1. What made you start traveling (why)?
When our middle daughter graduated from high school and went off to college, the reality of an impending empty nest hit us. We felt it important that our transition from Mommy and Daddy (and in Veronica’s case Helicopter Mom) to an empty nest, just the two of us, couple needed a thoughtful approach. So we googled “empty nest” and were put into a bit of a panic when the first thing that popped up was an ad for an Alzheimer’s patch! Holy crap! We just finished raising our kids, we’re not dying!
What we found, and are still finding, is that newly-minted empty nest couples need to share experiences that are new to both partners. Traveling has often been the best way for us to do this. Our plan took on a life of its own leading us to sell everything, including our house. Now everyday is a new experience and our relationship is stronger than ever.
For more on this: http://www.gypsynester.com/lifeafterkids.htm
Actually, our first trip was to Europe on the very same day we put our youngest in college. Since then, we have circumnavigated the entire US, with jaunts into Canada and Mexico, two more trips to Europe, took a crazy two week rail trip on Amtrak and have an upcoming cruise to Central America. At one point we bought a beat up old motorhome on Ebay for $3000 and did a tour of the western US national parks.
3. What would you say to boomers now considering starting to travel if they are uncertain about whether to go?
Pick a place you’ve always dreamed of visiting and start there. Make a wish come true for yourself - you deserve it! Many folks shy away from traveling because they remember business trips or schlepping around all the extra accoutrement’s that come with traveling with kids. The first time out without your kids, you’ll be shocked at how unexhausing traveling can be. And you get to do what YOU want to do!
4. What are some of the challenges of traveling as a couple? Do you tire of each other? Take breaks, disagree about destinations, budgets, etc.?
Initially we did have trouble with our traveling styles. David is a “wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am” kind of traveler, he wants to see everything he can in the time allotted. He also refuses to back track. The man won’t turn around. Veronica likes to take things in. She’d rather spend a lot of time soaking in the feel of a place. There was an awkward adjustment period and one major blow-up that made us think twice about our whole crazy plan.
5. What do you wish was different/better about boomer travel offerings? If you don’t use them (tours, cruises, etc.) why?
We are very much fly by the seat of our pants, we call it “The Plan is No Plans,” so we don’t generally do tours. We spend time at night looking at the next possible destination and then research it a bit. We find it rewarding to go to a new place with as few expectations as possible, then try to “stumble” on a place’s high points with purpose. We have found amazing, quircky, enlightening, fascinating stuff out there with this method.
6. Tell us about a giving/volunteering or a learning experience you had while traveling.
The most rewarding thing we’ve learned is that the great majority of folks out there are good people. Sometimes “holing up” in one place can make you fearful of the world. (Veronica speaking) “As a mother, I turned into a protector. My main focus was keeping my children from harm. Though that’s a very commendable thing, it made me fearful. Getting out and traveling has opened me up again and I feel free. And my children feel free from my helicopter ways.”
Contact the Gypsynesters: