Interview With Travel Blogger Emma Swete of Live And Learn Travel Blog

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Like numerous other travel writers this blogger began with a private blog for family and friends. Now it has grown into the Live and Learn Travel Blog. Please meet Emma Swete.

Emma Swete of Live And Learn Travel Blog

Emma Swete of Live And Learn Travel Blog

What is your name?

Emma Swete


Which country do you come from/call home?

New Zealand


Are you a backpacker/long term traveller/business traveller/live and work abroad?

A little bit of all of the above! I’ve been living and working in London for the past two years and travelling quite a lot with my job, however before that I was backpacking around South East Asia and shortly I’m off to backpack around Europe.


How do you fund your travel (savings/work whilst travelling/other)?

I work and save my money to do both short trips and extended trips.  Travelling is my priority so I never own nice clothes or fancy things; I just save my money and spend it on having adventures!


What is the first trip you remember taking and how old were you?

When I was young we would spend most weekends over summer sailing the Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand, these are my first memories of being out in nature and having fun.  My first overseas trip was when I was 12; my family went on holiday to Australia for an entire month.  We hired a car and drove from Brisbane to Cairns.

Raglan, New Zealand

Raglan, New Zealand

Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?


When I was 19, my friend and I took a trip to Tonga for a week and it was a huge change from anywhere I’d ever been.  I had expected it would be lots of resorts like in the brochures for other Pacific Islands like Fiji, but it wasn’t very developed in that sense.  The people lived very simple lives and I liked that.  It’s such a blessing that they haven’t sold out their shores to big, foreign owned resorts; it makes it a much nicer, more authentic place to visit.


Have you had any bad experiences whilst travelling?

I’ve been very lucky so far, the worst experiences I’ve had have been when I’ve been unwell.  I once had to travel from Koh Tao to Bangkok by ferry and bus after I’d been up vomiting all night, it was pretty unpleasant.


Which is the worst place you’ve been to and why?

I didn’t enjoy Jakarta very much, I found it difficult to get decent, budget accommodation and stood on the side of a busy road for 10 minutes waiting to cross because the traffic was so crazy (I eventually gave up and got in a taxi).  I was also ill while I was there which probably tainted my experience too.


Where is your favourite place in the world?

I’m in love with so many different places for difference reasons but home will always be where my heart is.  As some chick with cool red shoes once said ‘there’s no place like home.’


Do you have a bucket list? If so what is on it?

I keep a list of cool things that I’d like to do.  It includes:

  • Climb Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia
  • Learn to surf
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Do a skydive
  • Visit ANZAC cove in Gallipoli, Turkey
  • Go to an All Blacks game (the New Zealand rugby team)
  • Travel the Moscow to Beijing railway


Can you imagine life without travel?

I can, it wouldn’t be ideal though.  I’d have to take up a lot of hobbies to keep my life interesting and exciting.  I think that you can still ‘travel’ in your local area; you just have to get a bit more creative.

Visiting the temples of Thailand

Visiting the temples of Thailand


If you were not travelling what would you be doing instead?

Dancing, sailing, starting a business, writing a novel and day dreaming about travelling…


What is the name of your travel blog and the url?

Live and Learn Travel Blog,


When did you begin your website?

I started blogging two years ago for my friends and family, but in March of this year I decided to create a more public blog to connect with other travellers, so Live and Learn was created.


Why do you write (for money/connecting with people/therapeutic/fun)?

I write simply for the fun of it and to develop my voice.  I’d love to write for money one day though.


What makes your site so unique and why should people read it?

I think my unique perspective on life and the world really defines my site.  The whole idea behind ‘Live and Learn’ is that as we live our dreams we learn new skills, ideas and ways of doing things and all this enriches our lives. Really, I just want to encourage people to get out there and experience the world.


What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?

I definitely had a lot of success with a post I wrote about cheap, night time activities to do in London that don’t necessarily involve alcohol. It struck a chord with a lot of kiwis/New Zealanders who live in London, obviously their liver’s wanted a rest!

Buckingham Palace, London

Buckingham Palace, London

What has been your favourite article to write either for your blog or another publication?


Probably my recent series on ‘What has travelling taught you?’ that I’ve been posting on my blog.  It gave me a chance to get really reflective about my own life and also I had several other travel bloggers contribute, so it was great to get so many inspiring responses.


What is your favourite mode of transport? (plane/train/boat/car)

I love trains and buses to enjoy seeing some countryside, and I’ll sail if at all possible as it’s a great passion of mine.

Jumping for joy in Paris

Jumping for joy in Paris


Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?

Just go for it!  Don’t let other people’s fear and worry stop you.  I had plenty of people telling me how dangerous the world was, yet none of them had ever been out to experience it for themselves.


What has travel taught you?

I’ve been reflecting on this a lot lately and I’ve learned to be more relaxed and easygoing; to be more calm when things don’t go to plan.  I’ve also learnt to live with a lot less ‘stuff.’


What is the most annoying thing that a fellow traveller can do in a hostel dorm room?

So many things, but the thing that drives me nuts are the people who have lots of plastic bags within their pack, then they get up early in the morning and rustle them around as they sort their luggage out!


Would you rather have a week long luxury holiday, or a month of budget backpacking?

Definitely a month of backpacking!  Trying to keep to a budget is half the fun, it leads you to have the most crazy experiences where you meet local people and learn more about the place that you are in.  I think that staying in luxury resorts often isolates you from the local community.


If you had to spend the next year in any one location and couldn’t travel anywhere during that time, where would it be?

Wherever my boyfriend is, we’ve been forced to spend a lot of time apart lately with work commitments and visa restrictions so it would be nice to just chill out together somewhere for a year.


Quick fire questions:-

Favourite airline? British Airways

Favourite country? New Zealand!

Favourite city? London

Favourite beach? Mount Maunganui

Favourite food? Thai

Please provide the following:-

Website url?

Twitter handle? @LLTravelBlog

Facebook page?


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  1. I completely agree with Emma on the quick-fire Q/A as it relates to favorite city and favorite food. Glad to meet a fellow traveler who looks for Thai food in London. I’m sure to get great tips from Emma.

  2. I like how she dodged the spend 1 year in 1 place question. I would do the same!

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