Short message from the #TOTD: My name is Nicholas Vallone and I am 29 years young. Originally I am from Chicago, but I have called Scottsdale/Phoenix, Arizona home since 1996. My Instagram account is @nickvallone
1. Where did you go for your first travel experience/holiday?
So, my first real travel experience was back in 2003 when I toured Western Europe. Instead of going to Mexico with my senior class for our class trip, I decided to go across the pond. We saw 7 countries over a 19 day period with an organized bus tour. England, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and France were all part of our itinerary. This was a great experience, however, after seeing other parts of the world without the structure of an organized tour, I definitely prefer the disorganization and surprise factor that comes without a set itinerary.
2. Which 5 items do you always bring on your travels?
The 5 items I always bring with me are:
1. My backpack.
3. Small portable rechargeable speaker.
4. Extra debit/credit cards.
3. Where are you now and where will you go for your next trip?
In early 2014 I traveled through SE Asia for 45 days. We started in Bali, then went to Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia. I recently returned to the U.S. after spending 3 months living in Santiago, Chile and then 4 months living in Panama City, Panama. During my time living down there I was fortunate enough to visit Argentina, Uruguay, and Colombia while living in Central/South America. I reside in Phoenix, Arizona which is where I am now and I only came back because of a terrific opportunity with the fastest growing SaaS company in history, Zenefits.
4. What is your dream destination and why?
This is a really hard answer for me to come up with. There are so many gorgeous places around the world and I know that I have not even scratched the surface. I like the fact that I have visited more countries around the world than the states I have visited. If I had to choose somewhere which I would consider my dream destination, I would have to say Myanmar (Burma). This place is largely unexplored by outsiders and now that the country is open to tourism it will only remain in its most pure form for a short time. I feel the time crunch to get there prior to mass tourism taking over. If Coca-Cola is there (which it is), then you know there will be other westernized influences not far behind.
5. What is your favorite travel picture that you took and why/what is the story behind it?My favorite travel picture was taken in Siem Reap, Cambodia. We were visiting the Angkor Wat Temple and a monkey happened to be in the perfect spot for me to take a picture with the massive temple in the background. I didn’t realize how great the photo was until seeing it on my computer later that night. Cambodia was not on my original list of places to go (I was only supposed to be in SE Asia for 2 weeks and that ballooned to 45 days) and it turned out to be my one of my absolute favorite places.
6. If you could take 3 celeb travel buddies on your next trip, who would they be and why?
I am a huge fan of music and at the moment I really like what Odesza is putting out. I heard them for the first time when I was on Tonsai Beach in Thailand and they have stuck with me since then.
I always like some comic relief and at the moment I am a big fan of the television show Brooklyn 99. I think Andy Samberg is hilarious and he would be a perfect person to travel with.
Malcolm Gladwell has a way of positioning social issues in a way that provoke though. I am not a huge fan of fictional stories so Gladwell always makes for a very interesting read.
7. Are you a backpacker or a flash packer? And what was the best backpack/flashback accommodation where you have ever stayed?
I would consider myself to be a backpacker. It is great to spend a few nights in nice accommodations, but from my experience there is nothing like not knowing exactly where you are going to lay your head when you arrive in a new place. This also leaves a lot more money for excursions and other things that will make your trip more memorable besides saying that you stayed in a 4 or 5 star hotel the entire time. I would have to say that my favorite accommodation was on Koh Rong in Cambodia. The guest house itself was nothing to write home about, but Koh Rong is a magical place that you have to see to understand. Hearing the sound of the water while going to sleep and when you wake up will never get old.
For more information about Nick and to keep up with his travels, visit his Instagram: http://instagram.com/nickvallone