Gypsy Nester with Blogger Veronica James
Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where are you from? Where do you currently live?
I am originally from Southern California—born in Pasadena I was, like, totally a Valley Girl. My husband David and I lived over twenty years in Nashville, Tennessee, and that is where our kids were born. Then we moved down to the Caribbean, living on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. That’s where all three kids graduated from high school, which just happened to be the school I worked at in the tech department.
We travel almost all of the time. When we are not overseas we are usually in our little RV, but we do have a studio apartment in Poughkeepsie, New York that serves to give us an address and as a place to store our stuff.
What first inspired you to start your blog? Since then, which destinations have you covered?
Like almost every couple, we faced that “now what?” moment when the last kid moved out of the house. So after sending our youngest out into the big, wide world, we set out to break the empty nest rules by selling everything and hitting the road. We bought a used RV (extremely used actually, it was older than any of our kids) and set out on what we thought would be a short term adventure.
Along the way we rediscovered the couple who fell in love years ago and chronicled the journey on our website Gypsy Nester . As the site became more popular, we decided to keep on going. Over time tourism bureaus and travel providers began to contact us about covering their destinations on our website. Since then we have been to over forty countries on six continents.
What is the main purpose of your blog? Is there a message that you’re trying to convey to your readers?
Initially we wanted to offer a bright outlook on the empty nest. No need to be gloomy; let’s celebrate our life after kids. We decided to be a bit drastic, sell everything and hit the road. Along the way we discovered that by trying and experiencing so many new things together we really reconnected as a couple.
In our case, traveling worked as the vehicle for that revival, but we feel strongly that there are plenty of alternatives, whether it’s taking cooking or dance classes together, volunteering, or exploring the world, as long as it is new to both partners and the experiences are gained together and equally. This way, neither person is placed in a teacher—or expert—position and the new knowledge is shared and gleaned simultaneously.
What gets you into the writing mode?
Different things at different times I guess. Sometimes it’s necessity, a story is due for somebody and must be written, but more often an idea just pops into my head. Who knows where they come from? When that happens I can usually lose myself in the writing and next thing you know six or eight hours have disappeared.
What are some exciting partnerships, connections, or opportunities that have come out of your blog?
We have worked with incredible companies and agencies across the globe. Some of our favorites are Viking Cruise Lines, Tourism and Events Queensland, Road Scholar, Discover Corps., and Viator. We have also partnered on projects with AARP, Next Avenue, and Passports with Purpose.
Is your blog a business? If so, what are some of the ways that you monetize it?
We don’t really think of it as one, but we do definitely try to run it in a professional manner. Our main goals are to continue writing for our sponsors around the world, and to promote our book, Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest.
What advice would you give to other women who are interested in launching a travel blog?
Two things. First, the hardest part is just getting started, jumping in. Once you’ve done that everything else is just problem solving, and as mothers, we have plenty of experience with that. Second, don’t be in a hurry. It takes time to build up a website, to create content and build a following. Just stay at it because everything you write is practice for the next story.
Also, so I guess this makes three things, always remember to be authentic.
Top image by yawper (Creative Commons)