My name is Nicole Barcellos and I left on this adventure at 22 year old as a recent graduate of Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. I live in East Gwillimbury, Ontario in Canada and come from a loving family of five and a crazy pup (mother – Mary, father – Wayne, younger sister – Natalie, younger brother – Joe).
I have explored my hobbies and passions since I left on this trip so some have continued to develop while others have been put on pause, but right now other than researching flights and adding to my bucket list, I enjoy hot yoga, running, cooking, reading (right now I am in a memoir phase so if you have any favourites/recommendations, let me know), and throwing myself into other creative outlets.
Welcome to my travel blog, The Northern Travelite. Travelite is kind of a made-up term I am choosing to use for a couple of reasons. First, there are a lot many travel blogs out there that have used up most of the punny or smart domain names. This forced me to be a little creative with mine while still trying to communicate that the blog is related to travelling. I came up with the word “travelite” by combining the words ‘travel’ and ‘light’ which makes sense in my situation as I was travelling light because I was carrying everything I wanted to bring along on my back. Travelite also sounded like a good way to describe a person who is interested and invested in travelling. I probably could have just stuck with other words that are more common and are actually a part of the English language like ‘explorer’ or ‘adventurer’ but where is the fun in that?
Since I was little, my plan was always to attend university, graduate and then take some time off to explore this big beautiful planet that we all share. I also come from a family full of travel bugs which only fuels my love for adventure and discovery.
As I made my way through high school and university I always vocalized my love, desire, and plan to catch the first flight from YYZ to anywhere after I walked across that stage and collected my $40,000 piece of paper declaring my completion of my undergraduate studies. My neighbour and best friend since pre-school, Rachel Summers, and I were out for coffee one day in June or July of 2014 and between our sips of java we came to the conclusion that backpacking once we both finished our university degrees was the ideal next step for our wanderlust filled souls. We made goofy lists of all the places we wanted to visit and the things we wanted to do there; bike through tulips in Amsterdam, hot air balloon in Istanbul, swim in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, hike the Routeburn Track in New Zealand….. I will end it there because it was a pretty long list. After months of stitching days and activities together we finally created a skeleton plan of our itinerary.
- 2 months through Europe
(Entry: August 31st to Athens – Greece//Exit: November 8th, Paris – France)
- 1 month in Australia
(Entry: November 10th, Cairns – Australia//Exit: November 28th,Sydney – Australia)
- 4 months in New Zealand
(Entry: November 28th, Auckland//Exit: Sometime mid/end of March, Auckland)
- 2(ish) weeks on the West Coast of B.C
(Entry: mid/end March, Victoria. Exit: April, Vancouver)
We backpacked the whole thing and stayed rather loyal to our rough skeletal plan. Europe and Australia we were mostly doing what we called ‘tourist travelling’. This was the hop, skip, and jump scheme that most backpackers do when they want to see all of Europe in a month or two. In two and a half months we squeezed in five Islands in Greece, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, and France before we took off for Down Under. Australia was a much hotter (and scarier insect and animal wise) version of Europe. We swam in the Great Barrier Reef and hopped from place to place with our bags on our back exploring.
We departed for New Zealand at the end of November and spent our time WWOOFing there until the beginning of April. WWOOF-ing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) is a really cool program that both Rachel and I were both really interested in because it would break up our backpacking a little bit and give us a chance to really immerse ourselves into the Kiwi lifestyle. The core concept to the WWOOF experience is that we volunteer with host families, couples, friends, or individuals who are willing to provide some food and a place to stay in exchange for 4-6 hours of manual labour. I really loved this exchange – I met some of the most amazing people with whom I shared great stories and was a part of very insightful conversations. I learned a lot about the Kiwi culture, agriculture, permaculture, their history, the importance and relevance of the Maori culture and so much more. Many of the people who we stayed with both Rachel and I still stay in touch with.
Last stop of the trip was the West Coast of Canada. I have some family and friends out there as did Rachel from her time living in Whistler over the last couple of summers. Rach is super passionate about the West Coast and she actually moved out there about a month after we arrived home from this grand adventure. I have been out to the West Coast about 9 years ago with my family but being older and in a developed mindset, it was a very new and different experience. British Columbia was a beautiful place that was both familiar and foreign for me; a perfect place to wrap up the trip. It was also really cool to see the place that is so close to Rachel’s heart and a place that is now home to her!
I am now 23 years old and am forever cursed/blessed with the travel bug. This trip has made me realize just how big the world really is. There is so much to see and explore and experience. Although I am now on a bit more of a structured path as I try to navigate my way back to the reality of finding a job and moving out of my parent’s house and finding a job that satisfies me as well as financially supports me, I will most definitely be on a plane to somewhere again soon.
Please click around the blog to hear more about my journey and see some of my pictures. To check out any of my social media profiles click on the icons in the top right of the screen. If your reading this and wanting to connect please feel free to reach out to me by clicking on the ‘contact’ tab on the menu running across the top of the screen.
If you want to hear more from my girl Rach and her take on our world tour, check out her blog, The Lucky Leap.