The Sightseeing Celiac  (and sidekick)


I            THE OUTDOORS

I grew up living in the woods in southeastern Wisconsin, camping on weekends and taking big camping trips during the summer to see the country.  And I never stopped camping and backpacking!  I find solace in the outdoors, I feel "reset" so to speak.  I have hiked in some great state and national parks and am always in awe of the synchronicity of our natural surroundings.  

In fact, Jason and I love camping so much, that we got engaged at our favorite Wisconsin state part, in a torrential downpour. In a tent.  But that's another story! 

   WHO AM I?  

I            TRAVEL

I really, really, really, love traveling.  Anywhere.  I have grown into the person I am by being exposed to so many various cultures, belief systems, architecture and food.  If you're curious, here is my list: Austria, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Cayman Islands, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Vietnam.


I was recently looking for the name of a building in my scrap book from my trip to India in 2004. I came across pictures and notes of when we visited a secluded pottery village. We were welcomed by strangers who had never seen westerners, and brought into their homes for food and music. These people had so very little. They let us sit on their chairs, a sign of honor. They shared with us their food, of which they had very little. I made a note in my journal that day:  "Today I believe that mankind is ultimately good." I often think back on that visit and how my whole world view shifted at that moment. I still believe it to be true.


And that is why I travel.

If you ever meet me, you will learn that I have about a million hobbies and interests playing out simultaneously pretty much all the time.  

Also, I am apparently the one always holding the camera, so I have no pictures of just myself...I might have to work on that :)

Left: The Sightseeing Celiac, aka. Nicole

Right: The Sidekick, aka. Jason

I            PHOTOGRAPHY

Hence the travel and the outdoors.  My love of photography started with a cheap point and shoot in India which brought me to my Nikon DSLR.  I have been trying to capture the essence of my travel and outdoor trips for years, just for the love of it.  There is something so special about taking the time to stop and really appreciate something you are seeing.  The photography eye lets you into this magical world that allows you to find beauty at every turn if you are open to it.

For my photography, follow me on Instagram using the link above.


In my other life I work as an Architecture & Design consultant.  What does that mean?  It means that I started my career as a commercial Interior Designer (interior designers definitely have a hand in residential, but commercial designers work in retail, healthcare, workplace, restaurant, hospitality and education design to name a few).  Actually, I designed McDonald's and Kohl's Department Stores for a while.  Did you know McDonald's has a world wide conference/trade show every year?  Right?!  And that they have football field size distribution centers that house, say, lettuce?  That being said, I'm pretty much a healthy, organic, home-made kind of girl, so that line of work didn't fit my lifestyle so much. 

So I went back to graduate school and earned a Master's of Fine Arts in Human Ecology from the University of Wisconsin Madison.  Basically, I have a Master's Degree in Interior Design.  My work focuses on a type of design called Biophilic Design - which is basically our human connection to nature and how we've adapted to a natural environment.  Today we spend 90% of our time indoors, and we haven't yet adapted to it.  So my work looks at the fact that we are much happier in environments that at some level remind us of being outdoors - things like daylight, use of plants or visuals of plants, and noticing aspects of our natural environment, like complexity, the ability to see changes in weather, and much more.  By consciously designing spaces with these concepts in mind, we can increase productivity, healing time, learning rates, not to mention we really prefer these spaces.

I also have a pretty extensive educational website and blog about that too. Check out my website, to learn way more than you ever wanted to on that topic.


And I absolutely love combining everything that I love!  My love of travel started well before my Celiac diagnosis in 2011.  When I was diagnosed, my very first thought was, "how am I going to travel!???"  Travel was my one true love, well, until I met my husband :)  My husband and I had already booked a trip to Ireland when I was newly diagnosed, so we decided to give it a try.  I didn't die.  I didn't even get sick.  So a few years later we decided to make a big leap and try out SE Asia.  I am on numerous Facebook Celiac support groups, travel groups and blogs and I saw so many people terrified to leave their town, let alone their country.  I already knew how to navigate traveling to very different places, so I thought, what if I could blog about it as I go?  So SE Asia was my leap, it was my challenge to myself.  If I could accomplish this gluten free, I could go anywhere.  And so this blog is dedicated to you.  It is dedicated to those who want to make the leap, are standing on the edge, but need a hand.  I will write in detail what I did, to help you along the path.  I love talking, so don't be afraid to reach out to me!  

Happy Travels!