The Age of Adrenaline

Photo by Chris Fallows at Apex Expeditions

Wow. It’s been a while. I bet you thought I’d abandoned this site completely. Fear not, if you were even remotely in fear… I am back. It’s been a rough few months, hence the lack of updates.

The good news is, I’ve started doing freelance photography and it’s been going pretty good. I even set up a website. You can check it out here: Please hire me. I’m very broke.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and there are a number of adrenaline-inducing activities on my travel bucketlist. I thought that today, I would share some with you. So without further ado, here are the Top 5 Adrenaline Inducing Activities on Emily’s Bucketlist.

Shark Cage Diving in South Africa

Now, there is one company in particular I’m interested in going with: Apex Expeditions in Cape Town. Great Whites, thanks to Jaws, are my mom’s biggest fear. I’ll admit I wouldn’t like to be eaten alive, or even mistakenly attacked by one, but they’re not high on my list of phobias. That said, I don’t like swimming in the ocean. Period. Too many freaky things in there. Getting back on track, I’m very attracted to the idea of going cage diving. Apex Expeditions (this is in no way sponsored — I’ve never had a sponsorship in my life), checks all the boxes for the ideal experience. It’s owned by Chris and Monique Fallows, who have taken part in many a documentary and shark film. The company is trusted by NatGeo, Discovery, the BBC, and Animal Planet, alas, they’re 100% committed to being eco-friendly; which is of major importance to me.

Skydiving in New Zealand

One of my favourite TV shows to come out of the 2000s was a Canadian docu/reality series called “Departures”. The show followed two young men as they traveled the world, exploring beyond each country’s regular tourist attractions. One of the things that caught my attention was an adrenaline focused episode based in New Zealand. Now, before I watched it, I always associated New Zealand with sheep, the shire, Maori culture, and rugby. Apparently, I was missing a major factor: thrill sports. Bungee jumping, skydiving, rolling down hills in giant hamster balls (apparently called ‘Zorbing’)… you name it — this South Pacific island has it all — and in great supply. The moment I saw Scott and Justin step foot off the plane and into freefall, I knew this is where I wanted to go skydiving for the first time. I know myself well enough to admit I highly doubt I will ever go bungee jumping, but skydiving is something that most definitely intrigues me. One ticket to Queenstown, New Zealand please!

Volcano boarding in Nicaragua

Nicaragua has been on my list since high school. Volcanoes have fascinated me since childhood. I used to go tobogganing all the time. Is this the perfect extreme sport for Emily Koopman? It just might be. Lonely Planet has suggested a place called Bigfoot in León — and it looks to me that it could be the best place in the country to give it a go. The activity was invented by the owner, and when trying something potentially dangerous, you want your guides and company to know their shit.

Whitewater rafting in Zimbabwe

Thankfully, like most of the activities on my list, this one promises you need no experience. I just hope they’re right, because sinking to my death below Victoria Falls isn’t exactly how I pictured myself going… but what a story it would be for my funeral, huh? I don’t know anything about rafting… at all… but they say that the experiences on the Zambezi provide “some of the world’s most scenic grade five rapids”. Not sure how they grade these things, but grade five sounds good to me.

Paragliding in Rio

This last one was a toss up between this, or ziplining in Costa Rica. But ya girl has already been ziplining, so I figured I should have something that I haven’t even remotely touched yet. This is another thing I saw on “Departures”. I never had an interest in it before, but those guys just looked like they were having too much fun. There’s something so peaceful and serene about the idea of gliding above tropical rainforests and seeing a bustling metropolis like Rio from high in the air. I know it’s pretty pricey, but something tells me it would be worth it.

By Emily, on September 15th, 2018, under Personal, Travel // Comments Off on The Age of Adrenaline

Nobody Likes You When You’re 23: 5 Goals Before 24

Yours truly in Times Square, NYC, October 2017

Here’s the thing, I don’t like putting my goals or aspirations down on paper for others to see; the main reason being that if I don’t accomplish them, it’s always embarrassing to have failed. This is the age I aim to stop being embarrassed by the small defeats and just keep working at them until they’ve been accomplished. So, feel free to disregard the title of this post (aside from the Blink-182 reference, take that baby in), as I’m not pushing myself too hard to get it all done before my next birthday. BUT, as the great Michael Scott once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. – Wayne Gretzky”.

