Adventures of Empty Nesters: A Year in Review – How Much Fun Did We Really Have?

 

2017 was a very busy and truly spectacular travel year!

So I decided to do a quick year in review, not to boast about how many places I have been, but to unpack, pause and appreciate what can be accomplished through thoughtful planning, careful research, great relationships, accumulated miles and points and the best dog sitter in the world!

I started the year with knee surgery on Jan 6th, so the pace of the travel was slow in the beginning, but it quickly picked up in early March. I may not have been fully recovered but we had adventures to take, people to see and places to go. There was no sitting around.

Here is how the year went…

year in review
The Point Bonita Lighthouse, San Francisco

year in review
La Sagrada Familia – Barcelona

 

I took twenty-five trips… yes that is hard to believe. Visited five countries; Mexico, Spain, Italy, Thailand, China and the U.S. of course. Eight U.S states and fourteen new cities around the world! There are undoubtedly several tiny Italian villages that are not counted in this list!

year in review
On the rocky coast of California – Big Sur

 

There were three major cities we visited several times: Seattle, San Francisco and Washington DC. I traveled to a new continent! Asia was added in a spectacular splash with a trip to Bangkok and Guanzhou, China sponsored by Southern China Airlines and the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

a year in review
San Francisco skyline at dusk

 

What do all these numbers really mean? To some they will believe I am certifiably insane. Are you one of them? To others you will find this list inspiring and will plan to visit the same cities that we have and enjoy many of the same restaurants and adventures.

Personally, I feel very accomplished as well as grateful that I can do what I love, share it and connect people and places through Adventures of Empty Nesters.

year in review
I traveled to Asia with this talented and adventurous group of travel writers.

 

More importantly, I have met new travel friends and locals who have enriched my life in so many ways.  We forged new partnerships with travel brands and even created a new video. Have you seen it?

You can see it ==> HERE!

Our daughter was engaged recently so add this to the list of happy adventures!  At the end of the summer I also had a second surgery on my foot. Good grief. Getting older is a bugger isn’t it?

Some More Favorites

year in review
Washington D.C – Cherry Blossoms

 

year in review
Making paella in Spain

This is a hard one, but I looked over my Instagram to see which photos had the most comments and combined them with photos that I am especially fond of and came up with a few for this post.

 

year in review
Filling golden zucchini blossoms at Tuscan Women Cook
a year in review
Spring Dodger baseball in Scottsdale, AZ
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Making Panzanella in Tuscany

Adventures of Empty Nesters began four years ago and we are now a favorite among other empty nesters, midlife travelers (and their kids) foodies, as well as luxury travel destinations. This blog is being read in over seventy-five countries! In addition, I am a contributor to a new online magazine called Getting on Travel where twenty five talented travel writers over the age of fifty share their expertise and enthusiasm for luxury travel. I am surrounded by such a great group of people!

Sara, Tam, Me and Melody

I also traveled with three travel blogger friends to Cozumel, Mexico where we had quite the adventure! The four of us come from four corners of the U.S. Sara from Travel with Sara is from Iowa, Tam from Travels with Tam is from Texas, I live in California, and Melody from Wherever I May Roam lives in Florida. Additionally,I have started a business consulting with new bloggers who are looking for guidance, as well as bloggers who may need a new perspective or additional help to get to the next step. I am loving this!

 

A favorite for the year in review?

year in review
Visiting Magnolia Market in Waco, TX

You may be wondering which destination was my favorite. Every destination brings something to the table. Is it the gorgeous scenery of Montana or a delightful Italian cooking school? Could it be spring baseball for the Dodgers in Arizona? How about our day trip through the ruins of Tulum, Mexico and our stay in Mayakoba? Could it be the foodie town of Austin, Texas or the Hyatt Carmel Highlands and the picturesque community of Carmel, California? Or was it The Best Luxury Resort of the Year – the Park Hyatt in Mallorca, Spain?

a year in review
Glacier National Park – Montana
a year in review
Park Hyatt Mallorca, Spain

Honestly, I cannot pick just one. We enjoyed so many unique cities and something special was imprinted on my heart from each of them. Every time I landed in a new place, I felt like I could say “This is my favorite.”

a year in review

The Wonders of Thailand ~

However my trip to Southeast Asia was probably the most mind-blowing. I had never been to a city where people grill food in woks on the street and only steps away are beautiful hotels and luxury shopping. In Thailand we marveled at golden shrines, breathtaking sunsets, UNESCO heritage sites and floating markets. My experience at the floating market in the rural outskirts of Bangkok truly touched me. Sitting among simple wooden boats, seeing the colorful displays of clothing, fruit and a myriad of mementos was unforgettable. I truly never dreamed of seeing a place like this where people lived so authentically and so vastly different than how I do.

year in review
The colorful and vibrant floating market outside of Bangkok.

a year in review

a year in review

 

Oh and the food!

year in review
A tray of Pisco Sours at San Francisco’s La Mar Restaurant
year in review
Torchy’s Tacos – Austin, TX

As you know, food is a HUGE part of travel and we always dive into the local cuisine, top-rated-most- written about restaurants and enjoy a hand-crafted cocktail or two. I will gather up a top ten dishes of the year very soon!

year in review
Making fresh pasta in Tuscany

 

Where did you go this year? Please leave your favorite city in the comments. It would be fun to see where everyone has been in 2017. Many of you are BIG travelers and have wonderful stories to tell.

We do encourage other empty nesters to share their travel stories here. Do you have one? Let me know if you would like to contribute. Email me at suzannestavert@me.com

 

How was your year in review?

 

Happy New Year Friends,

Suzanne


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8 Responses to  Adventures of Empty Nesters: A Year in Review – How Much Fun Did We Really Have?

  1. Whew!! You made me exhausted just reading your year in review! What a whirlwind year you had! It was fun to follow your travels this past year! So happy I was able to meet you at WITS this year!

    • Seriously exhausting Lori! I really enjoyed meeting you too! I love following your adventures as well. Thank you for your support and for sharing my social media. I really appreciate it.

  2. My favorite city I traveled to in 2017 was Barcelona but my favorite place was Civita di Bagnoregio in Italy. Only a handful of people live in this gorgeous hilltop city.

  3. my goodness, using up ALL the travel from the rest of us!! lol! You certainly give me something to aspire too. keep up the amazing writing and travels. It doesn’t seem possible that we have been #FindingAdventure for only four years! Here’s to an amazing 2018!

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