My travel inspiration

When traveler extraordinaire A Lady in London asked me to share my travel inspirations for the easyJet Holidays Inspiration Initiative, I was a bit stumped. You see, I’m in the enviable position of having traveled almost literally my entire life. I took my first flight at the tender age of 6 weeks old, so there was no light bulb moment for me when I discovered travel – travel discovered me before I was even aware of it.

Ipanema beach

But I’ve had a think, and I’ve realized that inspiration doesn’t have to be what sets you on a path. Rather, it can be what keeps you on that path or what causes you to take a slight turn. And when you consider that I live in Chile and write a travel blog, two things I never would have imagined doing back before that fateful study abroad trip, I think it’s fair to say that I’ve had my fair share of slight bends in the road.


My parents have definitely been my major travel inspiration. They met on a plane in Central America while my American mom was living in Guatemala and my English dad was working in Latin America – it’s in my blood! I always thought my lifestyle was pretty normal growing up, helped by the fact that I come from a wealthy part of the San Francisco Bay Area where international trips were the norm for my classmates. Now of course I see that I am very lucky that my parents not only gave me great childhood memories around the globe but that my dad doesn’t think I’m crazy for living in Chile.


The experience of studying abroad – something I always knew I’d do thanks to my mom, who spent her junior year in France – really solidified my travel desires. Suddenly I had relative freedom and was picking and planning my own trips. Knowing I had only 6 months in Chile (or so I thought…), I took advantage of my location and went to iconic places like Buenos Aires, Machu Picchu and Rio de Janeiro. It was the first time I’d traveled so much in such a short period of time, and I couldn’t get enough.



Croatia was the start of my adult travels. Something about the combination of history in Dubrovnik, beautiful coastline off Hvar Island and the overall feeling that I was every so slightly off the Western European tourist path (it was 2006, I was 20, and Croatia seemed out-there, ok?) sparked my desire to discover more of the world. I don’t want to knock mainstream destinations because hey, there’s a reason why everyone dreams of London and Paris. They’re great cities, even if they are overrun with tourists like me. But more often than not, the places that really make me excited these days are just a bit less typical.


Honestly, I think I’m in the thick of the most inspirational point in my travel life so far. I’ve become aware of the facts that we might not live in Chile forever, and we might want to have kids someday. No, neither of those things is an announcement. Just a realization that “a couple years” speeds right by, and if I don’t make a point to go now, I’ll wake up in 2015 having never left Santiago.

View of Santiago, Chile

So without working myself into a frenzy, I’ve always got that bit of pressure in the back of my mind and am looking for chances to see somewhere new. Hence Cuba in September and a short-list of other must-see sites to visit just as soon as Rodolfo gets a bit of free time.


I’m not sure who’s been tagged in this one by now, but I’d love to hear from the following five people about what makes them tick travel:

The Jungle Princess
Kyle Hepp
Camels and Chocolate
Inspiring Travellers
Over Yonderlust

I didn’t mention you? Do it anyway, and leave me a comment linking to your own inspirations – I’d love to hear about what gets you out of your house and on the road.

20 Responses to “My travel inspiration”

  1. […] from: Don't Call Me Gringa » Blog Archive » My travel inspiration Comments […]

  2. Andrea says:

    Thanks for the nomination =)

    It’s interesting how your choices change when you think about having kids, isn’t it? We were just saying last night about how different our decisions would be if we were not planning to start a family.

    I was going to share how my parents were part of my influence for travel but I guess I’ll tell you about that in my own post now =)

    • Emily says:

      Well you guys are much closer to hopefully having babies than we are, but even when I think about having kids in 5 years, 5 years isn’t THAT long to do some of the bigger trips we’ve got on our wish list when you consider that we tend to do one big non-US/UK trip a year. So we’ve got to get cracking unless we want to wait until we’re 40 for babies!

  3. courtney says:

    nice, em! i had no idea that’s how your parents met or that they were living internationally as well–it’s definitely in your blood :) i agree with you that growing up in the Bay Area, people didn’t think twice about traveling internationally. in comparing my experiences with colin and living in texas, most of the people around me are the majority of the country who don’t have a passport. definitely a sharp contrast… glad to hear you’re doing well!

    • Emily says:

      Oh hi, you! Good to hear from you.

      Even college in LA was an eye-opener for me in the sense of realizing I had smart, culturally educated friends who didn’t even have passports. That was definitely not the case where we grew up. I can imagine that Texas has been quite the change in that sense!

  4. Ditto to the parents part…my mom broke up with Jimmy Buffet when she was 21 to move to Europe and have a carefree life. I’ve pretty much followed in her footsteps, stage by stage (minus the Buffet part), from moving to Europe, to moving to NYC, to moving to SF, to moving back to my hometown =)

    • Emily says:

      Really?! That’s a fun little piece of family history!

      It sounds like we both grew up thinking it was perfectly normal to traipse around the globe. Considering how out-there some people think my lifestyle is in 2012, I can only imagine the comments our parents got back then when they announced they were moving to a different continent with only airmail and the occasional expensive phone call to keep in touch.

  5. Cata says:

    Great story about your parents!!! It is def in ur genes :-) most of my friends think I travel too much but I don’t think I do it too often. I used to do a lot of wknd trips bc i got bored in tampa and i have friends in different cities. Andre loves to travel but now plane tickets are not as cheap as they used to be!! Plus he is the grown up that wants to buy a house and do all the things that we are supposed to do. I don’t think that we want kids so I keep thinking that we will do one big trip per year plus one short one to Colombia and Ecuador.

    • Emily says:

      You guys live in such a great location to be able to have short trips home and then save vacation time for a longer trip somewhere else, I’m jealous! That is one of the downsides of Santiago, it just takes forever to get anywhere.

      And yes, I’ve definitely noticed the increase in airplane ticket prices – dislike.

  6. I think I owe my travel bug to my parents. But it was not until I took my first international trip on my own after college that I realized how much I love to travel.

  7. Ayngelina says:

    Cuba in September? How fantastic.

  8. Kyle says:

    Ooooh, I’ll do it!

  9. "Adriana" Rosario says:

    Em, I just cruised by your blog to see if you had any 411 on Rio but I got caught up on this post because it reminded me of Lucie. She took her first flight at 6 months old, became an AAdvantage Gold member at 2, visited over 20 countries before she turned 5, and in July will have hit every continent (except Antarctica). I hope that I am as much as an inspiration to her as your parents have been to you and I’ll be thrilled if she maintains the same ganas to travel as you have. What a lovely post for both the inspired and the inspirers.

    pd. tengo celos de tu viaje cubano :(
    pdd. Rio will have to do, off to look for that post!

    • Emily says:

      Lucie and I are going to become best buds. Except for that fact that I’m jealous of her because I’ve only been to 3 continents – I have some catching up to do!

  10. Jemma says:

    This made me think about what my travel inspiration is. :)

    The story about your parents is great. They met on a plane and now they have a daughter who loves traveling. It’s really in your blood.

    • Emily in Chile says:

      For sure! I take very little credit for my decision to live in Latin America…just following in the family footsteps over here.

  11. […] Don’t call me Gringa – Having travelled all her life Emily as never been much in need of inspiration, but she still finds it everywhere she looks, from her parents to Croatia to her current life in Chile. […]

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