Writer Wednesdays – Meet the Gypsy Nesters
The Gypsy Nester site is the outcome of David and Veronica’s love and passion for their new-found life of travel. After their children left the nest they set out on a new, exciting life of travel and are humbly enjoying ever minute of it from the good, the bad and the not so tasty.
Writer Wednesdays would like to introduce you to the Gypsy Nesters – David & Veronica
Like most 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 to visit family and friends. Along the way we rediscovered the couple who fell in love years ago, and began chronicling our journey on our website GypsyNester.com. After about a year, after all of our loved ones visited, we spent some time in Mexico and realized we didn’t want to stop.
How many countries have you visited?
Wow, we don’t really keep a running tally. David has been to a few more from back in his musician days, but it is over thirty for both of us, and we’re at five out of seven continents.
What is your favourite place and why?
Usually it’s where ever we are. We can find interesting diversions almost anywhere. Still, obviously some places stand out. The Galapagos are truly amazing, we are both madly in love with Italy, and everything about Newfoundland left an impression that will last a lifetime. In the states, we have a real affection for South Louisiana, the food, the music, the people are great, but we could say that about most everywhere we’ve been.
If you could describe your method of travel in one word, what would it be?
Humble. Because it means “low to the ground” and that is the phrase we usually use to describe our approach to travel. By that we mean that we like to get into the thick of a place, try to experience real life, not just the tourist side of things.
That is a tough one. Things are memorable for different reasons. Eating silkworms in China certainly stands out, but not in a good way. Of all the crazy things we’ve eaten (and it is quite a few, we have a whole category on our website) it is by far the worst. Disgusting, but we found the humor in it, even at the time. There are, of course, a ton of great memories – just the day before the silkworm episode we were standing on The Great Wall. But it is hard to pick just one, kayaking just a few feet away from a pair of humpback whales in Newfoundland ranks way up there, as well as skydiving on to a beach in Australia, learning to tango in Buenos Aires, looking down on Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate, and many, many more.
What is your dream destination?
Like most travelers, we always have a list in our heads of things and places we’d like to see, right now I guess wildlife in Africa is near the top, also the pyramids in Egypt. Veronica still needs Alaska and Hawaii to round out visiting all fifty states, so those are on our list too.
How has travel changed you?
As Mark Twain once said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” We have learned to accept what comes along, and to celebrate the differences between cultures by doing our best to experience what life is like in diverse communities around the world. It goes back to what we said about traveling low to the ground, it has led us to adopt a new attitude, a saying we use now, “the plan is no plans.”
As a writer do you feel you see the world and approach travel differently than if you didn’t write?
Well, because we like to write somewhat in-depth articles about the places we visit, we learn a lot more than we probably would if we were not researching our destinations as thoroughly as we do now. Knowing some history in advance really helps us connect, so writing has made us much more aware and appreciative of the places we have the privilege to explore.
How long did it take for your first book to come to fruition?
Wow, it’s a long process. About three years from when we first thought, hey, wouldn’t it be cool to write a book? , then later finding the gumption to bang out the first draft. That ended up being completely reworked over the span of a couple of those years, mainly because we dove into the process rather blindly. Then the process of finding a publisher can take quite a while. Actually, we feel lucky that it went as quickly as it did and that we found a publisher — Skyhorse in New York City — that is a perfect fit for us and our book.
As a matter of fact we do, it is also our first book, Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All. It is coming out in February of 2015, but it is available for pre-orders now at GoingGypsyBook.com
Do you have any upcoming trips? If so, to where?
We generally don’t plan too far ahead — the plan is no plans after all — but we are looking at Thailand later this year, and maybe Alaska and Hawaii. The rest of the time we will be bouncing around North America in a slightly newer version of our beat up old motorhome.
What is your must have travel accessory?
Obviously our cameras and computers are indispensable, but we love our iPhone with the built in Wi-Fi hotspot, it would be hard to get along without it. Also, on trains, planes, and automobiles, an inflatable neck pillow is a must.
What is your favourite travel book?
One that stands out is Bill Bryson’s The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America. His approach to travel is very much like ours, and hopefully we have channelled just a little bit of his style in our writing too.
What is your favourite travel quote?
Guess we’d have to go back to the one we mentioned earlier,
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness” by Mark Twain.
I like to send a big thank you to David and Veronica, The Gypsy Nesters, for an opportunity to interview them and for contributing some of their fabulous photos.