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Travel, paint, reflect. Repeat.

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

Many of you already know that I worked for many years in my parents’ award-winning travel business.  In my new and independent venture, I take other culturally curious, art-interested people with me to carefully chosen villages where we live like locals, make new friends and new art as our individual inclinations take us.  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel and choose which spot is ideal for this kind of trip.  I’ve spent my life doing that as a part of my work with my parents’ company.    This independent path arose not only because my wonderful parents passed away, but because working independently allows me to integrate my life long avocation in art with my life long expertise in travel.   It allows me to bring the spirit of my dad’s love of travel to people in a new way and lets me equip artists and the art-interested with a deeper way of knowing a place.

First, a bit about my dad.

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 my independent travel advising.  To learn more about this aspect of the core values I shared with my parents, check out this Huffington Post article

Instead of “touristy” , when I sponsor a trip, or help you plan an independent trip,  I  do it believing the best things gained on a trip are new perspectives, and the wisdom we gain from looking at the world from a different angle than usual.  Sometimes that means travelling by yourself as a sixty-something woman.  With your crazy little dog.  And sometimes sitting right down on the ground, no matter how many grown-ups frown at you, because what you’re looking at is just so wonderful.  On the left is yours truly, 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.

I’ve painted since I can remember. Below is a shot of one of my paintings from the South of France….specifically Monpazier, in Dordogne alongside the photo.  Wouldn’t you like to come have a cup of coffee with me in this square?   Or set up to paint it?  Or visit with the range of locals that you’ll strike up friendships with, in a matter of days?  Or sample the wares at the twice weekly open market?  Or at the THREE bakeries in this little town?

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 curiousity 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 one of my annual painting trips  (Together, a small group of artists and their art-interested, independent minded friends occupy a great village, share a superb home, and do their own thing.)  , 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.

 Call 610 299 8060 for this year’s offerings:

In Provence:

In Dordogne