Weekly Round Up + How We Saved For Travel



Bonjour friends. How was your week? Wow, did I have a week. Jet lag, deadlines, guests, oh my, it has been busy over here at casa Sueiro, but a good busy. I slept 13 hours last night. I don’t think I have done that in probably over a decade. Over the course of the last six days I have spent half the nights sleeping on a bus or an airplane, my body was beat. While I wrap things up for the week (we are going out of town, woo hoo) I wanted to share a bit with you. Enjoy!

ROUND UP time!

NEW YORK: I just went to New Jersey for the wedding of one of my oldest friends. It was lovely to see her so happy and in love. I was also lucky enough to get 1.5 days in NYC before the big day. I have lived in NYC three times in my life. I have a single life and a married life history there. It was amazing to visit some of my favorite restaurants, hit a museum and pass by our old apartment. Everyone should live in NYC at least once in their life. Go do it!

MAINE: After the wedding in NJ I hopped the night bus to Maine to help my mom and grandmother. My grandmother (who is 91) is moving into residential living and we had some packing to do. I wish I could have stayed longer, but we have family in town in Hyéres and I wanted to spend time with them as well. It is a treat to visit Maine in the fall. The colors of the leaves, the cider, the apples, it’s all good and so darn beautiful. Plus, it is always nice to see my extended family.

FLIGHTS: What is it about airplane travel that makes many people so damn cranky? I have to be honest, I love being on an airplane. I love sitting still for eight+ hours. I love having someone bring me food. I love that I have movies to watch if I finish my work. I love all that uninterrupted time. Does this mean my regular life is too busy? Not sure, but I definitely am that happy traveler. Whenever I encounter a cranky neighbor I usually say, “gosh, sorry the kid behind you is kicking the seat. I am just glad we have not crashed.” Then I usually get this weird look and no laugh. Ha! Break it down folks. There are worse things than a kid kicking your seat. How about the woman who talks your ear off or the drunk? Or even worse, a crash! I’ll take the seat kicker anyday.

I LOVE HYÉRES: I really love where we live. This town is charming, kind and quiet. Hyéres is just what we need in this chapter in our life and I am grateful that it found us. Thanks again Julie for steering us this way. It is funny how many people have reached out to me questioning Hyéres and its charm. I have a large network of worldschoolers and most of them are always on the hunt for great places to live. I think the important thing to remember about Hyéres is that it is not a big city. It is small, walkable and peaceful. If that is what you are looking for then look no further.

GUESTS: My in-laws have been in town for a couple of weeks. I think they have seen the whole south of France at this point. Hopefully we will get to venture out at some point, but for now we are just excited to go to Aix en Provence for the weekend. Have you been? What should we do or see?


DO YOU MEDITATE? This seems like a good reason to meditate.

ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF: Have you ever thought about writing one? I particularly like this one because it is not what I had expected.

ARE YOU INTERESTED IN A LESS TYPICAL VACATION? Well, this girl created a business that will give you a much more authentic experience on your vacation.

30 BEHAVIORS: Do you have them? Are you unstoppable?

32 MISTAKES FOREIGNERS MAKE IN FRANCE: I think I have made a handful of these.







My plan is to share discoveries, observations and pretty much randomness from our week in France. Of course there will be more lengthy posts on the information that deserves more air time, but so much is happening that it cannot all be a post.

IT’S GETTING COLD: The last couple of weeks we have seen some cooler temperatures and I don’t like it folks. This is the coldest climate we have been in for the last two years and my blood is thin. I am sure we will adjust, I just hope this place has a kick ass heating system.

WOW, HIKING: The hiking is amazing here. We have barely scratched the surface, but I can see the trails in the distance and I am dying to get on them. I even brought our hiking poles back from the US.

I wish I had more to report, but I have been out-of-town for a week so I have not made many new discoveries.



Today I thought I would share some of the ways we have saved money over the years in order to make this slow travel lifestyle a reality.

  • We drove one used car for several years before launching. In addition, we took public transportation whenever possible.
  • We did not have a housekeeper, pool guy, a dog groomer, manicurist, etc. We did all of the aforementioned ourselves.
  • We rented out our apartment by the week during vacations and some weeks in the summer through airbnb.com. We then stayed in a cheap hotel up the street for a fraction of what we made renting our place.
  • We ate out very rarely and when we did we usually used a Groupon coupon.
  • We did not update our technology, phones, computer, etc.
  • We never shopped for clothing or home furnishings. If we needed something we often got it at Good Will.
  • Will and I made holiday, anniversary and birthday gifts for each other instead of buying something.
  • I colored my hair and got hair cuts twice a year.
  • I never got a mani, pedi, facial or any other beauty treatments.
  • We put a hold on our retirement investments for a couple of years (yikes, I know).
  • We collected soap and shampoo from our hotel visits and from my parents visits to use at home.
  • We sold any items that we did not use anymore on craigslist or ebay.
  • We only got books at the library or lawn sales.
  • I took almost any design job that came along, even if I knew the client was going to be high maintenance.
  • Will always brought his lunch to work.
  • We did not have gym memberships. Will ran in our building gym or outside and I did yoga at home.
  • We always tried to negotiate any increases in fees down. Our rent, our insurance, etc.
  • We shopped around for the best priced gas for our car.
  • We parked our car outside instead of in the garage because it was less expensive.
  • We switched medical plans because ours got too pricey.
  • Will and I seldom had date nights because the cost of the evening and the babysitter was just too much.
  • We dropped our Costco membership because we felt we bought stuff we did not need when we were there.
  • When we traveled we stayed at inexpensive hotels, in our tent, on couches, with relatives, etc.
  • When we skied we only went to slopes that offered discounts or coupons.
  • We encouraged our kids to come up with jobs or sell toys that they had outgrown in order to have their own spending money.

I think these are some great ways to start cutting down your expenses if you are looking to bring a big dream to fruition.

Have a fabulous weekend.


Inside A Traveler’s Walls: Kristie Weiss

Bonjour friends. I know, I know, I have been a bit MIA the last couple of posts. Well, I took a quick trip to the USA for a wedding and to help out my mom. I had very little time to post and when I did have time to work I needed to devote my energies toward the new biz!!! We are looking to launch on December 1st if all continues to go well. I cannot wait to share this new adventure with you.

I am writing this post from one of the Paris airports while waiting for my flight back to Hyéres. Boy do I miss my family. I seldom travel without them and when I do I really miss them. Four more hours!

I’m getting this blogging week started a little late, but at least I am starting it right. Who is ready for another amazing and inspiring family?

If you are new here I would like to introduce you to our weekly series “Inside a Traveler’s Walls” where we feature families living in less traditional, unique homes. If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled please contact me for details.

…but I wouldn’t trade my wet butt and the absolute freedom we have now, for anything that we had back in Central PA. ~ Kristie

It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to the Weiss family of the Grenadine’s, at least for today. Real estate, sailing and family bonding, oh my. These are a few of my favorite things. From the friendly skies to the open sea, you are going to love this family and their amazing story filled with honesty, love and big dreams. Big dreams that they brought to fruition.

We try to focus more on the local holidays and local traditions of the countries where we are located and not as much on the holidays that most Americans celebrate. ~ Kristie

This is a family who learns, plans and budgets together. Imagine being a 13-year-old boy who gets to travel the world on a sail boat while boat schooling, having a back yard filled with science and learning about new cultures daily. Magical, right? I think I would have definitely enjoyed school more with this option. How about you? Do you think you could learn about the equator while sailing over it? Or study turtles in their natural environment? Or learn about the traditions and holidays in different countries by experiencing them first hand?

I am loving that this family clearly makes it a priority to reduce their carbon footprint. I see this a lot with traveling families and it just makes me smile ear to ear. We all have to do our part in keeping our world alive and functioning well. The more we travel the more compelled we become to buy less, recycle more and connect deeper.

So, enough of my chatter. Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.

Introduce us to the people you live with?
We are the Weiss family; Tyler (13) Kristie and Richard (married for 21 years). Richard and I met in flight school in the early 90’s, so we both knew we wanted to travel full-time and see the world as a profession, but as everyone knows things never go as originally planned and there have been a couple of detours along the way.

Long story short….We owned a flight school and then 9/11 occurred and caused our insurance rates to triple, so we sold our airplanes, obtained our Real Estate Licenses and became a Top Producing Real Estate Sales Team. We also purchased investment properties that we self managed and flipped houses in our spare time.

Rich and I have always talked about living aboard a boat and traveling the US Coast line and Caribbean. Our son Tyler (13), loves traveling and sailing. He is the one who operates the boat and can run the boat, as well as, and even better than most adults.

