Travel and Gratitude!  Mozart & Digital Maverick

First and foremost is our friend and educator,  Drew Buddie (or as we've known him as for over a decade on twitter, @digitalmaverick).He is a wonderful and creative human being! What is mind-boggling about this trip is just how many people that I have been connected with for a long time online, but never met in person, until this trip. Drew helped Mozart get some English books for a CTY class when she was 7 and wintering in Spain just because he saw her need from a tweet I sent out. I am always in awe of the beautiful souls we attract to us and their outstanding kindness and generosity. 

He also invited her to speak at the NAACE conference and at a TED Talk, which were precursors for her 25 minute keynote speech in the UK this summer. He helped connect us to Martin Baily and invited us to stay at his enchanting home in London. The photo above is us getting dinner before Mozart performed in London as well as another dear friend from London (that I have known since 1988 when I stayed with her after a trip to Russia), fashion designer, Louise Lautman who joined us. 

Heroes, Travel and Gratitude!  Mozart Dee and Martin Baily

Educator Martin Baily ( @animate2educate) was stupendous in creating the Tech on the Tyne events at the prestigious Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art and a joy to work with. He was the one who created this large Ed Tech Conference and asked Mozart to be a Keynote  Speaker and flew us over there, thus the catalyst for our whole trip! 

He also had her sing at the Talk on the Tyne event and at the Lanchester Endowed Parochial Primary School, which was a spectacular experience as it was Mozart's first at a school and thus so enlightening at what a great fit that was as they loved each other and it was golden moment in time inspiring Mozart to do more of that in the future. 

French friends and travel to France

Our trip to Edinburgh was on our own, but when we took the Eurostar to Paris, we were blessed by being met by French/English translator extraordinaire, Nadine Touzet which was wonderful and  made it much easier for Mozart to buy the Eurail tickets we needed  onto southern France &  Spain at the station. We last saw her when Mozart was 10, so much to catch up on. I first met her about 10 years ago on Twitter and Facebook through common interests. 

Travel to  Provence with Mozart Dee

Corinne Russo is a wonderous new friend ( but introduced to us by an old friend I've known for over a decade on Twitter  Claude Benard who is a contributor on tnoos and runs hotelitour). She lives in the Luberon in Provence as has her family for generations and has done tourism here for twenty years, so no one could do it better. 

Mozart Dee singing  in Provence - rehearsal


We had the full Provence experience to the nth degree with so much heart and creativity and stayed at extraordinary places like  La Gloriette B&B   in Apt and the hotel Mas de Grés where Mozart performed. She even got the sound equipment for us and set it up as her brother is a musician! 

Claude Benard at Marseille station

When we left the Luberon, we headed south by high-speed TGV train to the romantic Saint Charles Station poised high on a hill with sweeping views of majestic Marseille including Notre Dame de la Garde in the distance. There we were met by my long time Twitter friend ( who I had never met in person) Claude Benard who helped us navigate down the ornate, grand staircase and get settled into our vacation apartment nearby as the owner did not speak English. He made our whole time in France flow beautifully. 

traveling to Marseille

Our next step was Barcelona which has been one of our "homes" and bases for many years. One of the things that makes it so special are dear friends who live nearby the luxury campsite where we stay. Mozart and their daughter met when they were about 7 or 8 and have remained friends and they love to travel as much we do, so we bonded as families, even though we communicate in Spanish and mine is horrible. Our kids translate when needed! 




We keep in touch from time to time via Skype and FaceTime between our travels and we once even got a Barcelona police escort upon our return to the campsite after many months away. The girls have endless memories of playing together every summer at the kids club, pools and riding their bikes all around exploring. 

Mozart Dee and friend in Barcelona

We would often have lunch or dinner together and talk into the night as the girls played. Now they are almost grown, both great students, happy trilingual teens with bright futures ahead. We often did "long stays" here in spring and fall when we lived in Europe and this generous and loving family helped to make it home for us!

travel friends

Luckily, the dad in the family was on vacation when we arrived and he went way out of his way to make our stay spectacular. He even keeps an eye on our camper van stored nearby and he took us there. It was a thrill for Mozart to see it again after so many years, like a dinosaur frozen in time these last five years, all our things just as we left them, reminding us of that happy time. 

