Emily Woodhouse is a writer, adventurer and the voice behind Travelling Lines. She is currently living her dream job: getting paid to go on and write about adventures (and then get it to the top of Google). She has helped over 10,000 students through her online courses. Her latest course, The Adventure Blueprint, lays out the D.A.R.E Method: the roadmap from crazy adventure dream to stepping out of your door.
In addition, she is the editor of Intrepid Magazine: the magazine giving a platform for adventurous women to tell their stories, without the middle man. Emily founded Intrepid Magazine in 2018, recognising that the lack of media about women in adventure wasn’t from the lack of female participation.
Journo or press? You can find everything you need on my Media page, including pics.
Emily is a Mountain Leader (Summer) and has been in Mountain Rescue since 2016. She has over 10 years’ experience leading groups in the outdoors and organising trips. She has explored wild, high and unusual places across the world, from Scottish winter to Luxembourgian spring, preferring the slower route of travel: by foot, bike or water.
Unknown to many in the adventure world, she has a first class Maths degree (with integrated Masters). Equipped with enough abstract algebra and Galois Theory to win a solid pub quiz, she instead puts her mathematical mindset to more concrete uses. In particular, ironing out and improving processes, efficient logistics and breaking down complex problems. Perhaps this marriage of maths-brain and word-brain was best demonstrated at university, where she set the cryptic crosswords for the student newspaper.
In 2018 she won the Young Innovator’s Award from Innovate UK’s Ideas Mean Business campaign – supporting the next generation of disrupters and entrepreneurs.
Emily is proud to be affiliated with several organisations including Dartmoor National Park. You can see a full list of her affiliations here.
Emily and Adventure
Adventure and being outdoors was a huge part of Emily’s childhood. Born in California, USA she’d lived on three continents before she was three years old. There are family photos of her building snow teddies in Yosemite and getting inquisitive about the drop on Table Mountain. Although she can’t remember it, these mountains and forests must have made an impression on her. She has always loved all things outdoor and muddy.
As a teenager, living in Devon, she caught the Ten Tors bug and spent her weekends tramping across Dartmoor with a tent on her back. She completed all three DofE Awards and started training to be a DofE Leader. At this time, Emily’s family holidays consisted mostly of climbing mountains and cycle touring in Europe. This might have been a clever ploy from her parents to stop teenage arguments – but it certainly worked.
At university, she joined the Hill Walking Society and spent every weekend exploring the mountains of England, Wales and Scotland. She spent three years on the executive committee, one as President, which involved organising and orchestrating trips for the year, as well as overseeing walk leader training. During this time, she completed her Mountain Leader training and was put through courses on risk assessment and international trip management. She also got her first taste of alpine touring on an Austria Alpine Club trip for younger members.
After graduation, she came back to her beloved Dartmoor. Whilst she was supposed to be applying to Graduate Schemes, she filled out the application form to join Dartmoor Rescue. It was a lot easier to answer the questions. Very soon, she was also back out with the outdoors group she’d been part of as a teenager, this time as a leader.
Rebelling against the feeling that “adult” life and adventures didn’t compute, she kept adventuring alongside several “proper” jobs. Her adventures took her to the wild and remote places of the world.
In 2020, she became a Guinness World Record holder for climbing the most 3000m peaks in a week.
Emily as a Writer
There are not many people who can genuinely say that they woke up one morning and decided they were going to be a writer. But at 11 years old, Emily woke up with an idea for a story that couldn’t be ignored. She knew she needed to write it, she just didn’t know quite how. So started her lifelong dedication to the craft of writing.
By 15 years old, she had her first literary agent and was juggling GSCEs with writing a children’s novel. Then came 2008 and the financial crash wiped out the children’s division of the literacy agency. She tucked her finished novel into a drawer and carried on with A Levels: Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths… and English Literature.
In 2011, she went to Durham University to study Mathematics. Although she wasn’t actively writing at the time, it was as though her subconscious knew she needed to. She worked in the Features section of the student newspaper for a year and designed cryptic crosswords on the back of her notes in underwhelming maths classes. The ideas for stories kept piling up, but she simply didn’t have time to write them and pass her degree.
After graduating with a First in Maths, and not liking the prescribed direction that would take her, she returned home to Devon. Whilst half-heartedly applying to Graduate Schemes, she started blogging as a way to get back into writing for an audience. She was soon taking on freelance commissions, particularly in the outdoors space, alongside her full time jobs in sales, marketing and finance respectively.
In 2019, she got a call from Much Better Adventures. Keen to find a way to transition her full-time work towards the things she enjoyed most, she applied. In 2020, somewhat helped by being put on furlough, she published her first book All the Tors about her Dartmoor tor-bagging expedition in 2018. In 2021, after a rocky ride through the pandemic, she decided to go full time freelance. She has since written for numerous publications and newspapers.
1995 – Someone records a video of little Emily running round the garden screaming “I’m a maniac” because she likes the sound of the word. My parents wonder what exactly they’ve got themselves in for.
2007 – I go on my first adventure residential camp and absolutely love it. “Oh, that’s odd,” I think, “I’m not supposed to be good at this, or enjoy it, because I’m academic.” Such existential musings are cut short by plunging through a tunnel full of water or jumping off a high ropes course.
2012 – I realise mid-lecture that I am probably never going to use any of the things I’ve learnt so far in my degree, nor will learn in the next two years. I start telling people I’m at university to “climb mountains and bake cake”. I am unaware of the future irony in this statement. To the dismay of many, and feeling like an extreme rebel, I move my return train ticket so I can take a last minute spot on an Mountain Leader Training course before exam term.
2015 – I spend a long time staring at the questions on graduate scheme applications. The “Why do you want to do this role?” always leaves me blank. Instead, I apply to Mountain Rescue because they ask questions I can answer.
2016 – After missing my first assessment by not cycling back from Switzerland fast enough, I spend a night of intense navigation battling against Dartmoor’s foulest weather. Successful, I earn myself a Mountain Rescue red jacket.
2017 – I pass my Summer ML. About time too really, as it’s a good 5 years since I took the training course.
2019 – I realise that, out of everything I did at university, the only part I’m now using for work is what I did on the weekends. It’s a dream job I had no idea even existed: getting paid to go on adventures and write about them (and get things to the top of Google).
2020 – After staying up late to sign all the hardback copies of my first book, I get them in the first post despite torrential rain. In the afternoon, while visiting my parents, I get a call telling me I’ve been made redundant. I come into the kitchen crying: I’ve just lost my dream job. “No, no it’s okay,” I tell my Mum through tears. “It will make a great story in 5 years.”
2021 – Thanks to the furlough scheme extension, I get my job back and am on the brink of going back into work full time. But instead, I spend every night in bed staring at the ceiling in dread, knowing that if I don’t jump now, I might never. Despite the mortgage and the uncertainty – and the fact that it’s my dream job – I hand in my notice to go freelance.