Jan 16, 2010

Over the hills and far away...

Name: Cattus avidtravellus

Common name: The Travel Cat

Home range: www.emilygee.com

The Travel Cat loves nothing more than to explore the world. With her eyes on the horizon, the Travel Cat eagerly sets out to see what's around the next corner and over the next hill. An outdoorsy creature, she tends to avoid cities -- her favourite haunts are isolated coastlines, peaceful, wind-sculpted deserts, deep forests, and rugged mountains.


Hi, my name is Emily, and I'm an addict. A travel addict. I love exploring new landscapes and experiencing the scents and sounds and sights of different countries. We live in a wonderfully varied world -- oceans, deserts, mountains -- there's so much to see!

As a Kiwi, growing up in a country full of trees, I never thought barren landscapes could be beautiful. Boy, was I wrong! Having visited more than 40 countries, many of my all-time favourite places are treeless, such as the Coyote Buttes on the border of Utah and Arizona.

(For more photos from countries such as Syria, China, and Antarctica, visit the gallery on my website.)

There are so many places I'd still like to visit. Hundreds of them! At the top of my list at the moment are Easter Island, with its stark isolation and extraordinary statues, Iceland, with its glacial-yet-volcanic landscape, Cuba, because it sounds vivid and fascinating, and the beautiful, barren Lofotens off the coast of Norway. All islands, strangely enough! (I wonder why?)

Kate Honeycourt, the heroine in my regency romance The Earl's Dilemma (out this month in Australia and New Zealand) dreams of travelling to Greece and Italy. She'd love to visit Delphi and Athens, Venice and Florence. But first she has to find the perfect bride for the Earl of Arden -- no easy task!

Where do you dream of travelling to? Please share a description of your dream travel destination. Tantalise us! The most evocative and interesting description will win the following books:
  1. The Earl’s Dilemma, Emily May (in Fate & Fortune, with A Country Miss In Hanover Square, by Anne Herries) Quills / Regency
  2. Marriage Reunited: Baby on the Way, Sharon Archer Medical
  3. Claiming His Bought Bride, Rachel Bailey Desire
  4. The Blackmailed Bride’s Secret Child, Rachel Bailey Desire
  5. Tonight, My Love, Tracie Sommers Spice Briefs
  6. The Rebel King (Suddenly Royal #1), Melissa James Harlequin Romance / Sweet
  7. His Princess in the Making (Suddenly Royal #2), Melissa James Harlequin Romance / Sweet
  8. Back in Fortune’s Bed, Bronwyn Jameson Desire
  9. Prince Incognito, Linda Goodnight, including a novella, The Homecoming, Melissa James Harlequin Romance / Sweet
  10. Stone Cold Lover, Mel Teshco Ellora’s Cave


  1. Hi Emily
    That photograph of the Coyote Buttes is breathtakingly gorgeous!

    I grew up in New Zealand so I know exactly what you mean about trees vs more barren landscapes. When I first came to Australia and travelled through Outback New South Wales on a bus, I was a bit daunted by the flatness and the sheer hugeness of it.

    But now I love it. We've recently travelled for four months around a large portion of Australia on a motorbike - barely scratching the surface of what there is to see. As I commented yesterday, I loved Cape Leveque for the fabulous colours.

    Another place I loved was the Horizontal Falls. Spectacular! That massive rush of water through the small gap between the cliffs - WOW! And because it's a tidal phenomenon, it's changing all the time. There's the rush in one direction, a lull when it reaches an equilibrium and then the rush starts back in the other direction.

    I loved our trip! We're planning more Australian travel - escape Mk 2 is on the drawing board now!

  2. As long as I travel, I usually don't care where I go. But one place that stood out for me would have to be Niagara Falls.

    The roar of the water as you're walking down the street heading to it is amazing. And then when you're standing next to it, it literally takes your breath away.

    We are lucky enough to have friends who live not far from the two falls, Niagara and the American Falls, in Toronto. And last time we were there, I was able to show my two son's this magical place.

    Needless to say, my youngest cried over the noise on the Maid and the Mist, but my oldest loved it. Kept saying 'Can the driver go any closer, mum?' No way, we were close enough.

    I'd recommend anyone seeing them. They truly earn the title as one of the worlds natural wonders.


