Travel Stories Week 31
Nina Out and About
What's your favorite place you have visited?
My favourite place that I have ever visited is Iceland.
I went in 2013, right before I started university. I believe it was our last big family holiday (which had the epic bonus that I didn’t have to pay for it!). But that’s not why it is my favourite. Iceland is the kind of place that you only dream of visiting. People often say it’s like visiting Mars, and they’re so right. From the sponge-y moss you can jump on to the rugged roads you need a four-wheeler to tackle, the topography is so fantastical you can hardly believe it’s real. Iceland offers an amazing mix of culture and nature for travelers. We went on a whale watching trip, climbed a glacier and crawled through lava caves. Even though it was freezing in August (I’m talking thermals and a coat in summer!) and the showers smelled like rotten eggs (thank you, sulfur!), Iceland has a special place in my heart.
I haven’t been back since, but I often choose to fly Iceland Air solely to have a stopover in the country to feel closer to it. On one of those trips, I actually flew through the northern lights! How much more crazy magical can Iceland get??
What’s the best thing you have seen while travelling?
This is such a tough question to answer because I’ve been incredibly fortunate to see so many amazing things on my journeys. I’ve been in New Zealand since November 2018, where I’ve gotten to see some incredible things: from the Waitomo Gloworm caves to Hobbiton to wild dolphins! But the best would have to be my unexpected wild animal encounters. First, I managed to run into a Kea: the world’s only alpine parrot. I’m not a big bird person, but this Kea made me instantly fall in love. He was just so cheeky! From biting a tourist who wasn’t fawning over him to trying to pull the wipers off a van, he captivated me. When he took flight, he revealed the vibrant colours under his wings.Keas are actually one of the smartest birds in the world. If you good “mischievous birds,” they also come up first.
Second, when I was doing a seal walk in Kaikoura, I encountered a baby New Zealand fur seal. He was separated from the adult seals and seemed to be posing on a rock. Some tourists weren’t respecting his space, so the pup started to head back to the adult seals. Getting to see his giant eyes and furry little flippers absolutely made my day (even though I got very sunburnt).
What’s your best travel story?
I’m realizing just how indecisive I am as these questions continue and it gets harder to pick just one thing!
One amazing experience I had during my 8 months in Europe (and Morocco and Turkey) was when I got a baking lesson from Moroccan women. My riad recommended an organization, Amal, which is a non-profit that works to educate women so they can support their families. In exchange for lessons, the women help cook and teach cooking classes. I worked with two lovely women who taught me to make Sablis and Ghriyba. Fatima, the English speaking woman that translated the lesson for me, took the time to write a thank you message to me in her native Berber. We sat an drank fresh mint tea in their gardens while she told me about her desire to become a lawyer.
It was such a fantastic cultural experience with truly inspirational women. I got a tray of cookies and a recipe out of the class, but more importantly I was able to contribute to an organization that is empowering local women to succeed in their community.
Tell us about your blog
Nina Out and About is a travel blog that combines a personal narrative and amazing travel experiences to inspire solo female travelers. I share travel tips, specific experiences and itineraries for global destinations. Nina Out and About is only 3 months old, but already has a dedicated following who look forward to the new posts every Monday. I am a Canadian travel enthusiast who is passionate about sharing my journeys and encouraging others to travel the world. I’ve been to 5 continents, 29 countries and have had countless adventures along the way.
Most recently, I’ve moved to New Zealand for a year to explore the mini continent and make some unforgettable memories. Check out Nina Out and About for some of the incredible things I’ve seen and done since heading to NZ!
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