About2020-01-06T11:55:29+01:00

About

I’m Nellie

Adventure travel blogger by profession, Singaporean by birth, and global citizen by choice.

 

My Story

If you had told me 20 years ago, that I would be jumping out of planes and climbing active volcanoes for a living today, I would have laughed.

In fact, the old me was far from an adventurer.

I grew up a shy and timid girl in Singapore. I did well in school, but not in sports or other recreational activities. My family was always supportive but they cocooned me in a protective shell.

Even then, I had an insatiable curiosity for the world. As a child, I went on annual vacations with my family to Thailand, Indonesia and Hongkong. At the age of 18, I went on my first backpacking trip to Australia with some friends. I knew then that I wanted to see the world on my own terms someday.

Getting Bitten by the Travel Bug

My world as I knew it changed when I signed up for a student exchange program at the University of Miami in 2003.

Experiencing life abroad and connecting with people of different cultures opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities. I made life-long friends and I also met Alberto, my present-day husband.

I became more confident and ambitious. I believed I was capable of big things. I wanted to lead life large.

Travel became a big part of us as we kept our relationship going despite the long distance and visited each other frequently. After a year of being apart, we both graduated from Engineering school with an urge to pack our bags and leave.

Becoming a Travel Addict

In 2005, we moved to London to be together, and during those days, we traveled as much as we could. We started off with weekend jaunts to France, Greece, Holland and Morocco. But we wanted to go further and deeper.

By the end of 2007, we had saved around $10,000 each and left our jobs to spend three months volunteering in Tanzania. The volunteering stint gave us some of the most memorable times of our lives and taught us plenty of life lessons. Most of all, the experience left us with a serious case of wanderlust.

Making Adventure Travel a Way of Life

Adventure travel eventually became the theme that linked our travels. Alberto and I found ourselves connecting more with the great outdoors than urban cities.

In the intervening years, we set off on extended trips around the world: Backpacking Latin America from Argentina to Mexico for five months, traveling along the banana pancake trail in Southeast Asia, and overlanding from Egypt to Jordan.

But something was still missing.

The tipping point came when I found myself planning our next trip the day we returned home. I knew then that I needed to build a life around travel.

Starting this Travel Blog Changed My Life

In 2008, I started this adventure travel blog not just to share my travel stories but also to build a portfolio.

I wanted to find a way into the world of travel writing. I spent every minute of my free time learning online marketing and mastering the craft of writing. I studied everything from SEO to social media marketing, learned from other travel bloggers, and attended conferences.

I started pitching story ideas to magazines and even attended a guidebook writing bootcamp in Guatemala — during which I got my first guidebook assignment.

By 2010, this blog had become a popular travel resource, I was commissioned with writing assignments for magazines and I was earning a healthy income. I quit my teaching job and took the leap to become a professional travel blogger.

Working as Professional Travel Blogger

The rest is history and I haven’t looked back since. I work more hours now than I have ever done in my life, but I’ve never been happier.

This travel blog has brought me to many incredible places like Antarctica, Arctic, North Korea, Bhutan, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea and Zimbabwe. Places that I would never have the chance to visit, without the help of partners of this website.

Currently, Alberto and I are based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, with our three-year-old daughter, Kaleya (who has already traveled to over 30 countries).

Becoming a mother hasn’t stopped me from traveling — in fact, my urge to see the world has just become stronger. As they say, traveling is the best form of education for kids.

My Mission: Travel to Every Country in the World

After reaching the milestone of visiting 100 countries in 2015, I decided to make it my mission to travel to every country in the world. My quest to travel to every country in the world isn’t simply a stamp collection hobby. It’s become a challenge of sorts.

As of January 2019, I have traveled to 132 countries on all seven continents.

There are 193 United Nations member states at the moment, so I still have 61 countries left.

But I’m in no rush to get to all of them. I want to take my time to explore every corner of the world, slowly and meaningfully.

To learn more about my journey around the world, refer to this page which I update constantly to keep track of places I’ve been.

I hope you will join me on this wild junket!

Since its inception in 2008, WildJunket.com has evolved from a travel blog to an award-winning resource and an authority in the adventure travel world.

It has been featured on BBC Travel, CNN, National Geographic, and Lonely Planet, amongst others. It has also been named as one of the Top Adventure Blogs by Explorer’s Passage.

