Saying Goodbye to Tropical Asia & Penang

April 05, 2011

delights of tropical asia


We have had the most wonderful winter in tropical Asia.  Penang has been a nurturing haven, full of delights, but it is time for us to move on to visit new countries and places ( like India, Jordan, and Bhutan on our way to Europe for the summer). Just like we wintered in Spain for four years, we arrived here in Penang around Thanksgiving in late November. These five months have flown by sooo fast!

The first winter in a new location is always the most challenging because one has to start from scratch with the deep immersion as clueless tourists in a foreign land, but now we have learned so much, thus feel like this is one of our homes. Next year will be MUCH easier because of the groundwork we did this winter, but of course always more to learn and see. One learns by doing!

"What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing" Aristotle

It's been a very exciting  ( seeing new countries and continents like French Polynesia, Australia, Kauai, New Zealand, Singapore)  and also challenging travel year for us as we lost two dads while traveling which changed everything for us and our extended families, including our travel plans. Instead of going to Africa or South America this fall as planned previously, we've decided to do a USA road trip from Miami to San Francisco to show kidlet more of America and to visit relatives along the way and spend more time with family in California.

Because our plates were full and I have been dealing with some health challenges, we did get to see everything we wanted to this year in Asia. This year was too intense on just making a home here, finding a Mandarin school and getting accustomed to a totally new routine and place, but there is always next year and probably a few more where we will winter in Asia, so we have time.

"You don't choose your family. They are God's gict to you, as you are to them" - Desmond Tutu

83 year old Grandma came to visit us in Penang for 6 weeks and we loved it and learned again how much we adore multi-generational travel and time together. We hope to convince her to come again next winter and be the star again during Chinese New Year. We look forward to spending more time with her at her home in California and having our first Thanksgiving and  Christmas at home in almost 6 years.

We came mainly for the Mandarin and finding an all Chinese school in Asia for our daughter. It was a much more difficult process than it was putting her into a school in Spain, but we couldn't be more pleased. I am in the process of writing an update about her school, but you can tell by her recent school big win, that she is happy and it is a good fit. We had a great meeting with them on Monday and they are going to work with us via Skype as we roam to keep her up on her Mandarin and make sure she stays up with her class, so she can rejoin her class when we return.

There are so many stories still to tell and photos and videos to share, but there is only so much time in a day, so we get them up as we can. It's transition time for us as we complete everything before our take off on May 1st ( first stop Singapore) and say good bye to Penang and this fascinating, sweet,  first tropical winter. It's a bit bitter sweet, sad to leave on one level, but exciting towards new things. We'll be back to Spain by June 1st and looking forward to another exciting summer in Europe, meeting friends in London, Barcelona and the South of France and exploring new places like the Swiss Alps. Our hearts are filled with gratitude!

"Happiness can not be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experienceof living every minute with love, grace and gratitude." -Denis Waitley


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Change is always difficult. But it's also needed so we can see and experience new things. Through change we are able to learn more about ourselves and grow, both mentally and spiritually. Just remember to enjoy the journey.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Veronica! We actually thrive on change and probably one reason why we love our travel lifestyle.

We are always in a state of change and transition. LOL


Your life seems like so much fun!I would love to be part of your family!I love travelling but my family is quite different,we just go to a place as tourists stay in hotels for maybe a week then we go back home and life is like that always.They think it's dangerous to tour the globe without an agency.I wish my parents were as adventurous as you guys,you must rock!
I m so looking forward to your south america tour!I love that continent soo much!
Stay healthy n happy and i wish you all the best!

wandering educators

what a wonderful journey you've had thus far. and so much more to see!!


Good luck, can't wait to read about your latest adventures.


Wow, that five months seem to fly by so fast.
good luck with your journey back to Europe :)


I do hope you guys visit China some day. It may not be as safe as Penang, but its so rich in history. BTW, so exciting about traveling the US. There's so much to enjoy right at home.

@Elena. When you are grown, do as you want!! My parents are duds. I stepped on an airplane for the first time, so I could play piano at a convention in Seattle, when I was 19. At that point I had only been to three US states or. Today I regularly travel SE Asian countries, have flown more times than I remember, have traveled 40 US States and seen three continents, and am preparing to spend next summer biking across Europe. As I told my dad, "Fear my squish your dreams, but your not going to squish mine."


Your plans sound great. Will your miami-sf trip be in the rv?

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Aw, thanks Elena! I must admit we do have a great life, but then anyone can have the same one. But of course, like any life there are always trade offs.

I think one of the great things that we prove, because we do it as a family on so little money for so long, that this is doable for anyone and slow travel is the key.

I think more and more people will do this kind of travel in the future..including you!

Keep your eye on your dreams and make them happen!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Jessie! We feel truly blessed by all that we have seen and experienced. But you are right..always more to see and explore! ;)

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Lise! I am excited too about our upcoming travels!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks camille! Those 5 months really did zip by didn't they? Yet we have learned a lot and seen a lot in that time.

Happy to be doing more explorations and happy to be able to come back here for more in Asia! ;)

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Marlana - Oh yes, we will definitely be doing LOTS of travel into China ...we have so many friends & invitations there..& had hoped we could have done some this year. BUT it was a full plate of things to handle, so next year we will do much more of China and Asia and continue those explorations over the next several years.

Fairmont has some gorgeous hotels in China so we look forward to experiencing them too.

We might even do a bit of a long stay at some point in China for more Mandarin immersion where it is the native tongue.

I've been to almost every state, but kidlet hasn't, so the USA roadtrip and explorations should be fun!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Jo - the Miami to SF road trip may or may not be in a RV..we're still planning it, but we will not bring our European RV here.

Storing it in SF would be MUCH more expensive than storing it in southern Spain and we need it more in the electricity etc is all geared for Europe.

At this point it looks like we will do it with car and hotels and sponsors, but haven't closed the deal yet.

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