Amazing Family World Tour!

January 19, 2012

world traveling family making friends in Bhutan

How blessed are we to be on a non-stop family world tour since 2006? We actually started our "location independent" or "free range" lifestyle in 2005 when we sold our dream home and almost all of our possessions. It's definitely been the best decision of our lives! If I died today, I would be eternally grateful for the quantity and quality family time together and truly amazing travel experiences plus wonderful people that we have experienced together.

As many awesome adventures that we have had in these last 6 years, we are up for more and continue to love this travel lifestyle. We feel totally blessed  that we have managed to explore 43 countries on 5 continents while staying on our $23/day per person low budget. As Tim Ferriss said long ago about us, "You don't have to be rich to live a rich life".

World travelng kid doing travel schooling

As Mozart gets older, now 11, (so we're  realizing it is only 7 years until she is 18 - yikes!), we are especially grateful for the TIME together. Like the song, Slipping Through My Fingers, as parents of a tween, we are more aware than ever of the value of TIME together and how much more we have gotten by choosing this lifestyle.

I am especially happy with the TIME she gets with her father, so rare in this world. It was a scary and risky adventure when we set out to do this in 2005, stepping into the unknown, but for us, there is no doubt what so ever, that it was the right one. After this length of time, we can see the positive influence on Mozart and all of us, and that is gratifying.

Around the world family travel rocks!

It is typical of this time of year to review the past and look to what the future will bring. It is a good idea to consider where we have been, what we have learned and where we are going next.  Here are some of our reviews from the first 5 years of our world travels as a family:

Holiday Letter  (From Spain 2006)

Family Travel Review (  2007)

Reflecting on our Family Travel ( 2008)

Travel Photo Review 2009

Family Travel Review 2010

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning" T.S. Elliot

Bora Bora blissful views

2010 was a very exciting year because it was the first year that we went completely around the world and managed to do that luxuriously, cheaply and with just one carry-on piece of luggage each. After spending much of the summer in PyrennesProvence, French Riviera, Loire Valley and Paris, we flew from Malaga to London, NYC, San Francisco, 2 islands in Hawaii, LA, 3 places in Tahiti including Bora Bora and Moorea, New Zealand, Austrailia, Singapore and finally landing in Penang for Thanksgiving and our first Christmas in tropical  Asia.

tropical Asia luxury resort

2011 pushed us all into new areas in tropical Asia including skipping our trilingual/triliterate 10 year old child from a fourth grade class in Spain in an all Spanish school to seventh grade in a 1000 kid all Mandarin high school in Asia. She was the youngest, smallest and only caucasian in the school. We were all a bit scared in the beginning, but it worked out wonderfully!

One of our great joys of 2011 was having Grandma do a long stay 3-generation travel visit with us in Asia for Chinese New Year. It helped her have an  escape from mourning to build strength by being in an entirely new environment and allowed us to share our travel  life with her.

traveling with Grandma in Asia

Sadly, I have been dealing with some severe on again off again pain, dysbiosis and digestive problems ever since my Danish dentist gave me antibiotics in Spain in May 2010 which made me violently ill and my stomach has yet to recover. At times it has been a horrific challenge with pain at a 10 level on a scale of 1 to 10 and totally debilitating sometimes.

The good news in that is it has slowed us down, which has been a blessing in disguise as we have come to really enjoy this slower pace that has been forced on us. We have all really learned a lot as well as great challenges tend to do, so put our focus on gratitude for that.

We still managed to have some exciting adventures like several trips to Thailand, and being invited to tour Bhutan which we absolutely loved. We saw much of this unique and special country, the last Hymalayan Shangri- La,  and will be writing more about our time there.

Bhutan beauty- the last shangri-la

We were also invited to Jordan which was a thrill as it and especially Petra have long been on our list of places we wanted to see. We really loved Jordan, the food, the people, the sights and found it amazingly diverse and luxurious. We have many more stories to tell about our time in Jordan too.

Our family visiting Petra

Then we headed back to Madrid, Spain and onto Southern Spain where we all have dear friends that we have known now for 5 years. Kidlet was happy to visit and play with kids from our village and her Spanish school again. She lit up with delight when the Air Jordan flight attendant on the way to Madrid spoke in Spanish on the loud speaker,  as we had all missed being immersed in her second language.

We spent most of the summer in Barcelona at our favorite resort ( also a bit in Andorra)  where we also have dear friends that we have known for five years. We had plans to go to Romainia and back to  Budhapest, but that flight had to be cancelled at the last minute due to my health issues.

It was fantastic just to relax and spend the time with our many friends and we were especially thrilled that we could meet up in Barcelona with our dear Swedish friends.