WORK WITH ME

Read More About Me

Nellie Huang

Founder

CURIOUS TRAVELER
BLOGGER & WRITER
WILD & CRAZY EXPLORER
LOVING MUM

 

Name: Nellie Huang
Date of Birth: 25 September 1982
Nationality: Singaporean
Languages: English, Mandarin and Spanish
Status: Married with a 3-year-old girl
Traveling since: 2003
Currently living in: Amsterdam, NL

Nellie Huang

Founder

CURIOUS TRAVELER
BLOGGER & WRITER
WILD & CRAZY EXPLORER
LOVING MUM

 

Name: Nellie Huang
Date of Birth: 25 September 1982
Nationality: Singaporean
Languages: English, Mandarin and Spanish
Status: Married with a 3-year-old girl
Traveling since: 2003
Currently living in: Amsterdam, NL

FAQ

A: Before becoming a travel blogger, I lived very frugally and worked hard to save money from my jobs. I usually saved around $10,000 in a year by living on a tight budget (no eating out, no partying etc). Since 2010, this website has been my main source of income. Besides earning an income from affiliate marketing and advertorials, I also work on marketing campaigns with tourism boards, brand ambassadorships with travel companies and editorial projects for private clients. To know more details, read this post on how I get paid to travel.

A:  I wanted a name that defined my journey to every country in the world. It may be a big adventure and a meaningful experience, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. I also wanted a unique name that was different and that showed my character.

A: Many people seem to think that all you need to be a successful travel blogger is to have a passion for traveling. Yes you do need to love to travel, but that’s not enough. To pursue a career in travel blogging, you need to love BOTH travel and writing. Work on your craft before even considering monetising your blog. Read my tips on how to become a travel blogger.

As of June 2017, I have traveled to 116 countries on all 7 continents.

To see the full list of countries I’ve been, please go to my “Destinations” page.

A:  It’s impossible to choose one. Here’s a list of 10 of my favourite places in the world.

I believe that seeing a place for myself is the best way to mitigate everyone’s fears and bust the myths surrounding it. Traveling is my way of learning on-the-ground knowledge, and visiting these forbidden lands helps me see a place beyond the headlines. Read more on why I travel to forbidden lands.

A: Walking the Camino de Santiago (while pregnant) was probably the hardest thing I’ve done. I haven’t really done many long treks, and walking over 300km across northern Spain was more difficult than I’d imagined. I took just under two weeks to walk from Leon to the final destination, Santiago de Camino, with two of my close friends, and the experience gave me much-needed clarity in my mind. I didn’t realize I was pregnant then, but I made it to the end. I couldn’t even have been prouder of myself. Traveling solo in West Africawhen Kaleya was just a year old was probably the second most challenging travel experience mainly because it was hard being away from my daughter; overlanding the Silk Road (from Kyrgyzstan to Iran) for two months on my own was again another spectacular but challenging experience.

A: Seeing animals in the wild is a very moving experience and it’s one of the things that fuel my travels. I’ve been lucky enough to have had many intimate wildlife encounters around the world, from the savannas of Zimbabwe to the underwater world of the Galapagos Islands and glaciers of Antarctica. Some of my favorite wildlife experiences include getting up close with gorillas in Uganda, mingling with lemurs in Madagascarswimming in great white sharks and seeing polar bears in the Arctic.

A: I speak three languages fluently: English, Chinese Mandarin, and Spanish. I’ve also learned French and Arabic in university and private language school. Since we’re living in the Netherlands now, Dutch will be the next language I’m learning!

A: I’ve had loads of weird stuff. Sheep’s brain in Morocco, bat soup (with fur, eyes and teeth included) in Palau, fried worm and grasshopper in Thailand, balut (semi-fertilised duck embryo) in the Philippines, cuy (guinea pig) in Peru to name a few.

A: Having a kid doesn’t have to change the way you travel — unless you let it. When we travel with Kaleya, we still go hiking, camping and exploring off the beaten path just the way we used to. We still travel to less-visited places like Haiti and East Timor with limited infrastructure. My husband Alberto and I maintain our usual travel style but we make adjustments (like going slower and adding playtime) to fit Kaleya’s needs. Kaleya is only 2.5 years old but she’s already been to over 20 countries. I also travel often without my husband and baby, because I enjoy the freedom of solo travel and I also think it’s important to be myself and not just a mum or wife.

A: My main setup is a Canon EOS 60D with a Tamron AF 18-200mm lens. I also travel with a Sigma 8-16mm wide angle lens (my favorite!) and a Tamron AF 70-300mm zoom lens for wildlife shots.  Here’s a complete list of tech gear that I use.

What I Do