Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel

April 19, 2022

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3 capitola
Travel means goodbyes as well as new hellos. Our decade long family world tour had us saying goodbye in Capitola area when Heavenly was five ( first location in our first youtube video,  "Where in Heaven is Mozart" that went viral much to our surprise). Beautiful Capitola is our home in Santa Cruz county where we lived for over two decades & my mother has lived for six decades.

Capitola is the oldest & one of the prettiest beach towns in California and where we did California winter beach escapes enchanting halloween California style, and California Beach New Years Day because we returned every other year during our world tour & sometimes home for the holidays. My mom sold sea shells at her shop there for twenty years, had a home on the beach and then one near the famous Shadowbrook with a similar magical redwoods, river & ocean views ambiance. 

Goodbyes Before  Long Term Travel where in heaven is mozart youtuve video soultravelers3
It is a place that is dear to all of us and roots for Heavenly as she went to preschool, kindergarten and first grade schools in this area and we'd stay at my mom's for extended stays while on our world tour to spend time with family and friends. Heavenly also has roots in Barcelona, Andalucia, Penang, China, Texas, Los Angeles  and other places she grew up with extended stays, but Grandma was here and family, so we have special memories here.

Heavenly_and_dad_at_beach 2
I love this photo of Heavenly with her dad at Capitola beach at sunset after her first Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma's house nearby. I spent lots of time on this beach during my pregnancy with her, sat in labor here as it began and brought her to this beach when she was less than a week old to hear & imprint the healing ocean sounds. She played here a lot as a child. 

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3 Heavnly reyna Mom  grandma  daughter
So what is more perfect than another Capitola beach" goodbye"? Here we are with a 94 year old grandmother, 70 year old mom and 21 year old daughter/granddaughter. It was very windy, so my fine hair went crazy, but you can see we are happy to be together again. It was worth the six hour drive from our current homes in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. 

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel soultravelers3 family
Look at the big change from when we said good bye in 2006 to family when Heavenly was only five. So much has changed! We had to say Goodbye to Dad & Grandpa while traveling, more mourning while traveling  and most in this picture are now gone. So we are happier than ever that we took the time to travel long term, brought them along with some 3 generation world travel in Asia, his family arrived for 3 generation tours of Spain together & we found a balance of staying connected from a distance via weekly Skype video calls & regular visits. I've lost 110 lbs, Heavenly is now a 21 year old adult with her own place & doing well singing on Twitch, shooting a pilot, won her 2nd Best Actress Award etc and unfortunately my mom has Alzheimer's disease, so does not know who we are. She is also quite fragile physically and needs a walker, but her joy remains and she was happy to have an outing!

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3 Heavenly Reyna
We found a rental with an ocean view nearby ( and I will write a review soon) and it was good to have some family time together before we head off to Barcelona very soon for a long stay in Europe! 

Goodbyes Before  Long Term Travel soultravelers3 3 generations travel
It was also sad because my mom has really already left the planet, although her body remains. She has been declining with dementia for years, but she got Covid before there were vaccinations and I witnessed through daily calls, how quickly that destroyed her brain entirely in a few days. Agonizing & helpless to watch that fast decline for me! Unlike many with Alzheimers ( like my sister in law wrote about in her book Free Fall about her husband's case), my mom remains joyful and has kept her playful sense of humor. 

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3 grandma
Yet it is also bittersweet & heart wrenching to see her like this and knowing the highlight of her daily life is coloring books at the senior center, ( which I hear about over and over on the phone and in person now) something she would never ever like in her real mind. And how little she knew us or even much about her own life history or our times and history together. Sometimes it is even hard to find things to talk about now as her world is very small and limited. She can forget a conversation in an hour, so is mostly confused. but content.

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3 dementia

She did really enjoy teasing banter with my husband Gar as that has always been their way to communicate and he kept teasing her and making her laugh. They talked about the Warriors as they both love them, but sadly my mom no longer understands the game or who the players are, yet she says she likes watching them as she always has. 

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3 senior parents
So we just found ways to enjoy and celebrate the good and being together in  a place we all love. Interestingly, my mom did remember that she thought she once lived in Capitola and enjoyed it. 

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3  mom and daughter
Even though she does not remember us now or our history together, she had a great time and must have felt the love we have for her. It was good for her just to have an outing and adventure to see new things. 

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3 Heavenly Reyna and dad

It was also great for us to have some relaxed, bonding, vacation days with our daughter Heavenly as one of the scariest parts of this new long trip, is being a continent away from her as she is just 21 and new to being on her own, living alone  & involved in some choices that worry us. ( No biggie, just a normal twenty something). GenZ friends are great for companionship, but a bit like the blind leading the blind for life advice, lol. Yet we also trust that we have given her such a strong foundation that she will learn as she goes, ultimately make good choices ( even with any "mistakes" she might make) as we all do & it is how we grow. She is very smart, talented, hard working and capable, plus being fluent in Mandarin & Spanish will always give her great advantages. Empty nest & launching or "adulting"  are such an interesting and challenging part of parenting and growing up as we all learn new ways of being and shifting into a whole new perspective. It is quite a stretch for us to be so far from our "only kiddo" as we have always been so close, but it seems like now or never at our age. We can adventure and live much cheaper this way. 

Digital nomad work anywhere soultravelers3

We're grateful that Heavenly is so lucky, (especially as an artist), to be so financially independent so young ( as less that 24% of people her age are today). While we were out of town, she had a zoom "table reading" with the people from the cool pilot she booked! This remote work and virtual freedom today hopefully allows her to do some of her business from Europe when she visits us as her fans are also world wide. So having homes on 2 continents could be a big advantage and fun for her and all of us. Much of our communication with her is virtually anyway now, so shouldn't change too much, we will just miss the hugs, movie nights and weekly beach walks together. 

