August 29, 2018

Ever heard the name of a place and decided that you were just going to love it? Well, that was Mandalay for me. I knew before I even set foot there that this tongue tickling, exotic sounding city and I were going to get along just fine.

So, it came as no surprise to me...

July 19, 2018

My life these days is pretty ordinary. I go to work. I cook dinner. I watch T.V. I sleep. For the last three years I’ve been living a very typical lifestyle in my home town in Taranaki, New Zealand.  

Aside from a short excursion to Thailand and Myanmar late last y...

July 13, 2018

Arriving in a new country after dark is always an unsettling experience. The echoing airport, the weary taxi drivers, and the dark city streets all accumulate to create a kind of transitional limbo. Where time stands still and everything feels a bit warped and scary. I...

April 10, 2018

I tend to romanticise travel. On this blog I write about the all highlights, while conveniently skipping over the days spent on over air-conditioned buses, or on Skype to family while feeling dreadfully homesick. They are the flipside of the travel coin – for every gor...

March 13, 2018

Like all the best places in New Zealand, Lake Waikeremoana is a little tricky to reach. East of Lake Taupo and sitting pretty in the tangled forests of Te Urewera National Park, the drive to this large lake is an entirely exhausting, but oh-so-worth-it hour long slog a...

November 8, 2017

“See my teeth?” Our taxi driver proclaims turning in his seat to smile broadly at us, “I brush after every meal! No smoking, no alcohol, no paan!”

Like in many Asian countries, Paan is commonplace in Myanmar (Burma). In short, it’s a psychoactive stimulant created from...

October 24, 2017

It’s my first afternoon in Pai, a little town in Northern Thailand and I’m already considering extending my three night stay to five, even though I’ve just arrived. That’s how much I like this place. As I type this, on this late afternoon in October, the rush of a rive...

October 14, 2017

Khao San Road

It’s 3.59am here in Bangkok. There’s a tropical thunderstorm raging over the city and the strikes are so close that barely half a second passes between lightning and thunder. A quick google search reveals we’re here at the tail end of the rainy season – so...

May 27, 2017

Can you feel homesick for a foreign region?

After leaving Southeast Asia I missed it something terrible. I threw myself into my work and spent evenings hunched over my laptop researching travel in South America – more travel to remedy the itchy feet.

Eventually I forgot...

May 11, 2017

Solo travel is very in vogue. Bloggers sing its praises, Instagram is crowded with shots of a lonesome backpacker standing before a vast and moody landscape. Solo travel is nothing new of course, but these days there’s huge gap between the glorified idea of travelling...

March 21, 2017

I’m a firm believer that you should choose the city you want to live in first and then pick the career you’d like to have. When you design your lifestyle first then find the job to suit, your work-life balance will follow.

For the last six months I’ve felt like I’ve bee...

February 13, 2017

Some recollections of my travels across South America remain vivid several years later. Deep blue skies without a cloud, the foggy breath of an alpaca in the frigid air, the smell of bitter but rich Colombian coffee, the multi-coloured textiles hung over balconies… sig...

November 1, 2016

It’s 3.30pm on a stifling Indonesian afternoon and I’m sitting in the tiny but tidy garden of my guesthouse. To my left sits the owner, playing a bamboo xylophone, the high tinkle of notes overlaying the wail of prayers coming from a nearby temple. In front is the main...

October 12, 2016

It’s 7am here in Ubud, Bali and the thermostat is already nudging 25°C.

I’m Solo again, untethered from my life and wandering Bali without a plan. A nod in the direction of my earlier travels, both as a solo backpacker and my return to Southeast Asia. Still carrying the...

October 9, 2016

A solo trip is remembered as a great adventure. The daring scooter rides around rice paddies in Vietnam, or navigating the alleyways of Cuzco, Peru and huffing in the high altitudes. Forgotten are the quiet dinners in the corners of restaurants, where we ate alone, or...

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Here you'll find a collection of my travel stories - tales of confusion and elation from a couple of misfits on the road. They are personal, ocasionally unintelligible and sometimes a little unforgiving of cultural differences.

Go easy on me.

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The Travel Natural

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Hey, I'm Emma

Fuelled by wanderlust, curiosity and a little restlessness, a natural at budget travel, so naturally, a travel blogger. An experienced chef, a proud kiwi, and a burgeoning photographer. And my old friends reading and writing? We go way back.

All content is copyright of The Travel Natural and cannot be used, reproduced or manipulated without my express consent.

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Thailand & Myanmar

Napier, Lake Waikeremoana, Wellington - NZ

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Taranaki - New Zealand

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