  3. Emily – what a great topic. I love travel – have seen and travelled most of Australia though still a lot of places I want to visit. As for overseas travel – I want to do lots with my husband. We had our children just into our twenties so travel was not really possible. My trip to San Francisco in 2008 was my very first overseas trip and it woke the travel bug in me. Unfortunately I couldn’t take my husband on that trip, but I definitely want to take him with me next time.

    So places I want really want to see:
    1. New Zealand – I have wanted to visit for years.
    2. For remoteness – Macquarie Island in the sub Antarctic and also Antarctica though not sure I’d want to be there for a winter or anything.
    3. Egypt – loved reading about it as a kid.
    4. Canada – I think the wilderness areas attract me more than the cities.
    5. Ireland – so we can trace my hubby’s roots

    Actually more and more places are popping into my head and I could be here for days – so I’d better leave it there.

  4. Hey Emily & the LoveCats,

    You sure do have the travel bug and it doesn't seem to stop anytime soon. Good on you. What a fantastic picture that is.

    I'm not a constant traveller but love travelling and experiencing new places as well as visiting old favourites. I would love to go back to New Zealand, Venice, & the Greek Isles. I want to explore more of our gorgeous Australia. Canada, Ireland & the UK has always been on my list of 'to visit'. Like Tracie, there are many many places that I want to go...

    Happy travelling!

  5. Hi Emily
    I'd love to travel, but with little munchkins it's a bit of a dream at the moment. Where I want to go changes all the time - usually influenced by a movie I've seen or the book I'm reading. So thanks to an overdose of Mamma Mia, my pick today would have to be the Greek Isles - just as it looks in that movie ;) And while I was there, would have to check out Corfu thanks to my (as mentioned in previous LoveCat posts) love of Gerald Durrell.

  6. Sharon, yes, I must spend more time in Oz. It's so close, and yet I've seen very little of it. I know there's some absolutely spectacular scenery. Must do some exploring over there!

    Tamara -- yes, I know what you mean about Niagara Falls! I was there just over a year ago. I actually found it almost too big to take in. Almost mind-boggling.

    Tracie, you have a nice long list! Nice to see NZ at the top of it! And I agree with you about the sub antarctic islands -- I would LOVE to visit them. And Antarctica too -- now that is a truly amazing place. Egypt, yes, fascinating country, with an incredible history that you can literally touch when you're there. Canada, again I totally agree with you. I've just got back from there, and it was the wilderness areas that attracted me most. I loved the northern British Columbia coast, where the bald eagles are as plentiful as sparrows. Saw a number of bears, too! Never been to Ireland, but everyone who goes there loves it. You'll have a wonderful time working down that travel list!

    Ooh, Eleni, Venice! Yes, definitely a place to go back to. And the Greek Islands, ditto. They're on my list. Canada, I want to see more of too. Like the US, it's a vast country. But then, so is Australia! NZ is tiny by comparison. I've spent quite a bit of time in the UK, but I'd love to go back now that I'm writing regencies. Think of all the research I could do!

    Happy travelling!

  7. Anita, my parents took us backpacking through Europe when I was a kid, hence the travel bug. Maybe that's something you could consider when they're a little older? (Although maybe you don't want to inflict the bug on them...) We started in Greece, and I haven't been back since. I'd love to do the Greek Isles properly as an adult, and then venture further afield to other islands in the Mediterranean -- Sicily, Sardinia, Malta...

    Must go and rent Mamma Mia now!

  8. Emily, that's an amazing shot! I had no idea land formations like that existed.

    I'd love to be a travel cat, and one day, I think I will. =) I've travelled to your gorgeous New Zealand, and I've been to New Caledonia, and over lots of Australia.

    Next step for me, I think, is Europe and the US.

  9. Hi Emily and the LoveCats,
    Wow, you guys are full of great topics! Travel... yes... such a wonderful thing to do. My fav spot is Lord Howe Island.

    I want to go to Cappadocia, Turkey. I have been a soils researcher and every person I know who has been there sends me a postcard - I have 8 now - and says "You must come here". So... one day... I will see it for myself.

    I also have friends dotted around the world who I need to visit one day. One lives in a vineyard in France... another a trout farm in Ireland... why am I here?????