Early 2015, we just couldn’t take the high stress and demands of being Real Estate Agents any longer. We walked in the office one morning and told our Broker we were done. The next few months we sold our house (we weren’t even the listing agent) and sold or gave away everything we owned.

We bought a one-way ticket to St. Thomas, where our boat was waiting, and set sail. When we arrived we had almost no sailing experience and our longest sail previously was only 12 miles. In the past year, we’ve sailed to over 60 islands, 11 countries and over 2800 miles. Needless to say, all three of us are pretty happy with our accomplishments and very proud of each other.

Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
Our home is a 41′ Fountaine Pajot, Lipari, sailing catamaran, s/v Sail Pending. We have 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (heads), a kitchen (galley) and all the amenities of a normal home. The only difference is our home floats and we can travel the world without packing and unpacking.

We are currently (October 2016) in the Grenadine’s, a group of small islands between St. Vincent and Grenada. We are working our way North stopping in Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Antigua, before heading West through the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico. We’ll then turn South and sail along the barrier reef of Belize and spend the 2017 hurricane season in the Rio Dulce River in Guatemala where we will immerse ourselves in the Spanish culture and learn Spanish.

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
Because we can explore our world  full-time, for less than buying plane tickets and staying in hotels.

Currently, We don’t have any housing payments or any utility bills. We use the wind to take us to our next destination and use the sun (solar power) and the wind to generate any power we need.

Our family’s carbon footprint on this world is minimal. We use very little fossil fuels and we create minimal waste.

What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?
Living in a small space, such as a boat, we only have room for items that can be used for multiple purposes. We don’t have any knick knacks or artwork. Our throw pillows are more for comfort and have to be made from a material that doesn’t promote mold growth.

We have collected a couple special items from local artist along our journey, but they are usually hats, bracelets, hand-made bowls or utensils.

Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
Our favorite space is the trampoline on the front of our boat!!! We had an awning custom-made which creates shade during the day and is easily removable so we are able to view the stars at night.

What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?
We went from living in a 4000+ square foot house to living on a 41′ boat. I had no idea how we were going to get along in such a small space. I am not going to sugar coat it, the first few months were difficult, but we have grown so much as a family and have learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I can not describe the immense bonding that has occurred as a family and how we have grown to respect each other.

What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?
During this journey I have learned that I don’t need much to live and how many thing I can actually live without. I guess I can only think of water and food as items I can not live without. We also make sure we always have decent sunscreen and snorkeling equipment.

What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?
…. Hmmmm, I honestly have to say, I don’t miss a damn thing. Yes, it would be nice to hop in a car and go to a “normal” grocery store without a wet butt from a dingy ride, but I wouldn’t trade my wet butt and the absolute freedom we have now, for anything that we had back in Central PA.

What is the one item your child carries with him to make his unique (less traditional) home more comfortable?
My son has his laptop and a ton of movies to watch. He has always loved watching James Bond and action movies.

Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice
No pet

What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
This is a very hard question to answer because last year we visited over 60 different islands and 11 different countries. If there is a Chandlery (a store that sells boat parts) we always go there to see if there is something that we need.

If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why
space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet
We truly have everything we need and have learned that the more “stuff” you have the more complicated and stressful your life is. I used to wish we had better internet connections, but with the election and stuff going on back home in the US, it’s just better to be unplugged.

If you were to compare your unique (less traditional) home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?
I guess a wisk, because it’s simple, efficient and doesn’t need to be plugged in to do its job.

How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?
Holidays and traditions are not just dates on a calendar to us anymore. They are now when we get to visit with the rest of the family who still lives traditional lives back in the US.

How do you decorate for the holidays in your unique (less traditional) home or do you skip it all together?
We do not decorate or purchase plastic items that will take up space and will eventually just end up in a landfill.

Also, we celebrate MORE holidays now. A few examples are: St. Patrick’s Day on Monserrat, Canada Day with boat neighbors in Carriacou, and Emancipation Day in Grenada.

We try to focus more on the local holidays and local traditions of the countries where we are located and not as much on the holidays that most Americans celebrate. We consider ourselves citizens of the Earth and respect the culture of the country in which we are visiting.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
Not having to unpack!!! We travel the Earth in our home.

Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
Home is where your heart is. A permanent structure attached to land is NOT a home if heart is elsewhere.

What makes you love the place you live?
If for any reason we don’t like where we are, we can pull up our anchor and leave.

We have also met some awesome cruising friends and though we don’t travel everywhere together when we do end up in the same anchorage it’s like a homecoming and we end up staying in a place longer.

Can home be a person, or an idea?
Yes, “home” is a place where you are comfortable, happy and feel secure and loved. Unfortunately, many people never find “home” even when they live in a permanent structure in one location.

Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?
Life is short. You’ll never be fully prepared but that’s what’s exciting!! Learning along the way, making adjustments and bonding with those around you.

What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?
When we ventured out on this amazing journey we said we would do whatever is in the best interest of our son. Tyler is thriving in this environment!!! We will continue to travel as long as he is happy and wants to continue. Tyler talks about crossing the Pacific and sailing around the world and if that’s what he wants to do, we will!!

How do you educate your child?
We boat school Tyler. We mainly focus his formal curriculum on Math and Reading/Writing skills. We don’t have a TV to watch so we read classic literature out loud as a family.

We learn the History and Culture of the places we visit and we live Science almost every waking hour of every day.

He swims with sea creatures almost every day.

Watches his shadow get smaller as we get closer to the equator.

Tours active volcanoes….  and much more.

Tyler also takes an active role in researching and planning our destinations and our family budget.

How do you make a living?
As I said in our introduction we purchased investment properties years ago, and then used the proceeds of selling our house to purchase a couple more income producing properties. We are not trust fund babies or wealthy. For 20 years, we worked very hard, saved every dime we earned, and invested wisely. We currently live on a pretty strict budget and spend less per month than most people spend on a mortgage.

When you live on a boat, in paradise, you don’t need to spend much money.

Quote to ponder:
A permanent structure attached to land is NOT a home if heart is elsewhere.


Facebook: S/V Sail Pending
Instagram: sv.sailpending
Twitter: @SailPending1
Blog and Website: www.sale2sail.me

Amazing family, right? And I agree with Kristi. We live on so much less than we did when we had a traditional life in the US. I think the finance part of this lifestyle is just not discussed enough. We all need to share our discoveries, investments and simplifying strategies. So many people think this is for the rich and frankly I don’t know anyone rich doing this or anyone who spends more than they did in their home country on living expenses.

How are you going to get closer to your dream life today? Lets go sailing!


The Future Is Bright From Where I Sit

Bonjour friends. Weird title, right? My birth country is having a lot of drama currently (hell, the whole world is) and people are stressed. They are worried for the ones they love and for future generations. I get it, it is a valid concern, but from where I sit looking at the big picture (the whole world) there is so much hope. I truly believe the future is bright.

Each day I watch the world through the eyes of my traveling tribe, AvaLar and the hot latino. They give me so much hope. But beyond our family I see bright stars every day, that stuff is growing everywhere across the globe. I see friends and their three kids spending time in rural India in the name of global education, curiosity and understanding. I see a mother and daughter team in the Himalayas deepening their connecting to self, the world and educating others about the people beyond our reach. I see friends making a local difference by volunteering time in communities different from theirs, with their children. These are real people. I know them, they are my friends and I get to open FB each morning and witness the magic unfold. I sit, I watch, I listen and I know that this is not the majority, but these are parents making global education and compassion part of their family goals. It is likely that these children will grow up with an intense curiosity for those different from them and an understanding of cultures, religions and practices beyond their bubble. It is quite magical. Now if we can get more people doing this the world could really make an amazing breakthrough. The future is bright.

I have said it before and I will say it again, we are not a special or unique family. We are like every other family out there. We work, pay bills, school our kids, save for retirement, stress and much more, however we have made it a priority to create an understanding and curiosity of others and it is working folks, it is really working. You need to put in very little effort to raise a child that is curious and understanding of others. And you don’t need to travel to do this, you just need to expose them to it, which can be done in almost any community. And in my opinion you (yes, YOU) need to embrace it as a parent as well. Lead by example. It is truly that easy.

The other day Avalon came home from school with a desire to learn how to spell her name in Arabic. Do we speak Arabic? No. Does she have an Arabic language class? No. Did we ask her to do this? No. But, for the first time in our travels we are in a community that has a Muslim population. As a result, she has kids in her class that speak Arabic. The curiosity was created because we chose to live in this area and she has had the exposure to the language and culture. This curiosity lead to Google research and then led to an in-depth conversation which led to an understand of a language, religion and culture different from ours. It was that easy folks. It was an amazing conversation that gave me so much hope for the young people out learning about the world. There were some serious learning moments and then there were some funny moments. Both kids said that they loved how the Arabic names sounded in French. Avalon thought they were pretty and Largo said they were cool. Magical, right? It is moments like this that I say “aha” and then “OMG I love our life,” it may not be for everyone, but boy it works for us and our family goals.

