Greetings from Mike and Heather and welcome to Empty Nest Nirvana!
Though we find ourselves catapulting toward middle age, we don’t feel (and certainly don’t act) like early fifty-something and late forty-something genXers. Our empty nest days are nearly upon us, so our incredible desire to see more of the world is quickly changing from some day to about freakin’ time!
With one child out of the nest, and the other well into the high school years, we’ve determined that it’s high time to plan for our empty nest. You know, that Holy Grail phase of life that seemed forever away during all those years of diaper changes, ballet lessons, soccer practice, skinned knees, Girl Scout field trips and teen angst. But instead of a sad, lonely empty nest, we plan to attain nirvana, and we want to bring you along on the blissful journey. We hope you’ll join in the discussions and embrace an adventurous empty nest lifestyle yourselves. It’s perfectly okay to enjoy life after the kids are out on their own. You’ve earned the right to turn your focus away from the kids and toward activities and adventures you plan to enjoy now that they’re off doing their own thing.
The Literal Nest
Should we stay or should we go? Will we stay in our current nest? Or will we flee the nest ourselves to see what it’s like to live abroad? At this point, who the heck knows? We certainly don’t. Maybe you can help us as we decide by sharing your stories.
Whatever we decide, after nearly 20 years in the same nest, a slew of home renovations are in order. We will share these things on the blog.
Travel — Past, Current, and Future
Whether it’s sharing our knowledge of Kentucky (where Heather’s from and where we currently live) or Oregon (where Mike’s from) or telling stories from our adventures to other parts of the United States and the world, you can read all about our travels on Empty Nest Nirvana. Though neither of us has achieved world travel guru status, we’ve visited more than a dozen countries between the two of us and plan to hit a hella lot more soon!
The Knowledge We Share
With Mike’s extensive knowledge of hotel and airline reward point systems, his ability to maximize rewards from credit card offers (credit cards that are paid off monthly, of course), and his shrewd analysis of how to travel inexpensively without being cheap, he’ll gladly share his expertise on Empty Nest Nirvana. Through a plethora of point surfing tips, you’ll learn how to earn free flights and hotel nights without spending a penny more than you already do on your regular purchases each month. Mike also worked as a professional photographer for more than a decade, so you can count on stunning photos to accompany Empty Next Nirvana travel posts.
With Heather’s ability to spin compelling tales, to see the world through eyes of wonder and curiosity, and to organize and plan trips and excursions, she promises to share inspiring stories of beautiful places along the way. And with a keen business sense developed from a 20-year career as a Certified Public Accountant (that slowly sucked the creativity from her inner core on a daily basis), she might even share how she dumped her corporate job and built a highly rewarding career as a novelist and now runs a successful publishing company that will help her and Mike seize all the days as empty nesters.
Our General Belief
Life is short. It often hands us lemons. But while everyone is allowed a moment of sadness over a child (or children) leaving the nest, that act of a child fleeing the nest for his or her own future successes and adventures is most certainly not one of life’s lemons. A child flying the coup should be celebrated, not mourned. And we (all the empty or soon-to-be-empty nesters out there) should embrace this phase of life with our own brand of “lemonade.”
Heather is a thriller novelist, travel writer, and social media guru who splits her time between Kentucky and the rest of the world. When she’s not writing, she’s preparing her youngest child to flee the nest and fielding texts from her 19-year-old college student (wasn’t life great when calling home from college long-distance was a big deal?!?). You can learn more about Heather and the novels she writes at heathersunseri.com.
From spin doctor to photographer to media relations expert to political appointee, Mike has worn many hats over the years (heck, he’s even been perfectly qualified for a job once in his life—a summer valet parking lot attendant gig back in college). But in every walk of life in his professional career, he has enjoyed the luxury of traveling. Growing up dirt poor forced Mike to learn to stretch every dollar. Now he loves to master myriad travel reward programs and share with others how they, too, can see the world less expensively.