Realistic Travel Goals for Empty Nesters

~ Carmen

It’s time to ring in the new year.  Everywhere I look (travel blog wise), I’m seeing young 20-somethings posting goals about climbing mountains, visiting 3rd world countries to eat exotic cuisine and delicacies, and learning 2 new languages.  Joe’s climbed or skied mountains, I’ve been on mission trips (never ate bad food on them), and I already know two languages–English and Southern!

Joe and I will be turning 50 this year, so we need some realistic travel goals that fit this stage of our life.  The good news is that if a couple of months go by and we don’t like them, we have no problem with throwing them out the window and starting over.  That’s an advantage of growing wiser.  It’s easier to admit when you’ve made a mistake, and you really don’t care what other people think.

Realistic Travel Goals for Empty Nesters

We still hike, just smaller mountains! Destination Inspiration: Not sure where to go? You've come to the right place!

Realistic Travel Goals for Empty Nesters

Realistic Travel Goals for Empty Nesters

Must try again!

Travel Goal 1

Put down the Candy Crush/Netflix and get outside.

Awww, that irresistible urge to defeat that Candy Crush level (even though you’ve been at it the last two hours). ~Not to brag or anything but I’m up to level 1670~. There’s also the temptation to binge watch one more episode of “Law & Order” which you’ve already watched 5 times, but it’s your comfort show and you have the whole weekend ahead of you.  The possibility of finishing all 20 seasons in one sitting is a challenge that must be met!

This year I have a goal of hiking or riding my bike at least once a week.  I should have more time if I’m not binging on technology.  I’ll feel better and will be conditioned for the challenges of traveling and camping.


Realistic Travel Goals for Empty Nesters

Ate at 27 different barbecue restaurants last year!

Travel Goal 2

Try at least two new restaurants a month.

Going to a different location of the same restaurant does not count!  Joe and I tend to steer towards comfort or familiarity, especially when it come to cuisine. We could follow in the foot steps of Anthony Bourdain of “Parts Unknown” or Andrew Zimmer of “Bizarre Foods”, but we won’t rush ourselves to that level.

We don’t go out to eat very often when we’re not on the road, so when we do, I don’t want to waste any money on bad cuisine.  We did pretty well last year.  We stuck to barbecue for review purposes (read Texas Barbecue Road Trip  and The Ultimate Memphis Barbecue Guide), and that gave us more incentive to try different places.  We are in the process of reviewing Memphis fried chicken places.  After that, we want to review Memphis hamburger places and catfish joints.  Yum!


Travel Goal 3

Go camping at least once a month.

Last spring we bought a travel trailer to celebrate our 5 year anniversary.  We earned our stripes as tent campers, but as we grew older, the ability to rebound after sleeping in a tent was getting more difficult.  We no longer have that excuse.  Camping more often is mainly a matter of scheduling the campsites.  We have the time.  With no kids living at home, we’re no longer wrapped up in marching band or competitive dance commitments.  We’re FREE!  It’s time to take advantage of that freedom.

Realistic Travel Goals for Empty Nesters

Our anniversary present to each other


Travel Goal 4

Align trips to visit friends and family along the way.

As we have focused our efforts raising our kids, the circle of friends and family may have been tightened due to distance, schedules and priorities.  Now that we have more time for ourselves, it is time to rekindle our bonds with the friends and family we may not have seen as much or not at all.

Joe has been with the Army 10 years and since his mother’s passing last year he has missed out on visiting relatives from his father’s or mother’s side who are in Washington, Philippines and Hawaii.  Joe also has friends he kept in touch with through his Army days throughout the world.  This year we will definitely travel to Washington to visit family and Brazil to visit friends.

Realistic Travel Goals for Empty Nesters

It’s been 30 years since I’ve been to Brazil to see my exchange student “sister”. Going back this spring!


Travel has been a part of our yearly goals (short and longterm) every year of our 5 year marriage.  We travel because we love seeing, doing, and eating new things.  Hopefully, these 4 goals will lead us closer to our longterm travel ambitions.  I definitely believe that you have to plan or life will slip you by.  Or as all of the motivation posters teach us:  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail…If you don’t have a dream, you don’t have a dream come true…Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible!

Did you make any goals this year?  Were any of them travel related?  Please share by commenting below!  

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~ Carmen


Realistic Travel Goals for Empty Nesters

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