• The Emotional Odyssey of moving abroad as a family

    September 25, 2023

    We just moved country.

    While this isn’t a first for us (it’s actually our 8th international relocation as a family) it’s been hard work and mentally exhausting.

    While the prospect of a new adventure is exciting it's essential to acknowledge the unique emotional challenges that families face when uprooting their lives.

    ❤️ 1. Farewells and Separation:
    Bidding adieu to the comforts of your home, friends and family can be heart-wrenching. Those emotional farewells can bring a sense of loss, but remember, it's not a permanent goodbye; it's a 'see you later'. Stay connected, embrace technology, and cherish every moment.

    🌟 2. Culture Shock for All Ages:
    From the youngest to the oldest family members, adapting to a new culture, language, and daily routine can be bewildering. Everyone may experience culture shock differently, so be patient with each other and explore this new world together.

    🎒 3. School Transitions:
    For children, transitioning to a new school system can be an emotional rollercoaster. They might feel anxious about fitting in and making friends. Offer reassurance, visit the school together, and foster their sense of belonging.

    💼 4. Career & Identity:
    Parents might face professional and identity challenges. The emotional weight of balancing family needs with career aspirations can be overwhelming. Self-reflection, self-discovery and open communication within the family are key.

    😔 5. Family Dynamics:
    Living in a new environment can sometimes strain family dynamics. Adjusting to new roles, routines, and challenges can cause stress. Prioritise open communication, empathy, and quality family time.

    🌆 6. Homesickness and Nostalgia:
    Homesickness is not exclusive to individuals; it can affect the entire family and it's okay to miss the familiar sights, sounds, and tastes. Create opportunities to reminisce about home, and encourage each other to adapt to the host country's customs and traditions.

    🌈 Despite these emotional challenges, relocating as a family offers unique opportunities for growth, bonding, and building a shared adventure. 🌈

    ✨ Top Tips:

    1️⃣ Team Spirit:
    Approach this journey as a team, supporting one another through ups and downs.
    2️⃣ Create New Traditions:
    Blend your old traditions with new ones, creating a sense of continuity and belonging.
    3️⃣ Seek Support:
    Connect with local families and join expat communities for mutual support and friendship.
    4️⃣ Embrace Adventure:
    Celebrate the beauty of new experiences and the richness of cultural diversity.

    Wanna hear more about relocation? Follow me on IG @cadario_travel or on Facebook

    And if you are about to embark on your new chapter in life book a free discovery call to see how I can support you.

  • The highs and lows of a digital nomad lifestyle

    August 30, 2023

    I am humbled to have been invited to the WFHforever podcast to talk about all things #workingfromanywhere

    Listen in and get intrigued about the topic

    ✈ How it all started

    How Doris' curiosity for the world led her to leave home in pursuit of exploration, setting the stage for a remarkable journey filled with cultural immersion and personal growth.

    🏡 How to assure stability within Nomadic Living

    Moving internationally every two to three years, Doris and her family established a unique pattern of life. This #slowtravel lifestyle not only nurtured their desire for discovery but also offered an element of stability for their children.

    🏔 How to choose your next destination

    The family’s diverse journey spanned from the buzz of London to Swiss lakes, across Northern Irish beaches and sunsets in Southern Spain. The catalyst behind these moves often revolved around finding the right school systems for their three children.

    👋 The Ache of Departure

    Leaving behind people and homes they had grown to cherish is one of the major challenges. Yet, to Doris it's a mindset thing.

    💻 Trailblazing Remote Work

    The trials and triumphs of transitioning to remote work. Her pre-pandemic adoption of this approach within a global organisation paved the way for discussions to showcase the value added. Persistence and determination played key roles in negotiating this shift.

    💻 How to navigate the Scrutiny of Remote Work

    Being a pioneer in #remotework Doris felt the weight of scrutiny from her superiors, leading her to hold herself to a higher standard. She learned the hard way the importance of strictly setting work and life boundaries and introducing important social cues.

    🌍 A Purpose Unearthed Through #Travel

    After exploring over 80 countries, Doris experienced a transformative career pivot. Her passion for guiding others in maximizing their international experiences led her to set up her Ca'Dario Travel & Relocation Coaching Business.

    💪 Empowering Families and Single Females

    Doris supports families navigating international moves. She also extends her expertise to empower single females and novice travellers seeking guidance in similar journeys through managing realistic expectations and facilitating smooth transitions.

    🌤 How to navigate New Horizons

    Get some insightful tips for acclimatising to a new country and building a local support network. From engaging in local Facebook groups to participating in school associations, sports, and proactive outreach to educators and local authorities, she emphasized the importance of taking the initiative.

    Have a listen to the WFHforever podcast and share with someone who is ready to take the leap.

    Wanna hear more about relocation? Follow me on IG @cadario_travel or on Facebook

    And if you are about to embark on your new chapter in life book a free discovery call to see how I can support you.

  • The power of goal setting

    July 25, 2023

    The moment you decide on a new goal the direction of your life changes instantly.

    Read this again and let it sink in.

    Now make it fun.

    Don’t create tasks and to-do lists. They'll only bring the work mindset up in you.

    Make this juicy, adventurous and light.

    You are planning to move to Spain?

    Think of the smell of citrus blossom as you walk past a lemon grove. Think of fresh figs you are tasting at the local market. Think of sun sets down by the beach. Think of the little yet exciting things that will make your life so much better.

    And set a date.

    For example: by May 2024 I want to be sleeping on a sail boat in the port of Cadiz in Andalucia.

    These are the things that will motivate you to start working backwards on your timeline, to set milestones and to put an action plan in place.

    What is your goal?

    Wanna hear more about relocation? Follow me on IG @cadario_travel or on Facebook

    And if you are about to embark on your new chapter in life book a free discovery call to see how I can support you.

  • Travel with kids - how to turn frustration & stress into adventure & fun

    April 25, 2023

    Travelling with children does come with stress and frustration which we often just don’t have the energy and patience for. The thought of spending 24/7 together away from our routine, of dealing with tantrums or teenage boredom attacks outside our ’safe’ environment gets us cold feet and I daily hear parents dreading the holidays, the organisation and the stress of dealing with situations often out of their control.

    Stop dreading it and learn how to turn your holiday into a fun adventure with below tips which have been making all the difference on our world travels with our three children and which I share i my 'travel with kids' webinars.

    📝 At planning stage

    Try to involve and engage everyone in the planning: from choosing the destination, the accommodation, the route and the activities to packing their own bag

    🚗 Getting there

    Turn the ‘are we there yet’ into a fun treasure hunt and let the kids take over the map reading. Decide together on fun pit stops and some extra special snacks or meals along the way. Bring travel games and audio books, and plan in some limited screen time towards the end as a reward.

    🤸‍♀️ Activities

    Start slow and allow for some adjusting to the new climate, culture, food and surroundings on the first few days. Only plan 1-2 activities per day, plan in a few special highlights every few days and allow rest days in between. Communicate the overall plan clearly at the beginning of the trip and each morning for the children to know what’s happening. Knowledge reduces anxiety. And it’s ok to be bored sometimes, too. That’s when they start getting creative.

    And finally some general tips for #familytravel :

    🌼 Avoid giving instructions; asking questions or letting the kids choose between 2-3 options tends to be more efficient and gets them more engaged.

    🌼 Less is more - go slow and don’t try to see and do it all but allow for some unplanned time of people watching or playing in the park.

    🌼 Communicate & delegate. You’ll be surprised how quickly kids learn.

    🌼 Let them write / draw a travel journal. It helps digesting all the new experiences, emotions and feelings.

    🌼 Unexpected and unpleasant things will happen - on each trip. Try reframing to turn them into an anecdote.

    Remember: it’s all about having fun and creating memories together.

    Happy travel!

    Would you like to offer your employees a 60 min webinar or workshop to gear up with excitement for their annual family holiday? Let's chat!

    Wanna hear more about relocation & travelling? Follow me on IG @cadario_travel or on Facebook

    And if you are about to embark on your new chapter in life book a free discovery call to see how I can support you.

  • Why a minimalist approach works wonders when travelling

    March 28, 2023

    When I started out travelling 30 years ago I used to take along a huge suitcase or an oversized backpack. I used to pack my entire wardrobe - ‘just in case’.

    It used to be tiresome and cumbersome, and made me dependant on the help of others to drag them up the stairs or into overhead compartments. And in the end I would literally use less than a fifth of it.

    Following the introduction of extra charges for luggage on planes I downgraded to a trolley some 20 years ago. Still cumbersome, still reducing my agility (especially with three small children), still forcing me to get to my accommodation first before exploring.

    Which took me to go fully minimalist. And it has been a game changer. Not only does it help me to focus on what really matters.
    Travelling lightly gives me wings.
    It gives me that absolute sense of freedom.
    And it allows me to travel more economically, more sustainably, more spontaneously and more agile.

    So how do you squeeze all your needs for 1-3 weeks into a small backpack, I hear you asking.