  10. Oh Cath, I really hanker after Cappadocia, too. It's my number 1 dream destination to do the balloon ride. But reading the other comments has me going - oh yes, and Corfu (LOVE Durrell) and Cyprus (for Laurence Durrell), and New York because hey, just about everyone seems to have been there but me and Spain, and Japan and, and, and... the list is endless. I adore NZ but I do wish it wasn't quite so end-of-worldish at times.

  11. Impossible to pick just one. Everytime I read a book with an evocative setting or see something in a movie I want to go there.

    Last night before 'Avatar' was an ad for 'Reunion Island' and it looked stunning. So now it's on my crowded list.

    I'd quite like to see some frozen parts of the world - Alaska, Norway, Antarctica - and the beautiful landforms that are created by glaciers. Ohmigosh... I truly am 'pining for the fjords' :)

    But with two dogs, one cat, four frogs, one guinea pig, four birds and six fish, travelling (for us) is now a bit of a challenge. But with some planning we can probably swing it by staying in Australia.

    For now.

    Too much else to see.

  12. Oh, wow, Emily your website photos are amazing. I think I'd better add a few more places to my list!!

    Hey Zana, maybe we can have a writers' conference in Cappadocia :-)


  13. Rachel, the southwest of the US has some incredible landforms. It's stunning! (Which isn't to say that the rest of the US isn't beautiful, too, just that I particularly like the southwest!)

    You'll love Europe when you get there. It's so different from Downunder. So much history! Cobbled streets and hilltop villages and buildings that are hundreds and hundreds of years old. You can travel from one country to the next to the next in a matter of hours and everything changes -- the language, the food, the culture. It's fabulous!

  14. Catherine and Zana, Cappadocia is fantastic!! Definitely, you need to go there. I love the idea of a writers' conference there. I'm sure hundreds of us would attend!

  15. Reunion Island? Don't know that one, Nikki. I'll have to go look it up! And yes, fiords are very beautiful places. We even have some down here in NZ! (Shameless promo for my country.)

    I love the idea of travelling along the coast of Alaska or Norway by boat, watching glaciers calve into the water and seeing pods of whales playing. Wouldn't that be magic?

  16. Emily, you little travel cat, you! Actually I'm an island person too - I find islands amazingly fascinating, I'm not quite sure why. I remember when I was wandering around the Hebrides in 2004, someone said to me on a ferry to the Eigg that she could see I was an island person. It's a description I really like! Love the photo! Congratulations on the release of THE EARL'S DILEMMA! Looks fab!

  17. I have three places I've always wanted to see. Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. I've always been fascinated with all three of them. I collect postcards, especially lighthouse ones and I have some beautiful ones of lighthouses in Ireland. The scenery is breathtaking. I've been to several websites that show lighthouses in Australia and New Zealand and they are different from any that I have seen pictures of. I would love to see Sydney and the beautiful Opera House and there are so many other sights that I would love to see in person. Every time I see pictures of New Zealand it looks so green and beautiful. Anyway, these are three places I'd love to travel to.

  18. Emily, I love to travel too - but have always loved to get back home too. So I guess I'm a restless homebody LOL!!
    My daughter is absolutely fascinated with Egypt - so hope to visit there one day with her. I'd also love to hire a car and just drive around Europe wherever I fancied. Africa is another I'd love to stay a month or more - right near Victoria falls would be lovely =)

  19. Anna, hello fellow island person! Aren't the Hebrides lovely? So remote and barren-beautiful. Did you get to Staffa, with its wonderful lava columns?

    Linda, if you love lighthouses, there are some great ones in California that you can actually stay in. There are a couple on the coast between San Francisco and Santa Cruz that are hostels. You should look them up if you're ever over that way. I hope you get the chance to visit your top three countries. There are some great Antipodean lighthouses for you to visit!

    Mel -- oh, yes, Egypt! How wonderful it would be for you to go with your daughter. It's a fascinating country. And driving through Europe would be great ... if you were confident about driving on the other side of the road. Myself, I'd prefer to go by train!

  20. Well, my internet connection is about to be ruthlessly switched off, so I shall bid you all good night! Feel free to add more travel comments. I'll choose the lucky winner of the prize pack tomorrow morning and post a comment here with the winner's name. Happy travel dreams!

