From teenagehood in Devon spent fantasising about - and Googling - Soho to making strides in the city, Emma Gannon has always been an assertive dreamer. It's her wit and pragmatism that have led her to where she is now: an almost thirty-year-old about to jet off to the Maldives to celebrate her birthday.
The above sentence renders a far less wholesome and more gauche image than the one which Gannon represents. Still, if you can't celebrate a milestone birthday in a lavish and fanciful fashion then a) what is life? and b) are birthdays now redundant?
It's an expensive holiday, sure, but broach the topic of money and you won't find Gannon shying away. In her mind, it's one of the last social taboos and something she's keen to bring into the conversation. Not in splashing the cash at the end of a dinner kind of way, more in a when the bill does slide onto the table at the end of your group dinner you should feel comfortable saying "sorry I can't go splits, it's a tight month, I'll just pay for what I've ordered", kind of way. See, pragmatic.
Gannon's book The Multi-Hyphen Method - and the application of said method to her daily life - is rather pragmatic too, and affords her a dynamic work-life balance. The method has meant she can travel more, work smarter and embark on California road trips with author Caroline Kepnes in the passenger seat. We (metaphorically) hopped in for a quick spin ourselves to chit-chat over new books (hers and others to add to your reading list), go-to podcasts and finally coming round to Gwyneth Paltrow.
Where are you from and how has that shaped or inspired you?
I'm from Exeter, and feel very lucky to have grown up in Devon with all of the gorgeous beaches, countryside pubs and short(ish) drive to Cornwall. It shaped me in that I had a very safe and happy childhood. While I appreciate its beauty, the area was too slow-paced for me during my teens and I was absolutely obsessed with the idea of London and getting there. I used to sit in my bedroom Googling "Soho"! Now, when I go home as an adult, I appreciate the fresh air and tranquillity in a new way.
If there was one destination you could go back to immediately, which one would it be?
It would be Newquay, where I spent a lot of my childhood going with family friends and trying (and failing) to surf. I'm actually going back there very soon to celebrate a friend's 30th on Tolcarne Beach.
Where's your next adventure?
The Maldives for my 30th birthday - I am beside myself with excitement.
Do you unplug or limit your phone usage while on holidays?
Not really! I'm too busy taking photos usually, but I do try and put it down when there's a good view and really take it in without snapping on my phone too much. I once read that we are more likely to remember something if we take a photographic memory through our eyes, so I'm aware of taking the time to soak something up.
The best cities for working freelance…
Second Home workspace in Lisbon is meant to be amazing and I'm hoping to check it out soon. The Hoxton in Williamsburg has a nice, big laptop-friendly lobby and The Wing - with spaces across the world - is also great.
Tell us about your book The Multi-Hyphen Method.
Essentially, it's a best friend's guide on how to future-proof yourself, start a side hustle and have multiple income streams. It doesn't glorify the "hustle", but instead offers more of a toolkit and manifesto for designing your own personal career path. It also has a chapter on money - I'm so passionate about talking more openly about it as it still feels like one of the last social taboos.
Does your Multi-Hyphen Method allow you to travel more?
Yes definitely. It's the biggest upside to working for myself. No matter how stressful things are, I don't have to ask anyone's permission to do anything or travel anywhere, and that's the best feeling.
Your advice on side hustling while on holidays…
I don't! Side hustling is definitely not something I want to do on holidays. I am a firm believer in a stern but polite, out of office. (Unless your side hustle is a travel blog, in which case, go for it).
What are you working on at the moment?
A new book. But that's all I can say right now.
Tell us about your California Innovation Tour Series.
I partnered with Visit California on a mini-podcast series in which I interviewed amazing Californian entrepreneurs. It was a dream project; I did the San Fran-to-LA road trip while getting some incredible content for my show. I went to Headspace HQ, interviewed people at the Mondrian in West Hollywood and went to the apartment of the bestselling author Caroline Kepnes who wrote the book YOU which is now a Netflix show.
What do you think makes a good hotel?
Somewhere well-designed, welcoming, comfortable but not overly fancy. Ideally with a pool or outdoor space.
Your top five hotels…
Where do you go to relax?
Which are your most frequented travel destinations?
Probably California or Portugal, as my family go there every year.
What are you reading at the moment? What's next on your reading list?
I am reading Jessica Pan's book Sorry I'm Late I Didn't Want To Come - it's a book about an introvert (Jess) who spent a year getting out of her comfort-zone meeting new people, doing public speaking and travelling with the help of experts. It's a really funny, very well-written book. After that, I want to finish reading the pile on my bedside table, it's very tall right now. Next, I'll be reading Kristin Newman's travel memoir What I was Doing While You Were Breeding which I bought last time I was in New York.
Podcasts to download for our flight…
Hurry Slowly - a podcast about pacing yourself. Evil Genius with Russel Kane - he discusses the characteristics of iconic figures with guests. The goop Podcast - I didn't think I would, but I love it!
What would you do to improve airports?
Comfier seating, free WiFi that doesn't ask for all your personal data and more plug sockets.
One piece of travel advice…
Remember your plug adaptor.
And finally, what's in your SUITCASE?
Too many clothes because I'm indecisive.
EMMA GANNON'S POCKET GUIDE TO EAST LONDON:
Stay: Redchurch Townhouse
Drink + Dance: Rowans bowling followed by karaoke.
Shop: Vintage shops on Church Street.
Do: Broadway Bookshop is my favourite reading spot.
One thing only locals know: Monday nights at Hackney Picturehouse are really cheap for members.