    🎒 choose versatile clothing to dress in layers and to mix & match

    🎒 layout all you plan to take and remove half of it - radically

    🎒 bring along clothing just for one week, then do a laundry

    🎒 roll up your clothes into compression packing cubes

    🎒 go minimalist on toiletry

    🎒 get all your tech gear organised Tetrix-style in one small pouch

    Just back from a wonderfully light trip to London and the best of all? Unpacking is done within the blink of an eye 🤸🏻‍♀️

    Wanna hear more about relocation & travelling? Follow me on IG @cadario_travel or on Facebook

    And if you are about to embark on your new chapter in life book a free discovery call to see how I can support you.

  • 8 things you need to hear before moving abroad

    January 28, 2023

    I relocated 19 times, 7 out of these were international moves as a family of 5. So I do know a thing or two about the highs and lows, the overwhelm and the anxiety around moving my family abroad. Not only have these experiences transformed our lives and turned into a passion for slow travelling. They have also brought about a change in my career from talent manager to relocation coach as I now guide other bold expats, mostly families, on their journeys abroad - holistically.

    So trust me on these 8 things to stay calm and actually find joy in the exciting process of relocating

    ☀️ You don’t need to know everything. You’ll grow into it. Trust that the right information will always come to you at the right time.

    ☀️ Fearful people will try to place their fears onto you. If someone only points out the cons it is their life they are reflecting. So go listen to the optimists close to you instead. It’s your life, remember?

    ☀️ A lot of stress comes from packing and aiming to bring along too much stuff. Try the minimalist approach and really just take the essentials. You'll be surprised how much lighter that feels.

    ☀️ You are going to be physically away from your family and friends but I experienced that you are sometimes closer to them the further you are away. Keep in touch and allow your loved ones to be part of this new chapter. Don't try to prove anything but make sure to share with them both the ups and downs, the highlights and the difficult moments. And try to understand that people might be hurt for you leaving them.

    ☀️ Wherever you move to, there are people living there. They may not always receive you with open arms or roll out the red carpet just for you. YOU will need to take the first steps in any interaction with those around you. Start early. Even before arriving.

    ☀️ While it may be helpful to speak the language spoken the new country you don't need to be fluent before arriving. However, make sure you know these two: 'hello' and 'thank you', accompanied by a smile. People will get from your accent that you are not a local but will appreciate the effort. You managed to break the ice and you are off to a positive start. The beginning of many new encounters.

    ☀️ It will be a rollercoaster. After the initial excitement and adrenaline 2-3 months into your relocation you’ll experience a sudden mental low when you'll start missing your old life, when you realise things aren’t exactly as you expected and when you'll start questioning whether this was the right decision. This is when many people make a U-turn. Plan some highlights for these crucial few weeks to stick through, for instance friends visiting, a weekend out exploring your new region, signing up to a new activity or a catch-up call with your relocation coach. Things WILL improve day by day and your life WILL turn into the very vision you had designed.

    ☀️ A relocation isn’t a one-way ticket like in the old days. If things truly don’t work out you can always end this chapter and start a new one, move on or come back. It is never a failure but simply one more experience helping you to become a better and more resourceful YOU.

    The journey is the reward. Make it a fun one.

    Wanna hear more about relocation & travelling? Follow me on IG @cadario_travel or on Facebook

    And if you are about to embark on your new chapter in life book a free discovery call to see how I can support you.

  • Today two years ago I quit my job

    December 13, 2022

    2 years since I took a leap of faith and left my industry after 20 years without having anything lined up.

    So I thought it might be a good time to reflect back on how they went:


    🤸‍♀️ Moved to Southern Switzerland
    🤸‍♀️ Delivered a series of workshops at voiio on ‘Travelling with children' (in German)
    🤸‍♀️ Traveled to over 20 countries with my three children
    🤸‍♀️ Learnt to ride a motorbike
    🤸‍♀️ Completed a #lifecoaching course and got my accredited certification
    🤸‍♀️ Started my own #relocation & travel coaching business
    🤸‍♀️ Ran my first half-marathon
    🤸‍♀️ Learnt the in & outs of social media from scratch (it truly is never too late)
    🤸‍♀️ Floated in one of the saltiest lakes on earth
    🤸‍♀️ Learnt how to code and created my own website
    🤸‍♀️ Got over my fears of judgement and started posting on LinkedIn
    🤸‍♀️ Am training to become a trainer at Thomas International Schweiz & Liechtenstein
    🤸‍♀️ Am learning the in & outs of event management by co-organising several TEDxZurich events
    🤸‍♀️ Am working from all around the world
    🤸‍♀️ My children are speaking Italian within only a few months thanks to deep immersion
    🤸‍♀️ Was awarded Airbnb superhost @Ca Dario Andalucia for the 4th time in a row
    🤸‍♀️ Did my first 180 on my snowboard
    🤸‍♀️ Got over my camera fear and was a guest on three podcasts
    🤸‍♀️ Designed and drafted plans for a luxury desert cave house for the Airbnb OMG competition and got selected amongst the 200 craziest ideas worldwide


    🙈 Only just avoided a mental breakdown in time
    🙈 Risked my life savings about 5 times
    🙈 Got Covid twice
    🙈 Nearly got lost in the Senegal desert
    🙈 Invested endless hours in research
    🙈 Had 7 flights cancelled and had to change travel plans over a dozen times
    🙈 Nearly quit my business at least 20 times
    🙈 Got our van broken into in Tuscany and all our belongings stolen
    🙈 Failed my motorcycle exam twice
    🙈 Woke up to a big hairy spider in the Mexican jungle
    🙈 Ran my first half-marathon
    🙈 Avoided a severe accident by seconds for driving through a mud storm
    🙈 Was rejected or ghosted more than I can remember
    🙈 Spent many hours crying and loads of sleepless nights

    It’s definitely been a rollercoaster of a ride but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve learnt more about myself and experienced more growth in the last 2 years than I could have possibly imagined.

    Can’t wait to continue on this path and see what the future holds. I know I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible.

  • Fun is over once you have children

    October 13, 2022

    When my father became a parent for the first time he made sure to throw out his entire vinyl collection, to sell his motorcycle and to switch from adventure trips to playing chess.

    Are you one of the 99% of people in this world who were made believe that play time is over once you have children? That you got to settle for good and become a responsible and respectable parent enclaved in daily, weekly and monthly routines for the sake of stability and to prove to the world that you are being a ‘perfect' parent?

    If you recognise this, I am sorry society screwed you over. I almost fell for it, too.

    You see, as a child I was told to go for my dreams, to be myself and to find fun in everything I do. I should be creative, open to new food, things, experiences and people, I should push my boundaries, learn from my mistakes and go for what I believed in.

    And yet, as soon as we become parents society expects us to do the complete opposite. You are to settle, to stick to your job and to the rules, to not colour outside the lines for the sake of ’safety', to eliminate the concept of adventure, freedom and fun from your life and to simply do what a ‘good’ parent gotta do.
    Shoulder shrugging moment.

    But what if being a ‘good' parent means something completely different? What if being responsible actually means thinking outside the box?
    If it means to continue following your dreams TOGETHER with your family, if it means combining adventure and kids for the ultimate bonding experience, if it means pushing beyond your comfort zone as a FAMILY and celebrating the SUCCESSES along the way together.

    So we gave it a go. We exchanged a settled life with exploring the unknown as a family. We took our jobs abroad and experienced urban life in the heart of London, the snowy peaks and green pastures in the Dolomites, beach life on the shores of the Mediterranean, a deep dive into life on the Green Island, snowboard galore while enjoying cosmopolitan Zurich and now an intriguing tiny-village experience above the palm-lined shores of Lake Lugano.

    Each relocation came with a number of well-meant ‘you should...’ and the classic ‘why can’t you settle like everyone else’ along with ‘you can’t keep doing this to your kids’.

    Yet, each relocation came with learning a new language, finding new friends, living in some most beautiful spots, getting to live extraordinary experiences, immersing into a new culture, and, most importantly, growing as a family.

    So I am here to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, that play time isn't over, it only just started.
    You CAN have both. Children and adventure.
    Give it a try.

    Send me a message for a free discovery call, follow me for more on IG @cadario_travel or book a 60 min online relocation coaching session with me to start making your dream a reality.

  • The pros and cons of being a digital nomad

    September 13, 2022

    Wanna hear a secret? I don't always love being a digital nomad...

    There I said it. And it feels good to get that off my chest!

    Being a digital nomad means:
    - Working irregular hours adjusting to ever changing circumstances
    - Stressing out about reliable Wifi
    - Being at the mercy of well-meant pressure from others about finally settling down
    - Feeling big responsibility towards my kids, finding good schools and a thriving and safe environment for them
    - Getting accused of gypsifying my children (whatever that means)
    - Always being the foreigner and never truly belonging
    - Having to say goodbye over and over again and missing family and friends
    And so much more.

    What you see on social media is NOT the entire picture behind being a digital nomad.

