Meet Emily Starbuck Crone, the travel blogger behind Maiden Voyage Travel, a blog for “discerning 20somethings (and others young at heart)”. Hear about her adventures traveling solo, volunteering on mission trips, and what it’s like when a bike steals your camera!
What are some of the destinations you’ve visited?
Santorini, Greece is one of my favorites–it is breathtakingly beautiful. Another favorite is Estes Park, Colorado. I grew up going there every summer, and there is nothing like fresh, crisp mountain air and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. It’s very peaceful, and the natural beauty is humbling. I also am in love with Edinburgh, Scotland and Perugia, Italy.
What is it about traveling that you’re so passionate about?
It adds spice to life and is very exciting. It puts me out of my comfort zone–something I’m not normally very good about doing. It allows me to learn more about history and other cultures, and it always ends up expanding my horizons. It makes me feel more connected to the rest of the world, like a better global citizen. It can also be very empowering. I traveled to Paris alone and had never been to France before, and I don’t know French. It was very scary at first, but I got through it and was really proud of myself. I realized I am totally capable of navigating a foreign country on my own as a young woman (even though many French people weren’t very nice to me–I hate that the stereotype was true for me!).
What is your travel style and why?
Budget chic! I am not into hostels; I have trouble sleeping with noise and I can’t stand the thought of shared bathrooms. I’m also not a big partier, so I always find it worth the money to stay at a budget hotel instead. I travel on a budget but I also indulge in some great meals and things like that from time to time. When traveling, I love doing anything history-related.
What made you decide to start travel blogging?
I am a professional writer, but I wasn’t getting to write very much about travel at the publications I was working for. I wanted to be able to write about travel any time I wanted to, and I also wanted a blog of my own. I had written for several blogs, but never my own. It can be a pain to stay on top of sometimes, but I enjoy sharing my travels and tips with others, and it’s been fun connecting with the travel blogging community.
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you while traveling?
Before visiting Italy for the first time, I was warned by many people to watch out for the pickpockets. I treasure my DSLR camera, and I take pictures all the time when traveling, so I kept the strap on my left shoulder when walking out and about, kind of like a purse. I kept my hands clasped on the strap to keep anyone from snatching it. My sister and I were in Florence and walking in the crowded Piazza de Signoria when all of a sudden, I felt the camera strap being yanked violently away from me. There was no way I was letting a thief run off with it, so I held onto that strap with an iron grip. Before I knew it, I was on the ground with a bike on top of me. It turns out that an Italian man with a baby in a seat strapped to the back were biking by, and he got so close to me that his right handlebar caught under my camera strap as he biked by. Because I didn’t know what was happening and didn’t let go of it, the bike toppled over. The baby wasn’t hurt since she was in a seat, but she was wailing, the guy was cursing at me in Italian, and tons of people were standing around staring at the scene. Luckily, a nice British or Australian man picked me up to my feet and made sure I was OK. I left with just a scrape on my leg, but was so embarrassed. But now it’s funny! And I know that if I had let go of that camera, it probably would have smashed on the ground and broken.
Best meal abroad?
Risotto in Italy. It’s one of my favorite foods, and eating it where it originated was awesome! Rich, tender, and delicious.
Is there anything you absolutely can’t travel without?
My Kindle. Traveling is one of my favorite times to read. I spend so much of my time reading and writing for work that it’s hard to fit in reading for pleasure, so I love having the time to enjoy reading. It also makes plane and train rides go by faster. I used to have to take several books with me when traveling, but my Kindle lets me take tons of books with me wherever I go. It comes in so handy on long trips since it’s so small and hardly takes up any space.
One thing you wish you knew about traveling before you started?
It can be so tiring, and sometimes burnout is inevitable. Don’t overplan–build in some time to just chill so that you don’t wear yourself out and stop enjoying yourself.
How has traveling enriched your life thus far?
It has helped me feel more connected to the world and more knowledgeable about other cultures. But one experience in particular really changed my life. I am not Christian, but I went on a mission trip to Mexico with a friend’s church the summer after 7th grade. It wasn’t an evangelical trip–it was a trip to build homes for people in a poor border town without adequate shelter (this was before drug cartel violence made the border areas too dangerous to visit). It was my first time to see poverty up-close. I saw a woman in a shack cooking peppers on a slab of metal that was once a part of a roof. I saw children running around dusty roads barefoot, and I was told that they aren’t allowed to attend school if they don’t own shoes. We met a pair of twin boys who only had one pair of shoes between the two of them, so they had to alternate attending schools. One of the girls on the trip gave them her pair of running shoes, and that was literally life-changing for them. Some people didn’t have working bathrooms and lived in shanties. We split into groups, and mine built a big one-room house for an old woman who had taken in many local orphans. We got to play with the kids and interact with the community during that week. At the end during our dedication ceremony, she said in Spanish that while she was eternally grateful, all she really needed in life to be happy was her family and God. That shocked me. I’m not going to lie, I grew up privileged, and this completely changed my perspective. I was always grateful for everything I had, but this truly made me learn to never take things for granted. I went back on the same trip the next summer and it was just as impactful. I could never have gotten that experience from just looking at pictures or reading about it. Being there in person and seeing it with my own eyes was what I needed to understand what poverty actually was and how lucky I am.
Any upcoming trips planned?
I recently returned from a delayed honeymoon in Seattle, Vancouver, and Whistler. Next weekend, I’m going to Savannah, Georgia for the first time. In mid-October, I’m going to Costa Rica for the first time and will be visiting Liberia, Playa Negra, and Tamarindo.