Most  days I wish I could pack a bag, show up at the airport, buy the cheapest ticket I can find, and take off. Spontaneity excites me. Having no plans, just showing up and seeing where the adventure takes you.
Reading under the tuscan sun, swimming in the blue water in Capri, looking up at the skyscrapers in Dubai, snorkeling off the coast of Australia, skiing in the alps, twirling beneath the eiffel tower, exploring the neon lit nightlife in Tokyo, witnessing the sunrise in Bali, standing almost too close to the edge of the cliffs in Ireland, appreciating Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona, celebrating Oktoberfest in Munich, exploring the quirky book stores in Scotland, riding a bright red vespa through italy, hiking machu picchu in Peru, admiring the white and blue painted buildings in Santorini, camping out under the northern lights...
Walking beachside in Camogli, Italy (2011)
Although the aforementioned list of items on my bucket list reflect the romanticized future I daydream for myself, it barely scratches the surface of what I hope to experience. To me, traveling encoumpasses more than just visiting the main attractions and falling into tourist traps. If you really want to experience a new culture you have to dig a little deeper. Don’t get me wrong, I love going on vacation, it’s fun to see all the famous ruins you read about in textbooks and the beautiful scenery you see on postcards. However, vacationing somewhere is a superficial way of experiencing the culture and gaining an authentic experience. I understand that not everyone is able to pick up their lives and move across the world, but living somewhere adds a whole different dynamic that you wouldn’t experience otherwise. While on vacation, visitors typically don’t interact with locals and stay in resorts full of amenities and luxury excursions specially designed for tourists. Living somewhere is a completely different experience where you are fully immersed in the culture. While most people think of Dubai as an incredible futuristic skyline with bugatti police cars (in reality I’ve actually never even seen one of those), I remember waking up at 4:30 in the morning to Islamic prayers played through speakers in my apartment complex. In Italy, while people constantly rave about visiting the Colosseum and riding the gondolas in Venice, I remember not being able to use the oven and have the lights on at the same time without all the power going out in the house (we used a lot of candles). Living like a local is the only way to truly experience the way of life. Because if you don’t, then you only see the best of what there is to offer, you get to see the highlight reel instead of the whole picture.
Riding bicycles with my neighbors in Dubai, UAE (2008)
And so, I see my future through the highlight reel in my daydreams, but I also see the bigger picture and I have big plans. I dream of attending grad school in London, joining the Peace Corps and serving in Peru, working for NGOs serving underprivileged countries, writing editorials in travel magazines about new places, working in the foreign service, and becoming an ambassador or diplomat. I want to continue to move around the world and gain more authentic experiences. As long as I’m moving and learning and traveling and experiencing new things, then I’m truly living. All I want is to live my life as fully as I possibly can.
That’s what Nicole Travels is all about. This is not your typical travel blog. In addition to sharing my favorite destinations and travel tips, I strive to dig a little deeper. I want readers to see the bigger picture, to look beyond the filters, posed photographs, and social media pages. I will explore topics like cultural identity, global poverty, stereotypes, attachment, and geographic profiling, which I have learned about through my international experiences. I will share what it’s like growing up as a third culture kid and how it has shaped my life-- in both positive and negative ways. Above all, I want Nicole Travels to be a place that celebrates experiences of all kinds, because life is all about unique experiences. Keep up with me and my journey of learning new things, traveling to new places, and meeting new people.
I’m a half-Austrian, half-American former expat and avid traveller! And no-- I don’t know where I'm from! My dad was born and raised in Enns, a small town in Austria, and my mom is from New Haven, Connecticut. My twin sister and I were born in Miami, Florida and at 6 years old we began our lives as nomads! Miami, FL → Dubai, UAE → Genoa, Italy → Naples, FL → Scottsdale, AZ → Seattle, WA → Ft. Lauderdale, FL → Naples, FL
First football game at UW in Seattle, WA (2019)
Currently, I live in Seattle for university and my twin sister goes to school in London. My parents live in Florida and Austria, where all of my extended family lives. I’ve moved more times than I can count on my two hands (16!) and I’m only 19. I’ve seen it all. I’ve moved into apartment complexes, gated communities, airbnbs, condos, and even a sorority house. I’ve gone to schools with 600 students and schools with 25 students. I’ve lived in deserts and on mountains and near beaches. I’ve moved halfway through the school year, I’ve moved across the country, and I’ve moved across the world-- to places where I didnt even speak the language. Growing up this way may sound unconventional to anyone who hasn’t lived the same lifestyle-- but it’s all I really know or understand.
How did I get to travel so much?
My dad was a waiter on cruise ships and my mom a dancer-- that’s how it all began. Fortunately, working in the cruise ship industry gave my family the opportunity to travel the world. Though it has its benefits and drawbacks, living abroad is something that has deeply touched who I am as a person and I feel like I have a deeper knowledge of the world and myself because of it.
Get to know me: some fun facts!
I am found dancing more often than not even though I am the worst dancer you will ever meet, cookies are the way to my heart, I’m a big skier and golfer, I’m almost trilingual, I can rap a surprisingly large number of songs, I’m always willing to try everything at least once, I’m left handed, I’ve been known to be very clumsy, I’m obsessed with Gilmore Girls, journaling and fitness is what keeps me sane when I’m stressed, I like to read, Khalid and Ed Sheeran are some of my favorite artists, I can recite the entire periodic table in order (even though I’m not a stem major...), birds are arguably my biggest fear, and I have an obsession with skirts. But above all, I’m just a girl who loves the world! I live for spontaneity and adventure and excitement! I live life boldly and intensely. I feel deeply and love strongly. All I want is to try, see, learn, and experience everything the world has to offer. I want to live life as fully as I possibly can.
Welcome to Nicole Travels
Fly high, Nicole
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
What does it mean to be "from" somewhere? In this post, we take a deep dive into exploring cultural identity.