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Family Travel in Europe: Amanda Jane Jones

Amanda Jane Jones is an amazingly talented graphic designer, art director, and wonderful mother. Her love for timeless style made her the obvious choice for establishing our visual identity. It was such a pleasure to collaborate with Amanda while she designed Over The Ocean’s website last year. We’ve continued to exchange and I love to follow her work and draw inspiration from her travels, including her recent time abroad with husband Cree.

Precious moments with Jane, their adorable daughter, and Miles, their sweet baby, were captured on Amanda’s Instagram page. As a European mother living and working in San Francisco, I was very curious to learn from her adventures as an American mom in Europe. That’s my cue to let Amanda do the rest of the talking in this blog update. I hope you enjoy her personal photos and anecdotes as much as I have! She is truly a devoted mother, fierce artist, and all-around kind person. I couldn’t be happier for her and her lovely family.

Dear Amanda, I have been following your recent adventures on Instagram and was wondering what led to #jonesfamilyeurope2016?
Amanda: 4 years ago, my husband had an internship at the United Nations with the United Nations Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD). He's been working with them ever since to build a data set studying treaties made around the world between countries. They hired him for the summer to work in office to finish and publish the data they've been working on. The kids and I were lucky enough to join him! We've always dreamed of going to Iceland, so we tagged on that trip with Iceland air because your layover is free if you fly with them. So worth it!

What’s your best piece of advice for young families traveling abroad?

Amanda:  Don't plan too much! Take it easy and be very very flexible. We actually always plan to have one leisurely day at our rental home or hotel so the kids can just color, play pretend, get really good naps, etc. Having a built in down day kind of takes the pressure off a bit and helps them feel a bit more normal and ready for another bid day of adventuring.

Also, always carry a picnic blanket and know where the parks are. We heavily rely on picnicking. After a day of exploring, it's the perfect way to let the kids get some wiggles out and to rest. Sometimes the pressure of going out to eat on top of it all is just too much, so a quite, relaxed meal on the grass is usually what we're after.


If you could only pick two cities or regions in Europe that have left a lasting impression on you, which ones would they be and why?
Amsterdam captured our hearts the last time we visited. It was fall and the crisp evening bike rides through the streets and canals were so fun. We've also had an amazing time traveling through Switzerland. The last time we lived here, we hardly explored, so we made an effort to keep our traveling a bit more local this time and it's been incredible. Switzerland is very geared towards family and children. 

What has been your favorite moment from your travels so far?
We recently took a hike up in the alps - it was an uncrowded trail I think because the clouds were so low, but we loved it. It was so beautiful. The kids slept the whole hike, so it was really peaceful and beautiful. One of our favorite days so far....among many.

You often credit Miles Davis and other early jazz musicians as being huge influences on your art. Have you discovered any European musicians or musical traditions that inspire you in the same way?
I haven't, but that's a wonderful idea to explore! I have though loved walking around the city and looking at all the beautiful swiss posters. I've found those very inspiring. Everything is generally beautifully designed. And of course, European architecture. The old cities are so different from America - walking through the streets is one of my favorite things to do as a source of inspiration. 

And how about parenting style? Did you notice any general different behaviors in Europe?

Amanda: We live in a French speaking city - because French is such a softer language, I always feel like my kids and I are so loud. I can always tell when there is another american family at the park. We can hear them before we arrive. Ha!

What is your most treasured souvenir from your travels so far?
Cree and I always try to find a cute children's book and a little trinket - something small - for our shelves at home. We bought some vintage Swiss army tins at the flea market and a vintage Swiss army blanket that were instant favorites.

What new project ideas do you have right now?
I'm currently in the process of starting my blog back up! I let the domain renewal lapse when Miles was born and someone bought it! Bah! So, I'm taking this as an opportunity redo the whole thing and my website. It's a big undertaking, but I'm excited about it.

Thank you Amanda & enjoy your remaining time in Europe!
xx, Birgit
  • September 12, 2016
    Jessica says...

    My husband and I took our honeymoon in Iceland, and it very much stole our hearts. Now that we have children, we’d love to go back, as we felt that it was such a family-friendly country! I feel that way about my husband’s native Denmark, as well, but I really noticed it in Iceland.

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