Walking Through Japan: Along the Nakasendo Way

walking through Japan
Yet another marking with the “Nakasendo Way” symbols.


Please welcome back Guest Adventurer, Angela Light, my college roommate and dear friend. She and her husband Jon are avid world travelers and the minute I heard about their most recent travel adventure, walking through Japan, I asked her to share it with you! Thank you Angela! 

Walking Through Japan ~

Last year my then-59-year-old husband announced, “I don’t want a big party for my 60th! I just want to go somewhere with you. “ Jon is an avid sushi fan and a lover of the Japanese culture, so Japan it was. We decided on a three-week journey around spring break that would include two weeks in Japan and a “relaxation” week in Hawaii on the way home.

We had hiked with Backroads in Iceland the summer of 2015 and absolutely loved it.  Jon wanted to duplicate that kind of experience in Japan.  We love resorts, cities, fancy restaurants and hotels, and lots of culture, but we had recently discovered that we also enjoy another kind of adventure.

walking through Japan
We were so fortunate to hit the peak of the cherry blossoms!

Read more

A Cooking Adventure: My Favorite Risotto Recipe

favorite risotto recipe

Family time and our favorite risotto recipe ~

Cooking and eating great food is a huge part of our everyday life, as well as our traveling experiences. While on a trip, we have fun searching for terrific local cuisine, I take foodie walking tours and attend a cooking classes and while at home, cook for our family or just for Craig and I in the Empty Nest.

About five years ago, I carefully assembled all of our family’s favorite dishes and created a cookbook, Recipes From Your Childhood. I self published through Blurb.com and really enjoyed the experience!

What I loved most was being able to give our children recipes to meals that they loved as children and this allowed them to revisit many wonderful childhood memories. For this labor of love, I tested every recipe and photographed each finished product myself. It is my “go to” cookbook and has made my personal recipe organization a breeze.

Read more

A Sunset Adventure in Antarctica – By Travels with Tam


sunset in Antarctica

A breathtaking adventure in Antarctica with TravelswithTam.

One of the many benefits of the life of a travel blogger is not only to experience the places we go, but the additional gift of connecting with new people. I have been fortunate to create friendships with many incredible individuals who are interested in adventure and their unique journeys are ones that I have never taken. Tam is a true adventurer and her visit to Antarctica marked her seventh continent!

Read more

CarePossible: How to find your passion as an Empty Nester

Please welcome my friend of 20 years who is a fantastic husband, father and friend, Randy Moraitis. Randy is a counselor, life coach and interventionist in private practice in Laguna Niguel, CA. He founded CarePossible to provide free mental health and addiction care to low-income families and veterans. On the eve of Veteran’s Day, I felt it was the perfect time for him to share his personal adventure with all of you! Thank you Randy.


how to find your passion as an empty nester
(L) Randy’s daughter Amber and her husband Keith (R) Randy and his wife Kim

How to find your passion as an Empty Nester ~

Recently, after raising a blended family of five, my wife Kim and I became empty nesters (unless you count our Morkie named Rambo).

One of the best parts of being an empty nester is having more time and freedom to pursue one’s passion. My passion is helping those affected by mental health and addiction issues—specifically low income and military families.

After over a dozen years leading large mental health counseling and addiction recovery programs in some great mega-churches, I became exasperated by the number of people who finally get to a place where they really want help for their issues, but because they lack resources they end up slipping through the cracks of society, sometimes overdosing or committing suicide, or at the very least never living a life of purpose or contributing to the community.

Read more

A NASCAR Racing Adventure from our Newest Guest Adventurer

NASCAR racing

I am Laurie Napier, I am a married, 53 yr old mom of 5.  I live in Scotts Valley, CA in the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains. I have 4 grown adult kids all off living their lives in different parts of the West Coast. I have 3 amazing little grandsons and I have one very special son still at home.
I love traveling and discovering all the wonderful people and places in our Country.
I hope to get to do more as the years come. Looking forward to the exciting new things each day brings.  


NASCAR racing

Adventures in the NASCAR racing world!

I am not quite an empty nester yet, luckily I have a spectacular tag-a-long son who is 17 and happens to be a young up & coming rookie in the NASCAR racing series. We have had many adventures together in the last few years, which is a joy to me! To be able to spend this time with my boy before he moves on and leaves me alone is priceless. We have traveled all over the country visiting the different race tracks and exploring new cities, meeting new people and having a blast along the way!

Read more

Shanghai :: Your Gateway Drug to China

Please welcome our newest Guest Adventurer… Yvonne from the blog Escaping the Empty Nest. Yvonne has quite an adventurous back story! She and her family sold everything to travel the world and then are settling in Paris. How exciting is that? To learn more about her inspiring story check out her blog. Thank you Yvonne for sharing this interesting & helpful guide to Shanghai.


Why is Shanghai a good place to go if you’re visiting China for the first time?

Because China is a big, fascinating, overwhelming place, and you need to start someplace that’s user-friendly. Shanghai’s your town.

