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Ithaca is People: Emma Pure

The #IthacaisPeople Files

Week 7: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

Emma Pure is a free spirit, having traveled to locations as far as Europe and Asia, with upcoming plans to visit Ghana... and she's only 22! An expert on the art of "glamping" (you'll have to read our interview below if you want to know what that means), Emma also has the ability to create something beautiful out of things that are otherwise ordinary. That's why we thought she was the perfect pick for this week's @VisitIthaca Instagram takeover.

Hi, Emma! Where are you from?

I’m from Ithaca, New York.

Have you ever lived anywhere else?

I go to school in Geneseo so I have lived there for about a year and a half and kind of all over the place. I’ve traveled, but mostly I’ve come back to Ithaca.

Where have you traveled?

I’ve been to Europe, Southeast Asia, and I am headed to Ghana in the fall to study abroad.

Oooooh, amazing! What’s your favorite place that you’ve traveled?

Probably Southeast Asia, I was there for a gap year program so I was there travelling around with 7 other students for a couple of months.

Where were you in Southeast Asia?

Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

I used to live in Vietnam!

Really? It was amazing!

I agree with you, and that’s also my favorite place in the world.

It’s so beautiful. I would love to go back.

What do you do?

Right now I am working at Firelight Camps and the Island Café which is over at Island Health and Fitness.

Oh, can you tell me about Firelight Camps?

Sure! Firelight Camps is a new way of camping called “glamping”, or glamorous camping. There’s 18 tents, and people come from all over. There’s big safari tents, and on the inside is kind of a platform with a nice bed, and night tables…it’s basically a hotel room inside of a safari tent which is awesome, because people get the outdoor experience while still being comfortable.

That sounds really cool. Have you had the opportunity to stay in one of the tents?

I have. I stayed there once. We had a staff party so we each got to stay in one, and then I am staying there again on Sunday night.

That’s so awesome! We have been DYING to go! And speaking of ‘glamping”, let’s do a little throwback here to old-style camping. Have you done much of that in the area?

Yeah, well I grew up camping with my family. We were really into the outdoors and stuff. I guess we camped out farther, but just last month my friends and family and I went camping in the Finger Lakes National Forest which I also went to when I was young. That’s a good place to go. Of course, we’ve camped in our back yards a bunch!

So if you could give someone who has never been here an example of an ideal day of camping, what would you suggest they do?

I’d say any of the waterfall areas or state parks are really good. You can camp in a cabin or a tent, and then spend the day hiking or swimming (where there’s water). I would say Treman [State Park] is probably my favorite. I grew up in Enfield which is like, one second from Upper Treman which is awesome. And that’s a great place because there are so many waterfalls within the gorge, which I really like. And the lower part has a swimming hole and a big waterfall so I think that kind of has everything combined into one.

Tell us what inspires your Instagram photos.

Honestly just the places that I am, I mean being in Ithaca is just so inspiring. It’s actually funny that I was asked to do this because everyone is always saying “you should totally Instagram for Ithaca!” Everywhere I go I am constantly inspired even though I have lived here for 22 years, you know? There’s always new places to explore, whether it’s at a lake or a waterfall or little back alleys, or paths, I just feel like I am constantly inspired wherever I am. And what I love to do is try to find… I try to make places feel beautiful even when they might not always seem that way. So I really like taking an ordinary place or an ordinary situation and really shed light on it or, I don’t know, just capture something beautiful.

That’s lovely.


If you could describe yourself in three words what would they be?

Oh gosh (Laughs). Well, I guess I’d say “well-rounded” which is two words but…um…”creative”, and “adventurous”.

That was easier for you than anyone else we’ve interviewed so far!

Thanks! (Laughs)

So, final question: If you could describe Ithaca in one word, what would it be?

Ooooh. Um….(Laughs) I would say “community”. It has such a strong community, and I feel like whenever I go somewhere else and I come back, I am always in awe of how welcome I feel. Partly because I’ve grown up here all my life, but also just because I am constantly finding new connections. It’s kind of cool that I am finally becoming an adult now in Ithaca, so I am making my own connections along with the connections that I’ve had my whole life.

It’s a new experience as an adult, huh?

Yeah, exactly. And I feel like wherever you go in Ithaca you’re constantly making these connections, and I just think that it’s a really great, unified place.

Thanks, Emma. We're looking forward to seeing you make the world a little more beautiful this week!

Follow @VisitIthaca on Instagram for more.

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