Name: Nicole Hefferan
Hometown: Fort McMurray, Alberta
Occupation: Waitress at Earls/Travel Agent
Why I Travel: Growing up in Northern Alberta, I never really traveled as a child and my family just stayed close to home. The first time I traveled to Eastern Canada I loved it, and knew at the age of 10 that traveling was something I wanted to do when I was older. Fast forward 10 years & I was enrolled in the Travel & Tourism Program at Grant McEwan University and ready to learn all I could about the world. Little did I know that actually getting out there and seeing it for yourself is when the travel bug REALLY hits. To me traveling is my great escape from everything. Whether I’m going on a trip to learn about cultures, party with my new friends, be a beach bum, do something adventurous or all of the above – I always feel more alive and at peace with myself when I’m on the road and out of my comfort zone.
Why Group Travel? I chose group travel for the simple fact that I was nervous to go to a different country and not have anything planned. “Winging it” doesn’t always pan out so I did my research and discovered Free & Easy Traveler. After experiencing my first group trip with them I was hooked! Not having to worry about how I was getting to my next destination or where I was going to stay took away all of the stress and allowed me to have the time of my life with the most amazing new friends.
Most Memorable Travel Experience: Picking a memorable travel experience is probably the hardest thing to do when you want to include everything! But since I can’t write a novel I picked a couple of my favorites that come to mind…Getting off our boat in Gili Trawangan after hiking up Mount Rinjani a day prior and heading straight for the jug of sangria! That was probably the fastest I ever got daysted (day wasted) in my life and a hell of a fun beach day (see above photo hehe). Repping animal onesies in Peru with my crew had to be the funniest, especially watching everyone awaken from our pisco slumber in the middle of the Peruvian Desert and celebrating Halloween in Cusco with the locals. Then there’s Smiley’s Lakehouse in Thailand & celebrating New Years Day at Surf Ranch with 200 people after the most epic new Years Eve party in San Juan, Nicaragua!
Biggest challenge you’ve faced on a trip? The challenges that get thrown your way when you’re traveling are one of the things I love most. It forces you to break through your shell in every way possible and for me I couldn’t do most of the things on these trips without my fellow travelers and leaders cheering me on. The biggest challenge I faced was in Peru during our Macchu Pichu trek. I was having a really hard time and the altitude got to me, but having such a supportive group to push and encourage me got me to the top of that mountain. Love you Peru Zoo Crew xoxo
Any “Must Have” Items In Your Backpack? I like to have snacks with me at all times haha. You never know when you might need that little pick me up, especially on a long travel day. I also like to have my GoPro to capture all my memories and look back at them when I’m home and feeling a little “roamsick.”
Future Travel Plans: Of course my next trip is already planned! I will be doing FnEZ’s 20-day South Africa trip in 2017, as well as many others that are on my bucket list!