About Gemma

I’m a freelance writer, official dog nut, and outdoor and sustainable travel enthusiast.

After my heart dog Daisy passed at the grand old age of 14, I adopted Annie who had been rescued from a Perrera in Spain.    She is wary of strangers, after a tough start, but, once you gain her trust, she’s the most loving, loyal, cuddly and intelligent dog and I am blessed to have her as my travel buddy.

Annie and I started our roaming adventures in the Summer of 2018.  After a road trip that took us all the way down to the Italian island of Sicily, we decided to base ourselves in Courmayeur in the Italian Alps.

Why The Valle d’Aosta?

I often get locals asking me in a perplexed fashion why I ended up settling in the Valle d’Aosta.  They usually assume I fell in love with a local. I actually just fell in love with the region, and it almost immediately felt like home to me.

A couple of years back, my mum suggested we stop here when she was accompanying me on the first part of an open-ended travel adventure. We had stayed overnight in Annecy in France so we normally wouldn’t have stopped again so soon, but my mum thought I would like Courmayeur. We only stayed for a spot of lunch, but I immediately liked the feel of the area.

A couple of months later, I was making my way back up this way with no real plan in terms of where I was going next.  I thought I would stop here for a couple of nights – the cool mountain air was a relief after the stifling heat (and mozzies) further South.

Basically, after that, I never left. When I came back after visiting Scotland in 2019, as I drove out of the Mont Blanc Tunnel into Italy, I just had a comforting feeling of being ‘home’. That settled it for me, and I applied for residency that same week.

I try not to take living here for granted. I love living in the mountains, being able to walk straight onto hiking trails direct from my door, my neighbours couldn’t be nicer, and Annie adores it here too. We hike most days in the summer and ski when we can in the winter.

Of course, it’s not all a bed of roses. I miss friend and family back in Scotland, I get frustrated with my language learning, Italian bureaucracy can be tricky, and mountain life (especially in the winter) isn’t always the easiest.

But, right now, I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be. Sometimes spontaneity (or is it aimlessness) can lead you to good things.

I hope to update the site with details of hikes and winter activities in the Valle d’Aosta as time allows.

I’m doing it on top of my normal writing career, though, so please accept my apologies if it isn’t updated all that often!