Dinner with friends making paella in Spain

They invited us for dinner again as we did in the past, as both families love food and their homemade Valencica paella is a legend for us that we adore. Years ago, we taught them how to make home made sushi that we had to invent on the road and they turned us onto Spanish treats. 

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Sadly, I some how didn't get a photo of the beautiful mom to this clan this time as we were so busy just enjoying ourselves, but you can see her joy and sweetness in this photo from our blog when our kids were younger at our favorite campsite nearby their home. 

Mozart Dee with Chris & Michelle Chaplow

One of the best resources for us before we started our world travel to help us pick our village in Spain was the amazing website Andalucia.com. We got to know Chris Chaplow and Michelle from twitter conversations and we are super impressed with this amazing couple and grateful we got to meet them on this trip in person. 

Chris Chaplow from Andalucia.com

They are brilliant, super talented, super kind,  hardworking "doers" from Britain who have traveled the world and made Andalucia their home for the last twenty years.  Interestingly,  Michelle grew up in the Newcastle area in the UK where we started our trip, so even advised us on that. 

Michelle Chaplow


Michelle Chaplow is a gifted photographer of luxury & historic hotels and founder of Hotel Essence Photography. We were so blessed to have this bilingual pro team sponsoring Mozart and helping us with arrangements at the gorgeous  Fuerte Hotel and La Casa in the Torrox Pueblo for Mozart's performances that made Andalucia one of the best stops on our tour. 

Marianne of East of Malaga and Jeanne Dee in Spain

Chris also reconnected us to Marianne from the blog  East of Malaga ( criminal lawyer turned travel blogger) and I know her from many  lovely conversations we'd have online at StumbleUpon in my early years of blogging. They've all been big fans of Mozart's and it was Marianne's idea to connect us with La Casa as she had done a UK travel show with them about hotels. Small world! So lovely to finally meet her and her husband and enjoy Mozart's performance together over a great meal in Andalucia! 

Mozart Dee with Swedish friends in Costa Brava

I met Jessica from Sweden around 25 years ago when I was looking online for a Swedish penpal for my sweet eighty year old neighbor who was born in Sweden. She and I just hit it off despite me being a generation older and we developed a relationship through long emails when the internet was young. Now she is a psychologist and entrepreneur doing great work. 

We happened to have children around the same time so we have been blessed to spend time with them at their enchanting Swedish home and on the road vacationing together in Barcelona . She connected us with a fantastic new Gäst  B&B in Costa Brava run by a family they have known for years. There were five teens there and they had a very special time together while we parents relaxed.  

Travel and gratitude

Thus the anatomy of a "wing it" trip and how heroes come to the rescue and bring their skills, love, ideas and energy to create perfection. We couldn't have asked for a more magical trip for fun and Mozart's first European solo concert tour. It does take a village to raise a child and I am endlessly grateful for the wondrous souls that we attract around the world as "our village" thanks to social media and time in person!  

Have you ever had travel heroes? 



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Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain:

September 30th, 2017

DD9qURjWAAE9eBbBack to the Most Beautiful
Village in Spain

One of the joys of our mother-daughter
European trip this summer, was returning
to Spain and our gorgeous white village 

 Most Beautiful Village in Spain

One of the joys of our mother-daughter European trip this summer, was returning to Spain and our gorgeous white village where Mozart went to school for five months in the winters from first through fourth grade

Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain

It's been voted the prettiest village in Andalucia by the Spanish Tourism Authority and is about an hour's drive east of Malaga and also about an hour from Granada. This is the first time we'd ever been there in the summer, but we know it's falls, winters and springs well. 

Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain

It's a sugar cube style, hill top,  white village surrounded by green hills, huge mountains, blue skies and views to the nearby sea. 

Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain

One drives up a windy road to arrive at this ancient village, originally built by the Moors where Jews, Arabs and Christians lived together peacefully for 800 years. I still find it breath-taking when one rounds certain bends on the way there and capture peeks of "our village".  

Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain




One thing wonderful about visiting and living in this white village is most of it is all walkable, cobblestone streets and stairs where no cars can go.....


 Most Beautiful Village in Spain

...and the views are always spectacular. 

Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain

 This view was from a shop and little restaurant where we rested for a while and ate the delicious local food. So many happy memories of these kind of simple pleasures. 

Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain

One of the idiosyncratic delights of this village is when a rare car or truck makes it's way down one of the narrow, cobblestone streets.  Daily life is a walking life here, usually car free, but in a few places like this, one has to sometimes deal with a vehicle through these narrow, ancient passage ways. The local way of handling this is to  pause in some strangers door ( usually left open in Spain) until the vehicle passes. I had missed this every day odd ritual. 

 Most Beautiful White Village in Spain

 Even just a truck going through the village is a unique moment, not to mention just taking in the beauty all around as one strolls around the village surrounded by mountains. 

Mozart Dee in Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain

 There are two large parks for the kids, so of course, Mozart wanted to visit the park where she spent many hours playing with friends during those years not so long ago. 

Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain

As well as just walking around the village with all the locals which is a lifestyle we miss. All of life takes place in these ancient roads, from daily grocery shopping and errands, to every festival filled with people and even every funeral where the locals walk from one end of the village to the other, starting in the church square. 

Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain

Life goes at a very different pace in a little village in Spain than it does in our hectic life of late based in Santa Monica, California with all the traffic and fast moving music and acting business she is in now. 

Back to the Most Beautiful Village in Spain

 Beautiful Andalusian horses and some with wagons are still daily parts of village life in Spain as you can see looking down on the one paved road that circles around the town. It is still a farming village for many, so seeing sheep, oxen and horses from nearby farms is nothing out of the ordinary. 

 Most Beautiful Village in Spain

There are record amounts of  wonderful restaurants with all kinds of food and since their is sun 300 days out of the year, sitting outside in the sun or under an umbrella is de rigueur. 

Frigiliana - Most Beautiful Village in Spain


 When we left, I had to look again at this beautiful view of mountains, sky and "our village" that has always pleased me so and now has made a permanent impression on my heart. This will always be a home we love and we carry it with us. 

 Most Beautiful Village in Spain

 Mozart had fun meeting up with friends she went to school with like this young boy and her best girl friend as they wandered down roads where they ran free together for so many years, went to the local school and participated in the many festivals together. There are not that many opportunities for young people in a small village, so many may move on to other places soon, thus sixteen turned out to be an ideal age to visit, connect and learn what is eternal and the same about village life and how time has also changed things.



Visit Edinburgh at Fringe Festival or Not:

September 10th, 2017

O88A4591Visit Edinburgh at Fringe Festival or Not

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of the
biggest celebrations on our planet. It's wild,
packed and with over 50, 000 shows from

Visit Edinburgh at Fringe Festival or Not

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is one of the biggest celebrations on our planet. It's wild, packed and with over 50, 000 shows from big names to unknowns. It has been going on every August for seventy years. Yet on Mozart's 10 city European solo concert tour in Europe this summer, we purposely missed it, but not Edinburgh

Visit Edinburgh at Fringe Festival or Not

Why? We visited Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival when Mozart was 8, so wanted to see it in summer outside the Fringe season when it is calmer. The highlight for Mozart at eight was learning how to spin some yarn from a colorful Scottish street performer. 



Some things remain the same in Edinburgh

Mozart Dee in Edinburgh at Fringe Festival

whether one is visiting Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival or not, like this beautiful red door at the picturesque  St. Columba's Free Church of Scotland. 

Mozart Dee in Edinburgh

Edinburgh is always a gorgeous city and some issues matter less if you are just traveling from Great Britain, but if you are just making one visit to Scotland, ( as is true for many in the US) you may or may not want to come during the Fringe Festival.

Visit Edinburgh at Fringe Festival or Not

There are always tourist crowds in Edinburgh during the summer, as the picture above shows in June on the Royal Mile, but things get much, much more crowded and much, much more expensive during August and the Fringe Festival. 

Visit Edinburgh at Fringe Festival or Not

So if you only have one time to visit Edinburgh, you will have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages and decide what is best for you. 

Visit Edinburgh Fringe and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

You will only see the spectacular Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at the castle during the Fringe Festival, but you can visit the castle and meet the guards at any time. 

Mozart Dee in Edinburgh at the Fringe Festival

 If one goes early and the you luck out to not have rain, one can enjoy the excitement and crowds of the Fringe. 

art museum Edinburgh

Yet, it is also nice to enjoy places like the National Galleries of Scotland with less visitors.

bagpiper in Edinburgh

 You won't miss the kilts or bagpipes no matter what time you visit Edinburgh, Fringe or not. 

