Family Travel Photo-Sweden

May 26, 2009


Cooking reindeer meat over an open fire in a Kota with friends in Sweden makes a perfect family travel moment as you can see by the expression on the kid's faces! A kota is a traditional Lapland or Sami home and reindeer meat is delicious and tastes a lot like good beef. We all took a fun tractor ride through the  idyllic countryside to arrive and depart, which added to the adventure.

Our wonderful friends (who we met over the internet!) spoiled us this summer & shared so many of Sweden's charming traditions with us. We stayed in their lovely classic cottage on their farm for several weeks and have so many delightful tales to tell. To top it off they are gourmet cooks, so all the food was scrumptious!

Due to their love and caring, Sweden became one of our favorite countries and it was an experience we will never forget. Mozart calls those cute boys her "Swedish brothers" and she had a grand time playing with them, even if they did not share much language in common. We have the most adorable video of her doing a duet with the eldest, but have had a hard time getting it up on Youtube. You'll love it and it is guaranteed to make you giggle and touch your heart!

People, learning traditions and just every day life ....doing ordinary things in extraordinary what makes family travel special. Mozart learned so much about Swedish culture, just by being part of it for a while. We also supplemented it with a bunch of books by Astrid Lingren (who captures the essence of Sweden)  that can't even be found in America. She loved them as well as a trip to Junibacken where some of the lead characters from Astrid Lingren's books sang her Happy Birthday in the tradition Swedish way.

Alas, I haven't even caught up with the many stories from last years travels and we are about to set out on seven months of non stop travel this week. Excited about the travel, but disappointed about not completing that.

Juggling traveling, homeschool, social media, interviews and press, weekly volunteer work with the disadvantaged school kids that follow us virtually through Reach The World, dealing with over 50,000 photos, plus writing a book etc, etc., leaves limited time to document our travel in real time. Luckily, we have endless time to eventually get them all down as well as videos and photos to match.

Our primary goal is freedom and it is the reason why we retired early and are traveling the world. I want to document our travels for our daughter, family  and others that are enjoying it with us vicariously. We enjoy the process, but also have limited time for blogging and videos, if we are going to also enjoy our freedom and travels.

I have found myself working too hard the last two winters while in Spain, so am looking forward to being unplugged more on the road and re-evaluating  how I can do things differently. I did not reach many of my primary winter goals this year, including losing more weight, finishing last years stories or finishing the first e-book. We did too much last year, got back too late and I always felt behind.

There is a good reason why few travel writers are traveling constantly or why few travelogues last longer than a year. It is a lot more work than I expected and we are into our third year of doing it. The more popular we get, the more work and that is not compatible with our primary goal. Unlike most travel writers, I am retired and doing this for fun. If it is not going to be fun, it is going to get cut out of my "have to do" list.

As Mozart is getting older and we need to focus more on her educational needs (mainly research of best practices & opportunities), as we prepare to head  to a new continent, for a long stay - which is a large research assignment by itself, I find myself at a turning point. I am going to be doing less of everything and more of enjoying. It's not that I haven't been enjoying, but I just plan to do more of that and cut out any time pressures or things that feel like "work".

We are going to attempt to go slower this year. I will continue to write, photograph, video plus share here and elsewhere ( like on Twitter, Youtube and Facebook) but we are often unplugged, so not at the same level of intensity. We just  finished with our weekly volunteer work with  Reach The World kids this year, so that will also free up quite a bit of time.

I will try to get at least one blog post up a week, usually uploaded on Tuesday or Wednesday, as long as we can find free wifi and will do Twitpics as I can. Thus, the basics won't change much and hopefully, will get even better.

I am hoping more time in nature and our beloved slow travel that calls to our souls, will give us time to dream and brainstorm on how we can enjoy our popularity, plus connect and collaborate with others, without adding more challenges to us, nor taking away from our primary focus of freedom, bonding and education. There are only so many hours in a day and life is short, so must be lived to the fullest.

We're so excited to be on the road again! Portugal (returning to swim with the dolphins now that Mozart is 8), Barcelona area, Minorca, Sardinia, Corsica, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Hungry, Romania, possibly Bulgaria and Paris are all on our list this year, along with Egypt, Jordan & Jerusalem in the fall. We will play it by ear and see how many get seen.

