We met in university :) Featured Traveler- Nicole Forbes #GirlsWhoTravel

Nicole and I met in university. We were in the same Geography/ Environmental Science program and took pretty much the same classes.

After living in Vancouver for a while, I flew to New York City for some field work and shared a hotel room with Nicole. After our week of field work we stayed with my friend Andy in Brooklyn. We ended up on one of these wild and incredible adventures that travelers constantly find themselves in. We said YES to all opportunities and camped out with another friend and my boyfriend at the time in Andy’s Brooklyn living room, in the dead of summer with no A/C. I remember Nicole casually saying “this love seat is fine” and then curling up in a ball to sleep! What a champ!

Nicole is truly one of a kind. She’s brilliant, kind, generous, talented and absolutely stunning. I am honoured to share her travel stories and how she manages to balance a professional career and globe-trot around the world!

Name: Nicole Forbes

What city do you call home? Burlington, Ontario

What was a defining moment/situation that made you decide to travel/be adventurous? My mother spent her youth and young adulthood traveling across Europe before immigrating to Canada, and I was lucky to be born with dual citizenship to Switzerland. I grew up traveling overseas to visit my family and in response to my mother becoming ill and after a ride before entering remission, I felt inspired to see the world through a different lens. I started traveling to places, not in response to me selecting them, but by enrolling for social justice projects abroad and landing wherever I was best placed. I like to think I was born with the inspiration to see the world and experience its beautiful adventures.

Where have you been/lived? Switzerland, Italy, France, England, Germany, USA (California (Modesto, San Fransisco), New York City, Ohio, etc.), Nicaragua, Kosovo, Macedonia, Peru, Kenya, Serbia, Greece, Costa Rica, Thailand.

Can you share a memorable/funny travel story? When I traveled to Peru, part of our trip was working with the Quechua Indigenous people. As part of the orientation, our contact described the Indigenous issues in Peru and shared stories with our group. He then asked us to talk about the Indigenous issues in Canada. I stumbled through the information I had been taught in school and realized how little I knew. It was an uncomfortable and awakening moment, that inspired me to learn more when I returned home. I moved my university courses around to take electives in Indigenous issues, and later concentrated my research on Indigenous health issues in Canada. I continue to take advantage of opportunities to learn more and to advocate social justice for our Indigenous peoples in Canada.

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Can you share a story when something did not work out as planned while traveling?  Things usually don’t go as planned when traveling, and I plan my trips with that expectation. From mixed messages crossed between languages to missed flights, it is all part of the fun in the journey.

What is left on your ‘to-do’ list? Camping in a provincial park – which is so silly really, it’s right around the block relatively speaking! I also want to experience Japan, and head back to South East Asia to visit Cambodia.

How do you balance work and travel? I plan smaller, local trips in between international trips to satisfy my wanderlust. I’m lucky to work in a flexible office that recognizes my productivity is driven by balance – I work very hard and am rewarded with lieu time that I use to travel.

What advice/tips do you have to encourage people who want to travel? Follow your heart – be flexible and open to adventure. Things rarely go as planned, but that’s part of the beauty of it.

Where can people follow your adventures? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: @forbeswithlove

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