Lets brainstorm today. How can we make the future brighter? Here are some of my suggestions, but I would love to grow this list. You don’t need to be a traveling family to do your part. Go!

  • Stay curious. Is this hard to do? Maybe. Life happens, responsibly occurs, stress is there and it is so easy to just crawl in our shell and autopilot life, but what fun is that? Curiosity is like sex. Once you have a taste of it you know you want it for the rest of your life. The more you get, the more you want. Are you with me? We had this dream to travel and spend a year in various countries of our choice, but I now find that we all (including AvaLar) want to push the limits. We have curiosities beyond what we originally started with. We want to volunteer at an orphanage in a rural village in India. We want to hike the AT Trail, the whole damn thing. We want to give back more. We want to hear the call to prayer. We want to connect deeper to our spiritual being by learning about Buddhism. We are curious. We want to eat bugs in SE Asia. Ha, just kidding. We want, actually, we NEED to fulfill those curiosities. We don’t say no to anything, unless of course our budget does not agree. Frankly, we have pretty much spent our whole life together like this and it is the only lifestyle our kids know. They are curious. They have always been curious. And we refuse to ever beat that out of them. Stay curious folks!
  • Practice understanding. I do this every day, except of course when it comes to racism. My friend Julie says that the racist is the person who needs the greatest understanding. I don’t disagree with her, but for me it is just too much to ask at this point. Maybe some day. I may not make a very good Buddhist. Practice understanding the person in front of you at the checkout counter who is struggling with the language. Practice understanding why some folks believe in god and why others don’t. Practice understanding why some people want Trump, others want Hillary and still others refuse to vote. Practice understanding why some folks leave us so soon and some last for what seems like forever. It is amazing what we can learn about the world and ourselves if we try to understand another side. If we sit intimately with that which we don’t understand and listen, watch and try to understand, the world could be a better place.
  • Love, yes love. Fill your heart, life and home with people and memories you love.
  • Share. Share what you know and I don’t mean in an “I have all this wisdom” tone. I mean in an authentic way. Go into schools. Volunteer to share what you have learned about the world, through travel and in your community. We have a responsibility to support the younger generation, encourage them to do better than us and to share. They will learn best by example. Share your food. Share your time. Share you passions. Share with those less fortunate. Share with those you don’t understand. Just share!!! You can’t take your thoughts, money, experiences or time with you, so why not share them?
  • Travel. Did you really think I would leave this one out? Check out this inspirational video featuring some boots and a man who kept on traveling, giving and sharing even after he passed. Traveling is the easiest way I have personally found to stay curious and understanding, but if you have an easier way let me know. I am lazy so I might jump right on it and off this travel road. Ok, maybe not, but I could do both. It is never too late, there is always a way to afford it if you are willing to compromise, the world needs you. Yes, you! We all have something amazing to contribute.
  • Never give up on the future. NEVER! I don’t care how old you are. The younger generation still needs you. Stay curious. Stay understanding. And if you have never been either then find it and do it before it is too late. Every generation says “oh the younger generation,” but that is not true. We are progressing, we are doing something right and we will continue to grow because that is what we do as human beings.
  • Embrace children. They are the future! They are the heart and soul of the world. They are making the difference. They are bridging the gaps. They are the universal language of hope, curiosity and understanding. This younger generation brings me much more hope than previous generations because they are able to make the world smaller through all the access they have to technology. They want to change the world for us. They want less in regards to material possessions and more in regards to experiences. They want to live more authentic. And they have the lack of conformity in their bones which enables them to make it all possible. The future is bright. I just know it.
  • Live with passion. And spread that shit everywhere like glitter.

What do you do in your area of the world to create curiosity and understanding of those different from you? Does it happen naturally because of your location or do you have to seek it out?

Over and out from NYC! I will be posting on my IG account all weekend if you want to see what I am up to.


Building Community In Hyères








Bonjour friends. Lets chat about building community today, particularly in our new village, Hyères, France. It is no surprise that community building is a big priority for our family when we move to a new country. It is one of the best ways that I know of to make friends, learn about the culture and truly appreciate our new land. So far it has not failed us, in fact it has enriched our life more than I could have ever imagined. I only wish we would have been able to be more hands on with building community during our time in Costa Rica, but if you have been with us for a long time you know what a tough adjustment we had. I cannot imagine how we would have entertained under the circumstances, but I will not dwell on the past. Here we are today in France building community.

As with anything in life the more we practice the better we get, the deeper the experience becomes and the more we learn. I remember when we started building community I did my best to observe and learn, but now I just ask. I asked the big questions. I am not shy to admit that we have no clue about many cultural differences, but we do have a huge desire to learn. I have found that this honesty has proven to be very effective when building community. If we do something inappropriate we are allowed the disclaimer the we are “learning,” but if we just sit by idle and “pretend” to know what we are doing then we often just look rude.

We have also learned that time is of the essence in a new country. Just jump right in and host a party. It does not matter if you are still unsettled, if you wait until you are ready it very well may be time to move on at that point. We consistently start building community within our first few weeks in a location. I am not going to pretend that this is easy, but I have found that it is fruitful to do so.

If you want to read more on the subject of community building you can look here, here, here or here, but for today lets talk specifically about us building community here in Hyères, France.

We had barely visited the local market and we were off planning our first parties. Well, I don’t know if you can call it a party when it takes place from 5-7pm, but you get the idea. In France they call this goûté. This is the time period designated for a light snack before a later dinner.

It was very important that we establish a respectful and helpful relationship with our neighbors so we decided to start community building with them. We left a bottle of wine and a note on their doorstep which introduced our family and invited them down for a glass of wine the following weekend.

Next our plan was to host all the families in Largos class. Since Avalon is in middle school it is a little different for her so we suggested she invite her closest friends and their families.

Right from the beginning we had one complication to solve. Largo has 28 kids in his class. We knew that if they all showed up (I know this is not typical, but what if…) we would have too many people in our space. It would not be an issue for us, but we wanted to make sure we were respectful of our neighbors. The solution we came up with was to host two nights from 5-7pm and break the class into separate groups. We then had Avalon invite her friends on the day we had the least rsvp’s for Largos class. We also invited the director of the school and Largos teacher. Avalon has seven teachers so it is less realistic to invite all of her them, however we will suggest that for our next event when she has formed a closer bond to some teachers.

I then created a very simple paper invite explaining who we are and why we were here. I also expressed our desire to make new friends and form community. It might sound a little forward and maybe even desperate to some, but there is no easy way to say we want to make friends except just coming out and saying it. I have learned that honesty is the best policy and those offended by this approach are not meant to be part of our community. My lovely friend Julie (thank you) then translated it for me. I don’t suggest using Google translate in a situation like this because it is not a perfect science and you want to make sure you are understood. We printed 30 invites and Largo delivered them to his class. In Ecuador we did evites online, but I was unable to obtain the email addresses quickly here in Hyères. Be sure to include an rsvp email or phone number. It makes planning that much easier, however be prepared for some people to show up without rsvp’ing, it really depends on if it is part of the local culture to rsvp.

What did we serve?

  • Neighbors. We served wine, cheese, olives, tapenade, sausage, baguette, nuts, sparking water and some sliced veggies.
  • School mates. We served wine, juice, lemonade, macaroons, local candy, nuts, cheese, olives, tapenade, sausage, baguette, sparking water and some sliced veggies.

What was the vibe?

  • Neighbors. It was a small group so we were all able to sit around our table, eat and have casual conversation.
  • School mates: We had over 40 people on the first night and about 10 on the second. No one really sat down on the first night. There was a lot of talking, drinking and mingling. The second night was more casual and we were able to sit and have intimate conversation. Both were lovely, but completely different due to the attendance numbers. Many of the families expressed gratitude to us for hosting this evening. They said it is not typical in Hyéres, but it was nice for them to meet us and also nice to chat with the other parents outside of school.

How late did everyone stay?

  • Neighbors. I believe they stayed until 7pm.
  • School mates: Both nights stayed until between 9-10pm.

How did the kids interact?

  • Our kids do speak the language, however we were in many situations in Costa Rica where they did not speak the language and they survived. Kids are kids anywhere in the world. If the child is open to meeting someone new and accepting the differences then all goes well and it all went well at our home. We never see language as a barrier.

