Nikki Misurelli is a 30-year-old motorcycle adventure rider and world traveller from Anchorage, Alaska, who has been travelling since the age of 18. Her first big adventure was travelling in her pickup truck to all 50 states of the US,and her most recent achievement is travelling solo 17,500 miles across 15 countries on her bike. She began by tackling the 12,000 mile trip from Alaska to Panama in 2015, and also completed a 5500 mile journey through Italy, Spain, France, Portugal, Austria, Slovenia and Morocco.
“Italy has really been my favourite place to visit,” she tells Lonely Planet. “It immediately felt like “home,” probably because some of my family originated from there many generations ago. Europe is especially captivating to me because of the history and architecture of the building and cities. Alaska will always be one of my absolute favorites, but I also really loved Australia, where I worked on farms and volunteered with animals for a year. Morocco is another favourite destination so far, as the culture is so different from what I grew up in: the smells of the spices, the food, the style of homes, the traditions, the clothes and the colours.”
When asked about the challenges of being on the road, Nikki says that weather conditions and terrain rank highly. “I have driven through rain, fog, snow, ice, sleet, hail, high winds, hurricanes, sandstorms, heatwaves, flooding, mud, loose gravel, sand, bugs and so much more,” she explains. “Animals crossing the road can be dangerous too, especially cows in the middle of the night. Another challenge is the language barrier of each new country, although I try to learn the very basics of each new language. But one thing that I have discovered is that we all share the same smile. Even if I cannot communicate with someone, there is still a special connection with a smile, laugh or hug.”
To fund her travels, Nikki typically works hard at seasonal, temporary jobs for a few months at a time, and then travels for a few months until she runs low on funds. She also owns a professional cleaning and organising business back in Alaska, and is studying and working on other business ventures so that she can eventually make money while she travels. Travelling has taught her about new cultures, lifestyles, languages, and how to overcome obstacles and challenges along the way.
“I have learned and grown so much over the years, and I still continue to grow with each new adventure,” she says.”I have also learned about world issues and ways that I can help along the way or things that I can do in the future to volunteer my time and money for different causes. I’ve learned that I’m much stronger than I thought, both physically and mentally. When I’m out in the middle of nowhere and my bike tips over, it can be an overwhelming situation. But I take a deep breath, calm myself down and handle it one step at a time.”
While she misses Alaska and her family and friends, Nikki considers travelling to be her regular life now. Her advice to anyone considering travelling is to follow their heart and dreams. “The hardest part is taking the first step,” she says. “Once you face the fear of the beginning, all those fears and worries will usually just go away. You will be so focused and consumed on that goal that you will forget why you were so scared to start in the first place.”