Nicolette Orlemans learned the value of cross-cultural learning early on. The value of experiencing new perspectives instilled in her a mission to create meaningful connections between travelers that impact how they interact in local communities. Check out her unique story below!
What was your life like growing up?
I grew up in a very multi-cultural household. My mom is Polish and my dad is Dutch, and we lived in The Netherlands until 2000, when we moved to NJ for my dad's work. My parents were always avid travelers. I spent a lot of time traveling around Europe (earliest when I was still a baby!) and also visited parts of the Caribbean and Egypt as a child. I owe so much of my sense of curiosity about the world to my parents, who kind of instilled that wanderlust in me and always encouraged me to be open-minded.
What are you currently working on?
A few years ago I founded #CultureTrav, a weekly Twitter travel chat focused on the intersection of travel and cultural immersion - we share stories of how travelers discover local culture through food, history, language, meeting locals, etc. Based on #CultureTrav, I launched a community blog (culturetrav.co) focused on stories about immersion in local culture. In late 2018, I launched a Kickstarter for Travel Banter, a conversation-starter card game inspired by my #CultureTrav community.
What has been your boldest career or life change?
Moving to the US from the Netherlands was life-changing! I moved when I was 12 years old and had to essentially "restart" with new friends and keep up with a foreign language (English).
We all know travel can bring us to unexpectedly *magical * moments . Tell us about one you've experienced.
My favorite memory was when I was child and visiting Giza, Egypt. Stepping inside a pyramid is an unforgettable experience, and I remember being completely mesmerized by being part of "living" history.
How are you using what you've been given in life to bring more good to the world? (Or how would you like to?)
I inherently love connecting people to each other. People can learn a lot from each other, support each other, and lift each other up. Together, there's a lot we can accomplish. Our views don't always have to align, but as long as we can agree to disagree respectfully, I think there's a lot of opportunity for collaboration and learning from each other.
In what way(s) are you working on being a better person lately?
I like to hear from people with different perspectives. I don't always want to be around people who all share the same viewpoints, but enjoy hearing and learning from others who have different views. As long as the conversation is civil, I think there's a lot of opportunity for growth and being open-minded helps in the process.
Can you share your favorite undiscovered destination?
Not sure if Curacao is really undiscovered, but it's not one that I hear a lot of friends talking about. There's a lot to see there whether you enjoy the beach/snorkeling or diving, hiking, or exploring around the island. It's quite rugged, but I love that about it. It's unexpected in that way for a Caribbean destination.