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3 brother and sister and aunt
 Also luckily, Gar's older sister lives nearby and is Heavenly's favorite aunt ( plus other relatives and long time family friends from our church are nearby). They have been to her house a lot lately ( as we are storing a few things nearby) so have also been saying goodbye to her, but we will also all stay connected as we travel via Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime etc. and hopefully some visits in person in Spain. 

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3 santa cruz beauty

We ended up having lunch in this spectacular location on a park bench.They had Pizza My Heart ( something Heavenly has been eating since Grandma use to take her there on the beach when she was 9 months old and running faster than anyone around, so once got lost at that age while Grandma was paying for it) so we joke about that remembrance and I ate my salad. The day before, we all had another long time favorite family meal that we've been eating since before Heavenly was born, from ABC Chinese  ( the best Chinese food we have ever found around the world) & a MUST on every trip to this area. While my mom and I started with salad, they picked it up and we all enjoyed it at the beach condo outside with an ocean view. 

Goodbyes Before Long Term Travel  soultravelers3 mom & daughter travel

We loved having the time together and being in a place we love. It was windy, but sunny and gorgeous as ever and brought back so many happy memories. Goodbyes are never easy, but a part of life. At my age, you never know when it will it will be the last time you see someone, as that happens a lot these days. 
Beautiful  friends and relatives, boom, gone. So cherish each day you have and all the love you have in your life. One reason we are traveling now is because we likely do not have that many travel years left for us, so want to do it while we still have our health. The 20-30 defining decade is huge for Heavenly, but so is the 70-80 decade for us. Hopefully, this world tour will go as successfully as our last long term family journey and thank God virtual connection now is so easy!

Travel goodbyes santa cruz soultravelers3 Heavenly reyna grandma

It will be fun to call my mom regularly like we did before and I think she will also adore getting postcards in the mail, even if she doesn't know who they are from, she will feel the love and our many prayers for her! I am grateful we said our goodbyes when her mind was stronger and I feel complete, but I will always miss her, yet the best of her lives permanently inside of me and never leaves. I am also so grateful that Heavenly had such a close relationship with her ( given our ages when she was born), thankful for the daily time together they had in her first 5 years, the weekly Skype calls during our travels and long stay visits in Capitola or her with us in Asia that helped them bond deeply. 

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So poignant! Lots of beauty in these tales. Huge blessings to all!


Aww, thanks so much Margaret!! It was a sweet but also bittersweet goodbye. I think on some level she remembered us or at least that we were special to her. She said she had gotten up early and ready for us to pick us up with all the excitement of a toddler getting some ice cream.

I am just happy she is happy and Heavenly is happy too.

Hoping maybe we will finally meet on the road one of these days!


What a precious visit you all had with your Mom. Bittersweet with her memory issues… but beautiful nonetheless! Thank you for sharing it here. Many blessings on your upcoming European adventures!


Aww, you are too kind Teresa! It was special and we are so glad we did it. Time is flying by fast now and we are betwixt and between. Heading off to the unknown again, so excited and a bit nervous, knowing that some how it all always works out.

We are sending these photos to my mom in hard copy since she is not on the internet now, so I think she will enjoy that too.

Thanks so much for your good wishes and sending you many blessings back! We will have a lot to share soon!!


Thanks for sharing your going away party. I remember your mom and the shell shop in Capitola.

She looks great and happy at 94. I was not aware of her memory loss. I haven't seen her or been in Capitola since the 1980s.

I was not at all certain I would have been able to go live in Barcelona in 2010 if my mother were still alive. She passed in December 2009 at age 98. She was fully lucid until the very end according to her caregivers.

I last saw my mom on Thanksgiving 2009. As I was taking her back to her apartment, she looked over her shoulder from her wheelchair and asked me if my business was doing well and if I still had the condo in San Francisco she helped me purchase in 2005.

I lied to her and told her everything was great, I'd just closed a $15K sale (true) and all was well with the condo.

The truth was I knew I was not going to be able to make payroll and rent on the business on December 1. So I would be closing the business and firing 5 employees at Christmas. Which also meant there was no option but to sell the condo too.

My mother again looked over her shoulder and looked up at me, her only child, and said "Somehow, I just don't believe you!"

How did she know I was in such a desperate financial condition and on the verge of losing everything?

No one ever knows you as well as your mother, I suppose. Even if she suspected things were not as rosy a picture as I tried to paint, she passed away not knowing for certain that this portion of my life had ended and my 6-year relationship would be over and done in less than a year.

Even the most tragic story often has a positive shadow. I lived in Barcelona for two years without working, using the proceeds from the sale of the condo. Living in Europe, having close friends who were European, having Spanish Health Care including surgery in Barcelona, were all life-changing experiences.

I had never lived alone for such a long period, being in a relationship since my early 20s.

My two years in Barcelona were probably the best and happiest two years of my life, yet bittersweet as I mourned the loss of my mother, my girlfriend, my business, and all my stuff.

Good luck with your return to Europe and being a citizen of the world. I'll be looking forward to reading about your adventures.


Thanks Norm! Your comment came in while we were in transit from lax to Paris and then on to Barcelona. We are here and so grateful to be back as it is gorgeous and the weather is perfect and no crowds yet so we have the place to ourselves.

I remember when you were in Barcelona and I am glad you healed your cancer and have gone onto enjoy your life in more ways and through travel.

It is always a challenge to leave a mother, but even more so as an only child I can imagine.

I love it that now it is easier than ever to stay in touch no matter where one lives!

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