TRAVELS WITH NINA

is the online portfolio and journal of Australian travel writer Nina Karnikowski.

FREEPEOPLE.COM

I recently chatted to epic global brand Free People about travel, spirituality, food and style, as part of their Australia campaign, where I was featured alongside the likes of artist Leah Fraser and Alchemist Ondine Daisy Purinton-Miller.

Here’s an little outtake from the interview. For the full interview, plus imagery and my top three Australian destinations, head to the Free People blog HERE.

 

When do you feel most inspired?
When I’m on the road. There’s absolutely nothing that compares to that feeling of being on the move, experiencing new cultures, people and places, and also of returning home feeling filled up, reinvigorated and full of tales to share with the world. I’m addicted to it, and am so blessed to have found a way to incorporate it into my work.

 

What do you feel most gratitude for?
Nature. It’s medicine. Whether it’s the ocean, the bush or the mountains, it’s where I feel most at home and where I can truly come back to myself. I recently read a really interesting study in National Geographic about how, when we get back to nature, we do our overstressed brains a favour: after being surrounded by nature for two days, they perform 50 percent better than before. Nature is so powerful! And we really, really need to protect it. 

When the going gets tough, what do you turn to?
To my breath, and to my journal. I’ve been a journaler since I was a kid, and when I feel the weight of the world on my shoulders I know I can pour my thoughts out onto a few pages and feel kind of ok again. It’s the ultimate form of self-therapy. I believe that your perception absolutely is your reality, so aside from sorting through my emotions and venting my frustrations, I use this ritual to affirm that I’m abundant and present in my life, so that I manifest these things in my every day.

 

How do you like to let your hair down?
My husband and his dad make delicious biodynamic wine on their vineyard, Krinklewood – we love to invite friends round to our little house on the farm, sip a few glasses of their blanc de blanc sparkling or Wild red, and dance out on the lawn under the stars with the music up way too loud.

What couldn’t you live without?
Books. They are my soul food, my friends and my teachers; they’ve taught me everything I know. I’m what you’d call an extroverted introvert, and I love nothing more than laying out in the hammock at the end of the day with a good book. I’m currently devouring Graham Greene’s Ways of Escape to feed my wanderlust and to remember what makes great writing, A Thousand Mornings by my favourite poet Mary Oliver, who writes about connecting to nature like no-one else, and am forever finding magic between the pages of Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ Women Who Run With the Wolves.

 

Is fashion important to you? How do you like to dress?
I’d say that style, rather than fashion, is important to me. I’m a storyteller by profession and by nature, so I like to tell tales with my clothes. Being a textile and vintage clothing tragic I always manage to pick up a few unique pieces on every adventure – recent favourites include an embroidered Yao minority jacket in rural China, a silk cape from Turkey, a kachin hill tribe beaded top from Thailand, and some fantastic Berber jewelry from Morocco. I like to layer textures and fabrics, add bucket loads of jewels, and always have a tale to tell about where my treasures are from. I’m also passionate about reusing and repurposing garments that would otherwise be put into landfill.


What’s your personal mantra / life philosophy?
I studied Buddhism for a while, both at home in Australia and in Nepal, and I really connect to the Buddhist concept of impermanence, recognizing that everything is subject to change and alteration. My teacher once told me to think of the self as a sphere on a plane of water, which will flow in whichever way the wind blows it. I like to keep that in mind whenever something that I might perceive as negative happens: it too will change. It keeps me in the present moment.


What cause in the world do you feel most passionate about?
Protecting the environment. The destruction of the planet can be such an overwhelming issue, but I think if we can focus on our individual efforts and try to do our bit, we can actually make a different. I try to step very lightly on the world – to produce as little waste as possible, to purchase things second hand, to support local organic food producers, not to use too much water, and to support sustainable businesses in my work, like the not-for-profit eco-island of Ratua in Vanuatu that I visited on my last trip.