Life Lessons:
Veronica James


*Are you happy at the moment?

Extremely! It was difficult making the transition from helicopter mom to parent of three adults, but now I have relaxed into the role and let the kids make their own way in the world… mistakes and all. David and I have learned that while we will always be their parents, we don’t need to be always parenting anymore.

It was a big jump when we sold our house after our youngest left for college and decided to take off traveling in a beat-up old RV that we found on eBay to celebrate getting our kids out on their own – a victory lap of the US..

Originally we planned to go for about a year or so, figuring that was as long as the motorhome could possibly last, but we fell in love with the lifestyle, and that old Chevy kept on running. Since I have been involved with internet design since back in the early 90s, I made our website,, and we started writing about our adventures. Now we can’t imagine going back to a stationary life.

*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

Don’t be so afraid all of time! It took me a long time to learn that. Not only fear of harm, but fear of what other people thought of me. I have not completely conquered my fears, but I feel like I’m getting there. And now that the kids are grown, I worry a lot less about how they would get along should something happen to me, and that is a big load off my mommy mind.

*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

That it is really hard work getting a book published and promoted! Just kidding (sort of). I really did learn that, but more importantly, I’ve become more comfortable with who I am as I’ve sailed past fifty.

*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

A visit to Africa has been high on our travel bucket list for years and we are finally going later this summer. We have a trip to Tanzania booked with Discover Corps, which joins with the National Peace Corps Association in promoting volunteer vacations. So while we will not only enjoy phenomenal new experiences, we will help with needed services for the communities.

*What’s your secret to happiness?

I think that the biggest revelation that David and I had when we became empty nesters was that by exploring new things together, we reconnected as a couple. For us, we discovered that through travel – but you don’t have to be as crazy as we are – it can be anything, as long as it is new to both of you. Learning together, with neither spouse being in the teacher or expert mode, has not only been great for our relationship, but also a ton of fun. And we always have so much to talk about.

It was that realization as much as anything that prompted us to write Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All. It was something we really wanted to share, along with all of the goofy shenanigans we encountered along the way.

*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Laughter, it really is the best medicine. David has always been funny, but I have been getting better at keeping up. I’ve learned to laugh at myself, if I can’t laugh at myself who can I laugh at?

*What’s your biggest regret?

I know it sounds clichéd, but I really don’t have any big regrets. I’ve learned heaps from every mistake I’ve made. I wouldn’t have the life I have now, be the person I am now, if I hadn’t made those mistakes.

*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

To be self-sufficient. We impressed upon them early on that they needed to make their own way in the world. I think that it is important to share this with them well before they are getting ready to move from the family home or go off to college. This way they are focused on starting their own lives and are more able to take on life’s challenges when they arise.

*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

I’d really like to stop worrying about things that are beyond my control. I am a very proactive person so it is difficult for me to step back and let things be. Stressing out about things that might happen, but can’t be controlled doesn’t do any good. I know this, I just need to remember to remember it!

*Aside from motherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

I am very proud of the work I did at the school when we lived on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. I loved working for the students, and made some real connections that I’d like to think had some impact on their lives.

*When were you happiest?

I think that it is a tossup between now and back when the kids were at the stage after diapers, but before the crazy preteen and teenage stuff. They were so much fun! Always putting on shows or inventing crazy scenarios. Most of our family’s favorite little inside jokes and sayings come from that time.

Right now I am enjoying the kids as much as ever. I am so proud of the adults that they have become.

*What ten words best describe you?

Mother, spouse, gypsy, daughter, writer, wanderer, hoverer, worrier, fear-conqueror, laugher


Veronica, and her husband David, are experiencing the collision of Baby Boomer and Empty Nester.

Upon sending their youngest out into the big, wide world, they set out to break the empty nest rules by selling everything and hitting the road. To become more than empty nesters, to be gypsies, GypsyNesters!  Along the way they began writing posts for their popular website,, and rediscovered the couple who fell in love years ago. They’ve been full-time travelers since 2008.

Their debut memoir Going Gypsy: One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All released in February and is available wherever books are sold.