Going Gypsy: One Couple's Adventure From Empty Nest To No Nest At All (book review)

I've had the distinct pleasure of attending a few blog events alongside Veronica and David James, the amusing and adventurous couple who, once their nest emptied, sold the nest and took off to live a gypsy lifestyle on the road—and rails and seas and skies. They've long chronicled their trotting across the globe on their popular website, The GypsyNester.

grandmas briefs and gypsynester

The last time I attended a conference with Veronica and David, they gave me what turned out to be my favorite takeaway from the event: a bookmark. They had recently received their stack of bookmarks to share to publicize their then soon-to-be-published first book, GOING GYPSY: ONE COUPLE'S ADVENTURE FROM EMPTY NEST TO NO NEST AT ALL.

going gypsy bookmark

When Veronica handed it to me, I told her I'd love to get their autographs—which surprised the new authors. Though flabbergasted, they were delighted to oblige and shakily scribbled out on my bookmark their very first autographs for their book.

going gypsy

I hope Veronica and David have been practicing their autographs since then for I have no doubt they'll be scribbling their signatures a whole heck of a lot more now that GOING GYPSY (from Skyhorse Publishing) officially publishes February 3. Those who read their blog will certainly want to read the book, as will any empty nester seriously considering following their gypsy example—and those simply dreaming of doing so.

And doing so—cutting ties to a permanent residence—takes a very different sort. Or so I thought before reading GOING GYPSY. Funny thing is, GOING GYPSY, chapters written alternately by Veronica and David, shows they're actually very much like any average baby boomer couple whose kids have grown and flown. They aren't outlandish thrill-seekers or uninvolved parents who didn't give a hoot about their kids. Nor are they heirs to family fortune that afforded their desire for an unconventional lifestyle. Nope, David and Veronica are like most of us. They were committed to one another, to parenting, to raising responsible and caring kids. Unlike most of us, though, once the parenting was done, they chose a lifestyle filled with new experiences free of the entanglements of a traditional empty nest couple.

GOING GYPSY, in fact, features far more about parenting and marriage than it does travel. You can get details about their travels on their blog. In their book, though, Veronica and David tell the story of how they first met and fell in love when David played in a band and Veronica became a groupie. They take turns telling bits and pieces of what took them from being newlyweds to raising kids as helicopter parents (at least in Veronica's case—which made me want to hug her for being so much like me) to saying farewell as each of their two daughters then son left for college.

And, of course, they reveal the when and why and how they hatched their plan to leave the nest themselves. It wasn't as simple and straightforward as one might assume. 

Throughout the pages, Veronica and David weave nuggets of wit and wisdom related to parenting and partnership, revelations that resonate with readers who've been there, done that. And they reveal some of the more challenging aspects of getting rid of most of what they own, storing what's most important, taking along only the necessities for life on the road. And writing wills. The logistics of their choice to go gypsy.

Then there's the emotions, feelings, fears. And there were a few fears—as well as tears. They also provide insight on being alongside one's partner 24/7 as well as far from one's adult kids throughout much of the year.

I won't spoil GOING GYPSY for readers by providing details. Read and enjoy the book yourself and be as surprised as I was by how much Veronica and David are so very much like the rest of us. The big difference? The gypsynesters made their bucket list dream a reality—and provide inspiration for the rest of us to do the same, whatever our dreams might be.

GOING GYPSY: ONE COUPLE'S ADVENTURE FROM EMPTY NEST TO NO NEST AT ALL by David and Veronica James publishes Feb. 3, 2015 in paperback, digital, and audio formats and is currently available for pre-order (and purchase, actually, at some outlets). You'll find it on Amazon.com (not an affiliate link) as well as any place books are sold.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free for review from the publisher; opinions are my own.