Meet Emily

The Basics:

A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Emily has a love for travel and a knack for navigating sticky situations.

Sydney to Cairns Road Trip

Whether she’s hopelessly lost in Houston (her hometown, #awkward), blindly following her GPS through a Venetian construction site well past midnight, or straight-up lying to a British bus driver about how many tickets she’s holding — she still manages to steer her way to a happy ending with the beauty and grace of Miss United States.

She’s adventurous. She’s hilarious. She’s a Trip.

WIRES Sydney

She’s all about making travel less scary and more accessible for young women. Emily is proudly an expert on working holidays, being an American in Australia, navigating study abroad, and more.

Join in the fun here.

The Backstory:

I’m originally from Katy, Texas which is a suburb of Houston. It’s a major metropolitan area, as I spend most of my travels explaining. It’s why I don’t really have a Southern accent. And I didn’t grow up on a farm or ride horses to school, I promise.

I loved reading growing up. I loved the Roman Empire. I used to dream of time-traveling to ancient Egypt, strolling the streets of London, or seeing Machu Pichu with my very own eyes.

I would watch East Enders at 10pm each Sunday on PBS because I was so desperate to hear British accents and see what life was like in the UK. But in my world at that time, things like that were not possible. They were too expensive and too far away. They were only dreams.

Sydney to Cairns road trip

I also wanted to go to Yale University since I was eight (not because of Rory Gilmore, but because I was a very pretentious third grader who was already reading Jane Austen and understanding none of it), but after spending my high school years working my tail off to get there, I didn’t get in.

It was a great lesson in rejection and redirection. I did, however, land myself at Mount Holyoke College. Or the “Western Massachusetts Marxist Lesbian Indoctrination Camp,” as Tucker Carlson likes to call it. As an undergrad, some work I did was mentioned by Bill Mahr and Rush Limbaugh. They weren’t fans of me, nor I of them, but my dad who watches both was still proud his daughter was kicking up dust.

mount holyoke college 2 year reunion

I majored in English Literature and Ancient Studies (like classics, but more focused on history, art, and politics rather than ancient languages) at school. I really liked Project: Theatre and poking around the art museum.

I had been to Mexican border towns a few times growing up and the summer after my freshman year at Mount Holyoke, had the wild opportunity to help a family I was babysitting for at the time move to Norway. The dad’s oil company paid for everything. That was the turning point for me. Suddenly those far-off lands of my childhood dreams were within reach. I was hooked on travel.

Emily in Italy:

To scratch the travel itch, I did the quintessential thing that all girlies studying at New England liberal arts colleges do: the Junior Year Abroad Program.

Best view in Rome

The only thing was I couldn’t afford it. Luckily, Moho gave me a Laurel Fellowship to study abroad in Rome in the spring of my junior year. This scholarship changed the course of my life. After that semester, I knew that as much as I love Texas and know that I’ll end up there eventually, it wasn’t where I belong right now.

I loved my time at Mount Holyoke and feel like my education and the environment I received it in made me brave enough to live how I live: in the moment, at my own pace, and chasing adventure after adventure.

Things to do in Western Mass Mount Holyoke

After graduation, I moved home. I was 22 and found myself stuck in tedious office jobs working 50-60 hours a week while paying off my student debt. I thought, “This can’t be it. I’m too young to be this bored already.” I’m thankful for that season of my life because I became debt-free and have been ever since.

But I promised myself that from then on, I would focus on building a life for myself and not a career. That I would work to make money to do what I want to do, but that my occupation would never be why I wake up in the morning or where I found my worth.

Emily in Australia

So I started applying for jobs abroad. I applied to work at my old study abroad campus, as an international au pair, and even a missionary’s assistant. I kept getting knocked back. It wasn’t my favorite time because I felt really lonely, lost in my life, and stuck.

Cairns to Sydney Road trip

More rejection and redirection.

But then I had a breakthrough in the working holiday program. At 24, I bought a one-way ticket to Sydney and decide to wing it.

And oh, did it work out!

While there, I had two uniquely Australian jobs to qualify for visa extension privileges. The first was working at a scuba diving company in Cairns and spending my days off diving the Great Barrier Reef, exploring the Daintree Rainforest, and eating lychee on the beach. The second was working at the head office in Sydney for WIRES (a New South Wales wildlife rescue organization) on bushfire relief projects for the billions of critters impacted during the horrendous fires of 2019 and 2020.

I lived in Australia for three years and visit every chance I can get. I’m always so shocked that Americans can participate in the working holiday program at all because we don’t have something that Aussies can do here.

BUT, it’s my life’s mission to get as many Americans on a plane down under as possible. Whether it’s just for a holiday, or for a gap year of their own.

Emily in New Zealand:

These days I’m in New Zealand doing the working holiday program. I’m a blogger, freelancer writer (about food and real estate, of all things lol), and social media specialist.

I’m happy you’re here 🙂 If you need anything, let me know.


east coast australia

Food: Mexican.

Country: Italy.

Boys: Norwegian (especially those three she saw on a bus in Stavanger in 2012. If you’re reading this Thor 1, 2, and 3…she loves you.)

Type of Joke: Knock Knock.

1 Comment

  1. July 17, 2015 / 8:49 PM

    Hi Emily, hilarious and very entertaining about page. Can’t wait to see your posts on London and travels.