I’m always on the hunt of new travel bloggers to feature, especially travel bloggers who have been to some places that only a few of us have been to. While researching and asking some people about Srinagar and bumped into Nicole of 2Nomads1Narrative.com.
She was in Srinagar a couple of years back and gave me a lot of helpful tips about the place. Nicole does the same thing on their blog. She writes a lot of travelogues about her previous tips and includes a lot of helpful tips that you and I will find very useful.
Get to know more about Nicole and visit her at 2 Nomads 1 Narrative. But before you click away, check out my short interview with Nicole.
Nicole and Rhys at a South Korean Temple
How did you discover your passion for travelling?
“Our Trans-Atlantic relationship wouldn’t allow us to do anything besides move away and travel the world together. I am from Maryland, USA and Rhys is from Cardiff, Wales. It’s strange that it is 100% easier for us to live in Asia than either one of our actual homes! Damn immigration laws. Plus, when I was a junior in college I took the leap to study abroad in England, and from that moment on I was hooked. The travel bug has never stopped crawling through me making me itch to get on the road and explore! Then Rhys Farrow, the Welshman, happened and once we started dating there were two options. Either runaway to Asia, or get married. So, duh..the choice was easy, go runaway to ASIA!”
What’s the most horrible experience that you’ve had on the road?
“So many come to mind, but we had a rough experience in Sringar, India. The state of Kashmir is at high tension, because Pakistan and India are both claiming it as there own. When we arrived we should have known immediately that it would be a crazy trip when the Indian Army had to escort our tourist bus to Dal Lake where we would be staying on a houseboat.
Tensions were so high between India and Pakistan that we weren’t allowed to leave the houseboat. Rhys and I were confined to 2 rooms, no TV, no computer, no outside stimulation, no books besides the 3 we had with us for a WEEK. The highlight of our day was getting to eat lunch and dinner, which was the exact same EVERYDAY. Just the two of us on a boat with no where to go, nothing to do but sleep and wait for the next meal. Cabin Fever isn’t even the word for it!
We weren’t allowed to leave because of intense riots in the town. 14 people actually died in riots while we were there! Eventually the houseboat owner came to us and said, “Look I think we can get you out tonight. I don’t know what time, have everything packed, sleep in your clothes, and be ready to go the moment I knock on your door.” Scared? Yes. But ANYTHING to get me the hell off that boat. At 3AM we got the knock, jumped out of bed and crept to our getaway canoe. We were spotlighted by the Indian Army the entire time we were paddled to shore, then thrown in a tiny mini van packed full of people for a 10 hour drive through winding mountain roads. The man behind me was puking the entire time and my knees were jammed up to my chin, but we were free, free at last!”
What’s the best travel experience that you’ve ever had?
“Arriving at Mt. Everest Base Camp was an unbelievable achievement for us both. After a relentless 9 day hike deep into the heart of the Himalayas, 7 mountain villages, ascending 3,000m, altitude headaches, nights shivering huddled around a yak dung fire stove, one very cold wash up, and a nail-biting mountain flight, we stood at 17,600 feet and looked up at the mightiest mountain in the world. I remember feeling so small standing amongst the world’s biggest white giants and feeling so accomplished. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
I felt so accomplished and ecstatic over our small achievement, I can’t even imagine the feelings people have when they are actually climbing the damn thing!”
Nicole and Rhys at Everest Base Camp
What’s the biggest realization that you’ve got out of travelling?
“How simple life can be! In the western world things tend to be so complicated with big homes, lots of bills, and a long list of rules to abide by. In Asia, life comes as it is. People make do with what they have, and don’t worry about what they don’t have.”
What keeps you going? What
keeps you motivated?
“Besides the fact that we can’t move back to our home countries until we are married (ekk!), it’s all about the adventure. When we get too comfortable in a place it is time to move on and dive into the next big trip or move to a different country. It is cliche but, the people you meet while traveling, the places you see, and the incredible experiences are worth it all. Thinking of moving home and going back to our old jobs and our old way of life isn’t exciting. I’d get bored, spend my time on google images, and be itching for the next adventure!”