What questions did the guests have for us?

  • If it was typical in America for a family to move to a new area and have a party where they invited the whole class? I loved this question. I said that I did not believe it was typical, at least in the cities we have lived in, however it is very typical for our family.
  • Why did we choose Hyères? You can read about it here.
  • Did we move for work? You can’t even imagine how much this question gets asked. It is always a bit challenging to explain it since many folks still don’t understand how this is possible and then throw in a bit of a language barrier.
  • How come our kids speak French? The answer is that they have attended French schools or had French tutors since they were young.

What did we learn from the evening?

  • It is best to serve our guests. It is considered proper etiquette to serve your guests their wine in France.
  • The guests were punctual. I am so used to my lovely latino friends who arrive at least an hour or more later than the scheduled time that this came as a bit of a shock.
  • They speak English. Yep, many of the guests spoke English or at least enough to get by.
  • They like Americans. We get such a bad rap when it comes to our relationship with the French. I just don’t believe that the French hate Americans, at least from my experience.
  • They bring gifts: olive oil, wine, flowers, sweets, tapenade, orchids, homemade wine and many other lovely items. They are appreciative guests.
  • They will come without their kids unless specified on the invite. Luckily we knew this and put it on the invite.
  • They were just as excited to meet us as we were them.

Did we make new friends?
Yes. Since our community building night we have been invited to dinners, over for afternoon wine, on local adventures and much more. As most of you know this is not a one time deal for us. We will continue to entertain and grow our friend circle here in Hyères because that is what we do. We build community, embrace differences and learn every day how amazing the world truly is.

We love to make friends and learn about other cultures, however the biggest benefit I see to forming community is for our children and the children we come in contact with. For them to learn about how other children live in the world is truly a gift for their future. I am grateful every day that we are able to give them this gift.

How do you build community? This pertains to families that are living in one spot and those that travel full time.


We DON’T Want A Car


Bonjour friends. Did you have an amazing weekend? Did you adventure? Have you ever had one of those weekends when you thought you had it all planned out, the plans changed and it became even more amazing than you had anticipated? We had that weekend. Now, I am not going to pretend that it was perfect, we were missing the hot latino (who was by the way visiting the Great Wall of China). Friday night I took the kids to see their first movie in the theatre here in Hyères. I am sad to report that even though we had a great time we will unlikely go again. It was so expensive. We were spoiled in Ecuador and now it is hard to justify 40 euros for three people to watch a two-hour movie, nonetheless we had a great time. Saturday we chilled a home. I read to the kids, they had lots of imagination time, tree climbing and just relaxing. In the afternoon Largo had a birthday party to attend at the end of our street and after that we all retired to my bed for more reading, snuggling and a good nights sleep. Sunday we did a lot of the same in the morning, we also made crepes and talked about some big issues in the US. And then we closed out the weekend with a visit to a mining museum and a hike with friends. It was good folks, but let’s get this week started by talking about why we DON’T want a car.

We started off our life together in NYC with no car and I guess one could say that we have come full circle. Since our West Village days we have consistently been a two car family. When we decided to start planning for a digital nomad lifestyle we downsized to one car and used public transportation when possible. Then we left the US and headed to Costa Rica. We bought a car and frankly I think it was necessary considering where we were living and the proximity to Largo’s school. However, when we left Costa Rica it was important to us to find a location where we did not need a car. We were tired of the repairs, the long hours driving and the drama that went along with it. We settled on Quito for many reasons, but one of them was that it was walkable and had an efficient public transportation system. Fast forward to present day and here we are again in another city (well, more like a village) and we are car-less. Will and I loved not have a car in Quito. We believed it was possible to do the same in the south of France, so far it is working out.


  • Authentic experience. Walking gives us the ability to experience our village up close and personal. We can stop, look, observe and interact with people and places as often as we fancy. Think of how many times you have been in the car and you have said, “we will stop next time.” When you are walking it takes no time at all to pop into a store, glance at a park or observe a cultural nuance. It only takes a minute, even when you are in a hurry.
  • Less expensive. Well, this one is a no brainer, right? A car cost money and so do the repairs, insurance, gas, parking and fender benders. We spend hardly anything on transportation. We have solely used our feet so far in Hyères, however I do anticipate us renting a car, using the train/bus and possibly a taxi as our time here progresses.
  • Richer conversation. We find as a family that we have much deeper and meaningful conversation when we are walking. In the car I am preoccupied with driving and often directions and the kids are reading, arting or chatting. But, when we are on foot, they seem to open up more about their day and we are there 100% to listen and focus.
  • Slower pace. We are never really in a hurry when we are walking. I found that when we had a car we were always rushing to the last-minute to get out the door. We got in the car stressed and we all know that is not good. When we walk we give ourselves enough time to take it at a pace that works for the family, plus we always make sure we have time to stop and observe if we see something that meets our fancy.
  • Less hassle. For us cars are a big hassle. The parking, road closures, traffic and much more. And if you saw our parking spot in our current apartment you would learn a new meaning of hassle. We love to just exit our building, stress free and wander.
  • Less stuff. We are minimalist as most of you already know. When you are walking you quickly learn that you can only take so much stuff with you in your backpack. I always found that when we took the car we (well, more Will than me, but who is keeping track) would fill it with stuff we “might” need instead of making due with what we had. Walking has taught us to travel lighter and be creative when we are missing something we need.


  • Less freedom. I think this is probably obvious. We cannot just hop in the car and go!!! So far this has not been an issue. We have been so busy adjusting, traveling for work and building community that we have not even had time to think about a car. Frankly, it would be more of a burden at this point. There is a lot to do and see here by foot so thus far we don’t feel like our freedom is compromised, but at some point we may feel this way.
  • A burden on friends. Our friends picked us up this weekend to take us to a mining museum and then for a hike, they had to bring both of their cars to fit us. They are not the first friends to drive us around in Hyères or in other countries. I hate to be a burden on anyone and I know it will get old having to drives us places. In exchange for a couple of rides we always fill up our friends gas tank to let them know how much we appreciate their generosity.
  • Weather. One can get really cold and wet when the weather is not cooperating. Mix that up with walking and it can make for an ugly day. We always carry appropriate clothing and hope for the best, if all else fails there is always a cafe ready to welcome us.

Our life is simple. It is grand on so many levels and incredibly simple on others. We have found that after over two years of slow traveling the world as digital nomads and worldschoolers going without a car works best for our family goals. Does that mean we will always go with out a car? No, but for now it works quite well. We will first try to pick a location in the world that allows us to go without a car, but if we have to sacrifice other goals that we feel more passionately about then we will get a car or maybe two motorcycle with side cars. Doesn’t that sound fun?

So, tell me. Have you always had a car? Could you live in your current location without a car? If you are a traveler have you found any countries that are very easy to navigate without a car and vise versa?

Have a fabulous Monday.


What 23 thought 43 would look like…



Bonjour friends. We have guests! Woo hoo! I love having guests. Lets call this guest month. We have so much going on that I am busting at the seams, in a good way and sometimes a bad way. I want to show the world our charming French village. I want to eat baguettes and dream big with all of you. I want to walk those cobble stone streets, watch the sunset and ponder the meaning of life, but first (while you are looking for flights) lets talk about what 23 thought 43 would look like. I am going to pretend I’m still 43 (since I am barely 44) because it sounds better in the title.

What 23 thought 43 would look like…NOT THIS! HOLY MOLY, NOT THIS!!! And I say that shouting from the rooftops with pure joy. Honestly, not in my wildest, craziest dreams could I have ever envisioned 43 looking like this. And I had some wild and crazy dreams. THIS slow travel life was never part of my plan and now look at us, we never want to stop.

I met Will at 23. If he had said to me that he wanted to slow travel the world I probably would have laughed and walked away. At 23 I would have thought it was reckless. Although I must admit we were a pretty wild pair at that age (and he is a hot latino) so I might have jumped on that train with him. It was not that I did not want to travel, but it was that I thought people vacationed and then when they retired from a respectable career they got the prize of travel. It never dawned on me that both could be done. Frankly at that point in my life I did not know anyone living that kind of life and if I had I might have though they were traveling on a trust fund. How could anyone make money on the road?

I was on a FB thread the other day and a lovely young adult was posing a question about why many people decide to go after what they really want in their 40’s. Why had they not gone after it before if they really wanted it? This got me thinking about my path. Did I not pursue hidden dreams? Or did I just want different things in my 20’s? I am not really one to hold off on what I want. I am impulsive and determined, sometimes in a good way and sometimes not. I was not holding back on what I truly wanted at 23. I wanted different things at 23 than I did at 33, 43 and probably at 53. However, what I was not aware of at 23 was that this slow travel life was actually an option for me because it was not something I even thought about or wanted.