1) Get better (or at least make a valiant effort) at preparing and cooking meals. I get to move back in with one of my best friends in March, and she’s going to be working 5 days a week. I’m still in the process of getting a job back in the city (I’ve been living at home for a bit because Vancouver is so dang expensive. So expensive in fact, that it recently beat out Manhattan and San Francisco as the most costly city in North America. Yikes.), but I’ve been interviewing for one that I think I would really enjoy. It’s shift work, and would require me to be away from home for days at a time, sometimes on weekends — but when I would have the chance to be home, I’d be able to prepare meals and try to better myself in general… which is a perfect segway to…

2) Get in shape. For real. No, actually. I have never been, and never will be, that person who finds joy in being active. Yes, I love hiking and I will hike to the ends of the earth, but there is no way — and no one — who will ever convince me to join a fitness class. (Been there, done that, cried a lot in the locker room). There are several contributing factors to my weight fluctuation. I’m not sure I feel comfortable getting into all of them right now, but one of the reasons is my constant battle with depression, anxiety, and an eating disorder. Yes, here’s the written confirmation. I eat a bunch, and then hardly eat anything. It’s a vicious cycle. Sometimes I eat one meal a day, sometimes I sleep all day and skip food entirely, and other days I eat anything and everything in sight; consequently feeling like out-and-out shit and full of self-loathing. I try and I try to get it under control, but it’s one of the most difficult things in my life to take charge of. I do 3 to 5 miles of aerobic walking a day, 7 days a week. I also fall in and out of doing HIIT circuits (basically when I don’t feel like walking) with weights, etc. In short, my life is a mess and I want to try my absolute darndest at being kinder to myself and my body.

3) Write more. When I’m on my medication, I find it more difficult to get the words out on paper. Like, I need to work really hard at it. I envy those who can just decide that they’re going to sit down and pump out 10 pages of a script on Monday evening. I’ve tried weaning off pills to increase creativity in the past, but it caused more problems than it solved. A lot more. It’s devastating to be mentally unable to do something when it’s what you really, really want to do. I figure that there must be a way to train myself to just sit and spew out whatever comes to mind on the page, even if it’s absolute garbage. Rewrites are the divine sanction of the writing world. Being able to complete another feature and a pilot would be a major accomplishment.

4) Change someone’s (or something’s) life. I mean, preferably for the better. Try to get that bad juju out of their hair. In all seriousness, if I can change someone’s life for the better, be it sponsoring a child in need, saving an animal’s life, or simply being the most supportive friend that I can. I would love to travel to developing countries and teach them about sustainable menstrual care, or entertain children in refugee camps, but the money to do will be slightly out of reach, living in the city. I’ll find a way, one of these days. Another downside of city life is that it’s impossible to adopt pets when you’re renting a place. One day I’ll own all of the animals in the whole wide world that need homes.

5) Learn more. I love to learn. Contrary to my opinions on high school, the learning aspect wasn’t so bad. It was the social aspect. One time, I made the mistake of taking French and Spanish in the same semester, which made for the respective teachers asking if I was currently taking the other class (the verbs are very similar, yet different). At the moment, I’m only fluent in French and English, but I would love to learn more. The two I’m most interested in are Arabic and Romanian, but I feel since Romanian is also a Romance language, I may have an easier time grasping it than something as unique as Arabic. I’m still working on memorizing all the world’s capitals too. I have all of them down except the African countries, which are harder than they look. Of course, the best way to learn is through experiences, so traveling is naturally included in this. This year I’ve done pretty well on the travel front. In January 2017, I went to Disneyland, then in May I ventured off to France and Madagascar, in October I was touring Central Park in New York City, and in December, I was dining with ghosts in New Orleans. On the 10th, I’m heading back to Southern California (I was just there for most of January), with 3 wonderful ladies, where we will spend a fabulous Galentine’s Day (and our birthdays!) dining at Goofy’s Kitchen and riding ALL the rides at Disneyland and DCA.

Anyway, here’s to 23.

By Emily, on February 1st, 2018, under Personal // Comments Off on Nobody Likes You When You’re 23: 5 Goals Before 24

Emily Does the Disney Tag!