  21. Hey Emily and all the lovecats

    Hey I have to a a travel-cat! ( except I don't mind large cities...)

    My aim once in life was to drive the big capitals of the world, but when I got to Paris and looked at the mess of the Arc de Triomphe, on the wrong side of the road, 8 lanes, no lines everyone just going everywhere - I re-assessed the situation....

    I have travels extensively, but never counted the countries - you have now given me a great idea - thanks Emily!

    At present on my want list is Christmas in Lapland on a reindeer drive, a cruise to the ant-artic and winter in Quabec as a power point presentation came around the other day that was just stunning. Since I live on a tropical paradise - I figure I need some snow!

    Happy travels Emily - and passing on a traveler tip: I got the most wonderful gadget at Christmas its a digital travel luggage scale - why I never had one before I have no idea - and its already made life easier!

    Bye 4 now

  22. My travle is local at the moment, with three kids under 5 the thought of a long plane trip turns my stomach. But just after Christmas we visited Kangaroo Island, only 90 mins by car and 45 by ferry away. We had a ball - from the wild bush and lighthouses to the secluded beach that we needed to climb through caves to get to.
    I dream of Tasmania, New Zealand and Canada one day and i'd love to see more of Spain... but that's a while away.

  23. I, too,find myself drawn to the open, stark vistas you described in your blog. I have traveled through Coyote Buttes and had my breath taken away. Parts of Wyoming did that to me as well. I would love to go back to these places to explore them in more depth and to take picture after picture. I don't think I could ever capture the wildness of these places.
    In the future I would love to travel to your country to visit the outback. Growing up I read a number of books by an Australian author (her name escapes me right now) who had all of her books based in the outback. Since then I have dreamed of visiting it. Maybe someday.
    Great blog by the way!!

  24. What gorgeous pictures on your blog!

    I love to travel and have visited some of the most beautiful places in the world. My favourites so far have been Pisa and Venice.
    Visited Pisa via a cruise ship. I will never forget walking along past a really high wall and then turning a corner into the square at Pisa and seeing the Tower the Cathedral and Baptistry, they were absolutely spectaular and seemed to just glisten white in the sunlight it was fabulous.
    Venice was fab too, lots of windy streets and travelling in a gondola was an absolute must.
    On the to do list -
    like so many others it has to be Egypt. I secretly want to pretend I was Cleopatra in a past life.
    Have been to Vegas but didn't see the Grand Canyon and deeply regret it.
    Finally have a real desire to see Washington. the White House and Lincoln Memorial. However this weekend making do with Edinburgh Castle and the Scott Monument.
    Love any romance book with travel elements as I think it really gets you in the mood...

  25. Tina C, yes I totally understand the appeal of snow, having grown up without it! Lapland would be an amazing place to visit. LOL about your re-assessment of driving in Paris! Ooh, I like the idea of your travel scales. They sound very handy!

    Becca, I think Kangaroo Island sounds fabulous! I'm going to have to put it on my wish list.

    Cyndi, you've been to Coyote Buttes too! It's just the weirdest, most beautiful landscape, isn't it? Yes, I agree with you, the Outback is on my list too. I have a feeling that the scenery will be as interesting as the scenery in the southwest of the US.

    Susan -- yes, Pisa and Venice are marvellous, aren't they? Italy is definitely a place to go back to. And Egypt keeps appearing in these comments -- I hope you get the chance to go there. Enjoy Edinburgh Castle!

  26. Hi Emily! I've been to Staffa twice and each time, I'm scared stiff. You really do feel like you're standing on a slippery rock in the middle of the Atlantic. Which basically you are ;-) Amazing scenery, though. Saw puffins there last time which was pretty magical. I adore the Hebrides - Mull would probably be my favorite although they're all special. By the way, Kangaroo Island is on my list too.

  27. Well, it was very difficult to choose a winner, so I resorted to a scientific method ... and the winner is Becca! Congratulations, Becca!

  28. Anna, you're so lucky to have seen the puffins there! Next time I'm definitely going during puffin season. Yes, Mull is lovely too, and Iona, and Skye, and ... well, like you say, they're all special!

  29. Oh, wow Emily, I'm so excited. What a great bunch of books!!