    BUT, just like any lifestyle, there are pros AND cons. And living as a digital nomad family travelling the world is no different.
    So here's what I've learned - even if you're super passionate about your lifestyle, there will always be parts of it that you don't enjoy so much.

    The trick is to find a lifestyle you love where the pros outweigh the cons.

    And for me, being a digital nomad slow-travelling the world with my family has SO many pros that outweigh the cons.

    For example, I LOVE:
    - Being able to be my own boss and build something of my own
    - Setting my own schedule and owning my life fully
    - Getting to travel the world
    - Immersing into true local life and getting to know the real heroes wherever we travel or move to
    - Learning something new every single day
    - Having amazing, unique experiences with my family that likely we wouldn't have if it weren't for our lifestyle
    - Connecting with a community that loves to adventure, is passionate about the outdoors and prioritises quality time
    - Helping others to creating their own authentic lifestyle

    Anytime I feel discouraged or overwhelmed I go to this list and remember my 'why' and all the pros to this lifestyle of ours.
    And then I am reminded that I really do love what I do and I can't imagine myself doing things differently.

    Maybe you share similar dreams?
    If you do, I want to help you find your own authentic lifestyle that works for YOU.

    The time is NOW, not in 1 year or 5 years. To live a life that you once dreamt about but didn't think was possible.

    I'm here to tell you that it IS possible. Anyone can do it. If you want to expand your boundaries and try out something different, if you are determined and motivated, you are more than a quarter way there.

    And I will walk you step-by-step in my #coaching sessions. In only 5 weeks I will help you dig deep, uncover and design your own lifestyle.

    Send me a message for a free discovery call and follow me for more on IG @cadario_travel or book a 60 min online travel coaching session with me to start making your dream a reality.

  • Why you should take your kids to Japan

    June 1, 2022

    Japan is finally open to tourists again. After two long years visitors can once again explore the land of the rising sun. We visited Japan in 2019, just before the pandemic. A dream come true as Japan had been on my bucket list forever. Join us as we take you to one of the most fascinating countries I have visited.

    First stop, Seoul
    When taking intercontinental flights with a stopover we always try to select a city or country we are intrigued by. We like to extend the stopover to at least a couple of days to get a taster of the place and to figure whether it will make it onto our bucket list. Not only does a stopover help with jet lag. Splitting a long trip into two makes it definitely more fun aka bearable when travelling long distance with kids. On this occasion we chose Seoul. The capital and largest city in South Korea surprised us as being a very modern city with a large heritage. During our two-day stopover we really just managed to grasp the main sights and to get a feel for the city but it was enough to make it onto our bucket list to explore deeper on future travels.

    When arriving to a new country we like to get a first impression of its capital by doing some people watching and light exploring of the city by foot to get a feel while getting acquainted with the climate, the food, the culture and the people. After that we travel round the country and finally spend the last 3-4 days back in the capital for deeper exploration.
    Somehow we had imagined Tokyo being a massive, overpopulated and chaotic city and were surprised that it is totally manageable, despite its size and its 14 million people. Its many different neighbourhoods are each fairly self-contained with a very local, almost village-like feel. For our first few days here we rented a small, typical Japanese house in a quiet neighbourhood in East Tokyo and explored the small, traffic-free backstreets and the immediate surroundings by foot, ate with the locals and fell totally in love with the electricity poles and overhead power lines all over. A well-balanced mess amidst so much perfection and straight lines.

    Food porn meets Minimalism. How can a number of basic ingredients prepared in three different steps taste so deliriously good?
    We came across this tiny place on a backstreet off the hustles of Tsukiji fish market and asked for the local specialty as we always do. What followed was an intro into the refined art of Japanese Washoku through all senses which left us totally speechless. An orgasm for the palate. A true eye opener. A taster of what lay ahead of us over the next few weeks. So experimental that even the kids loved it.

    Surfing on Chiba peninsula
    A few days by the coast felt just right after the first few overwhelming days in Japan’s capital and the Chiba Peninsula South of Tokyo was just perfect. Through Airbnb we had found a traditional Japanese house in the tiny fishing village of Shinkan outside Katsuura. Totally thrown into local life watching fishermen going about their business, elderly divers going for seafood and some special algae. We also managed to throw in a whole day of surfing the waves of Onjuku alongside elderly locals feeling young again. True immersion.

    Mingling with locals is easier said than done when you speak only a handful words of their language and they speak none. However, there was so much interest from both the locals and our side to communicate that we did manage to exchange words, smiles, hand gestures and even animal sounds (for food ordering). As a linguist I am intrigued by the power of language and communication, the effort it takes and the satisfaction that comes with it. There are a number of good apps out there that help in these situations but I still prefer the good old ‘point it’ booklet that has been with us on our travels for the past 20 years. Call me old school.

    After our beach days on Chiba Peninsula it was time for the mountains on our Japan travels. Impressive peaks in the Japanese Alps and then this beautifully preserved village of Tsumago-juku. It lies in the remote Kiso valley on the Nakasendo merchant trail that connected Edo (modern-day Tokyo) to Kyoto. The heavy rain during our stay made it even more mystic and set us back to the Edo period with Samurais passing through here on their missions.
    Definitely want to return to walk the entire Nakasendo walking trail. One more for the bucket list.

    Driving in Japan
    Rental car or public transport? We generally prefer public transport as a mean to get around on our travels. More sustainable and also a great way to mingle especially if you speak the language. However, on our travels through Japan we opted for a rental car to move around the country while we used public transport to move within the cities. There is an amazing train pass which most tourists use to travel around Japan and we did consider it strongly but then decided for a rental car after all to be able to go off the beaten track, to explore areas away from the train lines and stations, to be able to do spontaneous pit stops in places we love but also for budget reasons.
    Driving in Japan has been a very interesting experience in itself. Combine very strict speed limitations on motorways and narrow lanes on small roads and you understand why most cars are small and square to fit as much space into as little volume as possible. Then add street signs in Japanese and the local gps system based on phone numbers rather than street names...Patience was certainly key... and loads of pit stops along the way. Which again gave us an insight into very rural areas of this amazing country.

    On our travels we generally book our accommodation only a few days in advance as to allow more flexibility and to be able to adjust our trip as we go along. However, if we need to travel in high season, such as on this trip, we make sure to book most accommodation ahead. Our travels to Japan coincided not only with Golden Week which is prime travel time in all of Asia but it also happened right during the Japanese imperial transition and hence the largest national holidays with prices extremely high and availability very limited.
    When travelling during high season it’s also advisable to plan visiting major tourist destinations such as beautiful Kyoto during the week for fewer crowds and lower accommodation rates. Additionally, as a family it pays off to stay a bit further away from the centre for more space and better rates while giving you an insight into life in the neighbourhood and its local markets.
    Kyoto is just stunning and a must-visit on any Japan trip. We also happened to be there for the flea market which only takes place once a month so it was shopping some beautiful pieces to take home as souvenirs. After all the walking a well-deserved rest in the Kyoto Gyoen National Garden, a sanctuary of calm amidst the busy streets of central Kyoto. Ideal for a 🍣 picnic while recharging and reflecting on all the impressions of the day.

    Eating out in Japan.
    Minimalism in every detail. The front of the restaurant with its vertical wooden slates, the square Noren cloth at the entrance for further intimacy, the reserved attitude of the waiters, the sleek linear arrangement of your shoes at the entrance, the basic seating arrangement on tatami floors, the individual presentation of the refined dishes across small plates, baskets and bowls. And the tiny sake cup Ochoko to end the delicate feast.
    Restaurants are a good option for dinner though best to check prices online first to keep the bill minimalist, too. For lunch we generally try to go for a hefty bento box. Set meals tend to be great value and kids love selecting their favourite from the fake waxy menu display, more in our stories. Alternatively, there is the fun option of the common ramen restaurants with ticketing machines where you can select your dishes by pressing on the pictures at a ticket machine and then hand the tickets over to the chef who prepares it for you and shouts once ready. For picky kids order basics such as white rice or plain noodles, they can then try mixing with different sauces from your dishes.
    Finally, get some training chopsticks for the kids on your first days, by the end of your trip they will be experts.

    All about the rituals.
    On our travels we come across the most interesting traditions and rituals. The best way to experience them is by closely observing the locals and then imitate them such as the hand washing ritual before approaching a shrine. We particularly loved a ritual at this quirky shrine in Kyoto where we would watch young Japanese woman buy a special piece of paper, write their name and a wish on it, stick it onto the enkiri/enmusubi stone on top of hundreds of others and then crawl through the small hole. Turns out this stone will bind good relationships tighter if you crawl in one direction and end bad relationships if you crawl the other way. We definitely made sure to crawl in the right direction after we were given the explanation by one of the Japanese women

    Dear public toilets.
    One can’t deny that toilets are an important part on any travels and as such influence the lasting impression of a country. Well, Japan has certainly left an inspiring mark as for these bare necessities.
    Absolute luxury with water sound, music, heated seat, dryer, adjustable water temperature, you name it. Each session was total entertainment, especially for the kids.
    This picture was taken in a public toilet, oh yes, public. So the idea is that you take off your shoes at the entrance just like when you arrive at home, you then walk barefoot or in house slippers on the carpet or tatami and put on the designated bathroom slippers to be used only on the tiles within the bathroom. They are to be left in the bathroom and not to be used anywhere else. Totally love this sophisticated culture around separating the clean from the unclean.

