Nick is an Australian blogger and travel photographer, creator of The Crowded Planet together with his wife Margherita. At the moment he calls Italy home (he has a cat there after all) but most of the time you’ll find him skiing, climbing mountains or chasing wildlife around the world.
Alex: Can you briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Nick Burns, I’m 38 and I originally come from Australia, but I’ve been living in Europe for 13 years now. I’ve been working as a travel photographer for 7 years, first freelance and now for my blog, The Crowded Planet. I really like spending time outdoors, especially in the mountains, and I also really love cats – I have a cat called Tappo that I really miss when I travel.
Why do you travel? What are your inspirations?
My first trip abroad (except for a short trip to New Zealand to see my auntie when I was 14) was to Cambodia in my early 20s. My uncle was living there at the time and I went to visit him – after that first trip I was absolutely hooked. I just love being on the road and I think that travel makes you wiser – I believe I would have developed into a much different person if I hadn’t travelled.
How do you organize your travel plans? Any travel hacks you can share?
I don’t really organise anything – my wife does. She’s the boss! Jokes aside, we both have some places we really want to visit, so we monitor flight prices and as soon as we find an offer, we snap it up. Other times, flight prices actually determine where we go. My best tip for planning a trip would be trying not to see too much in too little time, and trying to actually enjoy travelling from A to B – this is why we love walking and train holidays!
Tell me about a person you’ve met or a memory that impacted you the most during one of your trips?
I was lucky to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama in a remote village in Northern India. I still remember the feeling of otherworldly spirituality when I looked into his eyes. He’s truly an inspirational man.
Aside from the basics, name three items that you always bring when you travel.
My camera gear, phone with my music and GPS for hiking!
What is your motto when it comes to traveling?
Finding nature everywhere, which is also our blog motto! That’s because even when we go to cities, nature and outdoor activities are usually what we’re after.
The best and the worst meals you’ve ever had traveling?
The worst is easy – Mongolia! I loved the country but the food was horrible. So much fatty boiled mutton! As for the best, that’s really hard to choose but I’m partial to hawker food from Penang!
Which city do you consider yourself an expert on? Can you share any hidden gems in that city?
Definitely Milan, where I’ve been living most of the last 6 years. I have loads of posts with Milan content – the most popular is Free Things to do in Milan, trying to challenge the myth that Milan is an expensive city. My tip for Milan would be taking the old trams to go around, they’re really cool! And the Milan street food scene is also really cool!
What is your favorite travel song/album to listen on a trip?
My iPhone is full of 60’s and 70’s rock, plus some Italian singers/songwriters like Fabrizio De Andrè. What I listen depends on where I am and my mood that day – but I’d say that Californication by Red Hot Chilli Peppers or Disturbed by Sickness are definitely up there!
What is the best foreign curse you know?
I think Kikkeli! That means ‘cock’ in Finnish but sounds so cute doesn’t it? Plus it rhymes with Mikkeli, a really cool city that I visited last winter. Mikkeli Kikkeli!
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