Hey y’all! I’m Nikki Stearns, Associate Editor of Travel Pass Magazine, and avid traveler! I’ve loved traveling since I was pretty young. At the age of 13 I moved from Kansas to California, taking several cross-country road trips to get there! This really started my love affair with travel. Today I’ve lived in several regions of the continental US, and continue to have an avid love-affair with travel.
I’m currently living in Tucson, Arizona, and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the American Southwest! I’m a full-time Nutrition student here at the University of Arizona, as well as Owner and Artisan of Old Pueblo Apothecary.
TPM: What kind of traveler are you?
NS: I’m a “laid-back foodie” traveller, for sure! I love exploring parts of an area that are popular amongst the locals, and would prefer to do things at a leisurely pace, and go back another time to see the things I didn’t get to. I love talking to and getting to know locals, as well as fellow travelers, while on my adventures, and especially finding the best, local food!
TPM: Where in the world is your favorite place to visit? Why?
NS: It’s really tough to pick a “favorite” place to visit, because every place is unique and amazing in it’s own way. But, if I had to pick a favorite in my travels to-date, I’d have to say Stuttgart, Germany, because it was the most out-my-comfort-zone! It was my first International trip, and was really culturally stimulating!
TPM: How many states/countries have you visited?
NS: I’ve been to 24 US states, and 2 other countries. I’ve travelled in the majority of the US, including several Hawaiian Islands, with a huge deficit being the Northeastern states and Eastern Coast. Needless to say, the American Northeast is high on my list!
TPM: Where is your next travel destination going to be? Why?
NS: My next travel destination is Sedona, Arizona! When Travel Pass Editor-in-Chief, Elisabeth Caraballo, comes out to my neck of the woods next, we’re headed up there. I’ve wanted to share Sedona with her for a long while now! Sedona is a breathtaking geographical region, especially for those who love being outdoors, plus has the added bonus of being 10-20 degrees cooler than Tucson this time of year!
TPM: Who is your travel inspiration?
NS: Anthony Bourdain is hands-down my travel (and life) hero. He inspired me in so many ways- his passion for local cuisine being a obvious factor for this foodie- but also in his desire to meet the locals, experience regional, foreign cultures, and willingness to uncover ugly truths.
TPM: What do you think is the biggest sacrifice you have done for the sake of traveling?
NS: Probably my health. I have an Autoimmune disease that sometimes makes it difficult for me to travel, but I’ve never let that stop me all-together. Though I don’t want to sacrifice my health in the name of travel, I refuse to allow my health to stop me from going anywhere. I continue to find ways to make travelling easier on my body.
TPM: Have you had any scary moments while on your travels?
NS: I’ve been very fortunate on my travels, but the scariest moment I’ve had is probably getting to a new destination (Orange Beach, Alabama), not bothering to write down the address, promptly going out to explore, when- BOOM- my phone dies! I was stranded without knowing how to get back to the place I was staying, and ended up having to go on an impromptu taxi adventure to find it! (Luckily, I had a awesome driver, and got home safely!)
TPM: What’s your favorite thing about traveling?
NS: Food, hands-down. Though, it’s a close second with sunsets.
TPM: How has travel changed you?
NS: Travel has given me the opportunity to experience new cultures, meet some amazing people, and helped cure me of a little of my American ignorance.
TPM: What advice do you have for other travelers out there?
NS: Just go! Whatever it is you’re waiting for- be it time, money, having a baby, your education, your job, whatever- just go! There is never going to be a “perfect” time to set aside for travel; life is always going to move on. The only difference is whether or not you decide to put travel on-hold. Nobody is ever too broke or too busy to travel, it’s a simple matter of priorities. Go somewhere, go anywhere!