    Deer feeding in Nara.
    This was possibly the most touristic place on our trip through Japan. It was extremely busy but well worth if you are travelling with kids. The numerous stunning temples and extensive gardens are surrounded by hundreds of deer and the kids just adored them. Deer biscuits are sold everywhere and you can feed the all but shy deer who will follow you everywhere.

    Ninja village.
    The kids’ absolute highlight on our Japan trip was the ninja village in the remote town of Iga Ueno. It consists of a ninja residence with ninjas guiding you around revolving walls, trap doors and hidden compartments and a museum displaying ninja tools, gadgets, costumes and weapons. They also inform about the ninja way of life and practical techniques used by the ninja such as how to tell the time by observing a cat's pupils... The grand finale was an awesome ninja show featuring authentic ninja skills, including a splendid and fun demonstration of using throwing stars. The show was held in Japanese given the mostly Japanese audience which made it even more of an immersion into ninja and local life. Can you guess what we all dreamt about that night?

    A farm stay in Odai.
    Exploring the local way of life is our main drive on our family travels. So being able to spend some time with a local family on their tea farm has been a rewarding experience. Initially it was intimidating to share their house with them and - against our expectations - to sleep in their living room, especially given the extra thin walls in traditional Japanese houses which let through any sound or noise... such as the nightly frog concert from the rice fields outside. But it turned into a wonderful cultural exchange and lots of learning. For me the highlight was definitely watching our host mindfully preparing the wonderful breakfast and meticulously laying it out each morning (needless to say the kids preferred cereals over algae soup).
    Our hosts also happened to be professional climbers which meant they had built a climbing wall in their barn which we were allowed to use. They also recommended a wonderful hike to some nearby water falls across lush forests and along a wild river where we spotted snakes and monkeys.

    Onsen bathing.
    Have you ever been to an Onsen? It’s a whole different level of bathing. Superior to any bathing culture I have experienced. Refined down to every little detail. Our host on the farm we were staying at had recommended this luxurious Onsen and kindly shared an intro into the hidden world of Japanese bathing and its etiquette. So, armed with the do’s and dont’s we ventured into the local Onsen. As the only foreigners we made sure to apply all we had learned and we managed to immerse into a part of local life that left us amazed. Locals of all backgrounds and generations were quietly soaking in the natural hot spring pools originating from the volcanic activity underground, scrubbing each other on their stools, buckets in their hands, meditating in the outdoor pools and floating along side each other with their folded towels on their heads. A beautifully surreal exercise. A mix of mindfulness, curiosity and admiration.

    Some places are best raw. In pure state of nature. Wind through your hair. Kids rolling down sand dunes. The surfer in his element. The ocean at its most powerful.
    Those remote beaches that you stumble upon by chance on your drive to Mount Fuji. That gate that isn’t mentioned in any travel guide hence looking out onto the rough ocean in peaceful solitude. That inviting Airbnb on the cliff for a fraction of the cost just because off-the-beaten-track. And you decide you want to just be for a few days.
    Those are the moments I love remembering most. Those are the moments when I feel alive. And free.

    Mount Fuji.
    What a mysterious mountain. Perfectly round with that beautiful white peak and at its foot the wonderful lake Ashinoko.
    To avoid the hords of tourists stopping over for one quick photo shoot on their classic tour we hiked in the surroundings to get a glimpse of Mt. Fuji from different angles.
    And to celebrate the birthday of this one with special views.

    Last day on the coast before heading back to Tokyo.
    Watching local surfers and families. The sun setting over misty Mt. Fuji at the far distance. Asahi in my hand and a grateful smile on my face. Grateful for the opportunity to explore this amazing country and its people. Grateful to be able to share this journey with the four most precious people in my life.

    Back to Tokyo
    These barrels hold a lot of sake... They were donated to the Meiji Shingu Shrine in Shibuya by sake brewers from all over Japan and the sake is used for celebrations such as the wedding we were witnessing.
    When travelling to a new country we love to get an overview of the capital for a few days to start with. After that we go off exploring the country and then, at the end, we return to the capital for another few days for deeper exploration. Once back it seems a totally different city, the summary of the places, people and traditions we experienced across the country. All of it squeezed into one amazing city.

    On this second stay we chose to stay at a traditional house in busy Shinjuku, this time on the West end of Tokyo. And then it was checking out the famous Shibuya crossing, eating in ultra-modern robot restaurants, checking out eclectic markets, visiting the Museum of Modern Art, visiting the technology mile, trying out Karaoke in the super busy Karaoke parlours and looking over the city by night from atop the Government Building.
    All in all, a grande finale.
    Japan, we will be back.

    Get inspiration by following me on IG @cadario_travel or book a 60 min online travel coaching session with me to start making your dream a reality.

  • How to fall in love with Senegal

    May 12, 2022

    Diary from our recent deep dive into this wonderful West African country.

    Day 1: We made it to Senegal. Deep dive.
    Only a 4 hour flight from Madrid. And yet a world away. The flight in itself a wonderful intro: first crossing the Mediterranean, then over the snow-capped Atlas mountains in Morocco. After that the Sahara, the world’s largest hot desert. The plain nothing. Sand dunes after sand dunes.
    And as the sun was setting and the full moon rising we crossed from desert Mauritania into the savanna plains of Senegal. Warm air and a bustling atmosphere as we left Dakar airport. Then a 30min ride in a prearranged taxi to our hotel. From the new airport road onto a dirt track, across potholes, past cattle and goats on the road to reach Toubab Dialao on the coast South of Dakar for a few days of settling into African life. We chose Toubab for its quietness as a low key beach town around a community of Senegalese artists. The hotel welcomed us with some great murals and recommended a local dinner shack on the beach to try the national dish called Thieboudienne: grilled catch of the day with rice and vegetables. Kids and cats playing around our table and locals dancing in the shack next door to the tunes of drums after a long day of Ramadan fasting.
    We have arrived in West Africa.

    Day 2: Toubab Dialao
    I was woken up at 6am by the calls for prayer. Birds chirping, cockerels in the distance and waves crashing. While everyone was still asleep I went to check out the neighbourhood. Women selling coffee and peanuts, men selling artwork and proposing their service as a guide, taxi driver, drum teacher etc. The unpaved dirt road along unfinished houses led me to the cliffs with stunning views over the wide beach and the fishing boats. Straining dogs in the distance and some woman setting up their stands selling tie-die dresses and bracelets. The water is still fairly cold but refreshing. A reminder that this is the open Atlantic ocean even though we are close to the Equator. As I walked back through the village past lots of garbage on the street I took in the chatting of a group of women washing their clothes in their buckets surrounded by their playing children and the hammering of the builders next door. Then the odd car driving through leaving a trail of dust in the air. I bought water melon, mangoes and mandarines at the only fruit stall for breakfast and then we were ready to head inland for a major highlight, the Bandia reserve. This eco reserve was created in the 1960s to reintroduce wildlife about to be extinct in Senegal. This country used to have a diverse range of wild animals including lions which are part of Senegal’s emblem but were disappearing due to poaching. We organised a taxi to take us there and drive us through the reserve and after a prolonged initial drive amidst giant centenary baobab trees and thorny shrubs we started spotting families of warthogs, gazelles, antelopes, buffalos, zebras and eventually several herds of giraffes and a couple of rhinos. The latter have been imported from South Africa to repopulate and the effort is paying off. Seeing these animals in their habitat has been extraordinary and the trip under the scorching heat well worth it.
    Loving this country already.

    Day 5: Petite Cote
    After our initial days in quiet Toubab we headed South to Saly which seems to be the most developed in terms of tourism and hence offers a handful restaurants and serves as a gateway to the Southern part of Senegal. We had initially considered renting a car for our Senegal trip but were discouraged by my daughter’s French teacher who happens to be from Senegal and indicated that the easiest and cheapest would be to hire a local man and his car to take us to places as police corruption seems common and best dealt with by locals. This has been working very well so far and each driver is being such a delight to chat to sharing their wealth of knowledge and their insight into the country’s social, political and economic situation. And we are being forced to polish up our French again which is the lingua franca here in Senegal next to Wolof and 12 other local languages... and if that wasn’t enough people also do speak some English, Spanish and Italian.
    Yesterday we explored the unique island of Fadiouth just off the fishing town of Joao. Now picture a car free island made entirely of sea shells with a village of 6000 people almost exclusively Christian populating the tiny island. Unique in every sense.

