Emily is an adventurer, solo traveler, mountaineer, quote collector, and all around lover of things that get people out of their comfort zones. Put on her first international flight at 3 weeks old, she's been adventuring in one way or another ever since.
From wandering the forests of Sweden alone at the age of nine, to solo trekking in the Himalayas of India, to joining the circus as a professional aerialist, Emily is a big fan of the "just get out there and do it" mentality. She considers it her mission in life to inspire others to go outside, travel, and get curious about everything. As John Muir so aptly put it, "going out is really going in.”
Emily is a columnist and longtime contributor to Outside. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveler, Lonely Planet, Adventure Journal, REI, and Backpacker, among others.
Emily has visited every national park in the United States, and her book Feral: Losing Myself and Finding My Way in America’s National Parks, came out in February 2023.
About Feral: A bracing memoir about self-discovery, liberating escape, and moving forward across an adventurous and volatile American landscape. One year. One national park at a time.
“After a decade as an assistant to high-powered LA executives, Emily Pennington left behind her structured life and surrendered to the pull of the great outdoors. With a tight budget, meticulous routing, and a temperamental minivan she named Gizmo, Emily embarked on a yearlong road trip to sixty-two national parks, hell-bent on a single goal: getting through the adventure in one piece. She was instantly thrust into more chaos than she’d bargained for and found herself on an unpredictable journey rocked by a gutting romantic breakup, a burgeoning pandemic, wildfires, and other seismic challenges that threatened her safety, her sanity, and the trip itself.
What began as an intrepid obsession soon evolved into a life-changing experience. Navigating the tangle of life’s unexpected sucker punches, Feral invites readers along on Emily’s grand, blissful, and sometimes perilous journey, where solitude, resilience, self-reliance, and personal transformation run wild.”
We first spoke with Emily on 17th December 2019. You can listen to that episode here
New episodes of the Tough Girl Podcast go live every Tuesday at 7am UK time - Subscribe so you don’t miss out.
You can support the Tough Girl mission to increase the amount of female role models in the media - especially in relation to adventure and physical challenge by signing up as a patron. www.patreon.com/toughgirlpodcast. Thank you.
Listen to Emily Now!
Click here if you can't see the link below.
Who is Emily
Working as a journalist and writing for; The New York Times, The Guardian, Condé Nast Traveler and Lonely Planet
Speaking to Emily on the Tough Girl Podcast - 17th December 2019. You can listen to that episode here
Going back to early 2020
Saving up $30K for the adventure of a lifetime
Having a goal to visit all 62 National Parks in the United States
How Covid impacted her life and work as a travel journalist
Having a home base in LA and quitting her job
Starting her adventure on 6th January 2020
Living out of her mini van #VanLife and what life was really like while on the road
Being mindful of climate change and the impact her travel would have
The transition to full time travel and living in a different way
Having anxiety about travelling especially solo travel
Expectations verses reality
The importance of having downtime while travelling
Tips for managing her anxiety
Leaning into meditation, online therapy, and medication
Being caught in the smoke from the wild fires
National Parks and the amount of people wanting to use the space
The challenges of meeting people while being on the road and the challenges during covid
Adventuring with a partner and the impact on their relationship
Spending time in Alaska
Thinking about what home really means
The writing experience and why it was like intensive therapy everyday for 6 months
Reflecting back on the journey and the experience of writing the book
The key takeaways from the experience
The importance of rest and scheduling in downtime
Getting comfortable sitting with discomfort
Making better choices and having more compassion
Wanting to travel to meaningful places and learn more about herself
Deciding to move to Colorado and work full time as a writer
Reflecting on her quality of life and wanting to spend more time in the mountains
Plans for a second and third book
How to connect with Emily
Final words of advice for women who want to go on a big trip or take on a new adventure
If you’ve enjoyed this episode please share with a friend! Help to spread the word about the Tough Girl Podcast!
You can listen to our previous conversations with Emily below.
Press play to be inspired!
Feeling inspired week after week?
You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!
Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode
If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!
Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.
Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!
Want to do more?
Please become a Patron and donate US$5 a month to help fund the runnings costs. Thank you.