Guest Interview – Graveyard Shift Travel

Emily & her daughter are ready for their amazing upcoming adventure

This week’s guest post comes from Graveyard Shift Travel. She explains ‘At the very beginning of 2016, in fact–the very first day of the year, I decided that the surest way to address my discontent with my living situation, my job, and the general trajectory of my life was simple: Get rid of the house, sell most of my belongings, and buy 2 one-way tickets to Europe. One for me and one for my daughter. And I did just that. What I was sure was an accumulation of stuff to prove I was hitting all the milestones of adult life, I found out, were the root cause of my discontent. A life less ordinary is what I’m after, and I couldn’t imagine uncovering that if I stayed where I was. Graveyard Shift Travel’s focus has altered. It began as a space to write about finding the wonder in the familiar; seeking out new adventures in your own city, with a focus on Portland, Oregon. But now, that all changes…’

Emily & her daughter are ready for their amazing upcoming adventure
Emily & her daughter are ready for their amazing upcoming adventure

1. What is your name and where do you come from?

My name is Emily and I am from Oregon! I grew up just outside of the university town of Eugene, but I have lived in Portland for 10 years. However, in the next few months I will be calling Europe and Central America home.

2. What sort of traveler are you?

Well, that depends on where I’m going and who I’m traveling with. When I travel solo, I am most definitely a backpacker. I love the idea of carrying everything I own on my back, no rollie-wheeled luggage or designer carry-ons for me! I typically stay in small hostels or pensions, but I will opt for a private room because I have done the shared dorm-room thing more than enough! It is totally worth spending just a little more to have privacy, extra security, and sometimes your own bathroom!

Typically though, I am a part time traveler—I like to go on at least 2 or 3 trips a year.  Last year was awesome for travel. In the spring I went to central Mexico with two girlfriends and we road tripped through the highlands for a week. In summer I went on another road trip with my sister through Las Vegas, Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, then back to Las Vegas to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday! And lastly at the end of summer, my daughter  and I spent a week in the panhandle of Idaho at a relative’s beautiful lake house, deep in the woods and off the grid.

I would also call myself a weekend warrior—traveling to the beach, the mountains, or camping on the weekends. Gotta love the Pacific Northwest for all our outdoor options!

But as you can tell, I LOVE road trips and I also enjoy having travel companions. This August (2016) my daughter, who will be 9 years old soon, and I are embarking on a year abroad, traveling and volunteering through Europe and Central America, so that will make us full-time travelers!

3. How do you fund your traveling?

Usually, I am able to fund 1 or 2 major trips a year with my tax returns. I also make a habit of putting money into savings every pay check that is specifically for travel. For this upcoming year abroad with my daughter, we made some big changes. We downsized our housing and our material possessions, selling a lot of what we were not using. Anything that we are keeping is hanging out in a corner in my parent’s garage {thanks guys!} To save for this trip I am working  2 jobs, 7 days a week. It’s rough, but not permanent, and it is thrilling to see the travel fund add up so quickly. So the long short of it: HUSTLE.

4. Where is the best place you have ever been and why?

Costa Rica is the first foreign country I ever traveled to when I was 18 years old, and I ended up moving back and living there for a year. Cuba was a humbling experience; the country vibrates with energy! But out of all the countries I have traveled to, I think Mexico has a solid hold on my heart. I have been there 4 times, each time to a different state or region and it never disappoints. The people are passionate, the food is unparalleled, and the biodiversity of each region is unimaginable. I can definitely see myself choosing to live in Mexico in the future.

5. Where is the worst place you have been and why?

Miami, Florida.

Did I answer that question too quickly?? Don’t get me wrong the beaches, the food, the vibe are all good, but I detested the urban sprawl of the city into the suburbs and into the neighborhoods. Also the lack of services for the homeless and recidivists is appalling. For such a notoriously lavish city, the class divide was very apparent.

6. Bucket List top 3:

I would like to rename the bucket list to the “To Do List” 🙂

With that in mind, here are the top to-do’s  on my list right now: 1) Travel abroad continuously for 1 year, specifically through Europe—oh snap! I guess I can cross that one off the list soon! 2) Take a very long journey on the Trans-Siberian Railway 3) Visit more U.S. National Parks. Our National Parks system turned 100 this year so there are a bunch of awesome events happening this year to celebrate!

7. What 3 essentials do you always travel with?

1) A smart phone—an easy way to take pictures and stay connected when and where there is wifi. FB isn’t gonna update itself, people!  2) A Swiss Army Knife—because you don’t know when you will need to defend yourself or open a bottle of wine. 3) A water bottle—like a Nalgene or Contigo. Staying hydrated is key!

8. What makes you happy and why?

Being outside makes me happy. Eating cheese also makes me happy. Playing soccer with my daughter, making campfires, reading poetry in Spanish. Thinking about our upcoming trip abroad makes my face hurt- from- smiling- so- hard- happy. Why? Because these are all small moments that make up a rich life experience.

9. How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

I have been blogging at my current website for over a year. Just recently I came across 2 other platforms I was using previously–what seems like a million years ago—one platform I used as a virtual travel journal to share my experiences while volunteering in Peru back in 2005ish, and the other was on blogspot around 2008 where I posted mostly poems and song lyrics, and other musings. It’s pretty damn funny to look back on!

I started Graveyard Shift Travel because I needed an outlet for my creativity which comes in the form of writing about experiences- mundane or extraordinary.

I wanted to write for the people who were travel junkies in their previous life who now find themselves in very adult type scenarios including a mortgage or a kid, full time corporate jobs, etc, etc. I wanted to see if the travel high we get from new experiences and locations could be replicated at home, in our own communities. I hoped to urge people to get out and explore their neighborhood and to actively seek out adventure close by. You don’t have to be bouncing through time zones to have a unique travel experience!

10. What makes your blog unique and why should people read it?

The face of Graveyard Shift Travel is changing, and I couldn’t be more excited! Because my daughter and I are leaving in August for a year of travel, I want to shift the focus to highlight the volunteer work we will be doing, the families we are staying with, what it looks like to go to school virtually for a year while traveling, and I want to create a space connecting other families who are traveling or who have decided to move abroad. Lots of fun stuff!

Also, I want to include my daughter’s unique experience in all this too, so we will be creating a video series on our youtube channel, and she can ‘kidsplain’ about travel to all us adults. So if you like anything to do with travel, reading about super cool people and families who are shaking up the status quo , and probably some funny social media shares and many references to cheese, then by all means, you are invited to follow along on our journey!

From ESLT – thank you Emily for taking the time to answer our questions. Wow what an amazing adventure you and your daughter have ahead of you. I can’t wait to read all about it especially anything cheese related 🙂 Have a blast & safe travels.

You can also find Graveyard Shift Travel on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn


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