    Day 9: Desert life
    What a wonderful stay and immersion into desert life. We had debated whether to splash out on a neat desert tourist package or whether to face the challenge and do it on our own. Needless to say we decided for the challenging option and booked a Mauritanian camp set up and run by the men from the local village who picked us up at Lompoul village after our 4-hour drive from Saly. A fun 4x4 ride to the camp which lies at the entrance into Lompoul desert. If you ever followed the Paris-Dakar rallies then you get the gist. At the basic camp we were assigned a 5 bed tent with a basic toilet and shower inside (though was no water during our stay but just a simple bucket). So what do you do once you are in the desert? Instead of taking any classic squad or camel rides we decided to simply enjoy the absolute quietness and vastness, taking in the magical sunset over the dunes at the bleating of the goats, having a Senegalese dinner cooked up by the local women (typically chicken Yassa with couscous) and then sitting by the bonfire as the moon came up and the air started getting chilly.
    I wish I could say we slept like babies in our tent but the unfamiliar sounds, the cold and the basic bed that was missing a few slates kept me up most of the night. On day two it was rolling down the sand dunes and walking well into the desert in the morning before the midday heat and then chilling bedouin style and experiencing what life in the desert must be like. Perfect moment to plan for our upcoming days in the capital Dakar, book accommodation and decide on activities. On our second evening in the Lompoul desert some men with their bongos came over from the village to celebrate together with a group of four French engineers from an NGO who had been building the local market in the village over the past two months and we thoroughly enjoyed dancing round the fire to the sound of the drums.
    What a fantastic desert experience that ended in a walk of the last bit back to the village the next day after the vintage 4x4 broke down to catch a 4-hour ride into crazy Dakar.
    I must admit there were moments I wished we had splashed out on the comfortable tour package instead of going DIY with the locals but the unexpected challenges and adventures are the ones that will stick.

    Day 10: Dakar
    After our in-depth experience in the desert we made it to Dakar. Overwhelming, chaotic, busy. Just like you would expect from an African capital city. We were welcomed by millions of people, taxis in an ever congested city, goats and donkeys on every corner and stalls throughout the city in the absence of shops. We chose to stay in the very centre, the Medina, close to the Mosque for a couple of nights to experience real live in an African capital. And it was so worth it for the sounds, smells, the chaos and even the dust and garbage everywhere. Deep dive.

    Day 11: What it’s like to travel to a Muslim country during Ramadan.
    When planning our Senegal trip we anticipated that there would be some challenges on our travels during Ramadan when it comes to food and entertainment as the country is 95% Islamic. Most restaurants and stalls are shut during the holy month when Muslims don’t eat nor drink between sunrise and sunset and we soon decided that it was best and easiest to somewhat stick to their routine and found it cleansing while showing respect and solidarity with the people around us. We hence fixed our own breakfast at home (freshly baked baguettes and fresh fruit is sold on every corner) and then had a proper meal after sunset. We made sure to bring along water when being out and about and were aware that this would be an alcohol-free holiday.
    Ramadan is the time when solidarity and openness are most shown. After sunset food is shared on the streets with everyone and on several occasions we were invited to join in. It was impressive to see everyone's excitement as the sun was setting, the long queues at the bakery and the stalls all offering lentil filled baguettes. It was great to be able to witness the preparation for prayer with everyone on Dakar’s busy streets getting washed in public to then lay out their beautiful carpets in Mecca’s direction to do their prayers. To be woken up by the call for prayer from the mosque and to witness a collective effort to support the poor.
    Senegal seems fairly progressive and society seems very open, women seem to have an important part in the structure with many organisations run by women. I felt safe as a woman at all times and didn’t experience uncomfortable looks or approaches. People truly go about their lives, especially in the areas away from tourist hotspot which I found very relieving and which allowed us to get into deeper conversations with people as much as our basic French allowed.

    Day 14: Have you ever floated in a salt lake?
    On our travels we try to plan one highlight half way and then one at the very end for the grand finale and today - our last day in Senegal - excelled all expectations. In the morning we packed our bags and left our apartment on Dakar’s Northern beaches in Yoff to drive North with our man and his car that we had organised through our Airbnb host. Funnily enough our driver had never been to Lac Rose so I had to navigate him through busy villages and dusty dirt roads. And what a sight when we arrived at the pink lake. What looked like a dirty brown water from afar turned into a bright pink the closer we got to the salt lake. Needless to say went in. We had to walk over salt crystals and muddy black turf and it was the most extraordinary experience to start floating in this highly salty water. Literally floating. Forever. I had read somewhere that you can get some horses on a nearby farm to ride across the dunes to the beach and that is exactly what we did. In our super salty swim suit we saddled and had the most wonderful ride over the dunes until we reached the eternally long beach without a soul and with the most powerful waves. Excellent swim to wash off the sticky salt, to ride back to Lac Rose, grab our car and make our way to the airport on time to catch our flight back to Milan with salt in our hair and sand on our feet. It’s these intense days, these powerful emotions, this feeling of absolute freedom, of strong bonding with the best travel companions I could wish for. Not even the teenager could hide his emotions. Absolute sense of happiness.

    Get inspiration by following me on IG @cadario_travel or book a 60 min online travel coaching session with me to start making your dream a reality.

  • How to plan your travels through 10 simple W questions

    April 30, 2022

    Travelling isn’t just about the ‘Where’ and ‘What’. Before nailing down your destination when planning your travels I highly recommend to ask yourself and your group these 10 crucial W questions which we have put together over the years and which help us to define our next trip.

    1. WHY?
    Why am I taking this trip? What do I want to get out of this experience, what do I want to take home? How do I want to feel?

    2. WHO WITH?
    Who do I want to travel with? How can I get them engaged? Are expectations aligned? How can we share responsibilities and preparation tasks?

    3. WHEN? HOW LONG?
    What time of year? 10 days, 3 weeks, 3 months?

    4. HOW MUCH?
    What is my budget? Overall, weekly, daily? What can I get out of it?

    And how can I tackle them?

    Walking, bike, motorbike, car, public transport, bus, train, boat, plane, camper van?

    Any of below or a combination of which? Family holiday, romantic getaway, party weekend, city or island hopping, beach holiday, mountains, hiking, focus on one region, museums, shopping, sports, culture, night life, history, art, adventure, travel off the beaten track, nature trip, first big city trip, solo, food travel, backpacking, eco conscious travel, round the world trip, ancestor discovery trip, language learning, study or work abroad, volunteering, sabbatical, pilgrimage, visit of offspring, introspection or retreat, or simply some time off and some fun

    What kind of sights are we into, any special shows or event to plan for, which typical local activities not to miss?

    Should accommodation be for sleeping only or could it be a highlight in itself? Standard hotels versus unique stays or typical local housing? A combination of different options?

    10. WHERE?
    If you haven’t already decided, now is the moment to nail the destination. Take an online travel quiz ‘where to travel’ for inspiration, eg. Conde Nast's destination quiz.

    Whohoo! We got a destination! Now on to the exciting part, to be shared next Tuesday.

    Get inspiration by following me on IG @cadario_travel or book a 60 min online travel coaching session with me to start making your dream a reality.

  • Northern Ireland - a secret gem

    March 30, 2022

    Have you ever been to the Green Island? Read on to find out what made us spend two wonderful years in Northern Ireland and why you should visit, too.

    We had set our eyes on this hidden gem and seven years ago we decided it was a good moment to move there on our slow travels. With the education system being one of the best, the accent one of the sweetest, the wild northern shores a perfect playground for the surfer in our family and the wide open green spaces ideal for outdoor exploring with kids we packed our van, our bikes, surfboards and camp gear, crossed Europe, hopped on a ferry and started our two-year Irish experience. Join us on the tour and get inspired for your post-pandemic travels.


    We feel attracted to cities that aren't sterile, that don't just rely on their past glory and that continuously evolve. Belfast is one of them. It's not your usual pretty, picturesque city where you would tick off all the sights and then move on. It's a city worth experiencing at a deeper level. Getting to know its laboursome past through centuries of linen industries and shipyards. Through a troublesome recent past covered in violence. It's a city with an incredibly creative present and a highly promising future. You can feel that energy and vibe in every old building restored, every new, modern building erected, in every new restaurant opened, in every new show, festival or exhibition celebrated. With art installations on every street corner. As urban as it gets.


    Our lifestyle as digital nomads has allowed us to move to a different country every few years. On these moves we tend to be pretty flexible, however, there are a few things that keep having top priority. With our kids in school age, schooling is one of them. On our slow travels we had the option to go for home schooling. However, for us it was always clear we wanted the kids to attend local schools as much as possible. Not only do we value the social interaction with same age kids but we also feel it is key for true immersion into a country, its culture and people. Being part of the local school system, the parent association, the extracurricular activities and anything that comes with it allows us to better understand and experience local life and to start relationships that can convert into beautiful, lasting friendships.

    Before our move to Northern Ireland we had done some thorough research into the schools we liked most and shortlisted several. Upon arrival we then went to visit those shortlisted for an overall feel and finally it was down to our democratic votes as a family, with some criterias being 'because they have such a cool playground'... Northern Ireland has a highly segregated school system where schools are mostly divided into catholic and protestant schools. There is, however, a growing number of 'integrated' schools which beautifully integrate children from all religions including us who fall into the 'not applicable' category. So glad we followed our gut feeling, we would not want to have missed out on such an enriching two-year Northern Irish experience altogether.


