Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Norway, Sweden, Italy, and Switzerland... Oh My!

(Pictures coming soon!)

We are now back in Oslo  preparing to return to the US after a whirlwind  10 day adventure. During this trip we visited four countries (Norway, Sweden, Italy, and Switzerland) and each of these places offered something truly unique and amazing for us. Norway offered us some very unique food experiences while serving as a travel hub. Switzerland was beautiful and for just a moment allowed us to live like and among the rich and famous. The tailored suits, beautiful people, and amazing landscape was a small part of that fantasy. Sweden was awesome with its 14th century fortresses poking over the mountainsides and it's utterly amazing meatballs. Sweden also showed us a good time at the largest Scandinavian amusement park right in the heart of Gothenburg. And then there was Italy, oh Italy, that turned out to be everything we ever thought it could be. The views were stunning, the food was fresh, delicious, and perfect in every way. The language was so beautiful as were the people. Oh the people... Everyone was so warm and kind and helpful. From the little old ladies leaning out of their window sills that reminded me of Sophia from the Golden Girls to the owners of the ‘alimentaris’ who were so gracious in helping me figure out what was what. I'll admit this to you here... I think I was meant to be born Italian, it's just that no one informed my parents ;-). 

The trip was truly epic. I know I said the same about our most recent RV trip but I suppose we're just lucky to keep going on these amazing adventures. The only negative was our bad experience with Norwegian Airlines. I won't get into it here but let's just say there were a lot of delays, cancellations, rebookings and more delays. What should have been an eleven hour trip back to the states turned into a thirty three hour one. I don't want to gripe and moan here, this is not the platform for that but I will say we will certainly reconsider flying with Norwegian in the future. 

All in all the trip was amazing and we look forward to returning to each of these places. when we arrive back in the states we will be returning to an empty house so we can prepare for our next big travel adventure... Relocating to Las Vegas. Stay tuned for more on that!

So until you see us on the road or somewhere around the globe... Stay peaceful, love hard, and travel even harder!!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

My love affair with Lake Como Italy

This post is supposed to be about Oslo Norway. But we left this morning and landed and Milan. We drove north west to the lake Como area and that's where our lives changed. As soon as the lake came into view all of my troubles melted away. Nothing outside of that moment seemed to matter. All was right with the world. Perhaps it is just my affinity for the beauty of lakes or other large bodies of water, I don't know. What I do know is the first time I laid eyes on Lake Como an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility entered my soul. I'm not trying to be all mystical but that is the best way to describe it. That same sense of love and belonging I got with Las Vegas (and we ended up deciding to move there) is the same sense I have here. It feels like home and this is where I'm meant to be. Now, I'm not gonna pack up and relocate here (as much as I would love to). I have to much going on back in the states but I do have a new item for my vision board: a fully renovated house right here in Lezzeno, Italy right along the lake with a large garden. The kids are loving it too. It amazes me just how in sync we are but they are ready to pack up and move here too. In all fairness though who wouldn't want to pack up and move here.

Some things that have been interesting so far:
Everyone is so friendly. I was warned that emerging ourselves in an Italian community outside of a major city would leave us feeling alone and abandoned but that that is so far from the truth. We have felt nothing but welcome since we arrived in the Como area. Everyone we've encountered has been nothing but warm and friendly. We were warned that if we don't speak Italian we'd be shunned but again all falsities. The people we've encountered have made every effort to communicate. Those that can't understand have been gracious and offered a "no parla ingleis" with a smile and a look of wishing they could be more helpful. So if you're putting of visiting the area because of what you heard of how you'd be treated ignore all of that and book that ticket.

The driving is definitely not something you can prepare for ahead of time. It's one of those things you just have to experience to understand. Let me start by saying I was so relieved to see that Italians drive on the same side of the street as us Americans. That was a huge apprehension for me. But nothing could have prepared me for actually driving. Off the major highways the roads are single lane roads in size by American standards but Italians use then like two lane highways. Cars go fast and squeeze through the narrow, winding streets with ease. My anxiety level is still way us as I drive the windy streets but I'm hoping that in a day or two I'll be taking these curvy streets like my Italian neighbors. Things go pretty fast as well. I haven't quite figured out what the rush is, especially in a place so peaceful and serene, but people drive really really fast here. At one point I found myself doing around 150km/h (around 105m/h) just to get out of people's way and keep up with traffic. So just make sure you have the stomach for driving here or have atleast packed your nerve pills.

