These Avid Adventurers & Full Time Travel Bloggers Explore The World In Search Of The Best Hidden Treasures
What is GAFFL?

GAFFL connects solo travelers with similar itineraries to explore destinations together. Whether you are backpacking in Asia, road tripping in Australia, or exploring national parks in the US, simply type the destination you are traveling to, find travelers who are going there at the same time as you, connect with them, plan trips, meet, and travel together.

GAFFL
30th Sep | 10 min read

Table of Contents

    At GAFFL, we love to publish inspiring travel stories from adventurers around the world. You can connect with travelers from 170+ countries on GAFFL, meet up, and explore destinations together.

    In this post, we're covering Emily and her fiancé, Sean, who travel the world in search of the best-hidden treasures and are constantly brainstorming new ideas for their travel blog, Emily Embarks. This adventurous couple is always looking for their next adventure as avid travelers and full-time travel bloggers. Follow them on Instagram to keep up with their latest adventures! 

    Paragliding - Chamonix, France

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    How We Started Traveling & Why We Continue To Do It

    After a childhood family vacation to Utah and a mother-daughter trip to New Mexico at the age of 8, I knew I needed to see the world. I began studying geographic locations and planning my trips abroad from a young age. At the age of 18, I was invited to a wedding in Ireland with Sean, and that was our first trip abroad as a couple.

    Bruges, Belgium

    Ever since we got that taste of international travel together, we haven’t stopped seeking our next adventure! We continue traveling because we both love getting immersed in different cultures, learning different languages, tasting different cuisine, and experiencing a piece of the unknown. We have found that traveling brings us closer together and it’s the ultimate way of educating ourselves and silencing the myths of cultures around the world. 

    How We Decide Where To Travel Next

    A big part of choosing my next destination is based on flight fares and seasons. We typically try to travel on a budget, so if I see cheap flights to a country that’s on my travel list, you can practically guarantee I’m going to book it! Especially if it happens to be during the shoulder season, there’s no holding me back when it comes to scoring good travel deals.

    How We Plan Out Our Trips

    Our trips range from 1-3 weeks, on average. Once we have our flights in place, I get to research the best-hidden gems and ultimate excursions in the region. We are big adventure travelers, so hiking, kayaking, paragliding, snorkeling, camping, snowshoeing, skiing, and other exciting activities are always on our radar!

    After we’ve chosen our route and activities, we ensure we have everything we need for the trip. We are “carry-on only” travelers, so we try to pack minimally and ensure everything can fit into a backpack or carry-on suitcase.

    Barcelona, Spain

    Amazing & Unique Experiences In Western Europe

    Ever since I was young, the thought of seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle just seemed magical to me. I wanted to explore everything from the iconic landmarks and cities to the rural villages in the countryside of this diverse region.

    Nowhere else in the world can you find medieval villages, sun-swept beaches, world-famous wineries, and cobblestone-street covered cities all within just a couple of hours of each other like you can in Europe! Western Europe is one of the most stunning regions in the world with endless sites to see and experiences to be had. You could live there for years and never see everything there is to see.

    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    Our Favorite Travel Memories Of Meeting New People & Exploring With Locals

    On a recent trip to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, we met some Ecuadorian locals and fellow Americans on a snorkeling tour and our group became inseparable. Some of them only spoke Spanish, some spoke fluent Spanish and English, and Sean was able to communicate with the two of us with basic high-school Spanish.

    Boca do Inferno, Cascais, Portugal

    We spent a few hours on a snorkeling tour together and later we met up in the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island where we spent the evening bouncing between bars and dancing to Latin music! It was easily one of our favorite memories from traveling and we still keep in touch over social media and are making plans to reconnect with those in the group who were from the U.S.

    Our Inspiration For Starting A Blog

    When I was in college studying Health Sciences and Biology, something didn’t feel right. I knew I enjoyed the subject, but I was always getting sidetracked (both in my dorm room and in-class) researching flights and studying different countries around the world. I wanted nothing more than to quit school and just travel!

    So, to help curb this idea, I started my travel blog. This gave me an outlet to talk to like-minded travelers and share my exciting stories from abroad!

    After I graduated, I climbed the ladder in the business world until one day when I put in a 4-month notice to start living my dream. I quit my 9-5 job and began travel blogging full time and have never been happier!

    Budapest, Hungary

    Now, I help my readers by building detailed itineraries, preparing full city guides, providing recommendations on accommodations, how to book flights, the best activities in an area, and even how to get off the beaten path and away from other tourists. My blog’s mission is to help the everyday traveler plan and book exciting vacations with ease. I want to help people travel smarter and give them the opportunities to gain lifelong experiences and memories.