  Mozart Dee in Edinburgh holding owl meme

There are lots of fun things to do like holding an owl and other endless entertainment on the streets of  Edinburgh no matter what time you go, although that increases during the Fringe along with the crowds.   

  beautiful Edinburgh travel photo

 Edinburgh has a charm that will always make you smile, but especially when the sun is out and we happened to have less rain in June ( although rain was forecast) than we did when there in August. Note, we mostly needed jackets and sweaters both times. 

  Mozart Dee in Edinburgh on European solo concert tour #MozartigniteTour

The green open spaces and parks will delight every age as you can tell with Mozart visiting the same park at 16 

Mozart Dee in Edinburgh! Cute kid dressed in kilt and Scottish clothes

and also on her first visit at eight! 

Edinburgh travel

The only person who can really decide whether to visit Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival or not, is you. 

Mozart Dee in Edinburgh Fringe Festival - cute Scottish kid dressed in kilt!

 One just has to look at the pros and cons and experience that you are most looking for, especially if it is a one time visit from a far distance, but the good news is that Edinburgh is always a great destination! Have you been? 




Best Mother - Daughter Trip! Life Changing Adventures!!:

September 7th, 2017

Unnamed-1Best Mother - Daughter Trip!
Life Changing Adventures!!

There is nothing like a life changing
Mother and Daughter trip to celebrate
your bond and bring you closer together

Best Mother - Daughter Trip!  Life Changing Adventures! Mozart and mom

There is nothing like a life changing Mother and Daughter trip to celebrate your bond and bring you closer together! Maybe that is even more true when one is traveling with a teenager who is sweet 16.  We've always been close, but now we are closer.

Mozart and I had a spectacular two month trip this summer in Europe ,starting with her amazing Keynote Speech in England and then expanding onto her 10 city solo concert tour traveling in 4 countries over 2000 miles from Edinburgh, Scotland to Marbella, Spain.

Mozart Dee 25 minute Keynote Speech in UK

First of all, it was absolutely amazing to watch how talented and professional she was and how attentive the large audiences were towards her 

Mozart Dee performing live in Marbella on #MozartIgniteTour

 and just to see her commanding large audiences with ease on two instruments in gorgeous locations like the Fuerte Hotel in Estepona

Mozart Dee aka MuzicbyMozart performing in England for students

as well as how adorable, charismatic and loving Mozart was with huge audiences of kids at two large private schools in London and Newcastle. She was so natural singing for them, doing spontaneous Q&A, signing autographs and doing presentations about her travel life.They treated her like she was Justin Bieber. Suddenly, I saw her future so clearly and how her gifts belong to the world. 

Mozart Dee at Kings Cross on Mother-Daughter trip

I had Mozart handle the whole trip completely. We flew there and back, but then took a lot of trains and she booked and handled all of that and the hotels, taxi's, Uber, booking tours and all of our needs including food. She was totally responsible as if I was not there. I wanted her to learn by doing. She always helped as a child, but this is the first time she had full responsibility and she handled it all like a pro and loved it. 

Mozart Dee in beautiful Luberon Provence

It was a lot of fun for me to see things through her eyes like this view from Roussillon in Provence which she had not seen since she was six years old. Those fading memories are vibrant again. For a girl who grew up in Europe, it had been much too long. Five years from the last time we visited...almost 1/3 of a lifetime for her. 

Mother - daughter trip

It was a fast paced, intense trip much of the time, so I had to get those mom and daughter shots in as I could as our main focus was getting film and photos of her. Fusspot that I am, I don't like most of the photos of me that we took. Mozart always looks camera ready, me, ......not so much.

It didn't help that I fell on the very first night, tripping over my suitcase because we could not find a way to turn on the lights in our hotel and I wanted to hurry up and catch the gorgeous sunset, so  broke a rib and badly injured my good knee, thus was in pain the whole trip and extra handicapped.  

Train trip in Europe - Best Mother - Daughter Trip!  Life Changing Adventures!!

We did a lot of train travel which gave us time to talk, bond, watch the ever changing scenery and even meet sweet people sometimes. But getting on and off was a big challenge as we were packed heavier than usual because of her performances. Still just a rolly carryon and a backpack each,  plus a guitar for her, but her rolly was especially heavy, weighing 50lbs. She only weighs 88lbs and I couldn't lift with my broken rib! She was also often carrying food & water we would pick up at the store for the train. 

Best Mother - Daughter Trip!  Life Changing Adventures!!