Me and my boy, Petey

If you know me, or have been following me for any amount of time, you know that saying I’m a massive Disney fan is the understatement of the century. Everything about it just makes me feel… at home. That’s why I’ve taken this random tag from the interwebs (credit to whoever thought ‘er up) and answered some questions. Forgive any errors, it’s 3am.

1) Favorite Character
Peter Pan, I’ve read the book so many times I’ve lost count, nearly worn out the VHS, and used to leave notes for Peter at my window as a child.
2) Favorite Princess
Mulan! But I do love Tiana, Jasmine, and Ariel as well!
3) Favorite Heroine
I love, love, love Elizabeth Swann from the Pirates franchise. What a badass. Kida from Atlantis is up there as well.
4) Favorite Prince
Aladdin, all the way. But Eric is a total babe too.
5) Favorite Hero
I’m gonna go with Hercules on this one.
6) Favorite Animal
All of the Aristocats, Simba, and Lady. Oh shit, and Mr. Big from Zootopia.
7) Favorite Sidekick
Only number 7 and the questions are already killing me. Probably Pascal because I love chameleons (lizards in general), and he’s freakin’ adorable. Honorable mentions go to Genie, Mushu, and the dynamic duo that is Timon & Pumbaa.
8) Favorite Villain
Probably Hades — I’ve never really felt a connection to any of the villains (that’s a good thing, right?), but the god of the underworld got jokes. How about my least favourite villain though, huh? Nobody’s asking, but that would Madam Mim. I know she’s only in the movie for, like, 5 minutes, but to this day she still scares the shit out of me.
9) Favorite Original Character (Minnie, Mickey, Goofy, etc)
I guess Mickey, because he’s the lil dude that started it all.
10) Favorite Love Song
“A Whole New World”. I’m. Obsessed. Second place goes to, “You’ll Be in My Heart”.
11) Favorite Song
Um, how dare you? There are so, so many, but I can’t help but sing along AND feel inspired to work out when “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” comes on, so for the sake of giving a solid answer, there ya go.
12) Favorite Villain Song
“Mother Knows Best” or “Poor Unfortunate Souls”.
13) Least Favorite Song
Honestly, I’m not a fan of any of the songs from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
14) Favorite Kiss
Maybe Tiana and Prince Naveen, but I don’t think I have a favourite.
15) The First Movie You Saw
Not a clue, but if I were to take an educated guess I would assume my mom showed them to be in chronological order, so likely Snow White. If not, then probably The Artistocats.
16) Favorite Classic
If we’re talkin’ animated then obviously Peter Pan, if we’re talkin’ live action then Swiss Family Robinson.
17) Song that always gets stuck in your head
“How Far I’ll Go” and “You’re Welcome”. Every. Single. Time.
18) Favorite Pixar Film
A Bug’s Life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was the weird kid who had a crush on Flik.
19) Least Favorite Pixar Film
Wall-E. He’s a cutie, but I couldn’t finish it.
20) Favorite Sequel
The Lion King: Simba’s Pride hands down.
21) Overrated Movie
I know I should say Frozen, but I’m saying Alice in Wonderland.
22) Underrated Movie
For this one, I was trying to think of films that it’s impossible to find merch for, and I’ve noticed that they’ve started putting some of these characters on shirts, but I’d love to see more stuff with The Fox and the Hound.
23) Movie That Makes You Laugh
All of them?
24) Movie That Makes You Cry
Also all of them?
25) The Saddest Scene From Your Favorite Movie
The ending.
26) Saddest Death
Mufasa and Ray!
27) Favorite Quote
I’m not so much a fan of the movie (though I do love the actual place) but in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo says, “Today is a good day to try,” and I think that’s an excellent motto for anyone battling a mental illness.
28) Favorite Theme Park
I’ve only ever been to the OG Disneyland, but I honestly don’t think any others could compare. It’s where the magic all began.
29) Favorite Theme Attraction
Indiana Jones, Pirates, the Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, or Splash Mountain! In DCA, I love Grizzly River Run, Tower of Terror (RIP), and California Screamin’.
30) Favorite Theme Park Show
I love both the Paint the Night Parade and the Soundsational Parade. When my friend and I were in Disney for 2 weeks straight, we watched Paint the Night every. single. day. Still not sick of it. It also has my favourite Owl City song.

