California Winter Beach Escape

January 03, 2014

Beautiful California winter beach

As long term world travelers, we have become masters of sunny winter escapes from southern Spain to tropical Southeast AsiaSydney, Hawaii, Bora Bora, New Zealand and more, but sometimes it is just great to go home to California and spend time with family at the beach and under the redwood trees.

surf shot santa cruz, Ca


In our 8 plus years of non-stop world travel, we've managed to return to California every other year to see family and friends and keep Mozart connected to her roots. She is an amazingly well-traveled  global citizen who knows the world well, but she is also a California girl at heart, with dear friends and family here, and remembers her first 5 years in our California dream home very well.

watching California surfers at Capitola beach

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

Mozart and Grandma laughing in the California sunshine

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” - Terry Pratchett

beauty every where like girl on surfboard in Capitola on the river headed to the sea

Mozart and her 86 year old Grandma walking to the beach

Capitola is a spectacularly beautiful area and my Mom lives near the beach, on the river, surrounded by ancient redwood trees, so morning walks to the beach to put our feet in the healing sand is part of our family ritual.

watching people  fishing on the rocks at California  beach

Mozart and grandma enjoying their beach walk in California

“to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.” - Elizabeth Gilbert

We feel so blessed by our travel lifestyle, but one price we pay is much of our relationship with family and friends is via regular Skype video calls. I don't think we could have traveled this long without that regular connection and in many ways I think it keeps us closer and more appreciating each other and our time together than if we had stayed living nearby.

California kid on  a bike with surfboard in beachtown on the ocean

driving in California hills

“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” - Jack Kerouac

After time with my side of the family at the beach, it was time to hit the road, over Pacheco Pass and Hecker Pass, a 3 hours drive to Fresno in the Central Valley and experience another part of California beauty and pleasures while visiting Davinci's side of the family.

California Christmas with family

When we lived in Santa Cruz, we use to do Christmas at my mothers house and New Years and a ski trip to Yosemite with our Fresno relatives, so this is the first Christmas that we did in Fresno. His sister waited for us to arrive, so we could trim the tree together.

family time together at Christmas - Mozart with her aunt

Time together with family is all about simple pleasures like Mozart sharing photos of her friends with her aunt or baking healthy treats together. ( Recipes coming!).

Davinci's sister here, also has a grown daughter nearby, so we spent Christmas Eve at their house. She is Mozart's cousin, but she has two teen age boys, so these cute second cousins have always seemed more like cousins to Mozart.

Her grandmother on this side died before she was born, so her aunt is both aunt and paternal grandmother substitute.  Since we had Mozart late in life and we both have siblings who had their babies very early in life, she has always bonded well with her 2nd cousins. Playing games with the older teens ( and girlfriend)  was a big part of the fun for her.

Teens playing games on Christmas Eve

“But that's the glory of foreign travel, as far as I am concerned. I don't want to know what people are talking about. I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything. Suddenly you are five years old again. You can't read anything, you have only the most rudimentary sense of how things work, you can't even reliably cross a street without endangering your life. Your whole existence becomes a series of interesting guesses.” - Bill Bryson

In some ways, America is a foreign country to us, yet oddly familiar too and we cherish all the little moments in a new way because of our world travel.

Enjoying family time

Life slows down over the holidays, we go mostly unplugged and connect again.

teens opening presents on Christmas morning

Being lumped together in the teen crowd made it an exciting, special Christmas memory for Mozart.

Celebrating Christmas  in California

“One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” - Henry Miller

So good for DaVinci to have time with his niece, sister, nephews and extended family.

healthy, pastured, organic Turkey

Of course eating is always an important part of the Christmas ritual and we are grateful that our families on both sides have indulged our strict diet on our healing journey which allowed us to keep to our health goals while indulging in delicious food.

One great thing about California, is it is probably one of the easiest places on earth to hunt down healthy food. We don't eat conventional grown foods ( turkey, eggs, dairy, veggies etc) , processed foods, sugar, bad fats, grains and more, but managed to have a scrumptious feast!

Enjoying our healthy Christmas feast

“I read; I travel; I become” - Derek Walcott

“To travel is to live.”  - Hans Christian Andersen

“The journey itself is my home.” - Matsuo Basho

Hoping you and yours are enjoying this holiday season and New Year too!

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Happy Christmas and New Year! Such a wonderful Christmas you had! Love reading your adventures abroad and at home, and love those quotes too.

jeanne @soultravelers3

Thanks so much Yin and I hope you have a fabulous 2014! We are enjoying it and now we are back at the beach...soon to take off on a road trip to show Mozart more of her own country. ;)

I love those quotes too! <3

Kyle Olsen

California looks like an amazing place. I have some family there, but haven't been able to visit. Love the photos you posted of California.


I love the photos in the blog.
Seem like you guys having a great time. Keep on posting.

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