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About Marilee

Travel, paint, reflect. Repeat.

“One’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of looking at things.” Henry Miller

The two main paths I tread these days are painting and helping people travel. New perspectives, and the wisdom we gain from looking at the world from a different angle is the best thing about travel.  Pretty much the same thing goes for painting. When done with full heart, both allow you to shed your blinders, coming to belong to something deeper and broader than our single worlds. Sometimes that means travelling by yourself as a sixty-something woman.  With your crazy little dog.  And sometimes sitting right down on the ground next to a four hundred year old fountain , no matter how many grown-ups frown at you, because what you’re looking at is just so wonderful. There I am, in the above photo,  sitting down on the ground (in France, where it is not done!)  with aforesaid crazy little dog.

Most of the same things I believe about travel, I believe about painting.  Be prepared to revisit your assumptions.  Don’t get too cozy with thinking you know what’s happening.  Learn the abiding wisdom and surpassing joy of knowing you are out of your element and wide awake.

I have spent a good long part of my life helping people travel independently.  Mainly all over Europe.  I’ve got a pedigree of several decades of affordable, award-winning innovative travel entrepreneurship.  If you’d like to know more about that, you can do further reading here. 

I have spent another decade in another career, writing and delivering workshops on cultural diversity in the corporate workplace.  By some freak of nature, I lucked into doing the ONE thing in corporate America I was not too weird to pull off — helping people work and communicate well with other people who come from a different background than they do.  I taught, I wrote, I taught the teachers.  I was lucky and my workshops were syndicated nationwide.  Last time I counted around 50,000 people had taken my workshops.

In the last decade, I’ve come to value a more reflective, mindful pace of life.  Careful consideration, staying in the moment, not sweating the small stuff, doing what you love and giving others the benefit of the doubt all seem way more important than the measures of success from earlier stages of life.

Braiding all that together — painting, travel, learning & teaching from a range of places and people, and taking time to do it with a spirit of compassion and curiosity for oneself and others — is what calls me now, in my sixth decade.  If you would enjoy travel with this sort of spirit,  won’t you consider either joining me on a workshop, or allowing me the privilege of helping you plan your independent trip.   There’s no need to be a painter.  Anyone who has interest in the beautiful and taking time to appreciate all the varied aspects of our world will feel a sense of belonging.

Many of you already know that I worked for many years in my parents’ award-winning travel business. I am on a new, independent venture now   I take this step not just because, recently, my wonderful parents passed away, but also, because it allows me to bring the painter in me (always shoved into the ‘hobby’ category earlier) to the center of the adventure.  AND because it allows me to bring the spirit of my dad’s love of travel to people in a new way.

Most people are fine with “touristy”.  A few are not. My dad was not.  He wanted the oddball, the open-minded, the few.

He wanted customers who wanted travel to change them.

More than once I remember hearing, “If they wanted it to be exactly like home, why didn’t they stay home?” from both my mom and dad.

They  infected me with that kind of persnicketyness.   I bring that as a core value to all the travel that I help you with.  To learn more about this aspect of the core values I share with my parents, check out this Huffington Post article

Call us at 610 299 8060 for advice about travel that is:

  • Art-centered,
  • culturally-curious,
  • accompanied or on your own, with our arrangements

in Provence:

In Dordogne