This is a silly and hypothetical one. If you would be given a chance to travel with a popular person or a celebrity, who would it be and why?
“Karl Pilkington. If you haven’t watched “An Idiot Abroad” somehow get your hands on it and watch it until your face is so red from laughing you can’t breathe! Karl Pilington is probably the most miserable traveler on Earth and traveling with him would be hilarious. Just watch the show, than you will totally understand why I want him as my celeb travel buddy.”
Nicole and Rhys in the Philippines
Where’s your favourite place in this planet and why?
“Cambodia is an amazing place to travel. The people there are so poor, and many of them have very little, yet the Cambodians are the nicest people we’ve meet abroad. The people smile in spite of the genocide that gripped their country and impacted the lives of everyone there, whether it is someone who lived through the atrocity or a child growing up without a member of their family. I find that taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers tend to be the worst at ripping off tourists in most Asian countries however, in Cambodia many of my favourite people were our tuk-tuk drivers.”
“So many people have so little, and yet they are so happy, and it really makes you appreciate life and your time there.”
What’s your best tip for newbie traveller?
“Never expect anything, just let it happen and say YES as much as you can! It’s amazing what new experiences can come from saying yes to one person, whether it be a tuk-tuk driver or allowing a kid to walk you around town for the day. Also… always pack a sarong! It is something less essential & so simple that it is easily overlooked. However, it does it all. It’s a sheet on cold airplanes, a towel on the beach, a dress or skirt, a pillow on long bus journeys, or a blanket when you find yourself sleeping on the floor of a dirty Indian train station.”
What’s the funniest and silliest thing you’ve ever done while travelling?
“During Korea’s long and cold winter we spiced things up a bit and went to Korea’s mountainous Gangwon-do Province way up in the North. Every year the infamous Ice Fishing Festival is held for a couple of weeks in January. The festival takes place on… you guessed it, a huge frozen lake. Hundreds of people are bundled up battling the cold with fishing poles in hand hoping for some luck. Basically, I stood on the ice holding a cold pole for an hour shivering.
After no luck using a fishing rod we upgraded (or downgraded?) and decided to be rough and rigid and use our bare hands. This meant getting in the subzero water! We were marched out onto the ice in our bare feet in shorts and a t-shirt. I felt like I was in the arctic tundra, simply walking on the ice caused piercing pains in my feet. Then the big countdown 5-4-3-2..1! JUMP! My entire body ached, 1,000 needles piercing every inch of my skin, my only thought was, “GET me the *@#$ OUT of HERE!” Grab a fish? Yea right. In a matter of minutes my legs were frozen. I actually had to think left, right, left, right to make them move.
Thankfully, a sauna was waiting for us and all of our moans and screams as we tried to gain feeling in our bodies again! One guy in our group managed to battle the frigid waters and caught 3 fish. 1 in each hand and 1 in his mouth. The Koreans watching us loved every minute of it!”
What do you think about yourself?
“I call Rhys “Map Man”, he has this weird talent of being able to memorize the streets of most cities we go to with a quick glimpse of a map. I will look up pictures, read things off travel blogs, or guide books and say, “Hey! This looks awesome, let’s go here!” And then Map Man comes in and makes it happen for us. Rhys is the planner and I’m there to befriend everyone! I’ll talk to anyone and ask for directions or help while his face is buried in the map figuring it out for himself. My philosophy, why spend so much time looking at a map, when you can just ask?! When we meet other travelers (this has actually happened many times!) they hear about Rhys’s grand travel plans for us they join in with me for the ride along while he carries out the master plan!”
“Our blog address sums it up pretty well. 2nomads1narrative.com translates into 1 American + 1 Welshman = 2 Nomads, and 1 Narrative is our travel story told through our blog. The main focus is to tell all about teaching and traveling abroad in Asia. The do’s and dont’s that we wish we would have known while on the road & to give people the information they need to make their hopes of teaching abroad come true. The glamorous and not-so glamorous Asian lifestyle!” – Nicole
Editor’s Note: All pictures are provided by Nicole