We'd love to hear any feedback or ideas that you have!

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Maria Olsson-Tysor

So happy you share our love for Sweden :) We will be going in August this year and Junibacken or "Astrid Lindgrens Varld" (highly recommended!) are usually on our "must visit" list. Astrid Lindgren is so much more than Pippi Longstocking and my boys love Emil, Madicken, the children in the noisy village, Ronja, Karlsson and Rasmus.
Happy travels!


Maria- We just adored Sweden and it was one of our favorite countries so far! Is there a place on earth that is more idyllic in summer? ;) Have a wonderful time there in August!

Astrid Lindgren and her books & movies are such gems. I wish I could get more of the movies in English, but the books we'll keep forever.

We were so sorry to miss Astrid Lindgrens Varld, but it is a good excuse to go back someday when we visit our friends next time!


Sweden is also one of my favorite countries. So much greenery and the people are very down to Earth.

I can also understand the need to slow down and disconnect. The digital world takes up precious time from the natural world and it's hard to balance, especially as your blog becomes more popular.

Jessie Voigts

YAY!! we can't wait to get to sweden. and i hear you - nonstop travel is not conducive to finishing work up.

marina villatoro

It sounds like you have a full plate! Actually, I have no idea how you are doing it!

About meeting the people over the internet, I'm just discovering that beauty right now and also when you go to a place and the hospitality you receive there really makes it or breaks it for me:)

I've never tried reindeer meat, sounds odd:)

Good luck with sorting, researching, educating, writing and the other million things you're doing:)


I actually know what you mean when you say that blogging has become more of a job than a hobby and a way to connect. I think the pressure comes of how your approach to it is. A lot of travel bloggers actually make a living out of blogging, it is their job its how it pays for their travels, so they have to work at it or there is no income. But if you are just doing it to document your travels I think that most people that come to visit you lovely blog is just to see how you have accomplished it and your experiences in a certain area or if its a destination they are thinking to go to see what you might recommend and that you find by country or by city that could be this year or that year. Then there is always those lovely stories that you write about and that's just sweet to follow. I say enjoy it and every post that you place now or after a year since you been there is a great story to tell. Once it becomes a job then it becomes not enjoyable anymore.

Nadine Touzet

Hi, I would love to meet you if you do come to Paris...


What true words!
More than once I have been tearing my hair out, trying to strike a balance between travel and travel-writing/blogging/social media/books/publicity/managing time differences - you name it.

And, clumps of hair in hand, I've been so impressed with the online successes you have had, and wondered how you have juggled it all.
So it is something of a personal relief to know that I'm not the only one struggling - and yet I'm sorry that you are fighting this battle too!

Is life - specifically the traveling life we have adopted - not about letting go of self-imposed expectations? I think that's at least part of the picture, and as such, I believe we should forgive each other and ourselves if we
a) don't Twitter like mad
b) aren't publishing super-regular blog posts
c) aren't sitting in a hotel room editing videos while losing out on the possible video of the magical sunset in front of us.

Now, if I could only take a dose of my own medicine...


Good for you, stepping back & whittling down where things are overwhelming. Even though it's fun to blog, Twitter, Facebook, and any other number of technological things, it sure is a Time Suck of the grand variety!

Your blog posts are what I follow, and I always can't wait for the next one to post. Thanks for always sharing your adventures with us...

That being said...Have you guys been to New Zealand? We are going in March, with anticipation to move to NZ in 2012 and I am secretly frazzled that the thought of moving half way across the world! The first thought I have is *All My Stuff!*

It has been inspiring to read about whittling down what you reall *need* to get by :)


Anil- Nice to know you are a Sweden lover too! ;) Although I have beautiful nature around me in Spain, I've spent too much time on my laptop, so looking forward to more unplugged time. Although I also know that after 7 months of lots of unplugged time, I will be looking forward to more plugged in time. LOL!

Jessie- You will love Sweden & it's people!

Marina- Ha! I have no idea how I do it either. ;) But the connections are really special and I do love that too. Reindeer meat is amazingly good and good for you!

Lilliy- I'm glad that I do not have to depend on this website to live, but since we put so much work into it, I would like to make something from my efforts.

Mostly I do it for pleasure though and with a passion to spread the word that extended family travel is easier, cheaper and more enriching than people know.