The food is EVERYTHING you ever imagine it to be. I can't emphasize this enough. If you are conscientious about your weight Italy may not be a place to add to your bucket list. The fresh bread, tons of different types of cheese, salami, prosciutto, bologna, pastas, pizzas and coffees will have you throwing your diet to the side and diving right in.

The views are breathtaking, stunning, exquisite... Actually I can't think of enough adjectives to describe the sheer beauty of this place. The pictures don't do it justice. To be right here sitting outside feeling the sun on my face as I watch the boats pass by on Lake Como and hear the Italian ladies converse from across the lane while children play and roosters doodle doo all while taking in the background of the mountains juxtaposed by the blue waters of the lake is an amazing thing. And until you can experience it for yourself there aren't enough words for me to do it justice.

There's so much more I could say about this place and we just got here. I won't bore you with my ohhhhh and awwwwwing. Just please take my word for it and add the Lake Como area of Italy to your bucketlist.

Until you see us on the road or somewhere around the globe... Love hard, live hard, and travel even harder.

Friday, June 3, 2016

New trips, New beginnings, and a brand new LOGO!

I'm writing this post while I sit on the runway waiting for the plane to take off. I have the usual butterflies in my stomach that I get each time I board a plane or before a big trip. The kids are nestled into their seats excited, popping bubble gum into their mouths, and  doing some last minute things on their electronics before we hit the sky.  This moment seems slightly surreal. I booked these tickets nearly six months ago and so much has happened since then. When I booked this trip to Norway, Sweden, Italy, and Switzerland I was a traveling newbie. Now, I won't say I'm a pro now or anything like that but these last six months have propelled my travel status pretty close to professional lol. From navigating our way through Costa Rica in a part of the country where no one spoke English, to dealing with the death of my mother while in Iceland, to wrangling three kids through the fast paced streets of London. And now this trip. Not to mention the epic 64 day cross country road trip we took in the RV. With that resume I think I can safely call us travelers. We still have a long way to go but we are travel newbies no more.

As we have advanced as a traveling family so has our brand Nomadic Mama of 3. Big things have taken place for Nomadic Mama of 3 over these last 6 months. The brand has really taken off and received some very interesting attention that we are both surprised by, extremely grateful for, and completely humbled by.

A few things that have happened for us and the brand: We have had several interviews that have been published in various media forms. I have been asked to speak as a solo traveling parent to other potential traveling parents on my thoughts ideas mregarding family travel. I was asked and participated as a speaker in a family travel telesummit. And a huge accomplishment was the successful launch of Go Places and Go Places Jr travel magazines. And all of this has occurred just in the last six months. It's mind blowing but it's mostly humbling. You all, any and everyone reading this right now, have made all of this possible and what Nomadic Mama of 3 is today. Your support, encouragement, and cheering us on has  given us the strength, gumption, and perseverance to continue this journey even when times were bleak and the thought of taking another step on this journey's path seemed impossible. So thank you to each and every one of you.

The journey continues for us however. We have many big things in store for us on this upcoming trip to Norway, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland as well as when we return. A big move to Las Vegas is currently underway and when we return to our emptied out house in Charlotte we will be loading up the RV and headed to our new home in Nevada. We will continue our traveling adventures just from th west coast side of the country. We will continue to run our travel magazines from wherever we are in the world and we will continue to build the Nomadic Mama of 3 brand. Whew! It's almost overwhelming just thinking about all of the great things that lie ahead. But we won't stop there either... Nomadic Mama of 3 will continue to push on. From planning and organizing trips so that you all can join us on some of these adventures to the launch of our Nomadic Mama of 3 logo and available NMof3 products. We have big things planned. Speaking of our new logo, please allow me to introduce it to you right here, right now. This logo is very special to me as it is the face of not only the brand I'm building but also the face of my children. It sums up everything that I am at this stage in my life... A mama, a traveler, an entrepreneur, and someone with a fresh start at a new life. The design came to me one cold night in the middle of the desert somewhere in Arizona while laying in my RV bed figuring out our next steps. I knew then that I wanted NMof3 to be a major platform to encourage family travel, solo parenting travel, and just travel in general and that night I doodled this logo on a pad of paper and carried it with me from then on out. I've been extremely lucky to see this logo from an idea that I sketched on a notepad to see it become a beautiful reality. Not only am I excited to see it as a reality but even more excited to know soon it will be available on tshirts, coffe mugs, and some travel paraphernalia and available to all of you. So without further ado... Our logo!

So as you can see my crew and I are bouncing back and doing well after an onslaught of major life events. We're continuing on...creating goals and chasing dreams. So until you se us on the road of somewhere around the globe... Hug the ones you love, take the chance you're scared to talk and keep traveling.