    Would you associate Northern Ireland with endless golden beaches? Nor did we until we explored them addictively, weekend after weekend on our two-year journey here. Thanks to an obsessed surfer in the family who didn’t mind the freezing waters.


    During our two-year stay in Northern Ireland we crossed over to neighbouring Ireland on numerous occasions exploring the Northern Coast, touring around the entire Island and partying in Dublin. What we have really fallen for is the extremely rural Ireland with its narrow paths, endless green meadows, thousands of sheep, small cottages with little gates and narrow steep staircases, small windows and awesome views over some dramatic cliffs out onto the wild sea.

    As a travel family on a budget we generally prefer to travel during off season when homes for rent are more affordable and when you can have major sights all to yourself. Same on trips to Ireland where you can get a beautifully remote traditional stone cottage in off- season for a friction of the normal rate, when beaches are all to yourself and when the world renowned cliffs are deserted. The weather here is unpredictable all year round so best to go when its pouring down back home anyway. Win win.


    How can you possibly love a wet, foggy hike you ask? We are outdoor freaks. In every weather and every season. It isn’t always just about blue skies and perfect views. It is learning to appreciate and focus on what is right in front of you, here, now. Listening to the sound of the wind and waves, feeling the rain on your skin and taking in that wonderful smell of wet grass while mindfully watching the landscape mystically transforming. And if there is the incentive of a hot chocolate or a Sunday roast on the way even better.

    When we moved from Southern Spain to Northern Ireland we initially struggled to adjust to the grey and wet and the short winter days but it didn’t take us long to appreciate the fifty shades of green all year round thanks to the very special climate with no freezing winters and no boiling hot summers, the extra long summer days and the infinite cloud formations.

    As the Germans say, there is no such thing as bad weather as long as you are dressed accordingly.


    To round off our Northern Irish travel journal let me share eight of our favourite outdoor activities with kids.

    - following the steps of Irish giant Finn at the impressive Giant’s Causeway, Bushmills

    - crossing the wobbly Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, Ballintoy

    - hiking Cave Hill with beautiful views over Belfast

    - horse riding in the countryside

    - cycling round Rathlin Island

    - camping in Ballycastle

    - exploring Dunluce Castle, Portballintrae

    - rolling down sand dunes at every opportunity


    Our two-year experience in Northern Ireland has shaped us considerably on top of our kids now having a strong beautiful Northern Irish accent.

    Let me share an analysis with very random and some subjective facts:

    - it does not rain all day every day, not even every day

    - it is all about the potato

    - Northern Irish have a great sense of humour

    - there must be more lawn mowers, tumble dryers and self tanning creams sold in Northern Ireland than anywhere else in the world

    - police patrol cars are a rare sight

    - when they do turn up it is many of them at once, and they resemble Paris-Dakar 4W

    - crime rates are at their lowest now

    - 18 degrees are top July temperatures

    - there are more churches than pubs in Northern Ireland

    - house fences and gates are uncommon and still, private property is sacred

    - Northern Irish people are extremely friendly yet reserved and family focused

    - garage doors are generally too small to fit even a small car, still trying to figure out its purpose

    - Northern Ireland is rainbow heaven

    - there is a lovely 'wee' in every sentence

    - here wellies are not for fashion victims or festival goers, this is puddle heaven

    - Northern Irish drivers are the most respectful drivers I have ever encountered. The complete opposite of aggressive London cab drivers, speed obsessed Italians or peeping Spanish

    - bad rush hour congestions due to poor traffic planning and little use of public transport

    - entering and exiting a roundabout has very strict rules 

    - there are very few places with such beautiful and ever different cloud formations (fourth after Patagonia, the Amazon and Alaska on my personal hit list)

    - people seem to dress the same in winter and in summer (as in number of layers) 

    - cows, sheep and hens just look really happy

    - the Troubles are hardly mentioned, it's all about moving on

    - this is festival country with small festivals everywhere, almost every weekend, mostly family friendly

    - everyone seems to know how to sing and play the guitar - street busking heaven

    - EVERYONE lives in a house with garden

    - having three children in Northern Ireland is having rather few while you are on the rare side in Southern Europe for having so many

    - the grass is indeed greener than anywhere else

    - what an amazing school system: learning through playing

    - no need of air conditioning

    - umbrellas are only used by tourists

    - parents seem to perfectly combine full time jobs and 4-5 children, possibly due to flexible working hours and a large family network for extra support 

    - there are more water entertainment fountains for kids here than in Southern Spain

    - speaking of which, there is no such thing as a water bill - water is free

    - park benches tend to face North 

    - interestingly car wash places are called European car wash, not seen anything similar in Europe though

    - Playgrounds display a warning sign: drink plenty of water and use sun screen. No indication of 'go home if you no longer feel your toes'

    - customer service is outstanding

    - the view is not a prime factor considered when building houses, architect is surely not a sought after profession in this country

    - recycling works beautifully, it’s a pleasure watching the recycling guys do the collection 

    - campings and caravan parks are overrated and overprized, best renting a cottage

    - the entire coast is a natural wonder in itself with untouched endless golden beaches and impressive cliffs

    - the colour green is calming, stress-relieving and invigorating

    - interestingly, two out of the ten happiest places in the UK are in Northern Ireland

    Inspired yet? For more follow me on IG @cadario_travel

  • 5 tips for a perfect cabin stay in the Alps

    February 28, 2022

    We recently spent some truly wonderful days in a self-contained mountain hut in the Dolomites together with two other families and here is what we learned

    1) Don’t overpack, you are in nature not on a catwalk. Comfortable, warm & practical first!

    2) Get aligned with your group upfront about your ‘why’. For us it was spending quality time together, experiencing a back-to-basics lifestyle, spending lots of time outdoors in nature, preparing hearty meals together and simply enjoying each other’s company.

    3) Focus on one main meal a day and have the other meals be simpler. This means your shopping list is shorter, you need to carry less up to the hut and it allows for more chiling.

    4) Allow each other personal space and time. You don’t need to do everything together as a group and it is ok to have an afternoon just doing your thing on your own.

    5) Screen-free evenings can be absolute fun. Inclusive games for all ages like the chair game, Werewolf, Who am I or dancing games are prime ingredients for an evening to remember.

    Get inspiration by following me on IG @cadario_travel or book a 60 min online travel coaching session with me to start making your dream a reality.

  • 8 travel trends for transformation in 2022

    January 9, 2022

    Let’s be realistic here, traveling won’t be back to pre-2019 levels and that is a good thing. This is our opportunity to find new approaches, to adapt and to discover new ways of exploring, of adapting our mindset, evolving and learning something new.

    1. Local travels

    Yes, they are here to stay. So let’s dive in, convert them into our plan A and explore our home country deeper. Everyone visiting Paris MUST see the Louvre and Notre Dame, but when was the last time you set foot into your local art museum or cathedral, when did you visit a city close by in exploration mode? Pop in at the local tourist board, get the info and play tourist for a weekend. Change perspective and discover your local hidden gems, try out new activities and go for a local adventure. Not only will you fall in love with what’s around you, you will also keep your travel muscle trained for when you’ll be able to take that exotic trip again. To add a further twist go at full moon, by public transport or by bike.

    2. Unique DIY travels

    Gone are group tours and organised trips on a tour bus with the crowds. Big resorts and organised holidays are a thing of the past. Now is our opportunity to design and create our very own individual trip away. Based on our values, passions and needs in this very moment of our life. On foot, by bike, in our camper van. In a cosy mountain cabin, a unique airbnb by the coast, a romantic tree house in the woods or a boutique hotel in your favourite city. Get creative, make your trip uniquely yours and fully own it. So when things need to be adapted you are in full control. And by taking matters into your own hands you’ll ultimately gain from the satisfaction of having independently mastered what initially seemed impossible to do yourself.

    3. Workcation

    While it is important to switch off entirely from work for at least one week why not extending your stay and turning it into a workcation. Productivity goes up when the view from your desk is inspiring and a swim awaits you during lunch break and after work, followed by a gorgeous meal alfresco and falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves. Airbnb has registered a steep increase in workcation stays over the past 6 months and this trend is here to stay as most of us continue working from home. And if you start loving this new digital nomad lifestyle why not take it to the next level. There are now a number of countries giving away working visas for digital nomads, such as Mexico, Costa Rica or Bali. Check out the list and conditions collated by expertvagabond.com

    4. The real wellness

    Wellness goes well beyond an artificially recreated cave and waterfall in an indoor spa followed by a massage. Wellness is about recharging the body and nourishing the mind, it is about listening to your needs rather than succumbing to the ‘must do’ when going away. Wellness is about doing what feels good to you. As the pandemic lingers into its third calendar year, it’s probably not surprising that travellers are increasingly looking to their holidays to work on their mental and physical wellness. In a recent American Express survey, 76 percent of respondents said they wanted to spend more on travel that improves their well-being. But why spend money and time in a crowded indoor studio when you can meditate or run by a nearby lake or beach? Why follow a spa itinerary with strangers when you can recreate a wellness moment anywhere. Nature is one big spa so get creative and recognise the opportunities you have within your radius. Think wild swimming in rivers and mountain lakes, soaking in natural hot water pools, jumping into fresh water cenotes, relaxing on meadows while taking in the smell of freshly cut hay, covering your body in wet sand for a real peel, or tree hugging on a mindful forest walk. Nature has got it all. On our recent cabin stay up in the South Tyrolian mountains we had a small wooden bathroom. It’s here were I had my best wellness moments with just a few candles, the smell of wood and some majestic views out onto the alpine peaks.