But she was a trooper and we managed, sometimes with the help of strangers or friends, but mostly on our own, just working together. It became abundantly clear just how well we work together as a team and how much we can count on the other. Usually, we have our third wheel, Davinci to handle the heavy or hard things if needed, but this time we just had each other. Girl Power! 

Mozart Dee in Paris at cafe

 You can't be in Europe without enjoying the outside cafes, so we enjoyed many good conversations and meals that way. Again, Mozart did all the ordering, asking for check, paying, counting change etc in several languages, so she would have full confidence when she does it on her own in the near future. Here you see us in Paris with our favorite Parisian friend, French/English translator extraordinaire, Nadine Touzet who was a great help and joy for us as we last saw her when Mozart was 10! 

Mozart Dee camping in Barcelona

We picked one of our homes, Barcelona to be our rest place and spent a leisurely week there both before and another one after heading to Andalucia and Girona. We have dear friends who live nearby and have spent so much time over the many years in this huge luxury campsite, so Mozart has many happy childhood memories here. It's a special place with two large salt water outdoor pools, water slides, great indoor pool and spa, kids club, food and entertainment for all ages, so a great place to unwind after some fast travel.

Mozart Dee in Barcelona Campsite Resort

 Our camper van is stored nearby, so it was great to see it again and the memories came flooding back to our home on wheels that Mozart grew up in seven months out of a year from five to eleven. Her first comment was, "Oh my gosh, it is so small!". So typical of childhood memories as I think I said the exact same thing when I went back to see my first home as a child. Mozart was ecstatic to see her books, toys, clothes again and we brought some things home like the photos we had there. Next time, we have to bring DaVinci so he can drive us around and we can use it again as we miss that fun. 

Andalusia, Spain - one of the prettiest white villages

Heading back to our ancient white village in Andalusia where we had spent 5 winters and where Mozart had gone to school from first grade to fourth, was a must on our list and filled with memories. For me driving down this road seemed like no time had past, as if we had just done it yesterday. For Mozart and her friends who live here that she went to school with, it seemed another lifetime because they were fourth or fifth graders the last time they were together and life looks so much different as a teen. Nevertheless it was good to be back, see "our village" and the beautiful people, old friends and town. It gave us much to ponder. 

Mozart Dee in Spain

It was sweet to just walk around the village, with all the memories that brought up, see the changes, but also see how little had changed. We took lots of photos and video like this one of Mozart across from our first house in the center of town where she took the photo as the "Spanish Dancer" in full flamenco outfit at five or six. We'd never been here in summer as it is much too hot for our taste, but wasn't as bad as most people say, as these villages are built for heat with lots of shade and narrow streets that promote breezes. The lead photo of the two of us at the top of this post, is us taking a selfie together in "our village" as wondered about. 

Best Mother - Daughter Trip!  Life Changing Adventures!!

 Old and new friends were such an important part of this mother and daughter journey and I will be writing more about that as there are too many people to mention here. Yet, I must mention a dear friend from Sweden who I met over twenty years ago online and who we stayed with in Sweden for several weeks and met again in Barcelona another summer. 

Best Mother - Daughter Trip!  Life Changing Adventures!!

Our  kids have spent lots of time together over the years and always had fun, but this was an ideal time in an ideal location on the Costa Brava area where their other long time friends own a gorgeous new B&B and there was a perfect gaggle of well-traveled, creative teens and parents to hang out with in an idyllic location. It really was the best of Sweden and Spain combo!

Best Mother - Daughter Trip!  Mozart Dee
 
We've been blessed to have a life full of extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime, mind-blowing trips and we must add this one to the list for sure. Mozart and I came back changed for the better. We thought we were just fine before we left, but there is something about transformative travel and the mother and daughter trip experience that brings blessings and shifts. We've rarely been apart as a threesome, so even DaVinci was transformed by our trip. I wonder if you can do extensive travel and not be changed for the better? 

 

 



Best Provence Farmers' Market - Coustellet:

August 6th, 2017

O88A3815Best Provence Farmers' Market
-Coustellet in the Luberon


One of the great joys of visiting
Provence is the food and visiting
spectacular farmers markets. We

Best Provence Farmers' Market - Coustellet

One of the great joys of visiting Provence is the exquisite food and visiting colorful, lively farmers markets which are so much a part of the culture. We were lucky to visit some of the best in southern France and especially fortuitous to visit the Coustellet Farmers' Market with Thierry, the owner/chef  of the spectacular Le Mas Des Gres  ( a quintessential Provencal farmhouse and small charming hotel) where we stayed in the heart of Provence. 

Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon

Marche de Coustellet ( as they call it in French) is the oldest market in Provence and a producers market with mostly organic food and artisan local products. 

Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon

Thierry and his teen aged son Yanis come here every Sunday and know everyone as they've owned the hotel for almost twenty years.  Thierry teaches cooking classes to adults and children at the hotel and it was exciting to watch as they were picking out the makings for the scrumptious cuisine that we would be eating later. 

Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon

 I love to just look at all the beauty in these markets and take photos to share with you, like this homemade bread 

Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon

 or this exciting display 

Best Provence Farmers' Market  - carrots photo

 or these carrots. 

Best Provence Farmers' Market


 People watching is part of the fun, like this farm producer from Spain who now lives here and was full of smiles. 

sunflowers at Best Provence Farmers' Market  - in the Luberon

 Sunflowers, 

Cherries at Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon


 yummy cherries ( that I became addicted to on this trip) 

Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon

 and endless vegetables, oh my! Thierry would give me the inside scoop of what he liked and didn't and why.

Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon

We were up early for this market ( and I let Mozart sleep in) as we went to another famous antique market at nearby L’Isle sur la Sorgue before lunch. I will write a separate post about that thrilling market. 

Truffles in Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon

Provence is famous for it's black truffles which are called black diamonds in the culinary world as they are the best in the world as 80% of France's truffles come from this region. Yes, Thierry bought some and we partook later as I love truffles. Note the artisan product of truffles in olive oil and below you will see honey with lavender. 

onions french  Best Provence Farmers' Market - Coustellet

 Even onions look divine displayed in this market and I always delight in the French signs, don't you? That adds a charm you won't see in our wonderful local farmers markets. 

lavender honey at Best Provence Farmers' Market - Coustellet

 I learned a new word in French when I saw this honey with wonderful artisan touches like adding lavender. 

Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon

Just like at home, there was a familiarity as we watched the famers and artisans set up from their trucks, but there was definitely a Provence and French style to it all in their products, displays and way of doing business. 

wine in Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon


I liked this pretty display for a local Côtes du Rhône wine in one corner backed by a house on the outskirts of the market


Best Provence Farmers' Market  - Coustellet in the Luberon

as well as the colorful umbrellas, green trees and blue sky in another corner. Let me know if you love Provence market photos as I have so many remarkable photos to share so might do some more posts or photo essays. 

Best Provence Farmers' Market - Coustellet

So loved this appetizing Provence market experience, but it was time to head back to Hotel Le Mas Des Gres as Mozart and I were off with Nina soon to visit the antique market before lunch. 

Hotel Les Mas Des Gres in Provence Luberon area

Mozart had performed at this magnificent terrace at dinner the night before ( we'll be posting that story soon) and was happy to perform again for the crowd at  their famous Sunday Brunch/Lunch. After her Keynote Speech in the UK at the Baltic Centre of Contemporary Art, (seen here), she did a 10 city concert tour in Europe and Provence was the charming midpoint on her #MozartIgniteTour. 

Mozart about to perform in Provence at Hotel Les Mas Des Gres

The food of course, was stupendous, a mouth-watering Mediterranean masterpiece of Provencal choices 

magnificent brunch at Hotel Hotel Les Mas Des Gres on Provence

 and all of it was made from the delectable local vegetables, fruits and supplies

Provencal Cuisine at Hotel Les Mas Des Gres

 we had gotten that morning from the market, 

Stunning Provence buffet at Hotel Les Mas Des Gres

most of it organic, so fresh from farms nearby and stunning to look at and glorious to taste.

Best of Provence Farm market makes great lunch at Hotel Les Mas Des Gres

This is truly Provence and the Luberon at it's best. That's the other owner, Nina ( Thierry's wife) sitting across from Mozart at this delightful lunch. They speak French, German and English well and take exceptional care of all their guests. On the other side of Mozart is the amazing Corinne Russo who was our magnificent guide recommended by our long time online friend in Marseille, Provence Claude Benard.  

Singer Mozart performing in Provence at Hotel Les Mas Des Gres

Mozart's original songs and light-up-the-world smile just added to our perfect day in Provence. What is your favorite market in Provence or else where? 

 

 



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