By Emily, on September 12th, 2017, under Personal // Comments Off on Emily Does the Disney Tag!


When I started writing down my bucket list, I realized that it primarily consisted of places I wanted to experience. That’s right, experience. There are so many things I want to do, and almost no country that I don’t want to visit. Here is a list of things I’m insistent that I must do before my day comes.

Jordan, The Middle East: Over the past, maybe 4 or 5 years, I’ve become increasingly interested in everything about The Middle East; but the country that has excited me most is Jordan. I’m the first person to admit that Indiana Jones is one of my favourite franchises, so it shouldn’t be at all surprising that I dream of following in Dr. Jones’ footsteps. The ancient city of Petra is considered one of the “New7Wonders of the World” (def: a campaign started in 2000 to choose Wonders of the World from a selection of 200 existing monuments), and, in my opinion, it’s one of the most fascinating. To visit would be an absolute dream, but there’s something else that might top even that: a hot air balloon ride to watch the sun rise over Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jordan that made my bucket list. That said, as far as this list goes, a hot air balloon ride and a stay at a Bedouin Camp are just the tip of the iceberg.

Romania, Europe: Traveling to what is sometimes called, “The Land Beyond the Forest”, isn’t something on everyone’s bucket list, in fact, the question I get most when I tell people that it’s high on mine is generally, “Why?” I guess the simplest answer is that I love the horror genre, and Romania is home to the historic region of Transylvania, whose villages with fortified churches are 1 out of 7 of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spending Hallowe’en traveling through the small medieval towns and exploring Bran Castle (rumored to be the inspiration for Dracula’s place of residence) is definitely something I must to do. In fact, my friend Kenzie and I are hoping to make the trip in October 2018.

Botswana, Africa: I’ve thought long and hard about the place I most want to travel in Africa (quite honestly, I’d love to visit them all), and though throughout this series you’ll find plenty more of them, Botswana has taken its place in my Top 5. You’ll mostly find that it’s due to the abundance of wildlife, and the 3 different types of safaris you can enjoy in the area. I recently read an article on Lonely Planet which I believe says it best as, “the enchanting Okavango Delta, the rich habitats of the Chobe River valley and the blistering sands of the Kalahari Desert”, each one unique with its game. I’d love to stay at an eco/wildlife lodge at some point.

The Amazon, South America: As previously mentioned, one of my favourite things to do is see the diversity of wildlife the world has to offer, and an Amazon cruise is an incredible way to make the most of it. I don’t have a preference which section of the river I visit, but I have read that in Peru I could check off seeing both sloths AND manatees in close proximity. Thankfully, I think you can find those funny looking pink dolphins everywhere. Ideally, I’d love to travel the entire length, but I doubt I’ll ever make enough bank for that. I also thought it would be fun to volunteer in the jungle; helping with reforestation and animal inventories, but then I remembered that spiders the size of small puppies live there, and decided I would feel much safer sleeping on the boat and only making daily excursions into the rainforest. Spider-sized puppies? Adorable. Where can I get one? Puppy-sized spiders? Fine as long as I don’t have to look at them or be within eyeshot to see it eat a gecko. The idea of camping out in the jungle is exciting to me, but I’m not sure I would get any sleep. Percy Fawcett I will never be. Last but not least, I think it would be enlightening to visit local indigenous families, as well as experience shamanism firsthand.

Latvia, Europe: Again, not a place on everyone’s gap year travel agenda. The interest stems from an essay I wrote in 6th grade. We had to choose a place and write about what the holidays were like in said country. I’ve always liked to do things differently, so while my classmates chose places like France, Italy, or Spain, I decided on Latvia. Essentially, I think it was because I looked a map of Europe and it was the only country I’d never heard of that I could actually pronounce properly. Who knows! Either way, ever since researching and writing that essay (in French), I’ve always wanted to spend Christmas there. They have a massive evergreen decorated in Riga’s town square, which is (allegedly) where the world’s first Christmas tree originated. The food doesn’t appeal to me too much (neither does that in Romania), but I know they make gingerbread and I could live off of that for a couple of weeks!

