Hello Friends!  Welcome to my new blog.  It’s been years in the making, well not on a blog, but through many many journals.  Finally, after endless delays (hmm…finishing college, starting a career, moving to Chicago, changing jobs, continuing my education, getting married, moving to Minneapolis, and resurfacing out of the fog of parenting two young children), I finally have the chance to write down my thoughts in a more fun and thoughtful way…through my blog!

As with most ideas, it is good to have a plan and a mission.  So without further delay, here is my mission for my blog:

  • To promote international travel with an open mind using the third-eye approach (i.e. an open mind) which promotes cross-cultural understanding, learning and appreciation.
  • To promote international volunteerism and goodwill.  To make difference for people who have less opportunities in areas such as education, women’s rights, health, etc.
  • To teach and raise our children to understand the world and different cultures.  To foster a yearning to learn about the world.
  • To share with my friends and family (and whoever else may be passionate about travel and culture or an “arm-chair” traveler) what I’ve seen and learned along the way.
  • And most important of all, to have fun!


  1. soccernorsk

    I really resonate with your thoughts about keeping an open mind as we interact with people everywhere. We have lived in China for nearly 3 years with our 4 young children (3 when we arrived). Having the kids along for the ride allows me to appreciate how I interpret others and how they interpret me in a whole new way.

    • Wow, that must be quite the experience! Plus with four kids! I traveled to China in November and enjoyed it but did find it to be an enormous culture shock. It is a fascinating place with lots to discover and see, yet the food and the pollution were two things that were difficult to adjust to. Definitely had to keep that “third” eye around! Do you write a blog? I’d love to check it out!

    • Hi! I can’t remember if I replied or not but that is amazing living abroad with four young children! I’m sure it is challenging but at the same time very fascinating as well! Definitely need to keep that third eye open!

  2. Hi- my second Blog is written about my experiences in Iran and I like to bust all those myths that the West seems to have about Iran. If you are interested in learning more about my experiences take a look at Persian Posts or another Blogger from LA who writes about Iran and Iranian culture PeaceofIran.

    • Wow, how cool! I’ve read some really great books on Iran and the country and culture fascinates me. Must have been an amazing, eye-opening experience. I would love to read your blog! Is there any particular posts you would steer me to?

    • Thank you! I probably need to update it a bit as my life has changed so much since I’ve started my blog. I’ve been doing a lot of advocacy and volunteer work which deepens my mission even more. Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  3. susan

    I am very inspired by what you have accomplished. I too am married with 2 children but I have always had a passion to travel and learn about cultures. I have been to many foreign lands but since my children, my focus had been redirected. I am yearning to once again explore the world. How did you manage to do your Cross-Cultural experience and have a supporting family? How long were your work projects in each Cross-Cultural project you took on?

    • Oh thank you! I am very fortunate to have both a husband and mother who strongly support me. Every year my mom has come out to babysit the kids for a week or two while I’ve been able to take a trip. My husband has also chipped in by taking the kids for a week as well. Thus together I’ve been able to put together some babysitting which has allowed me to travel. The volunteer trips are only a week however once I was gone 3 weeks which was too long and hard. I took a trip to Nepal with my Dad and between my mom and husband they managed to watch the kids.
      Now my kids are older and I’ve had luck finding college age babysitters to use to patch together the time between school and when my husband is at work. It isn’t easy but I did this last year when I went to Guatemala. The trips are tax-deductible so that helps a little but the babysitting is not.
      For us, it has been part of our way of giving back and I am really fortunate to be able to do it. :) Thanks for stopping by! Any more questions, please let me know! :)

  4. Congrats to you for all your achievements. It is amazing that you have done so much traveling starting as a child. I am too interested in a “third eye ” view to study other cultures in the world. I will be traveling to A B C next week ( Argentina, Brazil and Chike) . I only glanced at your many posts. I will come back and read more in details, for the purpose of learning. I wish you the best, third eye traveler!

    • Thank you! Yes, I have a lot of posts to go through. I started writing two years ago and just kept going. :) You will love those countries. I haven’t been to Brazil yet but would love to go! Will you be blogging about it?

  5. What an awesome blog! You are a great inspiration and your children are lucky to have you as their role model. I’m so glad I found your blog and look forward to enjoying your posts.