Lets paint a picture. At 23 I was living in Los Angeles. I had a rockin social life (maybe too rockin), a hip design career developing, a fun sports car and a long distance boyfriend. Will and I had met each other several months after my 23rd birthday. We had connected immediately and we knew we would be together forever, as a result we started planning our future. It looked like this… two successful careers (a business for me and an accounting partnership for him), a big house, amazing parties, top-notch private schools, fancy vacations, you get the idea. That 23-year-old would have looked at this life we have now with disappointment and streaks of failure. We both wanted a very different life than what we have now, but we both love what we have created.

Will and I spent our 20’s and early 30’s partying like rock stars, climbing the ladder and investing in real estate. We were on a fast track path and it felt good. We were happy, thriving, building and there seemed to be no end. By our early 30’s we decided to start our family. We had Avalon, continued building our careers and investing in more real estate. At this time we also had a bit of a change and decided we wanted to do a two-year expat tour in Europe. Our assignment for Madrid fell through, we moved to Boston instead, had Largo and continued with the careers/real estate. Our travel dreams stalled at this point.

It was about a year after Largo was born that we were growing increasing unhappy with the path we were on. We had been on it for 15 years and we were burned out. We were desiring more family time and a deeper global understanding. It took us another seven-year (yes, 7) to make it all work and leave the US for a new adventure, but we did it and we are so incredibly happy. But this is not the point, I digress.

Unfortunately that life I thought I would have at 43 was not a life that would have made me happy. It would have been a life with little family time, hands off parenting, long periods of time away from Will, probably mortgaged to the max from buying into the partnership and investing in my business, an image to uphold (aka material possessions we could not afford), long hours in traffic, missed dinners and too much more to even name. Or maybe not, maybe it would have been an amazing path. At this point we will never know, but what we do know is that this works for us now in this season.

So 23, are you shocked? I know I am and I am pretty confident Will is as well. However it is a good shock. Bring on the next decade and see if you can shock us again.

Are you what your younger self thought you would be? Please share.

Have a fantastic weekend.



October 7, 2016Permalink 7 Comments

Inside A Traveler’s Walls: Kalli Sue Hiller












Bonjour friends. Wednesday is here again! How does it come so fast every week? I am not complaining since it is my favorite part of the week. Plus, I am really feeling I need the inspiration today. I am behind the bus, tired and I leave for NYC in one week. Plus, I miss the hot latino, but everyone is healthy and happy so I cannot complain.

If you are new here I would like to introduce you to our weekly series “Inside a Traveler’s Walls” where we feature families living in less traditional, unique homes. If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled please contact me for details.

Home can also be where your soul vibrates and where you feel the most alive. ~ Hallie

I would like to introduce you to Jacob, Kalli and Ryder. I first learned of Kalli and her family when I saw pictures of them traveling in Antarctica. Yep, you know that continent way down south? I don’t know anyone who has ever been there so I was interested to say the least. Largo has a desire to go to Antarctica one day. He is currently in the early planning stages of seeing Antarctica with my parents. He may actually be the first person in our family to step foot on all of the continents. I’m jealous!

Don’t be afraid to try anything once. ~ Hallie

This lovely family now calls Amsterdam home, at least for the time being. I love that they decided to travel with a little guy. I often get comments on my blog about travel being wasted on the ones who cannot remember it. They may not remember it, but is travel only about what we remember and see or is it how it changes us deep within? For Ryder he is growing up in a travel life that does not see color. He is learning to adapt to different surroundings and accommodations. He is challenging his palate to enjoy beyond the food of his homeland. Isn’t this what we need for the future of our world? Good job Jacob and Kalli for taking this little guy on the road with you. I am sure there are hard days, but I am sure there are epic ones as well.

So, enough of my chatter. Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.

Introduce us to the people you live with?
We are a family of three. Jacob, Kalli, and Ryder age four. Jacob is an internet business professional who creates software and specializes in all things athletic training. Kalli is a history/literature/museum aficionado who is going back to university to follow a dream to study music therapy. And Ryder is a four-year old who has never known what it means to live in one place. He loves dinosaurs, swings at the park, and chocolate.

Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
We have been staying in someone else’s home in Amsterdam for the last two months. We found it on vrbo.com.

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
Amsterdam is notoriously difficult to find a decent place to stay. This was one of the last apartments we could find with our requirements: two bedrooms and still close enough to get to the center. For Jacob, it’s still not quite close enough to downtown because he likes nightlife. Kalli is more of a homebody and has loved having a piano. Ryder is happy everywhere as long as he has his toys.

What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?
I can’t say that we try to personalize it so much as just fit our small number of possessions into a convenient space. Instead, after living abroad for eight years and moving to almost 70 countries, it feels like any place we stay two or more nights quickly feels like home.

Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
I love this apartment because it’s more spacious than many other places we’ve stayed.

Probably it’s the kitchen because it actually has an oven and a dishwasher-conveniences I’m used to living without. Least favorite? I suppose the main bedroom because there isn’t closet space (already taken with the owner’s possessions.)

What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it? 
I didn’t expect to enjoy living in a more suburban area. But the bike ride to the ferry is so gorgeous and refreshing and it makes my day every time I get to ride it.

What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?
Let’s forget technology because that’s too obvious. I suppose the one thing that would be very difficult to replace is our folder of important documents like birth certificates and photocopies of drivers licenses etc.

What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?
Community and routine. Friendships are easy-but having a full on community of people to back you up and support you is not replaceable. Fortunately, there are online communities for traveling folk which does help. And making it a priority to keep in contact with friends from back home.

What is the one item your child carries with him to make his unique (less traditional) home more comfortable?
Well, Ryder has an iPad and loves to download apps. He also likes to sleep with two dinosaurs, one in each hand.

Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice?
I wish! Still debating about getting a dog.

What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
The local shopping mall always does the trick.

If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why?
space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet.
For me? Dishwasher. I love to cook but I don’t love to clean. And Jacob would say above average internet because he can’t work without that.

If you were to compare your unique (less traditional) home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?
Paper towel dispenser: it’s not something I really think about that often and its usefulness comes into play more than how it looks.

How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?
I look up local festivals for the holidays that are most important to me. This means Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I make traditional meals associated with the holidays and invite friends.

How do you decorate for the holidays in your unique (less traditional) home or do you skip it all together?
We carved a pumpkin last Halloween. We went to the 100 yen shop in Tokyo to buy inexpensive decorations for our homemade Christmas tree. I do like to decorate and especially involve my son in making crafts for the holiday season.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
The ability to get a global perspective is priceless and a gift most people won’t have the opportunity to experience. Reading about a place and then actually getting to experience it and develop a opinion about it.

Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
Home is where friends and family are.

What makes you love the place you live?
When it’s easy to get around, there’s a lot of art and good food and history and culture and new experiences to try, and there are friends to share it with. And an added bonus is when there is a low-cost of living.

Can home be a person, or an idea?
Home can also be where your soul vibrates and where you feel the most alive.

Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?
Don’t be afraid to try anything once. You might be surprised at what you like. And at what you don’t.

What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?
We’re looking for something more stable and long-term as I pursue going back to school.

How do you educate your child?
Ryder has gone to local schools in Cusco, Cape Town, and Amsterdam. I never intend to home school.

How do you make a living?
We are making a living with ebook creation software: myebookmaster.com, a vertical jump training program jumpmanual.com, and other software for online businesses. It’s something that can be done anywhere with an internet connection. We now also have bought properties in Florida and manage our renters via my best friend from high school who is a real estate agent. 

http:www.portableprofessionals.com is where I blog about our travels.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/portableprofessionals/?fref=ts

Quote to ponder:
The ability to get a global perspective is priceless and a gift most people won’t have the opportunity to experience.

Amazing, right? How cute is this crew? I love that they have taken the world by storm by visiting 70 countries. And they still have room to grow.

Tell me, do you travel with young kids? What do you think the biggest benefit is for them at a young age? I know we wish we would have taken the plunge earlier. I try not to live in regret, but boy it would have been nice to head out with babies and diapers.

Hope you are having a fantastic day.


The Naysayers

Bonjour friends. Hello Monday! Did you have a great weekend? We sure did! We socialized with new friends (thanks for having us over Giles and family), hiked in Hyères (wow, there is a lot to do and see here), prepared for our first guests (they arrive in just a couple of hours), Facetimed a lot with Will (he is in Hong Kong for work) and slept. We were all a bit tired from the move and getting settled in. October is a busy month for us so we also took the opportunity to rest over the weekend. Let’s jump right in today and chat about the naysayers.

