When children are grown and live independently, essentially leaving the nest, the parents become empty nesters. As children grow and become young adults, parents’ focus can now be more self-centered. Parents tend to do things for themselves, and travel becomes more of a priority. Traveling as an empty nester is quite different from traveling with kids and family.
The empty nest syndrome occurs when parents experience loss and sadness as the last child leaves home. When my youngest left for college, I went through a period of depression and felt a loss of purpose. I had been fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom, and with nothing else to focus on, my life felt empty. It’s part of why I started EbonyTravelers, to find and explore my purpose.
When the children leave the nest, the ultimate understanding is that adult life is beginning, and life as a parent must also continue. There is a realization that parents can start a new chapter after spending two or more decades focused on their children. So, the idea of travel without constraints becomes a strong desire, and travel plans start to emerge.
For many empty-nesters, the focus is on the experiences that travel gives. For many empty-nesters, travel is no longer about just visiting places but enjoying the journey and the different experiences. Now that the children are gone, there tends to be a bit more disposable income. Travel tends to include premium travel and lodgings and involves more adult interests, like dining at more sophisticated restaurants and taking bucket list trips.
Once parents get used to the empty house, they look forward to seeing more of the world and visiting new places. They no longer must coordinate with school holidays or family schedules; they are free to travel whenever it suits them. Travel varies from beach getaways, romantic escapes, and African safaris to bucket-list destinations. Travel destinations are limitless with more money to spend and more time on their hands.
My travels now take on all the hallmarks of empty nester travel. I have more time to travel, so my trips are longer, my hotel choices are more first-rate, my dining experiences are more bespoke, and my travel is more premium. I highly encourage travel as an empty nester. Planning travel gives you something to look forward to and a great way to mark the beginning of the next phase of your life. Take advantage of your time and resources to travel the world. Have you traveled since becoming an empty nester? Are you encouraged to enjoy that phase of life? I’d like to know, comment below.