We have learned and seen so much, it seems a shame not to share it. The blog is not the hardest part, but all of it combined. I do think I'm getting clearer on how I can do it better and not over commit.

Oh Nadine- I'd love to connect with you, if we make it to Paris. I really want Mozart to see Paris once more before we leave Europe, but not sure when/how I can fit it in. What an added pleasure to meet you in person too. I so hope that works out!

Nora- You do understand, don't you? I had to laugh at the image of you pulling out your hair, but I have those same moments! LOL! I'm glad that it gave you relief to know we are in the same boat, as yours was reassuring to me as well.

I'm really getting a good look at how I have a tendency to "over do" then wonder why I create "time pressures" even with this free lifestyle with my competitive type A nature that always seems to find one more thing to add to the plate.

You'd have thought I would have learned this lesson already, but here I am learning it again in the most unlikely place. LOL.

More lessons in "less is more", eh? ;)

HappyCampers- You know, you're right, thanks for that feedback. Emails, interviews & social media can pull me away from the blog...but I am going to make sure that is my number one priority after family.

On the road, I am forced into keeping that track, but I must remember to watch it more when we get to Spain. I need better self discipline and direction!

No, we haven't been to NZ yet, but I hear wonderful things about it. What exciting news for you!!

Start clearing away's amazing how long it can take if you want to get a decent price for things. It really is amazing how little one needs & you will find it a very freeing experience as well. Good luck with it all!


I do have a help ticket into Typepad, so hopefully they will fix the hyperlinks to comment names soon. Apparently this is going on everywhere with Typepad.



Charmine- I don't know why your lovely comment is not showing on my computer, but I can read it any way and want to answer it now as we soon will be on the road. Perhaps this is all part of that glitch at Typepad and it will soon reappear like magic. lol

Yes, it is funny, how one can connect so deeply, so quickly online. Our experience has been that when we then meet someone in person, that same feeling of "knowing" like an old friend remains.

Yes, we do plan to go to India and I hear it is wonderful. How can one do a world tour without India or the Taj Mahal, eh? I think we will put it in with the Asian long stay though.

Amy @ The Q Family

I'm tired just to read your list of to-do. You have every right to go as fast or as slow as you desire. We still enjoy reading about your story. It has been amazing discovering your website, blog, twitter and facebook. I don't know how you can do it all. :)

I can't wait to read more about your next 7-months adventure.

Bridget Smith

Have fun on your journies this year. You are smart to be constantly re-evaluating what's important. Surrounded by housecleaning undone and laundry put away I am inclined to follow suit. Check in when you can. I love watching my fellow Santa Cruzans explore that big wide world.


Sandra Foyt

I know exactly what you mean. There is so much going on in our lives - homeschooling, volunteering, traveling, interacting online - it's like I'm on fire with ideas that I want to share. It never ends. The more you do, the more you want to do.

I have a mile-long list of writing projects, don't see when I'll ever catch up, and I'm about to embark on a 2 month Read Across America Road Trip.

I want to enjoy my kids, while they're kids, and I want to savor this once-in-a-lifetime trip. The writing projects will get done, when they get done.

See you when I see you online. Looking forward to sharing travel adventures with you, at whatever pace works for us!


Best of luck in your travels and with finding the balance you crave :)
We're going through a bit of a transitional period now ourselves, and it's been tough figuring out how to balance everything and everyone in our lives while getting to our most treasured goals. With Tim returning to school in the fall, I hope we'll get into a more reasonable schedule for a couple of years.
Meanwhile, my toughest challenge is getting rid of a bunch of this -stuff- around the house!!


Hmmm, "cooking" and "reindeer" are two words that usually don't go together in the same sentence.

It's a cute photo none the less.

Lifecruiser Travel Blog

I'm happy that you loved Sweden so much. Me too - but only in the summertime! *giggles*

Can you believe it, I'm born, raised and lives in Sweden, but have never been in Lapland? That's a shame. I'll have to go there some day.

...and Astrid Lindgren = the best! Awesome author!

I so know what you're saying: sometimes the internet can be a bit too much. We'll have to stay in real life a bit more, I've already started.

I'm so excited for you, to get out again, slow travel must be the best.

Happy travels :-)


It sounds like an awesome adventure. Being ableto travel to all those fantastic countries!! Keep us udated! Love to read you!

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