Here are a few reasons why ~

People there are used to Westerners, so you won’t get stared at much and most people know some English. There is less air pollution than in Beijing, less military presence than in western China, and the plumbing is sturdier. It’s less crowded and more Chinese than Hong Kong, and the weather is pretty mild. There is plenty of beautiful, familiar, European style architecture (thanks to colonialism).Disclaimer: I’m not saying colonialism is good. We’ve figured out that taking over other countries is bad. But the Chinese are happily using all those nice buildings that the Europeans left behind, so it’s ok to appreciate them.

colonialism and Shanghai

China is rough, but rewarding. Let me explain.

China is like my Aunt Myra. Feisty lady. She had some indiscretion before I was born and moved to California when she felt that the family wasn’t treating her right. (Leaving Texas is a huge deal. She might as well have gone to the moon.) We heard rumors both about her wild exploits and about her heroic deeds. Then, in her old age, she moved back to Texas and started showing up at family gatherings. Always prickly, she hurt people’s feelings and offended them, but she also made toys for the kids and told great stories. Pretty soon, she was back in the fold, occasionally telling stories about her California years, or refusing to tell and hence mystifying everyone. But she was one of our people, and we took her back, warts and all.

That’s how China is. We heard about China’s glory days in the past, but then it disappeared for a while and rumors flew. Now China is back, trying to get a seat at the table, and we’ve got to welcome it back. If you’re a human being, China is your people, too.

Just like Thanksgiving dinner once a year with Aunt Myra was a treat, Shanghai is a treat. It’s a limited dose of China, and taken in small quantities it can be thrilling.

I advise one of these three ways for you can to get to know Shanghai. If you’re reading this blog, you’ve probably arrived at that point in life between backpacker and Elderhostel: an adventuresome person who is willing to hike, but places a high value on a good night’s sleep and regular meals.

1. Your cushiest option is the full tour, booked in the US (or wherever you’re from, thanks for reading from distant lands!). You’ll stay in a western-style hotel, eat in safe restaurants, and have day trips to beautiful places. If you get sick or injured, they’ll get you a doctor. The drawbacks are lack of freedom and confinement with strangers. However, this is a popular option and there’s no shame in taking the road most traveled. You’re still getting out of your comfort zone and seeing new things.

I have never taken a tour, because I am not a caged bird and because I think the smell of buses is repulsive. Something about that diesel/vomit combo just doesn’t work for me. However, ask me again when I’m a senior citizen or if I suddenly get a whole lot of disposable income. Many’s the time I’ve watched an air conditioned coach disgorge its passengers into a restaurant’s sparkling private room, cool wet washcloths at each place setting, while I try to keep my dirty exhausted starving family members from killing each other while waiting for our table next to the bathroom. No judgement. I might join you someday.

pedestrian Shanghai

Read more

A Mother/Daughter Trip to Italy ~By Kathleen


mother/daughter trip to Italy
(The matching dress pic). We love our perfect linen dresses that we bought in Anacapri at the darling boutique Sesto Senso.


Please welcome new Guest Adventurer, Kathleen. She is a sorority sister of mine from UCLA, a teacher, a mom, a great friend and wonderful person. When I saw the photos of her trip to Italy on Facebook, I begged her to share her trip! She graciously offered to write up a little something for us and let us drool over her incredibly beautiful photos! Thank you Kathleen!

A Mother/Daughter Trip to Italy ~

My daughter Jacqueline and I just spent an amazing 2 weeks in Italy to celebrate her graduation from USC. We absolutely loved everything about Italy including the people, history, architecture, art, the sea and the food. We planned our entire trip using other travelers’ reviews on TripAdvisor and everything met our expectations.

trip to Italy
Jacqueline and I arriving by ferry on the island of Capri. We know we are in for an incredible experience.

Read more

Guest Adventurer: Finding My Passion as an Empty Nester

AdventuresofEmptyNesters finding my passion

Please welcome our newest Guest Adventurer: Shirly from Winchester Hampshire (England)

My name is Shirly and I’m a young at heart 48 years old. I had my son during my mid-teenage years and never really had the chance to discover what I wanted to do in life or to find out what I was good at. Now that my daughter has finished university and is beginning to carve her own life, I thought this would be my chance to discover my own passions and find out what truly lights my fire. Although I’ve worked as a Midwife for over nine years, I’ve always felt that there was something missing. I think as mothers we give way and focus on bringing up a family, leaving our personal hopes and dreams on the side.  It’s never too late to discover our passions. This is one of the reasons for starting this blog, NurtureHappy.com to hopefully inspire others in similar situations to do the same.
I have two grown up children; My son is 32 and is living on his own near where I used to live with my daughter (Charlie) in London. He’s pretty private and unfortunately, doesn’t really want to be mentioned personally. My daughter is 23 years old. She graduated after finishing a degree in Fashion Jewellery at the London College of Fashion in July 2015. Through using a studio in a school to create her jewellery pieces, she somehow got a job as as teaching assistant. She’s now looking to train as a Design and Technology teacher! 

Read more