We were first referred to as ’empty nesters’ by a friend at the pub. We laughed a bit nervously at our new label. Yes, there’s a mix of pride and sadness when you watch your fledglings fly off into the blue yonder. But then you realise…there’s nothing stopping you from doing exactly the same.
We reflected on this during our stroll home. We were in a fairly new relationship, and both had two daughters, all four making their own way in life. Add to that a shared passion for travel, flexible working patterns and a bit of money saved, and we realised there was no better time than this, to see the world.
But this trip, our first extended foray onto foreign soil, couldn’t be a never-ending backpackers’ dreamy drift around the globe, either. While we love travel, we also have bills to pay. We awarded ourselves two months off for good behaviour and started leafing through our travel books.
We each wrote a list of favourite places, and noted the overlaps. Australia, South America and Africa would have to wait this time…but New Zealand was a must for both of us, with a few days in Tonga to realise a long held dream for Jane. If we were going to see Nigel’s brother in Hong Kong, we might as well go on to China and Japan. We loved the sound of the Canadian rockies. Oh, and San Francisco. And so many people had told us stories about the beauty of Vietnam and Cambodia that we added those places too.
Somehow, we whittled our itinerary into shape and we’re now just months away from a round the world trip that will cover more than 32,000 miles, 14 flights and one ferry. On track, we’ll board the Rocky Mountaineer in Canada, try a speeding Japanese bullet train…and meander along on the slightly more clattery Reunification Express, right down through Vietnam. Gathering flight times and tickets is incredibly exciting. But so, too, is writing about the trip on our new travel website. Through this, we’ve already met a whole community of empty nesters from around the world. It would be great if you, like them, could follow our preparations: from choosing the right shoes, to arranging those jabs, to finding places to stay. And of course, we’d love you to follow the adventure itself..right from that first flight to Chicago on September 12th.
Author bio: Nigel and Jane are recent empty nesters with a shared passion for travel and writing. They write for www.thetimeofourlives.net and can also be found on Twitter @2emptynesters.