Hi I'm Nicole. I like to go places. There. Is that good enough?
I get asked to elaborate a lot, so here it goes.I'm a highly visual person, so writing isn't the thing I think is my #1. But after nagging from a few friends to start a travel blog, I did it! In particular my one cousin who dipped out of Alaska last month (I'm still not happy with that move, Tony.. You too Melissa), really convinced me to do it. Mostly I wanted to use this as a way to document my travels. I set out on my first big international trip in 2010, and I am starting to forget or blend places and stories together as time continues on, so I thought this would be a good way to force me to write. Well, I was wrong. I've been terrible at that so far. I still have a zillion places backlogged that I need to write about. Pretty much I don't know what I'm doing here right now, but occasionally I'll write something and let you know. Also, in case you're wondering: I'd never heard of a travel blog prior to my cousin sitting me down and telling me they existed... and a few patients at work asking me if I had one. Um, no. So no, I don't have that long list of inspirations and all that shit.
The biggest joke ever: My life.I was born in Alaska in the 80's. Yes, I know I'm a millennial and I'm fully aware that everyone hates this generation.
I never traveled much as a kid, my parents didn't have the money. We mostly traveled around areas in Alaska that were reachable by car plus a hike, a snomachine* ride, or a boat ride after the drive, which is less than 1% of the state. Did I mention Alaska is massive? Yeah, it's fucking massive. So in case you were wondering if my parents funded my travels or if I had a fat trust fund.... I wish. The did however fund the two trips to California (10yo, 14yo) (one with a side trip to Mexico), one to Florida (11yo) and one to Hawaii (18yo) that I all went on as a useless child/teenager that couldn't contribute to society 40 hours a week in the having a job and fully paying my own way kinda way just yet. I did pay my way to go to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and Cancun with change I found on the ground and change from the occasional lunch money given to me when I was 16 with a friend of mine who's Mom worked for Alaska Airlines and gave me a buddy pass resulting in $75 in taxes.
*If you are picturing people riding around on snowblowers, you are sorrily mistaken. We call what the rest of the USA (possibly the world but I am unsure) calls a snowmobile a snow machine. Deal with it.
Even though I didn't travel much internationally (actually I mean, at all) when I was a kid, or even outside of Alaska for that matter I was always fascinated by it. I loved drawing maps and looking at photos of far flung places in books and magazines. I also had a set of cards from Zoobooks that included one of a blue footed booby. I was always interested in animals that seemed exotic to me because they didn't live where I lived. That teamed up with the frequent map drawings and photo obsession is probably where the problem started.
Then part the way through college I made it happen: A trip to Europe. And then it kept getting more frequent and longer in duration. Before I kew it I was boarding a plane to Yemen, thinking what the hell am I doing?
How I Travel.Two of the main things you'll see here are posts about my travels to unusual, unique and far-off places that most people can't quite point out on a map, and then of course Alaska since that is home. I am based out of Alaska, I find that I'm not designed to be a full time traveler on a never-ending trip. I do like to have breaks at home, but that's just me. I could be swayed to do the expat thing sometime too, I get exhausted constantly being on the move.
My favorite places usually turn out to be places that most people would never dare go, and may or may not have even heard of. I do travel to well-known destinations too. But really, who wants to read another guide on places that have been covered time and time again? Not me.
I do all sorts of different kinds of travel. I travel solo, with friends, with complete strangers that I may have just met, sometimes my little parrot Yoshi even joins in on road trips in Alaska. I've gone on tours, completely independent, roughed it, backpacked on a budget, luxury, bush camped, slept on a variety of train station and airport floors. I love adventure travel and going on trips soley for photography purposes. What I'm getting at here is that I do a little of everything and I don't think any of them are better or wrong. I'm not too judgy about travel either, like those people that'll tell you're doing the place wrong if you don't visit _______, ___________, and ________. I also won't tell you to try to collect as many passport stamps as possible, or tell you that slow travel is the only way to travel. I won't give you the tourist vs. traveler debate because deep down we all know they're the exact same fucking things. And I sure as fuck won't write 'open letters' on here. Did I ever mention that I fucking hate open letters? I do, so please stop fucking writing them.
Beyond travel, what the hell do I like to do?Lots! I love to wakeboard, snowboard, improve my photography, go hiking, showcase my talents by eating copious amounts of food, drink wine, nap, camp.....
A few other random things about me.
I've been weird my entire life and I am not sorry about that.
My favorite country I've visited so far is Yemen.
I was a gymnast for 10 years.
I HATE olives. Hate them! However I put olive oil on just about everything.
I'm obsessed with photography. (if you wanna know about my gear- I wrote a post about it here... come on, you know you wanna click it).
I was briefly detained one time in the Dallas Airport. (Thanks to that Yemeni visa in my passport).
I have a healthy fear of gravity. I'm always down to do crazy things, but heights definitely scare the shit out of me. Does that fear stop me? Nope.
I cuss. A lot. So fucking deal with it. Or don't. You can go read a blog that's all PC and shit if that's what you really want.
I love parrots.
Where I've been and where to next?I've knocked out quite a bit of Europe, been around SE Asia, a sliver of Africa, a bit of South America, east Asia, a tiny bit of the Caribbean & Central America as well as my home continent of North America. I think I've been to 60-something countries. I still have yet to hit Antartica and Australia continent wise. As for where I'm headed to next....
On August 29 I set off for Tajikistan for about a month to hike through the Fann Mountains and do the road trip of all road trips on the Pamir Highway. Next I will jump on Dragoman's overlanding tour through Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. I just got my Uzbek visa in my passport back today! After Turkmenistan I will do a week-long road trip through Oman, before heading to the Philippines. My final stop will be in Palau to visit my friend Meg who is working there right now and then I'll have a long layover in Guam on my way home in December.
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Thanks for reading!