Hey, I’m Nicole…
I’m just another 30-something from Alaska… oh wait, there’s not that many of us from here…
The Cliff Notes:
I’ve been traveling an abnormal amount starting in about 2010 and telling ridiculous tales of misadventure ever since. I never totally left my career and at the harassment of some friends and family, I started this blog back in February 2015. You can usually find me at my happiest in remote mountain passes, with camera in hand, no less than 14 gashes, scratches and scabs (I’m a bit clumsy), and a 35 lb backpack strapped to me (okay, maybe I’m happier when pack is off, but you get the picture).
Now For The Full Version:
I was born during a blizzard one October in Alaska in the ‘80s. Since then it’s been a wild shuffle, narrowly dodging death, avalanches, grenades, collapsing ice caves, bullets, trainwrecks, kidnappings, natural disasters and probably a few other less than ideal situations.
As a kid I loved maps and encyclopedias with colorful photos of far off places. By 6th grade I had a teacher who made me memorize every country and capital in the world and every state and capital in the US (which probably didn’t help my fascinations), so we can probably blame Ms. Riley for me getting here.
I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew I wanted to travel all over the world.
Fast forward to the mid-‘00s and I graduated high school and eventually enrolled at the University of Alaska Anchorage to pursue a degree in dental hygiene. I quickly realized after I finished my program and started working that I could do temp work and live my life in a work-save-travel-repeat cycle. I managed to kind of do what I always wanted to do.
I guess this the part where I’m supposed to tell you that I buckled down at some type of corporate America job, then got burned out and quit a six figure salary earning job to be a full time digital nomad (or to become the worlds first “fill in defining quality” woman to visit every country in the world) and also ask readers to give me cash money via PayPal so I can continue rubbing my awesome lifestyle in your face.
Except the above paragraph isn’t me (ironically though it’s the story of a few popular bloggers and influencers these days).
In reality, I was working to live. I don’t hate being a dental hygienist, but I don’t really love it either. I was living for those travels and reliving them by telling their stories when I got home.
It was then when one of my cousins told me I should start a blog.
I had never really read blogs. I had already been traveling to way off the beaten path destinations like Yemen, Moldova, Zambia and Malawi. He thought I had a wealth of information on how to get to and how to travel in places that people just didn’t really go. Prior to this, it hadn’t even dawned on me to bring a journal and write my travels down while on the road.
So to cut to where I’m going with this: I’ll always be a traveler first, then probably a photographer, storyteller, and blogger in that order. I don’t view myself as an influencer, because I tend to write about places that you had been influenced elsewhere to visit and I provide the useful information you want to know before you go. I always put traveling before all the blogging and sales pitch bullshit. I’m basically the back end of a mullet (party in the back, and lacking the business qualities the front handles).
I have no background in marketing (which I’ve found many successful bloggers do), I also have no background in web design, html, SEO, or any of that other behind the scenes stuff that make some blogs popular. I’ve learned it all as I went along this weird travel blog journey (and I’ll admit I’m still not that good at it).
So what can you expect to find on this website?
A little bit of everything travel related. While I tend to focus and write more about off the beaten path travel, Central Asia, Alaska, and the Middle East, and spend the bulk of my time in these locations, you’ll also find guides and itineraries in more popular places, like Cambodia, Italy, and Chile.
I don’t always travel on a shoestring budget, but sometimes I do. Occasionally I’ll pop into a Michelin star restaurant but I’m more often found hovering around a street stall. I’ve slept on train station floors and in luxury hotels, but I’m typically happiest in a tent.
I try to put together blog posts that will help you. Anywhere from full blown travel guides, city guides, itineraries, road trip plans, budget guides and more. But sometimes I also share my crazy adventures.
Since my first backpacking trip I’ve survived a motorbike wreck in the Philippines, a train wreck and tooth extraction in Peru, several long-distance high-altitude solo-hiking trips through remote Tajikistan, falling into an open sewer in St. Lucia, Couchsurfing with complete strangers in Moldova, being ambushed by Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, hitchhiking over the rarely crossed Qolma Pass border crossing,
slid fell down the side Chimtarga Pass, co-lead a tour group of unsuspecting travelers through remote Eastern Tajikistan, Western China & Northern Pakistan on a trip that had a section without even an itinerary, and included a sheep boil/rave in the literal middle of nowhere, unknowingly walked through a tornado in Italy, traveled all over Afghanistan with a friend (who is also female), and hiked the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan solo on another trip, shit my pants in numerous countries (I think I may have an intestinal issue), and countless other (mis)adventures.
Other Random Things About Me
When I’m not traveling I still can usually be found working as a dental hygienist Alaska, or wandering off into the abyss I somewhere around here. I’m not a very good travel blogger and don’t crank out new posts everyday (more like once a week or so), and have a ridiculously long list of places I’ve visited that still haven’t made an appearance on this blog yet.
My favorite countries
My favorite cities
What’s coming up in 2021?
Hard to say, as things are still looking pretty bleak right now 10 months or so into a pandemic. I have a group trip to slated for Socotra in February, though it’s extremely likely that is going to be postponed, and more group trips to Afghanistan in May, the North Caucuses in June, the Arrigetch Peaks in Gates of the Arctic National Park in August, the Yagnob Valley and Fann Mountains in Tajikistan in September, the Little Pamir in the Afghan Wakhan in October, and finally Uzbekistan in November.
With so many group trips I’ll be co-leading, it doesn’t leave me with much time for personal travels, but we’ll see what happens as 2021 unravels.
Feel free to shoot me an email at adventuresoflilnicki [at] gmail.com, or sign up below for my e-mail newsletters for updates. If you’re an awesome brand wanting to work together, head over here and make me work!*
*But if you’re a brand looking to get me to review/market/instagram/blog about your product or service for free, take a hike. I have enough on my plate as is working an actual job full time and blogging on here.
It’s been nice to meet you. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and adventure!