    5. Outdoors is king

    Having space has become the new luxury and the outdoors offer just that. For the past two years we all rediscovered the pleasure of walks in nature so now it’s time to take it to the next level. Think hiking holiday, camping or glamping, backpacking, forest adventures. An opportunity to learn a new activity or sport, to get your confidence back, to fill your lungs with oxygen, to get high on adrenaline, to acquire new travel skills and to appreciate the endless abilities of your own body. Get started with signing up for some one-off experiences and adventures through the likes of airbnb.com or groupon.com for a taster of things you have never done before. A chance to discover a new passion in the great outdoors.

    6. Meaningful travels

    Going traveling with amazing pictures to share as your first priority is the best way to fail. What’s the point of hanging onto those perfect images if you are not making the most of your actual trip? Go traveling for the right reasons – to expand your soul, to learn something new, to connect and further bond with your partner, family or friends, to overcome your fears and to live a life of meaning… the possibilities are endless. Focus on how you want to feel rather than how it looks to others. Great pictures are simply a bonus.

    7. Home swapping

    While we won’t be able to go to exotic locations just yet why not consider home swapping for a real change in scenery? If you live in a city why not consider spending a few weeks by the sea or in the mountains. If you live rurally, wouldn’t it be fun to spend a few weeks or months in a city you have always wanted to explore more deeply? If you are working from home why not take your work with you and extend for longer as it won’t cost you a dime. There are plenty of people out there who would love to experience life where you are. A real opportunity to immerse into a different culture, lifestyle, routine and environment. Living at someone else’s real home also helps getting perspective and clarity on your own life, it helps understanding that there are many different ways of life, and it’s a true transformation booster. For more info about all the different home exchange sites check out @cycloscope_globecycling ’s most updated review, and read the article by @poppinsmoke_militarytravel for everything you need to know about house swapping.

    8. Self-awareness and transformation through travel

    Travel is no longer about the tan. Or about ticking off countries and sights on our bucket list. It’s about identifying what truly matters to us and adjusting our travels accordingly. It is about allowing ourselves to change, to evolve, to get wings and to reinvent ourselves. About exposing ourselves in blank-page-mode to a new environment, new people, new cultures, new smells, food, sounds. To new experiences, new feelings and a mindset shift. In daily adventures, on your door step.

    Be a navigator, a traveller. Each day discovering a new region within your soul.

    Which one will you go for this 2022?

    Need help with brainstorming for your unique journey? Gift yourself an online travel coaching session with the expert and let the journey begin.

    Get inspiration by following me on IG @cadario_travel or book a 60 min online travel coaching session with me to start making your dream a reality.

  • Middle East family travel adventure

    November 25, 2021

    How to mix fun, adventure, good food, history and culture into one family trip. In winter.

    As I look out into the cold today I am reminiscing about our first large family trip to the Middle East. First stop had to be Istanbul with its beautiful Aya Sofia. When I first learned about it in art class back in high school I decided that Istanbul would be the first place I would visit on my travels. 25 years later I finally made it to the Bosphorus and this truly magic place. I could not have imagined back then, though, that I would be able to admire all this beauty through the eyes of my kids. Very emotional.

    Istanbul impresses

    Its landmark buildings marking the crossroad between the Christian and Islamic world, its bustling markets and its people will stay with us. What impressed us most, though, is its amazing setting at a geographically strategic point with half of the city on the European continent and the other half in Asia. Hence we decided to make our way to the airport, which lies on the Asian side of Istanbul, by crossing the Bosphorus by ferry. Admiring the lit-up Aya Sofia and the Blue Mosque as we sailed across the water left a lasting impression. And the kids loved this symbolic way of crossing from Europe over to the Asian continent to catch a short flight to Africa. Three continents in one day.


    Next stop, Egypt. To get acquainted to this Arabic country, its food, its etiquettes and its bustle more easily we thought it would be best to start our Egyptian experience with a water park resort in Hurghada on the Red Sea. We are generally not into resorts, in fact, this has been our first resort experience as a family. The kids though totally enjoyed this whole ‘order as many milkshakes as you want’ experience, dived into all sorts of kids’ activities and threw themselves off all the water slides to finally fall asleep watching the shows at night. It’s certainly not my kind of holiday but a few days were about right to adjust to the warm climate, to prepare next steps and to get the kids a positive first impression of the country.

    Desert and Red Sea diving

    During our days in Hurghada we managed to go into the desert to explore local life beyond the tourist resorts and to get a feel of what this region is truly about. Barren vast open desert and mountains expose themselves only a few miles inland and invite to explore deeper. A one-day trip was really just a glimpse of life in the desert but it has seriously awoken our desire to do some proper desert travels.

    Our stay in Hurghada also allowed us to do some long-wished-for dives in the Red Sea while the kids stayed on the boat playing with the friendly crew. Windy deserts above surface and the most colourful, peaceful paradise beneath the water. In places where you can perfectly snorkel we usually take the kids with us into the water to share these wonders such as on our trip to Cambodia and Vietnam last year. On this occasion, however, the strong winds, the waves and the chilly February water weren’t ideal. And it's important us parents also get our portion of grown-up fun every now and then.


    And then the big one. Expectations for Cairo were high and our arrival to Cairo was overwhelming to say the least with crazy traffic and pollution on a high. We had initially considered driving from Hurghada to the capital but were discouraged given the road dangers and police corruption but mostly the way locals drive and the apparent non-existence of traffic rules. We have driven in loads of countries but Egypt and especially Cairo is just a whole new level so I am very glad we decided for option B for a beautiful view from above.

    Accommodation-wise we decided against an Airbnb in Cairo as the options did not feel safe enough. Given the terror attack in Cairo weeks before our arrival we opted for a hotel owned by the military. And what an experience we had! We were given the luxury suite as the run down hotel seemed pretty much empty and the whole stay felt like being in a movie with soldiers at the door and intriguing chats with the waiters without speaking each other’s language. The highlight was certainly a double wedding which was celebrated at the hotel during our stay. The two couples lodged right next to our suite and so we intensely experienced a local wedding in all its glamour and were even asked to take a picture with the newlyweds.


    Checking out the Pyramids of Giza is a must when in Cairo and hence I was reluctant to go as I feared hords of tourists all over. But I had read somewhere about an alternative, less busy entrance to the South East and so instructed our taxi driver to take us there. Soon we arrived at a busy market with several camel holders who tried to get us an expensive ride to the pyramids. While we haggled the price down to something reasonable our taxi driver drove to the main entrance for tickets for us and it was all a bit of a risk as we weren’t even sure they would allow us in after all as the entrance is for staff only or at least that’s what we were told. After over an hour of back and forth and several changes of camels for unclear reasons we were all saddled up and ready to ride through the gates. And wow. It really is worth the extra hassle as we literally rode all the way through the dunes on our own with the pyramids slowly opening up in front of us imagining how this scenery hadn’t changed in over 4000 years.

    Egyptian Museum

    The idea of spending a whole day at the Egyptian Museum with three kids under ten was daunting. I had pictured the kids tiring out quickly but turns out it’s one of the best museums we have been to. We generally prefer browsing museums without a guide as to be able to adjust to the kids necessities, tantrums and endless fights with less pressure. However, the museum is huge and you could spent days in there almost getting lost. Good thing we were approached by a genuinely friendly tour guide specialized in the kids highlights and he turned our visit into a fantastic journey through history telling anecdotes, pointing out interesting facts for kids about Tutankhamun and taking us to the most exciting mummies including animal ones. Highly recommended.

    Nile sailing

    When exploring a city by the coast or river we always try to go on a little boat trip, ideally public transport. Seeing a city from the water puts it into a whole new light and dimension away from mad traffic and millions of people. And if it’s the Nile at sunset even more so. Simply walk along the Maadi shore and chat to the guys with their feluccas which are traditional wooden sailboats used since ancient times. If you are into sailing you will be totally impressed by their ability to control the large canvas sails on their own to zigzag down the Nile. And kids love it too.

    Doha finale

    On intercontinental flights we try to make the most of stopovers so instead of hanging round at the airport for several hours we rather extend and include one or two nights to explore a new city. So to end our Middle East experience it was Doha, Qatar. A beautifully restored historical downtown surrounded by a modern city, XXL streets for XXL cars and an amazing waterfront. Interesting mix of only 10% of the population being Qataris and 90% foreign born, mostly from neighbouring Arabic countries and India. A clash of traditional ways of life and modern new-rich.