Our favorite Barcelona beach resort

We had planned an exciting USA tour, but my health narrowed it down to just a Florida road trip and that was spectacular from visiting Harry Potter's Wizarding World for Mozart's 11th birthday, to swimming with dolphins in Key West to visiting Pensacola and more. LOT's more stories coming about that trip!

Swimming with dolphins in Key West

We ended 2011 with spending a glorious 3 months with family and doing some cool world schooling here.( More coming about that!).  Since we left in 2006, we have only been back twice and only for two weeks each, so this was a rare treat that each one of us enjoyed. Despite my health issues, being home for the holidays for this extended period has been a truly sacred time. Having lost fathers on both sides in 2010, it was important on many levels to have this extended stay.

reading the paper with Grandma

We plan to be off to tropical Asia again as soon as we can and do deeper explorations this year all around Asia. We've already been invited to China and India and want to explore many places like Bali, but above all else we want to remember the joys of slow travel and how much going slower this year has enriched us. Our primary goals this year is to increase kidlet's fluency in Mandarin ( especially reading and writing) and get me healthier than I have ever been.

How about you? What are your travel plans for 2012?

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I am a teenage homeschooler who stumbled upon your blog the other day. Wow! You guys have had so many fun adventures. I wish I had a childhood like your daughter's. I have never been out of the country, but I love the idea of travel, particularly to Spain and Europe (I speak Spanish semi-fluently, definitely not as much as your daughter but well enough to, I hope, get by).

I hope your medical issues are resolved soon and that guys have a great year ahead! :)

Jeanne @soultravelers3


So happy you found us and thanks for sharing here! Keep your dream of going to Spain and Europe WIll make it and probably appreciate it more by the wait. It took me 20 years to get to Tahiti. ;)

I think I have finally found a solution to medical issues, so that makes me happy, so we will be back on the move soon!

Yes, your Spanish will help you greatly and make your trip to Spain more fun.


We probably won't be going further then other French regions (so many beautiful ones) or England this year as we're expecting our 4th in april ;-) !!!

So happy that you might have found a solution to your problems!

Azeem M

Amazing guys. What an adventurous life you guys must be leading. I guess Mozart has become a Global School child by children in numerous school across the globe. I just wonder one thing. After having sold all you had, what do you do for a living?

Anyways. I wish all the best with your more adventures to come and i hope you continue to update and inspire us wit more travel tales!

Darryl from Loving the Bike

I saw your tweet today promoting this post and felt like you must have been reading my mind. As you know, I've been fans of you and what your Family is doing for quite some time now (I believe it started around June of 2009) and was just thinking about you guys over the weekend. My Wife asked what you were up to and I told her that I hadn't been caught up on things for way too long.

Then I got this wonderful update and am so excited to learn about all you've been doing. You guys are awesome.

Our Family (we are Canadians) has spent the past year living in Texas and it's been great, but we've always considered this a step along the way. We are currently making plans for a move back to the Caribbean and plan to be moved to Bonaire by May.

Keep on being an inspiration to Families and showing us all what is most important.


Jeanne @soultravelers3

Congrats Gabrielle! Lots of good places to visit close to home too. I am still a bit up and down with this pain, but I think/hope I am finally on the way to full recovery.

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Azeem! Yes, I think Mozart has gotten so much by going to different local schools around the globe to immerse in her other two languages and cultures. Since we return to the same areas, it also has many advantages over expat life ( for us) so she can travel the world, but also have consistent friends over many years by reconnecting regularly. We find it highly advantageous to have many homes around the world as we travel the world.

We choose to retire very early and partly do this by traveling the world so cheaply. We don't have to work at all, but we do some work..husband with our investments and I with the blog. Our freedom comes from years of hard work, sacrifice and having such low overhead and few things.

It works for us. ;)

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Hey happy to hear from ya! Thanks for your kind words and support. Sounds like you have an exciting year coming up!! Enjoy the I know you will!!


We are celebrating Chinese new Year in Hong Kong before heading back to Shanghai! In a month we head to Thailand. We are enjoying living in Shanghai and would love to meet you guys when you visit China! Happy Year of teh Dragon!

Jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks Meghan..sounds fun! We're really sorry we are missing this Dragon Chinese New Year in Asia ( since Mozart and I are dragons) but it is not meant to be.

We will get there as soon as I am well enough to travel and my Mom's broken collarbone heals well enough for my sis to take over.

Inga Rós

You´re such an inspiration. My 9 year old loved seeing Mozart in Jordan and all of us dream of swimming with dolphins!

Chrissy Travels

An incredible journey and source of experiences you are all having. Your daughter will no doubt grow to be an exceptionally mature and lovely young woman. Bravo for taking life by the horns and doing it your way.
I am only on month 17 of my own gypsy lifestyle. You inspire me to keep moving on. Happy and safe travels!

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