Meet Erin Smith, Founder of Cultivating Connections Travel Planners
Dropping my son Tyler off at college was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
That was in 2020. His university was six hours away, and I cried the whole drive home.
If you’re an empty nester—or will be one soon—I bet you can relate. The transition is hard. For Tyler’s entire senior year of high school, I kept counting down the “lasts.” The last away baseball game. The last homecoming. The last night at home.
When he left, I knew I needed to replace all those “lasts” with “firsts,” to fill my newly quiet days (I didn’t realize how noisy a teenager was until he was gone!) with moments to look forward to.
Enter: Travel. I’ve always been a traveler, ever since my first enchanting visit to Europe as a teen. Adding more travel experiences back into my life as an empty nester allowed me to get back in touch with my own passions and my sense of curiosity.
Above all, it allowed me to deepen my relationships with loved ones in new ways. My husband and I now get to reconnect on long-weekend escapes and sunny cruises through the Caribbean, the types of trips we often put off with a kid at home. Meanwhile, Tyler and I travel together on his school breaks, and it is always a riot. Now, I am no longer in “nagging mom” mode but can fully enjoy exploring alongside my son as I get to know the fun and funny adult he is becoming.
A New Stage Brings New Adventures
Through Cultivating Connections Travel Planners, I help empty nesters like myself rediscover their joys and cultivate deeper relationships through travel. This life stage is certainly a transition—but it can also be an opportunity to spread your own wings, as your children “leave the nest” as well.
So, where are you looking to soar to next? Whether it’s a solo spa escape, a romantic trip through Tuscany with your spouse where the warm conversation flows as freely as the wine, or a Spring break family getaway somewhere oh-so sunny, I’m here to make sure you’re able to cultivate connections to the passions—and the people—that matter most to you.
I invite you to book your complimentary planning call with me so I can learn more about your travel dreams. Because life doesn’t stop when your children “fly the coop”—in fact, your next adventure is just beginning.
"Erin planned my 50th birthday for my friends and I in Las Vegas. Everything was planned perfectly from the shows, to photos planned for us and also a limousine ride on the last night. I was absolutely perfect and magical."
LISA, NORMAN, OK | ★★★★★
Erin’s 6 Fast Facts
I’m a certified yoga instructor and love to unwind with some Downward Dog (when I can find the time!)
I grew up in a tiny town in Hawaii, and I now live in a small town in Oklahoma—so I know how important it is to travel beyond your own borders!
When I’m not planning travel, you can find me enjoying a bottle (or two) of red wine with my husband or cheering on The Cubs - I love baseball.
My most recent favorite destination? Alaska (Denali National Park won me over). On my bucket list? Russia and Italy.
Besides my travel business, my other two “babies” are my Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Mila and Rory—and I still consider my 6’4” son my “baby” as well.
Speaking of my son, I know all about the Empty Nest Blues. And, if you are anticipating going through this form of grief, let's talk. (BTW, it does get easier, I promise!)