It’s particularly hard, especially in the fast moving and fickle world of social media, to stand out in a sea of travel writers and photographers – did you take particular inspiration from specific styles/genres when it came to creating your own look and feel for Polkadot Passport?
To be honest, I think the Polkadot Passport aesthetic is really something that has manifested and evolved with time. It's funny - personally I've always enjoyed looking at very minimalist, analogue photography, yet my own style is the complete antithesis to this! I've found it most enjoyable creating travel photos are bright, colorful and full of life, and the style has seemed to work so I just sort of took it and ran with it!
Are there other writers, photographers or bloggers that you admire and/or feel are managing to stay true to their ‘brand’, in terms of remaining unique in style, approach and ethos?
I have a lot of respect for photographer Melissa Fieldley. Not only are her photos stunning, you can tell there is a real genuineness to her work. I also really admire that she has used her photography for a greater purpose - I recently saw she put out a book of her photos in order to raise funds for the Nepal disaster relief.
Have there been any particularly difficult lessons to learn along the way that you’d like to share?
Probably the most difficult lesson I've had to learn is how to stay true to myself and what I stand for in the industry I am in. The world of travel blogging and Instagram can be competitive and superficial, and I really had to learn to not get caught up in the ugly side of it. I never started Polkadot Passport for self-glorification or for money, so I try to be as authentic as possible with everything I put out to the cyber world and have learnt to not comprise my standards for the sake of money or gaining popularity.
Where in the world have you had your most memorable moments, either professional or personal?
One of my most memorable moments was the time I got experience life in a little village in the mountains in Nepal when I was on an around-the-world mission trip. We slept on the floor surrounded by rats and giant spiders, bathed in the river, watched our dinner be killed in front of our eyes, had dance parties with the local Nepalese kids and got stuck in flash flood. I will never forget these precious memories.
What are your personal travel necessities?
I couldn't live without my travel pillow, earplugs and eye mask (particularly when I am staying in hostels). For day to day, I always carry around a water bottle, a pack of nuts in case I get peckish and at least three bank cards stored in different places (just in case).
Where’s next on your itinerary?
Next, I am heading to India for a month which I am SO excited about! India has been a dream destination of mine for a long time now and I am so excited to get immersed in this colorful country.
Nicola wears our Lily & Lionel Iris Dress in Sri Lanka #aswornbysupernomads
And what do you look forward to the most when you come home?
Seeing my family after a long time away is always the most incredible thing about coming home. Also, I always really miss cooking when I am on the road so I love having a kitchen again!
Do you have any hot tips for where you see being the next up-and-coming destination, and why?
Cuba is quickly becoming a popular destination of the moment. Iceland has also been on the rise for awhile. I think people are finally starting to branch out and explore destinations that are rich naturally and culturally and that haven't yet been ruined by souvenir stores and hoarded of selfie sticks!
What is your vision as you take Polkadot Passport forward?
I am BIG dreams for Polkadot Passport in the future. I really want to use my platform to do something with a deeper meaning and purpose, and I am in the early stages of concocting what that might look like. I don't want to give away too much too soon but I'm looking to really build a community of like-minded travelers and have some exciting projects planned. Watch this space!
We believe at Supernomad in the importance of treading lightly (in terms of environmental and social impact) when it comes to fashion – do you agree that this is also important for travel?
I think this is one of THE most important things when it comes to travelling and its something I want to focus on a lot more moving forward. Given that I spend so much time on planes, which are of course one the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, I really try to do what I can to minimize the environmental impact of my travels in other ways. A few small ways I do this is by trying to stay in eco-sustainable accommodation when available, walking as much as possible instead of using transport, avoiding the use of plastic bags and not eating meat. I also always try to support local communities and businesses as much as possible and these days will never participate in any animal-based tourism.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would that be?
To not get caught up comparing myself others or being overly concerned with what other people think of me! When I first got into the Instagram and blogging world, I constantly found myself wishing I took photos like this person or had a following as big as that person. It would just leave me frustrated and confused. One day, I finally woke up and realized that I am on my own journey and that this was the most important thing to focus on, not comparing myself to others.
What would you say is the best part of your job?
The moments I receive an email saying that I've inspired someone to travel, it makes everything worth it. Knowing I've had some kind of impact on someone's life is honestly the most rewarding thing to know.
Named as one of the best up and coming travel blogs to watch in 2016, Polkadot Passport is a fabulous source of travel and creative inspiration for young adventurers.
You can follow Nicola at Polkadot Passport here:
Website / polkadotpassport.com
Facebook / polkadotpassport
Instagram / @polkadotpassport
Twitter / @