    Countries We've Visited

    So far, I have traveled to 16 countries and counting. I am leaving for the United Arab Emirates and Kyrgyzstan in just one week, and have trips booked for Alaska, Germany, and South Africa in the next couple of months, as well.

    Alaska

    So far, my most exciting adventures around the world would be paragliding in Chamonix, France, getting up close and personal with grizzly bears at Katmai National Park in Alaska, and snorkeling with white-tip reef sharks in the Galapagos Islands.

    While I do have a “travel list”, I don’t have any bucket list destinations. For me, the term “bucket list” gives the idea that the destination will be too hard or too expensive to get to. I believe there is always a way to go to the places you dream of and everywhere is within reach if you are willing to put in the effort. I would say that the destinations at the top of my travel list are India, the Philippines, Tanzania, and Peru!

    How We Think GAFFL Benefits Solo Travelers

    GAFFL is an amazing idea that I only wish I had thought of, as well! Having backpacked across 9 different countries in Europe, I would have loved to have had the option of meeting new friends this way.

    Today, with the use of GAFFL, solo travelers will have a far easier time finding friends to tag along with on their journey. It’s also a great way of finding trusty buddies to share rooms and ride shares with if you’re looking to stay on a budget.

    We typically don’t use many apps while traveling, but we are so excited to try GAFFL!

    An Interesting Travel Story

    On a train trip from Belgium to the Netherlands, our train got delayed so we decided to jump on another train headed for Amsterdam. The catch: we had to sit on the floor of the luggage cart with several rolling suitcases sliding side to side! This made for quite the journey.

    We also took a beer bath in Prague, went paragliding off the highest mountain in the Alps (Mont Blanc) after we took the highest ascending cable car in the world in France, traveled 19 hours roundtrip to the coveted Brooks Falls in Alaska to see wild grizzly bears, hiked the second largest active volcano crater in the world on Isabela Island in the Galápagos Islands, and are starting a 2.5-week trek through the countryside of Kyrgyzstan in the coming weeks!

    Paragliding in Chamonix, France

    How We Keep Our Trip Costs Under Control

    Since we started traveling as young college students, sticking to a budget has always been in the back of our minds. When we travel, we usually opt to eat at food trucks and cafes instead of sit-down restaurants. We also walk excessively, rent bikes, or take advantage of public transportation when it’s available.

    As for accommodations, we typically book Airbnb and mid-range hotels which we often get for free with the use of miles and points built upon our travel credit cards. We never pay for expensive hotels and we use our credit cards to get points every chance we get. We splurge on fun activities like paragliding from time to time, but it’s on the rarer occasion that this happens.

    We have also found that it is far cheaper to travel internationally for longer and to visit more countries per trip, so we book multi-country trips most often. I am also in the process of gaining partnerships with travel companies abroad, so I will be joining some free sponsored trips in the future!

    Park Guell, Barcelona, Spain

    How We Balance Our Work & Travel Schedules

    One of my favorite perks of being a travel blogger is I can work from anywhere that has a good Wi-Fi connection. It’s easy to bring my laptop for the journey and dedicate specific days of my trip to getting some work done. We do prioritize sightseeing and adventure days, as well, but it’s easy to work from my laptop or even on my phone when I’m en route to a new destination.

    Prague, Czech Republic

    Advice For Travelers Who Want To Visit Western Europe

    If you’re traveling to Western Europe for the first time, my first piece of advice is to avoid trying to squeeze too much into a short time frame. The region is massive, and while it is easy to get around, each country has so much to offer.

    Bartolomé Island, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

    Don’t get caught up trying to visit 3 countries in one week! Instead, do your research on each country that you hope to visit and write down everything that you want to see and do. This will help you choose which countries match your preferences and will allow you ample time to enjoy your vacation. Always plan on returning to a region instead of rushing to see everything at once! It is possible to go back, so don’t worry if you don’t get to see everything that you had on your list.

    Things We Wish We'd Known Before We Started Traveling

    I wish I had known how easy it was to book a flight. It’s as easy as picking out a destination and clicking “book”! If I had known how capable I was of planning and booking a trip abroad on my own, I probably would have started traveling internationally far younger than 18.

    Over the years, I have learned that traveling opens your eyes to things you never knew existed. Traveling abroad makes you realize the differences in our cultures, our languages, our food, and our governments, but in the end, people are the same all over the world!

    We all have the same goals, we laugh at the same jokes, and we enjoy the same activities. It’s a beautiful thing to connect with people you may have never crossed paths with if you hadn’t booked that flight. 


    Other uplifting stories worth checking out! 

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