    5 things we learned on this Middle East trip

    – Traveling across regions, cultures and lives on the border between Europe, Asia and Africa with its rich history and culture has opened up a whole new world view for us.

    – Visiting the cradle of civilization we were reminded just how intertwined European and the Middle East history is and how much we have in common.

    – We have been repeatedly criticised for taking our kids to unsafe territories. However, regions with recent political upheaval or terror attacks tend to be safer due to increased security measures. Thanks to some research, advanced planning and a good dose of common sense we felt safe throughout the entire trip and have met some fantastic people eager to exchange beliefs and experiences.

    – Just like anywhere, taxi drivers are a main source to gauge a society, the political situation and what is really going on locally. They are also an invaluable source of insight for hidden gems away from tourist spots and have recommended some amazing places to eat that are most popular by the locals. Starting up a friendly conversation with taxi drivers has turned our rides through horrible traffic into most enjoyable learning experiences about the city and country. It is important to keep vigilant to avoid falling for the classic tourist traps so we did our research on local traps and scams ahead of our trip (just google ‘most common scams in x)’ so we were aware and could evade them with a friendly but assertive ‘no thank you’.

    – We love markets. And the Middle East Souks are a true feast for bazaar lovers and treasure hunters, such as The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market in Istanbul or the Khan El Khali in Cairo. Now that the kids are a little older, markets have suddenly turned into a fun place for them, too. They enjoy the bustle and the sheer amount of things on offer. Generally we allow each child to have a small budget to spend on little treasures to take home. So on this trip we agreed on $15 each to spend across the entire trip and this was the perfect place to learn how to haggle. While the first tries were on the shy side they soon learned the game – which you are expected to play here – to get the most out of their pocket money by starting with offering half of the asking price to playfully reach a common ground half way between the asking price and our offer. Learning by doing.

    All in all an unforgettable trip.

    Are you thinking about taking your kids travelling? Don’t know where and how to start? Could you do with some help from the expert? Get inspiration by following me on IG @cadario_travel or book a 60 min online travel coaching session with me to start making your dream a reality.

  • 16 tips on remote working with kids (without going insane)

    October 22, 2021

    As digital nomads we have been working from home for the past 10 years while raising our three kids now aged 9, 11 and 14. So we do know a thing or two about combining the beauty of remote working with kids.

    Let me share the 16 do’s and dont's that we have come up with over the years and that helped us through a range of challenging situations (and yes, there were tears and frustration, too).

    1. Stick to the same working space every day so your kids can associate it with you working.

    2. Avoid using a common room if possible. You want to clearly separate work from family time.

    3. Don’t work in bed. Your back will thank you for that and your kids need clear cues so ideally work at a desk.

    4. Don’t work in your PJs. Get dressed to get into work mode. It is also an important signal for those around you. Plus, you got to distinguish weekdays from weekends somehow.

    5. Set clear objectives and priorities for the day and set a time when you want to call it a day. Use a countdown for your kids to know how much is left until mummy / daddy time. Siri or Alexa can help and for smaller kids a cardboard watch works beautifully.

    6. Employ key cues. Clearly explain to your kids when you are working and when you aren’t so they understand when they are allowed to talk to you and when they need to wait. Use key cues such as ‘closed door = videoconference on’ and ‘headset on my head = I am on a call’. These signals will help kids to gauge when they should keep quieter.

    7. Communicate. Let them know when you are about to enter a call and tell them as soon as you finish that videoconference so they can return to normal noise levels.

    8. Make good use of your mute button, it’s in the interest of everyone on the call.

    9. Mind your backdrop. For the sake of professionalism choose a pleasant backdrop such as a neutral painting or some plants for your videoconferences while avoiding a cluttered kitchen unit, a hoard of kids’ toys on the floor or bathroom tiles…

    10. Each evening plan school tasks for the following day together with your kids. Put together a list of things they can do on their own and a list of tasks that need your guidance for, ideally visualizing them on a daily agenda. Let them be participants in preparing their agenda and selecting the tasks for the next day - the more they feel included and part of this the more they will collaborate.

    11. Get support. Get grandparents, family or friends to help with homework via Facetime. It’s a great way to get them connected and it earns you some focus time.

    12. Coordinate agendas. If you have a partner and you are both working from home, discuss your meeting agendas so that your most important meetings don’t overlap. One of you should always be ‘on alert’ in case there is a serious meltdown, a fight happening or even just a delivery at the door.

    13. Save their screen time for when you need to attend the most important call of the day.

    14. Plan break times and make sure to alternate them with your partner.

    15. Reward your kids in the form of pleasant activities or a special snack or meal after you finish working.

    16. Prepare for the worst and have a backup plan. If the most dreadful does happen and kids do burst into your call keep calm and take the situation as it is. Trying to push them the away will make things worse. Instead, gracefully turn it into an opportunity to introduce your kids to your co-workers, bosses or clients. We are all humans and it can help as an ice breaker especially now that almost everyone is in the same boat.

    Are you enoying working from home? Are you dreaming of taking your kids travelling while working remotely? Don’t know where and how to start? Could you do with some help from the expert?

    Get inspiration by following me on IG @cadario_travel or book a 60 min online travel coaching session with me to start making your dream a reality.

  • Backpacking China with a toddler?

    October 12, 2021

    Is that even possible? We did just that with our little boy Paco when he was only 18 months old.

    When planning our China trip with our toddler we had the classic option of ‘doing’ the China highlights which meant zigzagging around this huge country on a number of internal flights to tick off ‘must do’ sights. However, on this occasion we preferred focusing on one region to explore at a deeper level and leave the Great Wall and the soldiers for another trip. Shanghai and the five provinces around it felt like a great place to explore.

    On our first days upon arrival in Shanghai we chose to stay for a few days at the historic Astor House Hotel which became the first building in China to be lit by electricity in 1882 and became the first building in Shanghai to install running water. A great intro into overwhelming Shanghai by exploring the central neighbourhoods on foot and buggy while adjusting to the time difference, the climate and the different sounds and smells.

    Once adjusted we left the big city behind and visited some of the finest Chinese Gardens in Suzhou, the ‘Venice of the East’ where Paco was most impressed by the vast amount of gold fish and butterflies.

    We then explored the beautiful West Lake in Hangzhou which Marco Polo described in the 13th century as a city ‘greater than any in the world’ by cycling around the lake with Paco in the back seat and watching the amazing water shows on the lake at night.

    Then it was hiking amidst endless rice fields and tea farms which culminated in an unforgettable hike up a million steps in the Huangshan mountains with Paco in a sling to take in the most impressive views from up there.

    After that we wanted to get a glimpse of life by the sea and explored the stunning island of Mount Putuo. The island – a train and overnight-ferry ride away from Shanghai – is one of the four sacred mountains in Chinese Buddhism and has been a pilgrimage site for over 1,000 years and hence covered with temples and monasteries while also boasting some sandy beaches to allow for some recharging and play time in the sand for our boy.

    And then the Grand Finale in cosmopolitan Shanghai with its impressive Modern Arts scene and modern skyline. To round up this most diverse trip with some luxury, we stayed on our last few days in one of the tallest buildings with awesome views over Pudong and the Huangpu River.

    All in all an unforgettable trip with a steep learning curve on how to travel with kids. This China trip with our toddler was our first intercontinental backpacking trip as new parents and we felt overwhelmed to start with. We had travelled the world pre-kids and were conscious this was going to be different, possibly more difficult and complicated. We were worried about what food to get for him, worried if we had brought all the needed drugs along, worried about safety everywhere and worried we may have overdone it. However, only a few days into the trip we started relaxing and enjoying ourselves, and most importantly, we started going with the flow turning this trip into one of the best travel experiences.

    7 things we learned on this trip:

    – to be more patient and overall more flexible with plans in order to adjust to the kid’s routine

    – to appreciate the world through the kids’ eyes. By slowing down we connected more with people around us and started paying more attention to the small things on the way (beyond the millions of insects that we meticulously analysed and followed).

    – not to over pack. Most things can be bought locally (even at a cheaper price) so why carry things round ‘just in case’?

    – to make good use of the ‘point it’ booklet as very few people speak English in China

    – not to change accommodation every day but to stay at one same place for at least two nights for some routine

    – not to over-worry about food for your little one. Plain rice or plain noodles can go a long way and can be tried out with all sorts of different sauces from mum’s or dad’s dish

    – not to try and see it all but to take out time to just be and enjoy the moments, watching elderly couples dancing in the park, following a butterfly into the bamboo woods, writing your name in massive letters in the sand and listening to the thunder storm in the mountains.”

    Get inspiration by following me on IG @cadario_travel or book a 60 min online travel coaching session with me to start making your dream a reality.

Most read post

Backpacking China with a toddler?

October 12, 2021

Is that even possible? We did just that with our little boy Paco when he was only 18 months old.

Read More