  6. Mo

    Lovely blog, looking forward to reading more and perhaps getting some volunteering or other inspiration for our travels with our kids in tow :) We’re headed back through Asia for the next year so plenty to cover and we hope to give the children more experiences of helping others and giving something back :)

      • Mo

        We have a year to journey from New Zealand back home to the UK. We want to see lots of SE Asia, plus China, Japan, India…! Have a look at our draft itinerary at mmbzl.com. I think realistically we have to cut it down!! No harm starting ambitious though:)

  7. I love it! I only just started my first blog about Japan and despite planning to travel all around the world, I’ve always been curious as to how having a family would affect my traveling lifestyle! I really appreciate the wisdom you offer and am sure that when I do have a family one day, I will still be taking pointers from you! I see that you haven’t been to Japan yet! If you ever feel curious about Japan, please feel to ask me anything at all! I’d love to help you out and encourage you to come see all the amazing sights and experiences that Japan has to offer! It honestly feels like a completely different world!

  8. Hi Great blog, My daughter spent 6 months in India on exchange with her UNI Fashion & Business degree. She fell in love with the country and the people. Having graduated she is currently travelling in Europe and then on to live in London for a while. I will send her your link because having been in India she has had a shift in her “thirdeye” and is looking for a new path. Great work your doing and you are an “inspirational player”. Ive just started a blog and currently on the Zero to Hero wordpress 30 day challenge. I’ve a ton of photos, info and tips for travelling India ~ I will send you an invite when I get that up on my blog ~ it may be a good reference to pass on if you know people travelling there. Cheers and thanks for being the change in the world.

    • Thanks so much for the comment Jennifer! That is wonderful that your daughter got to spend so much time abroad for her degree. I would love to hear more about your new blog so please let me know once it is up and running! :)Nicole

  9. Hello. Great job with the site, it gave me lots of ideas. My boyfriend and I are planning a world trip with both ecological and anthropological missions, but the subject is sometimes so overwhelming… maybe you’ll have some missions or tips for us? We just gave birth to a website at http://faismoirever.wordpress.com (in french, my apologies), if you could get an eye on it? thanks in advance

  10. HI!!! So happy to have read your blog I’m a 45 yo American female who has been in China for 2 mos..teaching English with my boyfriend.I am tall and blonde and definatly relate to all you say about your experience…especially feeling like a zoo animal..hahah!! Thanks for sharing and I too have learned so much and am learning more about myself each and everyday which is what makes me carry on with this journey..not to mention the beautiful Chinese freinds we have made…Nameste’

  11. Bren Buehler

    Enjoyed reading your blog! I spent 9 wonderful days in France this past spring, starting in Paris and the last few days in Cassis, Monaco and Nice. Took over 3000 photos. This was my first trip to France and it won’t be my last!

  12. Ann Stuart

    Thanks for sharing your travels and I wish you well with your mission to encourage people to travel with an open mind. I have lived 20 years abroad (in Switzerland and the US), and my 2 daughters have been at international schools. I have always tried to really understand and own the place that I am living in, so that I am not just passing through. Now I am back in the UK and trying to help international students at the boarding school where I teach to appreciate the natural world around them by similar methods. Good luck!

  13. Your good work on the “third eye ” approach is a step in the right direction for bringing together “citizens of the world”, universal understanding, and world peace. Love your concept,

  14. The thread of divine consciousness binds us as it runs through all humanity. The feeling of being separate sprouts from insecurity. It can be overcome through compassion for all living beings; admiring and respecting the miracle of life in all forms

  15. mrtcharlton

    Wow. this is a really interesting blog! Doing this as a parent of 2 children is amazing, I’ve struggled to get out and do this with only myself to co-ordinate!

  16. Hi Nicole,

    I think you are still in Haiti at the moment. I appreciate the work you do, and was wondering if you have thoughts about trash and plastic pollution while there in Haiti, and can contribute to the new UNLESS…Earth Friendly challenge. I know you are busy, but a quick photo & post of problem / solution (e.g., recycling items to create objects of art, poverty + trash pollution issues…) would be so appreciated.

    With the number of followers you have, it may help to “jump start” this new initiative and surely get others to participate.

    You probably heard the new study from the University of Georgia & reports about the amount of TRASH we are all putting in our oceans, and it is a topic — along with poverty reduction and a fair world — that I deeply care about. Whatever you can do would be really terrific :) The challenge is at http://justanothernatureenthusiast.org/2015/02/14/unless-earth-friendly-fridayrevised-plastic-waste-reduction/.

    You are welcome to delete or edit this comment if needed. I did not have a contact email, but wanted to ask — even though it is related to, but not your primary focus — and so I’m asking here.

    All the best for a safe journey back to MN, and I look forward to seeing all the Haiti information and what I’m sure will be amazing humanity inspired photographs on your blog


    Lola Jane

    • Hi Lola:

      Sorry I am just responding but have been trying to play catch up. Yes, garbage is everywhere in Haiti just like India, mostly in the slums and rivers. It is so sad. But the good news is that some of the artisans we met are reusing items that would usually be thrown away. I will try to check out this site as I’m very interested in learning more. :) Thanks so much for thinking of me! :)

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