NICOLEXPLORIN

Hi, I'm Nicole!

I'm a freelance photographer, content creator, and outdoor enthusiast based in California.

My adventures started in 2013 when I explored locally on the weekends in this sunny coastal state. Upon my first visit to Yosemite in 2015, I knew I had to expand my horizons and start exploring the unknowns.

As time passed and the more I said yes to adventures, I found myself checking off different bucket list places and traveling to various parts of this beautiful world that I once dreamt about.

I originally used my platforms to document all of the places I’ve been and share those core memories with close friends and family. Over the years, my passion for the outdoors has grown tremendously and so has my desire to share my experiences with more like-minded individuals, thus this blog was born.

Through this blog, I’ll share the details of where I’ve been, how to plan for different excursions, and what it’s like taking the popular and lesser-known roads. I’m here to help you find your ideal adventure destinations, prep you for your next epic trip, and inspire you to get outside more!

What are we waiting for? Let’s start saying yes to adventures.

Fun Facts about Me

I summited Mount Whitney for the first time in 2018 via the front side, going from the trailhead (Portal) up to the summit and back down, totaling 22 miles in 15 hours. Since then, I have completed this summit twice more via the High Sierra Trail. I told myself I will go up there once more when I have the opportunity to summit via the Mountaineering route!
I adopted my very own adventure pup in 2022 and he's been one of the best decisions I've ever made. Noodle is a Border Collie mix who is full of energy and life! Some of our favorite activities to do together include paddle boarding, playing fetch, backpacking, hiking, eating, and napping.
Yosemite National Park was the first national park I've ever visited and it's still my favorite to this day. It is among my top 5 parks that I visit frequently and I love that I'm able to find new vantage points each time I go back. Yosemite sparked my love for the outdoors and my favorite seasons in the park would include Fall, Winter, and Spring.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

I’ve progressed throughout the years since my first purchase of the Sony Alpha a6000; It is an entry level mirrorless digital camera that functioned beautifully when I initially dove into photography in 2015. In 2020, I took the plunge and upgraded to a Sony Alpha A7iii. You can learn more about my photography journey and check out my current set up here!
For day hikes, I typically have my 10 essentials which includes but not limited to: lots of snacks (and 1 proper meal that’s usually a sandwich), water bottle (like a Smart Water), water filter, sunscreen, headlamp, first aid kit, and multi tool. As for camping, it really depends if I’m front-country or backcountry camping; the latter typically refers to backpacking and you can read more about those gear here. For front-country camping where it’s an easy process of parking the car and set up camp nearby vehicle with easy access to bathrooms, I like packing various items to make the experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. This means I’ll bring along: dual burner stoves; stove fuels; cooking, eating, and drinking utensils; delicious comfort food; tent; sleeping pad; lots of blankets; camp chairs; fire wood (if fires are permitted for the season), and board games.
Truth be told, I don’t travel all the time! But when I am traveling, most of my funds go toward flights, food, car rental, and sometimes accommodations. I tend to book affordable flights by constantly checking Google Flights and different flight deals. When I travel, I like to bring my Jetboil along so that when I arrive at my destinations, I can grocery shop for fuel, snacks, easy healthy meals that I can cook, dehydrated meals for emergencies, and sometimes splurge on a nice cup of coffee and souvenirs. As for accommodations, I rarely stay at hotels or in one specific area for long because I love the road-tripping aspect, so I tend to book campsites or find dispersed campsites. I do book hotel accommodations when it’s super cold or if I’m with friends!
When I go with friends, I sometimes ask them to take pictures for me. Otherwise, it’s been my handy dandy Peak Design Tripod that I carry along and use with a detached timer/clicker. If I’m also video recording on my phone, then I’ll use a camera tripod, so both the phone and camera are utilized at the same time.
Whether it’s a camping, backpacking, or day-hiking trip, I always strongly encourage first timers to start off small and challenge themselves with trails or areas that they’re familiar with. Otherwise, it’s ideal to invite friends who are more knowledgeable so that they can provide suggestions and assistance. If you’re planning for a backpacking trip, then you can read about how to properly prepare here. If you’re planning for a first-time camping experience, then read the other FAQ “What do you bring hiking and camping” to learn how to properly plan!
I’m relatively old school and I love looking at physical maps of certain regions that I’m interested in exploring. When I’m able to pinpoint an area of interest, I’ll use Google to find out the latest beta and see said areas’ photos to make a decision if it’s worth to visit. I also bookmark various posts on social media and research them on my own. Sometimes I’ll go on AllTrails and search on there!
I was once guilty of geotagging different locations on my posts, but I learned over time that geotagging is extremely damaging to those natural environments mainly because other visitors aren’t as respectful and considerate when it comes to Leaving No Trace <blog post here>. To minimize further damages, I don’t share locations on social medias. However, when people reach out to ask nicely via Direct Messages, I will almost always share the details that way.
It varies! I generate additional income through affiliate links, brand collaborations, and sponsorships. My personal goal is to create more passive income through supporting the community who has supported me over the years; this is an ongoing commitment.

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