Travel « Emily Koopman



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

TRAVEL: Madagascar Packing List, Expenses + MORE!

Hello my loves!

As many of you know, I’m heading to Madagascar next month and I’ve admittedly already started packing! I wanted to share a little bit about my trip plans with you. By trial and error, I’ll let you know how things go. I plan to make a post with advice when I get home to (hopefully!) make your trip a tad easier. I’ll also update if I should have/should not have packed a certain item, etc.

May – early November is Madagascar’s dry season which means temperatures will be considerably lower (thank goodness). So I’ve packed accordingly.


♢ 4 (100% cotton) t-shirts
♢ 1 long sleeved shirt
♢ 1 pair of flowy elastic cuffed pants
♢ 1 pair of exercise leggings
♢ 1 pair of shorts
♢ 1 long skirt
♢ Bathing suit
♢ Mac in a Sac rain jacket
♢ Sun hat
♢ Hiking shoes
♢ Waterproof shoes
♢ Single pair of earrings

*Will be wearing sweatpants and sweater on all flights because they are the bulkiest items and I am not at all a glamorous flyer.

Read More »

By Emily, on April 28th, 2017, under Travel // Comments Off on TRAVEL: Madagascar Packing List, Expenses + MORE!

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: J.M. Barrie’s Birthplace, Scotland, 2001

My friend Eilidh and some orphan waif in the room where ‘Peter Pan’ author J.M. Barrie was born

Shortly after I turned 6, some family friends of ours took my mom and I with them to Scotland. This was my first major trip out of North America. We hit all the hot spots, stayed overnight in haunted castles (Eilidh and I were the original Sam and Dean, y’know), and even made a pit stop outside Aleister Crowley’s former Loch Ness home. One of my favourite memories (from what I can remember of it anyway) was spending some time at J.M. Barrie’s birthplace in Kirriemuir. Barrie is the author of Peter Pan, one of my favourite books, and all-time favourite Disney film. I made my mom dig out her journal (my writing wasn’t exactly legible back then), about the day we spent there. I’m probably going to do these “Flashback Fridays” every so often. Since I’m currently reminiscing of last year’s month long trip to Los Angeles and Disneyland, I figured why not start it off with this pre-Disney experience.

Sunday, April 29th 2001

Once everyone was up, we got into Kathleen’s car and drove exactly one hour to Glamis Castle. It was great – tour only through the public portion of the castle, and then a wander through the shops and gardens – in between drenching showers… Had an expensive soup and sandwich in the old kitchen and after about 3½ hours we left Kirriemuir. Spent about half an hour going through J.M. Barrie’s birthplace, a tiny weaver’s cottage that he was brought up in with 8 brothers and sisters. The washhouse in the back was his model for the “Wendy House”; his dog “Porthos” was “Nana” and his brother that died at 13 was “the boy who never grew up”.

We took the scenic route back to Cults – through heather covered hills, over rushing burns (and the River Esk), and around shadowy glens. Got back about 5:30pm and I gave Emily a bowl of cereal and some fruit and put her to put. Good thing – rest of us didn’t eat until after 8:00.

By Emily, on March 17th, 2017, under Flashback Friday, Personal, Travel // Comments Off on FLASHBACK FRIDAY: J.M. Barrie’s Birthplace, Scotland, 2001

California Dreamin’ and stuff

Promotional still from my new NBC show “Friends”, 2013

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m finally heading to California for a month to look at different opportunities there… and have a little bit of fun. I’ll be in the Los Angeles and Anaheim area from March 9th – 30th, and I’m pretty damn excited about it. There is literally no happier place than Disneyland, and gosh darn it, I will spending 12 days there. Then I’m off to Hollywood for the rest of the trip. My friend Blake may be joining me on this adventure, which will make it 110x better.

In other news, I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favourite singers, Mr. Scott Helman a couple of nights ago. He was just as charming as I gathered he was from our interview last December. He’s not only a genuinely nice dude, but he’s a tried-and-true talent. I really hope I get to work with him someday.

ALSO: I am officially verified on Facebook which is incredibly cool. Now I just have to do something worthwhile of being verified. I guess they liked my website. My page has approximately 0 likes, so you can go like it if you want! I’ll like you a lot if you do it. Here’s the link.

Anyway, hope all is well with everyone, and I probably have some new interviews coming up — so stay tuned!


By Emily, on November 9th, 2015, under Blog, Personal, Scott Helman, Travel // Comments Off on California Dreamin’ and stuff