Remember the post I did about the you’ll see” crowd? Well, I like to put the you’ll see group and the naysayers in the same category. At the end of the day they are both saying the same thing. Right? They are projecting negativity and pessimism with an I know what is best for you attitude. Who really needs that? We can all benefit from more acceptance of those different from ourselves.

Every single time we have moved we have received a handful of unsolicited negative (there are positive ones as well, but that post is for another time) comments regarding our new location, the people, the safety and much more. Every single time the information we receive is wrong. Actually, it has never once been correct. Usually (not always) this information comes from someone who has never visited the country or if they have it was only for a short vacation. And my favorite naysayer is the one who says they saw it on the news. As if that is a viable source for what it is like to live in another country. We are slow travelers who plant ourselves somewhere for 10-12 months. If you are a slow traveler who has lived (not vacationed) in the exact city we are moving to and you want to give us advice I am willing to listen, but otherwise we are not interested.

I am glad we have never listened to the naysayers. If we had listened we would have never left our four walls, let alone the USA. So what did the naysayers have to say about France and the French? Are you ready for this today? Again the bullet points below do not reflect my opinion. These are the opinions of the naysayers who tried to persuade us to pick a different country for our next adventure. *update below

  • The French in the south don’t speak English. Not true at all. Of course, not everyone speaks it, but we have been able to communicate on one level or another with approximately 80% of the guests every time we have entertained.
  • The French won’t speak English. We were told numerous times that even if a French person knew English that they would not speak it with us. NOT TRUE! Not even remotely true, actually it has been quite the opposite. When we entertained (four times now) not only did the folks that spoke English welcome speaking it, but those who barely spoke it tried hard to communicate with us in their Franglais.
  • They hate Americans. Again, not true. We have been welcomed into this community with open arms. We have never hid the fact that we are American. I am proud to be an American and if someone hates us for it then they are not meant to be our friends. Luckily, we have not had to put this to the test.
  • They are boring. Nope, not boring at all. They are fun, they joke, laugh and they are even loud at times.
  • France is too dangerous. I could go on about this for hours, post stats and much more, but I just don’t have the time today. My textbook answer is always the same. Do you ride in a car each day? Ok, more folks die in a car accident each day than by terrorist attacks. Will and I don’t believe in living a life dictated by unwarranted fears.
  • The French will not want to be friends with us. Well, so far we are not hurting for friends. We have been invited to dinners, birthday parties, beach meet ups and much more.
  • The French are racist. We have only been here for a month, but so far I have not heard a racist comment. I realize I do not speak the language, but we have entertained multiple times and nothing thus far. Frankly, I heard more racist comments during our six weeks in the US than I have heard in five weeks here.
  • Don’t be expected to be invited into someones home. This may be true, but I have not experienced it yet. We have been invited into three homes and we will visit our 4th this weekend. I have been told and I have read that it is very personal to be invited into a home and it only happens once you are very close with someone, but so far this has not proved to be true for us. We have actually been invited in for a drink with several people that we met while viewing their airbnb listing. No joke! And one woman walked us home and came right into our place for a visit.
  • They don’t like cheese. Ha, just kidding. I thought I would throw this one if just for fun.

So, are you a naysayer? Are you that person who habitually expresses negative or pessimistic views? Time for a change. How about today? There is nothing more unappealing and energy sucking than a naysayer. We cannot generalize an entire country into bullets points of negativity and think we will grow as a peaceful world. We need to love the differences. We need to not fall prey to one naysayers vacation experience or what they saw on tv. Another thought might be that the naysayer was rude and disrespectful to the culture and that is why they received the response they did. Either way, lets play nice and be optimistic that people are good and welcoming.

And if you are one of those folks plagued with naysayers as you embark on an adventure do your best to silence them as kindly as possible. Go on the adventure, have that baby, start that business and learn on your own. You may fail, but you may succeed, however you must first try in order to find out for yourself.

Have a fantastic Monday.


Updated: 10/3/2016 2:12 PM FRANCE. Check out the FB comments. We have some amazing conversation going on over there. A couple of comments that were brought to my attention by readers that I felt I needed to address. First, when I am referring to the naysayers I am referring to conversations I had in person with individuals before moving here. I am not referring to FB conversations where I have asked questions about cultural nuances. These are two very separate points. A cultural nuance is very different than a naysayers generalization. 

Second, there was also a point made that I do not speak the language and the racist comments might surface more when I speak the language. I can see some truth in this, however a racist is a racist no matter what language they are speaking. So far the folks I have conversed with in English show no signs of racism and I am thankful for that because you all know what I do when I hear racist comments. Ha. 

October 3, 2016Permalink 1 Comment

Weekly Round Up





Bonjour friends. I know I say this every week, but WHAT A WEEK! We are growing, learning and stepping out of our comfort zone big time. I am starting to think that we thrive on being out of our comfort zone. Many years ago when we bought our “forever” house I went through a tough time (there will be a post one day). I struggled with the thought of the same setting for the next 20 years. My oh my, have we changed. We reinvented, went after some big dreams and it has proved to be so incredibly fruitful, but don’t confuse this with easy. This life is anything but easy, but it is so darn fulfilling. I thank you again for coming with us on this amazing journey we call “our” life. So lets all go out this weekend and push that envelope, have the big conversations about change with your partner, adventure and live every day like it may be your last. The kids and I will be taking some time to recharge before our first guests arrive next week, but we will also be scouting locations for an upcoming shoot. Yet, we are doing something cool at the end of October with some unique folks. I can’t wait to share it all with you.


ROUND UP time!

YOUTUBE CHANNEL: Will has a youtube channel where he shares all of his amazing videos from our family travel. Come visit us on youtube. Subscribe, watch the advertisement (this is how we make a penny) and hit thumbs up if you like it. And SHARE it with your friends. Pretty please.

SAILING: Get this… Largo had an entire week of sailing, on the ocean. Yep, how cool is that? I got to join the class this morning and I was brought to tears. I know, crazy, but this is so damn cool. A public school in a small town in the south of France and my kid gets to go sailing for gym class. Every day he gets to speak French, learn about a new culture and share his life. I rode on the bus to sailing with these kiddos and I listened to these sweet eight and nine-year olds play a game in French and English. Largo was teaching them English. It made my heart swell. Kids have such a desire to learn, to grow, to accept those different from them. Why can’t we be like this as adults? I just don’t get it. I wanted to bottle this sweet moment and share it with all of you. Kids don’t see differences. What I thought would be a morning on the ocean watching my son sail turned into so much more. This is why we do this folks, to FEEL, to feel so deeply that it brings me to tears. An american child, a French child and a Muslim child playing innocently on a bus trip home from a morning of sailing.

QUI TOQUE: The French version of Blue Apron or so I hear. I have never actually used Blue Apron before, but I am loving Qui Toque. Our friend Julie turned us on to it, so we gave it a shot. This is our first week, but so far we are all enjoying it. They delivered the ingredients for four dinners to our home on Wednesday accompanied with a cute recipe brochure, in French of course. So far I have put a child on dinner duty each night while I assist their needs. They translate the card and give me instructions on what to do. I mostly chop and do dishes. I love this for so many reasons.

  • It lets them practice their French in regards to cooking terms.
  • They learn to cook new meals.
  • They learn to manage their time.
  • We get to bond in the kitchen.
  • It is great for their self-esteem and problem solving skills.
  • I get to learn some words in French as well.
  • We all try new meals we might not have made otherwise.
  • And it saves time shopping for all the goods.

I see us using this service probably two to three weeks a month. I will definitely do a more thorough post once we are deeper in and have tried more dishes.

STAY OFF THE TREES: Apparently French children are discouraged from climbing trees. As a result (I’m assuming), neither of my children have any type of climbing structure on their playgrounds at school. Now I don’t think play structures are forbidden because I have seen them in parks in Paris and a small one here, however maybe it is not encouraged. I have climbers so this has been a bit of a transition for them. I do allow them to still climb trees, frankly I don’t see the harm.

FRENCH CLASS: Will and I have signed up for French class once a week. Clearly that is not enough time to learn a language, but I have been unable to find other classes in our town. I found university classes in Toulon, but I don’t think I can fit them into my schedule because the bus trip is one hour each way. Also, there are local tutors, but they are 20-25 euros an hour, way out of our budget. I guess we will have to see what else unfolds as the year progresses.

SPANISH CLASS: This same organization has classes in Spanish as well. I signed up for intermediate (I hope I can handle it) once a week so that I am still practicing. I can’t wait. I miss speaking Spanish.

