Emily Scalzo’s passion for travel did not end when the pandemic kept her grounded and limited her ability to explore. She still wanted to go on trips and have adventures. With so many travel restrictions in place, Scalzo, like many of us, sought to feed her wanderlust by visiting places she’d never been. That led to places around the United States – but more specifically to Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.
“At the start of COVID, I became more interested in finding places to hike and travel to within the state of Pennsylvania. So, I started exploring more of the state parks locally and learned about the abundance of state parks within Pennsylvania,” said Scalzo, who lives in Bucks County.
“There are so many amazing places to see and explore right in our own backyards, sometimes you just have to do a little searching.” Her search for places to explore throughout Pennsylvania can be found while scrolling through her Instagram account @scalingtheglobe and website. Scalzo created the Instagram page and website in December 2019 as a means to share her love of traveling and hiking with others.
Scalzo said the ultimate goal with her content is to inspire others to get out there and seek out their own adventure. “With sharing the ins-and-outs of my trips and hikes, I hope to show others that traveling is possible,” Scalzo said. “Even without a large budget or a significant amount of PTO.”
Scalzo creates engaging content that shows people the many adventures available to them in Pennsylvania. In one post she shows people must-see state parks available within 45 minutes from Philadelphia. In another, her top eight parks and trails on her bucket list.
“My Instagram page has created such a sense of community for me,” she said. “I’ve met so many amazing and like-minded people that I likely wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.”
Her hard work and persistence has paid off. Scalzo said her Instagram page has grown significantly in the past couple months, especially once she started posting more Instagram Reels and Pennsylvania-based content.
“I think sharing about local places really interests others who also live in the Philadelphia region, because these are places that they can easily visit, too,” Scalzo said. “I feel like there are a lot of travel bloggers and content creators based out of the west side of the country, which is awesome, but isn’t necessarily applicable to someone who is living in the Northeast or, specifically, the Philadelphia-region.”
Scalzo said there’s so many things she loves about Pennsylvania’s 121 State Parks. She said she loves that the parks are free to enter – making them accessible to everyone. She also loves that the parks are dog-friendly. She and her husband Sam enjoy bringing their dog, Toby, along with them on their hikes.
Scalzo said her go-to park is Tyler State Park. The park’s paved trails make it great for going for a run, a bike ride or a walk in any weather. Neshaminy Creek runs through the park, so you often see people fishing and kayaking in the warmer weather. She’s visited about 15 Pennsylvania state parks so far and, while she doesn’t have a goal of seeing all 121, Scalzo said there’s a lot more she wants to visit. “I definitely hope to visit some new ones this year,” she said. “This spring, I have a trip planned to Ricketts Glen and Worlds End State Parks, which I’m really looking forward to.”
Scalzo – a self-proclaimed “travel planning nerd” – said she loves doing all the research and planning that goes into preparing for a trip – especially trips to national parks. She realized that not everyone enjoys the process and that planning can actually be pretty overwhelming for some. That is why she started offering travel planning as a service to others. In the past year, she’s helped three clients with planning their trips – including two family vacations and a honeymoon.
“I want to help take the stress out of planning, so my clients can go and enjoy their dream adventure,” she said. “In the future, I would love to expand this side of my business.”
Scalzo’s passion for travel began when she was studying abroad in Ghana. The trip opened her eyes to all the amazing sights and sounds you can experience when you step out of your comfort zone. She said her favorite thing about traveling is the adventure of it all like seeing new places, trying new things and challenging herself. Adventure travel is just a great break from the monotony of daily life and she loves experiencing all the natural beauty that our world has to offer.
Luckily, Pennsylvania has a lot of opportunities for adventure travel. Scalzo has developed into an incredible steward and supporter of Pennsylvania’s state parks, as she continues to provide people a glimpse into everything the commonwealth has to offer. “The more I travel, my desire to travel expands more and more,” she said. “I have a never-ending bucket list!”
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Written by guest blogger Christian Alexandersen, this post is the first in a new series featuring outdoor influencers focused on PA’s parks and forests! This series will highlight those who explore, adventure in, and steward the state’s parks and forests. Do you know someone that you think should be featured? Be sure to tag us on Instagram at @paparksandforests.