So there ya have it. It took me a while to decide how to categorize this series, but I think I’ve finally got a handle on it. Expect a post like this every week for the next month or so. (If I have time! I’ve been working on a ton of different projects, plus I currently have my summer day job.)

By Emily, on September 1st, 2017, under Personal, Travel // Comments Off on MY TRAVEL BUCKET LIST: The Top 5


This Week’s Theme: Vampires

What comes to mind when you hear the word “vampire”? Are you of the Twilight generation who picture a sexy, sparkling specimen of a man, or do you envision a spooky old plantation house in Louisiana inhabited by Brad Pitt? Either way, vampires are a huge part of popular culture and something that have always intrigued me. I’m even going to admit to you that when I was 14 I traveled to Forks, Washington to experience the Twilight hype first-hand.

Here are some of my vampire favourites!

The Lost Boys: No vampire list would be complete without this 80’s classic. I have two favourite movies, and this is one of them. The film is full of iconic quotes and memorable characters. It’s also the first of many films to star “The Two Coreys”, Corey Haim and Corey Feldman. IMDb’s simple plot description goes as follows: After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires. “Lost Boys” also stars Kiefer Sutherland, Edward Herrmann, Dianne Wiest, and Jason Patric to name a few. I think I was 12 or 13 when I watched the movie for the first time, and my preteen self wished I had lived through the 80s even more than before. I was head-over-heels in love with Corey Haim. Watching it now, he’s a little young for me, but Jason Patric could get it. When Haim passed away in 2010, I admittedly spent the entire day of school in the counselor’s office. Even though he was old enough to be my dad, I was heartbroken. I’ve since been in touch with both “Frog Brothers” via Twitter — Jamison Newlander even follows me! It killed me and now I’m undead. I don’t know if he remembers but he agreed to be in one of my films and I’m holding him to it. I have the Tweets to prove it!

American Vampire In high school, my friend Jesse lent me the first collection in the “American Vampire” series. Here’s the synopsis (credz to Wikipedia): The series imagines vampires as a population made up of many different secret species, and charts moments of vampire evolution and inter-species conflict throughout history. The focus of the series is a new American bloodline of vampires, born in the American West in the late 19th century. The first of this new species is a notorious outlaw named Skinner Sweet, who wakes from death, after being infected, to find he has become a new kind of vampire, something stronger and faster than what came before, impervious to sunlight, with a new set of strengths and weaknesses. The series goes on to track his movements through various decades of American history—along with the movements of his first and only known progeny: Pearl Jones, a young woman working as a struggling actress in the 1920s silent film industry when she is attacked by a coven of European vampires hiding in Hollywood. Sweet saves her (uncharacteristically) by giving her his blood, thereby turning her into an American vampire like him, at which point she seeks revenge on the classic vampires who attacked her in life. The complicated and charged relationship Jones has with Sweet is another focus of the series.

Vampire Lamp from Amazon: This beauty sits on my night table, right by my coffin bookshelf. It adds a bit of gothic air to my pink, orange, and yellow room. You can pick it up here if your unstaked heart desires.

Romania: Romania is another place I’m dying to visit. I’ve been wanting to go on one of the “Hallowe’en Tours” and spend the holiday in one of the spookiest countries in the world. They have hundreds of incredible castles, medieval villages, and a spellbinding culture. Not only that, but last year I discovered a Romanian boyband which clearly made all of my dreams come true. I’ll bless you by including a music video below. I know it’s not really “vampirey” but trust me, there is always time for boybands. I’m in love with Plaid Boy. I don’t know what they’re saying but I bet it’s romantic!

Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Lipstick in Vampira: I think I’ve mentioned it before, but there is also a shade called “Nosferatu” in her liquid lip which fits with this week’s theme too. Both are lovely — if you’re into gothic colours, her lipsticks are definitely the way to go. The Studded series have 3 different finishes to choose from (all different colours, mind you): matte, shimmer, and metallic.

Well, I’m still off adventuring in Madagascar, but I’ll be back in a few days. So, so excited to update you all!


By Emily, on May 29th, 2017, under Bi-Weekly Faves, Personal // Comments Off on BI-WEEKLY FAVES: Vampires