766 messages
active 12 mins ago

Emily Strauss

I’m an avid nature lover who uses every excuse I can to get out and hike, swim, bike or climb. Experiencing the natural beauty of a destination is always one of my top priorities when traveling. I also believe in scaring myself often. Whether it’s skydiving or jumping off waterfalls, I’ve always found that a little adrenaline is good for my overall physical and mental health.

I'm forever on the lookout for authentic experiences and new perspectives. I want to get to the heart of local cultures and learn about their history, as well as their modern lifestyles. Before travel and I were introduced, food was my first love! So one of my favorite side effects of an active travel style is the extra calories it makes room for. There are so many meals I’ve had while traveling that I still melt at the memory of, so making the most of every meal is an essential part of any trip for me.

How did you get involved in travel?

"As one of 9 kids, I didn’t grow up traveling. I grew up in Central Texas dreaming about all of the beautiful places I wanted to see. My first 3 trips out of the U.S. were voluntourism trips. I got to see Mexico, Trinidad and Costa Rica while being fully immersed in the every day lives of the locals. Those trips have very much shaped my view of what travel can be, and it’s that vision that has lead me to being a travel specialist. I’ve experienced first hand the frustration that can come with spending countless hours researching, only to end up in tourist traps, completely disconnected from the authentic pulse of a destination. It’s my passion to help others break out of the tourist ruts with experiences specially tailored to their passions. Whether that’s through food, nature, art or meaningful cultural exchanges, travel can be so much more than just a vacation!"

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"On my first trip to Costa Rica we camped on a remote Bribri reservation. We were working on a construction project when it started pouring rain. As we took shelter we sat and watched our tents flood and wondered how we would make it safely across the river the next day if it kept up. As we sat there, I noticed one of the local boys holding a beachball nearby. All I had to do was smile at him and he knew exactly what I was thinking. Before I knew it, half the kids in the village had joined us in our slippery mess of a beachball soccer match. I was never one to participate in sports and had never even attempted to play soccer. Yet there I was, sliding around in the mud with a dozen kids giving it their all. After playing for a while the kids started yelling at us to follow them down to the river. So we all took off barefoot to see who would get there first. We spent the afternoon swimming and skipping rocks in the river until the rain stopped.

Exhausted and muddy, running through the village back to our campsite, I remember thinking I was the luckiest person in the world to have an experience like that. "

Featured trips & expertise

Views along the Magdalena River

Ultimate Guide to Mompox: Colombia's Hidden City

Santa Cruz De Mompox has passed the centuries in relative obscurity, changing little since its days as an important inland port on Colombia's Magdalena River. Today this sleepy town will delight you with its colorful churches, bayou setting and laid-back culture of rocking chairs, card playing and story swapping. Plan a visit and prepare to be fascinated with a past of revolutionaries and artisans.

One of the many rivers running through the Department of Santander.

Multi-Activity Adventure in Colombia's Santander - 12 Days

Colombia's Department of Santander is a popular destination for thrill-seekers, history buffs and lovers of nature. In one day you can paraglide over canyons, climb through water-filled caverns, visit a traditional coffee farm, and relax in historic towns that time seems to have forgotten. This exciting 12-day itinerary weaves through cities, villages and nature reserves to bring you the best activities that this off-the-beaten-path destination can offer.

Red hills of northern Argentina make for great hiking opportunities.

Explore Northern Argentina - 9 Days

From the multicolored gorges of Cafayate to the Yunga cloud forest, and on to the salt flats of Jujuy, northern Argentina is an immensely diverse destination. This off-the-beaten-path region is great for hikers and bikers to get out and explore easygoing villages and gorgeous natural wonders while taking in some gaucho culture and enjoying superb local wines.