Though the thought of first-year college students fleeing the nest can monopolize space in the back of worried mama bird’s minds, the day you officially become an “empty nester” can still be a shock to the system. Daily routines have been upended, the house is suddenly quieter (and cleaner), and you realize just how closely your identity is tied up in your children’s.
In this transitional period, it’s completely normal to feel unsettled and even to mourn the days of school drop-off lines and packed lunches. While emotionally jarring, this stepping stone doesn’t have to unravel your day-to-day life. For some, days of empty-nesting provide the perfect opportunity to look inward and get reacquainted with yourself. Chances are, you’re a very different person than you were before having kids.
Though it might sound intimidating, your time as a new empty-nester is perfect for a solo self-discovery trip. For the first time since becoming a parent, it offers an opportunity to be completely selfish. You’ll be able to find your rhythm and rediscover interests, passions, fears, and talents.
Preparing for a long-term self-discovery trip:
Decide where you’re going
Think about what you want to experience. Are you hoping for a relaxing retreat or adrenaline-filled activities?
Organize the logistics
Though it can be one of the less glamorous parts of travel, making sure you plan day-to-day logistics to the tee can relieve burdensome stress. From opting for vehicle transport services—so you always have your car at the ready for an adventure—to ensuring you’ve made arrangements for mail pick-up, you’ll want to invest some time in this step.
Make a budget
How much can you spend total, weekly, daily? Going into your trip with a plan in place will prevent financial stress during your travels.
Make sure you’re healthy
Take care of any doctor’s appointments before you leave. Be sure you have enough of your prescriptions to last the duration of your travels and that you’re up-to-date on vaccinations.
Make two lists—one featuring the items you can’t live without and one consisting of the nonessentials. Start by filling your suitcase with the necessities first. Be sure to check luggage weight and size requirements for airlines and, remember, you can always purchase things like toiletries at your destination.
Whether you picture yourself lounging on a beach or trekking through the mountains, countless destinations offer incredible solo travel experiences.
This all-inclusive resort is happily situated on 300 acres of forest, meadows, and ponds in the heart of the Green Mountains. Vermont’s state boasts a diverse array of seasonal activities, and Twin Farms is no exception. From an apiary tour and fly fishing to snowshoeing and sledding, Twin Farms is an excellent place to discover new joys.
The Lodge at Woodloch
Nestled in the Pocono Mountains, The Lodge at Woodloch offers a luxury spa destination. On-site classes include yoga, journaling, cooking, and painting—a perfect opportunity to tap into your creative side.
The Mayflower Grace
Just a short drive from New York City, this convenient escape offers travelers the chance to be more mindful. Peaceful traditions like forest bathing and Tibetan sound healing allow visitors to study unique meditation methods, which empty-nesters can adopt when the separation anxiety reaches unbearable levels.
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
Paradise Valley, Arizona
This desert retreat is perfect for empty-nesters who want the best of both worlds. With a focus on connecting physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, travelers can combine a day at the spa with mountain biking or rock climbing. Plus, Arizona is a great winter getaway for those seeking refuge from cold climates.
Though embarking on a big adventure like a long-term solo trip can seem scary, don’t underestimate yourself. You’ll be surprised just how much you can handle when you step outside your comfort zone.
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