Hawick vlogger Emma just loves wandering off the beaten track

A travel vlogger from Hawick who is causing quite a stir in the most remote and dangerous parts of the world says she travels alone as nobody else wants to go where she does.

By Kevin Janiak
Friday, 24th December 2021, 1:11 pm
Updated Friday, 24th December 2021, 1:11 pm
Emma Witters in Abbasid Palace, Baghdad.
Emma Witters in Abbasid Palace, Baghdad.

Emma Witters, whose maiden name is Gray, has only been producing YouTube videos, on her Wandering Emma channel, since March, but they have been watched by millions worldwide and she has even been interviewed on Iraqi TV.

The 53-year-old’s wanderings have included a visit to the oldest gun market in the world, at Dara Adam Khel, a small village in Pakistan, where she watched stall holders build weapons, and a short 13-second video of her shooting an AK-47 at a firing test site has amassed more than 21million views.

Emma, who attended Wilton Primary School and Hawick High School before moving to London, then New York, certainly prefers to go off the beaten track in her travels, and her appearance ensures she is the centre of attention, especially in the more conservative regions of Pakistan and Iraq.

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The attention would be enough to scare off most women, but Emma said: “I never get scared at all … the attention is always just people that are curious as many have never seen a foreigner before.

"Everyone is always looking out for me and they say if I need anything to ask, and I’m often invited to stay with locals as they are always so hospitable.

“I was scared once, in Pakistan, when a local offered to take me and a local friend I made for a drive … along the Khyber pass to the Afghanistan border.

"I didn’t know his plan at the time and told him to turn back as foreigners aren’t allowed in the Khyber pass for safety reasons. I thought we were going to see some animals, not going for a cruise along the Khyber Pass, but it was all OK.”

Emma Witters in northern Pakistan.

Emma funds all her trips herself. She added: “Pakistan is my favourite country ... its people are so hospitable and generous. It was hard to pay for anything! They would say I was a guest in their country.

"Also the country is so diverse, with the Karakoram and Himalayas in the north, its stunning.”

Emma does have a Paypal account for people who like her videos to send her money, but she says she uses this to give to locals, and bought a TV for one family she stayed with.

She said: “There’s nowhere I wouldn’t go unless it’s an active war zone.

"For my next trip I plan to travel across Russia. But I hope to come home soon, too, as my mum Anne Gray still lives in Hawick.”