HOT LATINO IS MIA: We are one man down for the next two weeks. Yep, the hot latino is in Hong Kong and Beijing for work. We miss him already! I am sure he will be blessing us all with amazing footage from the…. Great Wall of China. Can you believe he is going without us? We are happy for him, but we also wish we were there too. One day, it’s on the list.


60% OF FUTURE JOBS ARE NOT CREATED YET: This is worth a listen. The jobs that many of our children will do in 10 years have not even been created yet. Is that frightening or cool? I think it is pretty darn cool. I can’t wait to see what unfolds.

CHEESE AND DRUGS: Does it trigger the same part of the brain?

ISLAMOPHOBIA: This is a great graphic to show how we can all do our little part to spread love and kindness, plus help those in need.



LIVING IN FRANCE VLOG – Going for a hike

LIVING IN FRANCE – Discovering Topless Beaches!

LIVING IN FRANCE – No Drones Allowed!



My plan is to share discoveries, observations and pretty much randomness from our week in France. Of course there will be more lengthy posts on the information that deserves more air time, but so much is happening that it cannot all be a post.

REPAIRS TAKE TIME: Honestly I have not quite figured this one out. We have several issues, one being internet and two being an oven that does not function properly and we cannot seem to get them resolved. I am not sure if it is France, Hyères, the manager, or the owner of the apartment, but what I can tell you is that we have never had this many difficulties anyplace we have lived and we have spent the last two years in developing countries. These issues are difficult to digest because we need to work and eat. When we had internet issues in Costa Rica and Ecuador they were resolved quite quickly. It shocks me that these issues move so slowly in a first world country. And as I am writing this we have had no electricity for four hours. No joke!

PEACEFUL: I feel so at peace here, even considering the aforementioned. It is quiet and slow, we all need that right now. This place feels like a good fit for this season in our life. We have met amazing families, the kids are happy at school and Will and I get a date morning occasionally. Life is good.

12:15-2:15/3:00 (ish): Everything shuts down in town for lunch. It has taken me a couple of weeks to adjust to this stop in the day. I found myself out running errands often during this time. Also, almost everything is closed on Mondays. I guess this is because many establishments are open on Saturday.

KISSING: I need the cliff notes to this one. Apparently it is two kisses here, but it really depends on what region you are from. So if I go to kiss someone from a different region they may start with a different cheek and they may do more than two kisses. Don’t ask, I have no idea how to figure it out. I was told to let the other person lead. I have a feeling I am going to be doing some lip on lip kisses by accident.

WHERE ARE THE KIDS: I don’t see kids out that often here. Where are they? We are American at heart so you can imagine we don’t go anyplace without our kids. Plus, after living in Latin American countries for two years that philosophy became even more powerful. I have been told that it is typical for parents to leave the kids at home when they go out to dinner. Sorry, won’t be joining this cultural experience. I love taking them out with us to experience it all. Of course, occasionally we go out on our own, but not that often.

PDA: Funny, we saw lots of hugs and kisses amongst couples in Paris, but I don’t see it so much here. I was kind of excited about seeing more. No, I am not some weird voyeur, but I like seeing all the love when we are out and about.

NEIGHBORS: We have cool neighbors and this makes me very happy. They have joined us for a drink, explained stuff to us and one even brought down delightful macaroons the other night. It’s going to be a great year.

OK, I am off for the weekend. I will meet you all back here on Monday. And…go adventure.


September 30, 2016Permalink Leave a comment

Inside A Traveler’s Walls: Michelle Duca Peacock



















Bonjour friends. Sorry I did not get this live yesterday, but we had a crazy day. Will took off for two weeks to Hong Kong/Beijing so it was pretty much a rush to the finish line for the kids and I. Although we are not used to having Will around to help out in the evenings because he works Boston hours, he is actively present in the mornings so I can work and I felt the void yesterday. I have so much to share with all of you, but I also want to get to the inspiration part of this post. I guess I can put some of it in this Fridays weekly round-up.

Ok, let’s do this. It’s Wednesday (I mean Thursday) and you know what that means.

If you are new here I would like to introduce you to our weekly series “Inside a Traveler’s Walls” where we feature families living in less traditional, unique homes. If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled please contact me for details.

I would like to introduce you to the Peacock family today. Before we get too deep into all of this I just want to say “I want to be them,” yes! Will and I have this dream of being on a Catamaran, JUST LIKE THIS ONE, someday. If it was solely up to Will we would be on one now, but the kids and I have some other dreams we want to accomplish before we take the plunge to sea life (plus we need to learn how to sail). I don’t even want to tell you how many times I have read their story today. I am a bit obsessed with it.

Being together all of the time… not having to be gone all day at work. ~ Michelle

Lets just jump in. These folks have not one, not two, but three pets on board. I think they might hold the record on this series for the most pets traveling with one family. I don’t know how you guys do it, but I am impressed. We are slowly entertaining another pet, but with our current set up it won’t be another dog. We are thinking either a dwarf hamster (the new dog) or maybe a cat (gasp). I will be sure to share what we end up getting and how it all works out. High five to this family for figuring out a way to make the travel life work with pets. We can relate, our dog spent her final months in Costa Rica with us.

Enjoy that living this way is different, and that is why you chose this lifestyle. ~ Michelle

Can you imagine getting your education by way of boat schooling? No, really? Take a moment and lets just reflect on how far we have come with this crazy thing called the internet. Wild, right? We can take off with our kids, spend more time as a family, adventure, dream big and educate the rascals. How many of you would have loved to learn this way instead of in a classroom of 30 other kids? I would have loved this as a kid, hell, I love it now. The Peacock family has found their path, one that works for the goals of their family and it is truly inspirational. They have worked hard to make it a reality and they never take it for granted.

So, enough of my chatter. Grab a cup of coffee, a comfy seat and get ready to be inspired.

Introduce us to the people you live with?
Captain Matt is the dreamer. He came up with the crazy idea for us to sell everything and move onto a sailboat to sail around the world. Lucky for us, Matt is a jack-of-all-trades – he is one of those guys who can do anything and fix anything – from house remodeling to pool pumps to car mishaps – and now boat repairs! Sometimes, he makes the situation worse before he makes it better, but in the end, he always gets it right!

First-Mate Michelle makes the dreams come true. She is the one who put the family on a budget and figured out how much they needed to save to buy a boat and travel full-time. As soon as they put a contract on a sailboat, she started swearing and drinking more to gear up for life as a sailor. She is the one who coordinated selling all of the stuff (house, cars, everything else in a craigslist frenzy and two garage sales) and she LOVES not having so much. Although she is still trying to figure out a place for all the stuff they did bring to the boat.

Austin & Zach – Irish Twins! Born 13 months apart (ahem), they inherited a sarcastic mouth and sense of adventure from Michelle & Matt. The boys are 10 & 11 years old and are still attached to their computers and iPads, although once we can get off the dock, they are ready to explore! Boat school adventures await! They each have their own cabins (bedrooms), although they can often be found in the same one.

Where are you in the world and what are you living in?
We are currently in Kemah, TX. We hope that we will be in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area soon! We are waiting for a weather window (following Hermine) to complete a six-day sail across the Gulf of Mexico. We live on a 38’ Catamaran Lagoon 380 sailboat named GIRO. Italian word pronounced: ˈdʒiro / (think “djeee’-ro”) Translation: to spin around, around, about, circle, scene, turn, rotation, spin, revolution. We named it after naming our blog Around ‘n Circles – we thought it would be funny to name our boat “Circles” so that we would literally be traveling around the world IN Circles. So, technically, we did. J

It has four cabins (bedrooms), two heads (bathrooms), a galley (kitchen), a saloon (living area), a cockpit (outdoor patio), and a trampoline! (It doesn’t bounce, but is fun to lounge on.)

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
We chose a boat so that we could travel around the world and visit new places and always have our home with us. We chose a SAILboat because we wanted to be able to use natural wind energy to power us (vs. costly diesel.) We chose a catamaran because Michelle gets seasick very easily and the catamaran is much more stable than a monohull. And we chose the Lagoon 380 model because it met our family needs and budget better than any other.

What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?
Since moving aboard on June 20, we’ve done a few things to personalize our space. There aren’t really any options to rearrange the furniture since it is all built-in, but we have added some décor that we love. We’ve bought throw pillows, a new faucet, new rugs, new sheets. We also got a new oven and stovetop, but that was more for practical needs than aesthetic. Our favorite piece of art we won from a Halloween contest hosted by SV Delos (another group of sailors we follow) – it hangs in the companionway. We also brought a few little trinkets and good luck charms from our traditional home on board. We’ve recently been trying to manage storage, so most things we buy are to hide or contain our stuff! J One of my favorite purchases are some hammocks we put in the boys’ cabins – they hold all of the boys stuffed animals so they get them off the bed! It looks so much cleaner now.

Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
Favorite “room” is our outdoor cockpit. The boat cockpit is like a covered outdoor patio at home. It has a huge table and can fit probably eight people around it. At night it is cool with a breeze, and we can watch the sun set over the water, listen to music with our outdoor speakers, and have a sundowner… In the mornings (when it is not summer), it is also a great place to have morning coffee and plan our day.

Least favorite is the head. The head is the bathroom on a boat. It is small and cramped and usually has an odor.

What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?
It is HOT in the summer on a boat. There is no insulation. So trying to keep the boat cool, or at least reasonable, has been a tough adjustment. We honestly can’t believe we survived a summer in Texas on our boat. We ended up buying two portable air conditioning units to try to keep us cool, but even with both, it can get up to 85 degrees inside when it is 100 degrees outside.

We have figured out ways to combat the heat… 1) We don’t cook in the galley because it heats up the whole boat. In fact, we haven’t cooked in our oven once this summer. And we limit our stovetop cooking to morning only (the coolest part of the day.) We have to have coffee. We use the outdoor grill. But mostly just eat salads and cold food because it is so hot. But we recently bought a solar oven that we are in love with!! The sun cooks the food in the oven. Like a slow cooker… it is amazing. We’re still baffled as to how it works, but we are enjoying eating something other than salads.

2) We try to leave the boat in the afternoons (the hottest part of the day.) Our marina has a fitness center with fast wi-fi and air conditioning and two tables for us to sit at with our computers and work or boatschool.

3) We have those sun reflector thingies (like you would put on your car dash) in all of our windows to keep us as cool as possible. It makes us sad to have a dark inside of the boat, when we would love to be looking out at the water instead… but we have to survive! Ha.

What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?
Our boat? Haha… it IS one of the perks of bringing our home with us as we travel – we get to bring EVERYTHING we own with us.

What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?
Large bathrooms with showers. Air conditioning.

What is the one item your children carry with them to make their unique (less traditional) home more comfortable?
We brought a library of books. They love to read. We thought we were crazy bringing real books on a boat, but our kids stay up until midnight or 1 am reading every night. So, we are glad we brought them.

The boys would say their laptops. They love to play games. We boatschool with them. They definitely use them daily and would be miserable without them.

Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice?
We have THREE pets. Flicka, Bebo, and Ninja. Two dogs and a cat on board with us. Because of course. One pees everywhere, one is obese, and one is just a jerk. It is fabulous!

The animals actually do well on the boat. They love to be out on deck. The biggest annoyance is that they are constantly under our feet. Our boys would have been devastated if we didn’t bring our pets.

Advice? Buy life jackets for the pets, too!

What is your best resource to find items you need for your place?
Amazon.com – we can buy almost anything we need and it will be here in two days. Not having a car to get places, it is nice to have items delivered to the marina office for us to pick up and bring back to the boat.

If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why?
space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet.
Above average internet hands down… we can go outside (and do regularly) for natural light. We don’t really need extra space. I hate washing dishes, but it is fine… but we CANNOT LIVE without internet.

If you were to compare your unique (less traditional) home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?
I’m going to go with our new Solar Oven. It is so practical, low effort, and great for the environment! That’s about how I decorate (practical, low effort, environmentally conscious.)

How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?
So far, we’ve celebrated three birthdays on board. Birthdays are usually a big deal for us with breakfast in bed, and choice of restaurant for dinner out. And we can do both of those still living on a boat… I’ve walked to a donut store and back in the early mornings twice now to have surprise donuts ready for the boys birthdays. And we grab an Uber to take us to dinner… As for gifts – we’ve kept it to gift cards and practical stuff they need for living aboard.

We are excited to spend our first Thanksgiving and Christmas aboard this year! Maybe I’ll make a turkey in our solar oven. Ha! I’m sure we will decorate for Christmas – we brought a few decorations and stored them on the boat so we would have them. We’ve assured the boys that Santa can find us wherever we are and he will come down the mast instead of the chimney.

How do you decorate for the holidays in your unique (less traditional) home or do you skip it all together?
We will decorate a little bit for Christmas, but not nearly as much as we did in our house. That’s really the only holiday we would decorate for in the past… I’m thinking lights on the mast, in the saloon, around the cockpit… Lights are fun and easy.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
Being together all of the time… not having to be gone all day at work. I love being able to hang out with my kids. We haven’t done much cruising from port to port yet – but I feel like that will be my favorite part once we start moving.

Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
We do feel like our boat is our home. We each have our space… I’m not sure we would be as comfortable traveling and moving all of our stuff in/out of different places… that stresses me out way more than bringing our “home” with us.

What makes you love the place you live?
That is a great question – in fact, every night at dinner, we choose a random question from a list of questions and we all answer it. That was our question last night! Here were our answers:

Boys – “Sailing!” They love living on a boat and being able to go out for a sail.
Matt – “Forced closeness” haha we gave him a hard time with his word choice… but he likes that we are all together all the time.
Michelle – “Ability to travel” Living on a boat gives us a chance to explore the world.

Can home be a person, or an idea?

Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?
Be open to the differences. Sometimes they may be frustrating like “why the hell is something always broken on this boat!?” or they may be majestic like “holy cow, the sunsets are amazing.” Enjoy that living this way is different, and that is why you chose this lifestyle.

Anything else you would like offer?
Follow your dreams! I have a favorite quote by Jim Rohn, “If you really want to do it, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse.” I live by that… So, if anyone else wants to do this, they totally can.

What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?
Since we just moved aboard in June, we are definitely going to continue! We hope to leave Texas in the next couple of weeks and head to Florida. We will cruise from St. Petersburg down to the Keys. And hop over to the Dry Tortugas – which is a major bucket list item for us! Then back up the Keys to Miami, up the coast of Florida and into the Carolinas. We hope to jump up to Maine by summer 2017 and then start making our way back down the east coast USA… ending back up in Miami by November/December 2017 to leave the U.S. for the Bahamas, Caribbean, and beyond! We’ll keep going for as long as we love it. Or until the money runs out. Or until we find a piece of heaven where we

How do you educate your children?
We are boatschooling our kids! A mix of curriculum, world schooling, and unschooling… We are all learning French. We are doing yoga. We are doing 6th grade math curriculum. We are doing project-based or interest-based research on different topics (like we just did one on coral reefs and ecosystems.) And the boys are doing minecraft online school for writing and science. As we travel the east coast USA we plan to hit all of the museums, libraries, historical tours, etc. that we can and learn all we can!

How do you make a living?
Matt is currently working full-time. He has been working remotely for past five years, so it was easy to transition to the boat and work full-time from the boat. We just have to make sure we have reliable internet so he can work. We plan to sail/cruise/move to different ports on weekends when he is off. During the week, Michelle and boys will go on field trips, boatschool, and kayak while Matt is working. Evenings/weekends will be for exploring the ports together as a family.

Michelle left her full-time position in August, and began doing freelance work to keep some income. She makes 1/3 of what she was making, but boat life is much less expensive (well, in theory, after we fix everything on the boat!) – and is looking at ways to build a business online in the future.

The hope is that by December 2017, we have enough saved to both quit working and comfortably travel for 2-3 years, while also building an income from an online business to extend our travels… we are also willing to stop for extended periods to work and build up the boat kitty so we can keep traveling.

Quote to ponder:
Follow your dreams!


If anyone is interested in boatschooling – we started a Facebook group called “Boatschooled” (https://www.facebook.com/groups/boatschooled/) where we talk about resources, tips, curriculum and share ideas with other families living aboard and schooling their kids.

Feel free to email us at michelle@aroundncircles.com or matt@aroundncircles.com

Amazing, right? I started this series to share families who are living differently. Starting this series for all of you readers has made me realize how much a part of it is for me as well. I need this weekly dose of inspiration. It makes me smile, it gives me hope and it makes me want to push harder when the times are tough. So thank you all for reading the blog and welcoming these crazy travelers into your heart.

Now, for the Peacocks, wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story and being so honest. Your words show that you have a true zest for life. I love that you took to the water when you could have easily stayed put with your current situation of working from home. I am sure that there have been transitions, tough times (boats break, I get it), but aren’t you glad you took the plunge? No regrets, no looking back wondering, you are doing it. Congrats. And thank you for sharing your home and your story.

What are you NOT doing today that you will regret in 20 years? Think about it, hard.

Have a fabulous Thursday.


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September 29, 2016Permalink Leave a comment