Claudia Williams, with 55 by 55 Travel, Empty Nest Adventures
1. Tell me a bit about yourself:
I’m a recent empty nester, travel blogger and influencer. My quest is to go to 55 countries in 5 years, by the time I turn 55. This is a transitional time in my life and I’m hoping to inspire other 50 year olds and empty nesters to take advantage of these transitions, figure out what you’re passionate about and go out and do it. When I’m not on the road I live in Durango, Colorado and own a small, boutique real estate company.
2. Where have you just come back from and where are you going next?
I’m just back from the 1st part of what I call my Epic Ski Safari. My husband and I got Vail Resort’s season ski pass (Epic Pass) that let’s us ski for “free” at 65 ski resorts world wide. I say “free” in parentheses as my husband would argue that it’s not really free, haha. Regardless, we spent 3 weeks on and off skiing the Vail resorts in Colorado, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Telluride. We are leaving in a few days on a road trip to BC Canada to hit up Whistler, Kicking Horse and Fernie Resort, with stops in Park City Utah and possibly Tahoe. Then I’m off to Europe to get some skiing in there and visit some more countries for my 55 by 55 travel quest.
3. Where in the world have you felt happiest?
This is a tough question, there’s so many possible answers. I’d have to say rafting the desert rivers of the Southwest USA. I adore the beautiful canyons, being off the grid for days on end and sleeping under the stars. That’s my absolute happy place.
4. Name a place that lives up to the hype:
Cape Town, South Africa. It’s all you expect and more. Cape Town has amazing beaches, beautiful scenery (Table Mountain and Chapman Peak Drive), wine country, monkeys, penguins, safaris and great food.
5. What is your favorite City?
Sydney, Australia. It is a big city with a relaxed feel and a fun beach/surf scene. You can ride a ferry to your destination, the Sydney opera house is just cool and it’s easy to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. You can go for a hike in nature (bush walk they call it down under) along the water (Spit to Manly hike for instance) but have all the city amenities as well. There’s great food and fun people. I love it!
6. Describe your favorite view:
Another tough one, I’d have to say the iconic road trip view of Monument Valley in Arizona. I’ve always love those red sandstone formations of the SW desert, buttes, arches and canyons.
7. Sightseeing or Lounge Chair?
I like action and adventure but as I get older I enjoy relaxing as well. I’d say everything in moderation. I always plan in some downtime every few days when I’m traveling.
8. What was your most relaxing vacation?
Thailand, beach vacation with a dear girlfriend. After a few days of sightseeing in Bangkok we went to Koh Lanta island for a relaxing beach vacation. We spent a week at the beach, a bit of swimming, lounging in hammocks in the shade, great food and drinks and best of all: beach massages for $12.
9. Do you have any parting words of wisdom for our readers?
Travel can be stressful. It helps to just go with the flow. Don’t sweat the small stuff!