My name is Emma and I'm a kiwi chef who loves long term travel and seeking out exotic tastes, markets and street food.
I've been creating culinary delights for ten years - or more if you count making jam tarts at four years old (I licked the spoon after each tart before putting it back in the jar).
I've never been a groaning nine-to-five cubical dweller, in fact, I love my job, I just love travel more.There was no sudden epiphany that I needed to drastically change my lifestyle and the idea of taking some time out to travel had been floating around in my head for a couple of years, I just needed a little push out the door.
At the time I didn't feel brave enough to travel on my own (I was 21), so I waited until I met someone to travel with. Two years later I was still waiting, when I stumbled upon travel blogs and reading about the adventures of women who travelled solo inspired me. 'What if' morphed into budding travel plans, budgets and many hours spent skulking the first travel blogs on the internet (it was 2011 after all).
While plans were taking shape, I moved to Sydney to earn valuable Australian dollars and later that year I met Jack. After finally committing to the idea of backpacking solo and convinced that the experience would be hugely beneficial to my character, I had found my travel partner.
Unfortunately, he had little interest in coming with me.
So I reverted to my original plan of backpacking solo, with the added difficulty of leaving behind a man I wanted to spend my life with.
I cried (a lot) on the flight to Singapore, making the passenger beside me rather uncomfortable as I set forth on the first few weeks of backpacking feeling lost and homesick. I was incredibly green to travel and everyone I met seemed so enviably worldly.
By my second month I was in the swing of travel, I no longer wished I was home, I loved that everyday was different and I had no schedule to dictate my day. Southeast Asia was so completely different to everything I knew. I practiced my photography, grazed all day long on street food and read book after book in hammocks all across the region.
After five months I decided it was time to return home. The goal was to work hard and travel again - this time with Jack, who didn't want to be left behind this time. One year and one month after Southeast Asia we touched down in South America where we hiked to Machu Picchu, cycled Bolivia's Death Road and camped in the Amazon Jungle.
For now I'm back in New Zealand and seeing my country in a fresh light (everyone I met either loved NZ or it's on their dream destination list). I'm using this time to catch up on my blog and dream about my next destinations.
I'm sharing this blog with you because one day you might tell a version of this story to someone else - your own version. I don't know if I would have travelled if it weren't for other travel bloggers telling their story, so maybe this will inspire you to head out into the big wide world despite that killer of dreams - fear, because the world really isn't a scary place.