Can you be a world traveler but not a tourist?

Emma Gaffney thisworldexists

Born in the small town of Balerno, Scotland, Emma Gaffney had a hunch there was more to this world. After graduating with an English Literature degree from Dundee University, Emma knew returning home was not an option. Instead, she boarded a plane, and took her first international flight, solo, and began teaching in Seoul, South Korea.

"I remember before I left all the tales I'd been told about 'culture shock' and how much I would suffer. As soon as I arrived in a foreign land, I felt more at home than I ever did in Balerno."

Torres del Paine patagonia thisworldexists

Since taking that first leap, Emma hasn't looked back. She found herself backpacking alone in South East Asia, China, Japan, and back to Korea. Her and her girlfriend then organized a five week road trip, covering over 7,500 miles, all through the United States.

"The constant new sights, smells, and sounds implored me. I just couldn't get enough."

Chile hiking thisworldexists

However, Emma felt the tourist route wasn't fit for her. She really wanted to spend some time in each location, and dive into each countries culture. Emma began exploring options through, and became a volunteer. Since, she has worked various jobs all over Central and South America. Currently, Emma is telling her story from a hostel in Bolivia.

"I am extremely passionate about finding out what else is out there. I want to experience all different ways of life instead of just settling on one. When I visit a new place, I rarely view it from a touristic stand point, but instead I think to myself: could I live here?"

Utah slot canyons emma gaffney thisworldexists

Traveling allows one to learn just how diverse our planet is. The adventures change us immensely, and teach us the importance of preservation. We are so pleased to welcome Emma to the thisworldexists adventure family and look forward to her countless experiences that we will share in the coming years.

Find more of Emma's adventures on Instagram here.


Read about why thisworldexists was started here.