Karina Chronicles

Frockstar™: Emily-Ann Elliott of The Grownup Gap Year

Name: Emily-Ann Elliott
Age: 30
Location: UK
Online homes: The Grownup Gap Year // Twitter // Facebook

Favorite Karina dress: I’m new to the Karina brand but love the look of The Audrey – it’s so cute and girly, perfect for travelling!

What are your every day, must-reads, online or off?
I’m a journalist so I have to begin my day with a flick through the newspapers – I hate not knowing what’s going on in the world! I love reading about other people’s travels so I like to check out blogs like Elle Croft and Cookie Sound. If I’m in the mood for a sweet treat then I visit the gorgeous The Vagabond Baker blog and every Monday I read my friend’s brilliant blog about being a mum: You Can Take Her Home Now. I also love books and am currently reading Paul Theroux’s Ghost Train to the Eastern Star for the Twitter book club I set up which uses the hashtag #travelbookclub.

Why is long term travel important for all of us – not just 20-somethings?
For me travel is about exploring new places, meeting new people and experiencing things you would never get the chance to experience back at home. I think that sometimes as we get older we get caught up in day to day life and we don’t take the time to slow down and look around us. As I approached the last year of my 20s I decided that I wanted it to be a big adventure. So I planned my 30b430 trip, doing 30 things around the world I’d always wanted to do. During the course of nine months I travelled through nine countries, crossing things off my list including trekking the Inca Trial in Peru, diving in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and standing on the Great Wall of China. Having worked for a number of years beforehand, I think I appreciated the trip so much more than I did when I travelled in my teens. Since returning home I’ve set up The Grown Up Gap Year blog as I strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to travel – no matter what their age.

Can you tell us three things that you learned after traveling for so long?
I think the biggest one is to trust in the kindness of strangers. We’re often led to believe that the world is a frightening place; that bad people lurk around every corner. But I have lost count of the number of times when I have been helped out by strangers – from little old ladies in Japan to an entire family in Colombia. I’ve also learnt that you can live quite simply when you take away all of the things you think you need. When you’re travelling, each day is broken down into three simple questions: Where am I going? How am I going to get there? Where will I sleep tonight? Oh, and I can now pack a backpack in three minutes flat!

If you could give your 16 year old self advice, what would you say?
A question I read recently, and one I now try to live by is: What would you do if you weren’t scared about what other people would say? I think I’d tell my 16 year old self that this is a good way to make choices in life, as it’s amazing how simple decisions become when you stop worrying about what other people will think.

Your perfect day. What would it look like?
It would begin by waking up in a city I’d never been to before, enjoying a leisurely breakfast and then setting out to explore. I’d spend the day seeing the sights, taking photographs and talking to the locals. Food is always an important part of my trip so I’d get a good recommendation for dinner and spend the evening enjoying a nice meal, with good company.

Thanks so much for sharing, Emily-Ann!

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