Suzanne Stavert is redefining what it means to be an empty nester. Instead of settling into a quiet midlife after her children reached adulthood, Suzanne began exploring. Full of curiosity and the desire to connect with other adventurous spirits, Suzanne has said yes to many new and exciting ideas. This open-minded attitude has taken her to places beyond her wildest dreams.

Suzanne founded her travel and lifestyle blog, Adventures of Empty Nesters, to share stories and inspiration and to showcase hidden gems around the world. She collaborates with many cutting-edge travel and tourism brands and hopes that her enthusiasm and eye-catching photography will inspire others to plan their own adventures.

TA: How many years have you been traveling? What got you hooked?

Suzanne: I have been traveling since I was in college, but I really got hooked once our children were grown. When you're not tied to someone else's schedule, the possibilities are infinite!

TA: Do you specialize in a particular type of travel?

Suzanne: We tend to explore the luxury side of travel. We do, however, enjoy learning about the local culture from the inside. We especially enjoy visiting farmers markets, exploring the restaurant scene, and the intrigue of architecture.

At the Palio in Siena, Italy

TA: What is the best vacation you've ever taken?

Suzanne: We really enjoyed our trip to Italy last summer to see the Palio. We took three generations, including my mom and her husband and our two grown kids and their significant others. We all stayed in a villa together (successfully!) and witnessed the most amazing sports event in the world. The Palio is a horse race where the riders ride bareback, there are no rules, and the track is located in the city square of Siena. The passion and emotions of the crowd were palpable!

A view of Honolulu from the water

TA: What is the most romantic place you've ever visited with a partner?

Suzanne: That is a tough one! I would probably say the Grand Hyatt Resort in Kauai. There were orchid petals in the bathroom, and there was champagne in the living room. There were sunsets to make you swoon, and we took long walks along the Pacific Ocean. The resort is quiet and lush, and the staff treated us like newlyweds.

A spectacular view of Mallorca

TA: Which underrated destination deserves to be more famous?

Suzanne: The island of Mallorca! Americans don't travel there nearly as much as people from other countries do. Just off the coast of Spain, it is only a 45-minute plane ride from Barcelona. It is incredibly beautiful, and the ocean is turquoise!

TA: What is one place you've always wanted to visit?

Suzanne: I have always wanted to go very far south to Antarctica. One day soon I will add this destination to my adventures list!

Mango sticky rice

TA: Which country has surprisingly good food?

Suzanne: Italy has the very best food; however, I opened my mind to delicious food while in Bangkok, Thailand. The cuisine there is absolutely delicious, but it can be very spicy. I asked my fellow travelers to taste it first and let me know how hot it was. I didn't like mango before I traveled to Bangkok, but mango sticky rice is the dreamiest dessert I have EVER tasted!

TA: Where was the most unusual place you've ever stayed?

Suzanne: We stayed in a treehouse in the Daintree Rainforest near Cairns, Australia. My city-boy husband hated it. I loved it and felt like I was in The Swiss Family Robinson!

TA: Have you ever taken a class in a foreign country?

Suzanne: Yes -- a thousand times yes! The best way to learn more about a country is to cook that country's food. I have taken amazing classes in Tuscany with Tuscan Women Cook, ridden bicycles in Amsterdam on a food tour, toured Berlin's food scene with Viking Cruises, made ceviche in Costa Rica with the Andaz Papagayo chef -- I could go on and on. Find a class or food tour in every city if you can.

TA: Have you ever met someone while traveling who changed your life?

Suzanne: There is always someone to meet and talk with. Never stick to yourself; always say hello and learn something new. I love that part of travel.

TA: What is something other tourists do that drives you crazy?

Suzanne: It drives me crazy when tourists aren't aware of their surroundings. Pay attention, people!

TA: What is one thing you ALWAYS pack when you travel?

Suzanne: I always pack my iPad. This is where I store my library of books. I cannot travel without it!

TA: What is one way people can get the most out of their cruise experience?

Suzanne: Make new friends! Talk with your tourmates and learn about them. They will enhance your trip in ways you would not anticipate.

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo

TA: Is there something you think most travelers worry too much about?

Suzanne: Shopping. Go see the city, and do not worry about the souvenirs.

TA: If you could only give a traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?

Suzanne: Relax and enjoy the moment. Travel expands your mind and enlarges your heart!

TA: What is one piece of advice you'd give to travelers your age?

Suzanne: GO! Do not wait. Now is the time to get out and find adventure.

Learn more about Suzanne:

Visit her website, Adventures of Empty Nesters.
Follow her on Twitter here.
Find her on Facebook here.
See her photos on Instagram here.
Read her CV on LinkedIn here.
Or connect with her on Pinterest here.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!

Photo Credit: M. Rohana / Shutterstock

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