Meet the Curator
"Cultures are very special, and I think when you visit a certain area, you need to be aware that you’re a guest and it’s a privilege to be welcomed into that culture."
Nicholas grew up in the midwest, and after a brief stint in the corporate world, went on an adventure to New Zealand and Australia, where his passion for travel was solidified. Returning home, he spent time as a ski instructor and tour guide, leading people on adventures all over the United States. His passion for the outdoors was paired with his ability to share his adventurous spirit, allowing him to craft some incredibly unique adventures for customers who love real experiences, but also a high thread count!
What sparked your passion for travel and how did it become your career?
I wasn’t enjoying my first career path, and on a whim decided to move to New Zealand to work on a vineyard, living in a tent on a campsite across the road. From there, I just kept focusing on finding unique jobs that I really enjoyed, and when I returned home, I became a tour guide and ski instructor, traveling all over the United States. I realized I loved sharing my experiences with others, and it also happens to be something I’m good at!
How many countries have you visited? What were your top 3 and why?
I’ve been to about 20 countries, and prefer to stay long periods of time in locations as opposed to shorter trips. I lived in New Zealand for a year, working on a vineyard, and played ice hockey for the Southern Stampede. It was home to me, and will always be one of my favorite places to visit, both for the memories and the natural beauty.
Nepal is also high on my list, as I’ve spent so much time living and working with the people, and their culture and scenery combined is amazing.
My absolute favorite place is the United States, as it’s not only my true home, but is just so different in every way. We essentially have 50 countries, and they’re all so fascinating and unique, with their own people, food, and culture.
What’s the place you most want to visit that you haven’t been to yet?
I would love to head to Ireland, spend some time in the countryside and on the coast living in a small town and making friends with the locals. I have Irish heritage, and would love to take my wife and four kids to spend a summer there, and pass that on to my family.
Why is it important for travel to make a positive impact?
Cultures are very special, and I think when you visit a certain area, you need to be aware that you’re a guest and it’s a privilege to be welcomed into that culture. The worst thing you can hear about a place is that it’s too touristy, so getting off the beaten path and respecting where you are can be a very positive experience for everyone involved.
How can you promote positive change when traveling?
For me, skipping the highlights and focusing on the local interactions with the people is what really promotes a positive change. Getting to know people on a very personal level are my fondest memories, and it usually involves sharing a meal at someone's home or a local establishment. When you break bread with someone, you can create a lasting, positive memory.
What’s the most surreal travel experience you’ve had?
I had a client years ago who was a blues guitarist from Scotland. He made the journey with his wife to the Delta region, home of the blues, to see all the sites that he had only heard about. At the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, I surprised him by having him play with some of the local musicians and their students.
That evening, we went to go see a local blues band play, and one of the musicians from earlier saw him in the crowd and pulled him on stage to play two songs. We still stay in touch, and to this day he still can’t believe he got to play where his heroes once did.
Which was the most memorable property you've ever stayed at? Why?
I stayed at a B and B in Italy, a little stone farmhouse in Umbria that was owned and operated by the manager of a famous Italian singer. I remember making stovetop espresso and having a private meal cooked by her, listening to her stories, and driving around the countryside, not a tourist in sight.
What item can you not travel without?
I have a Zippo lighter that goes with me everywhere, although it’s on its third iteration as some airports do love to confiscate it occasionally. It’s a bronze zippo with a bald eagle on it, and goes well with my waxed canvas jacket that has dust from every country I’ve visited still embedded in the fibers.