The Travel Tester is a cultural travel and self-development blog. We review meaningful products and experiences around the world.
We are Nick Vullings and Nienke Krook, two Dutchies who found each other in Sydney and now live together in London. After visiting 30+ countries and living as expats for almost 10 years, we would love to help you navigate the world and show you how to get the most out of your trip …and yourself!
Who We Are
When we met each other in a hostel in Sydney in 2008, little did we know the adventures we would be going on in the years to follow. We toured New Zealand on a party bus, discovered most of Australia on long road trips, hiked a mountain in Nepal, ate heaps of undefinable food in Japan, drank all the wine in Portugal and couldn’t stop looking up in New York, just to name a few memorable things.
In 2013 we moved from Sydney (where we had been living for the past 2 years) back to Amsterdam, where Nienke’s family is from. Nick tried to find work as an architect, while Nienke worked in a backpackers hostel and attended her first ever ‘blogging conference’. Here, she would meet many entrepreneurial writers, photographers, video makers and other content creators that all shared a passion for travel and posting their stories and tips online for others to enjoy. It would change everything!
Nienke decided to take her hobby blog (that was founded in 2006) to the next level and Nick took on a job as an architect in London. We moved at the end of 2013 and in the years that followed, we connected further with the blogging community (both in London as internationally) and found ourselves travelling with, learning from and working together on campaigns with many of these creative people.
Neither of us would have guessed it was possible to make a full-time living out of blogging (Nienke used to be a primary school teacher in a past life), but fast forward 5 years later… and here we are. In 2017, Nienke even launched a second website called ‘The London Tester‘, aimed at Dutch travellers visiting or relocating to London and the rest of the United Kingdom and Ireland.
What We Stand For
When Nienke launched The Travel Tester from behind the check-in desk in the hostel where she worked in Sydney, she knew it would become a place where we would share practical destination guides and product reviews, but at the same time she kept on searching for a way to weave in a bit of a ‘deeper purpose’ or ‘message’, if you like, into the content we publish.
We both have a strong interest in topics such as self-development, entrepreneurship, productivity, culture, art and design and all areas of responsible living and sustainability. We are both millennials, Nienke an introvert, Nick an extrovert and we often talk about the (poor) state of the planet and how we live, think, consume, travel and work on it.
We are open to change and take (small) steps to live a more conscious life, for example by trying to eat less meat, go plastic-free as much as possible, buy quality and locally made furniture and making more sustainable and ethical travel decisions. We are curious about other cultures, languages and love finding out about innovating brands and initiatives that make the world a bit of a better place.
How We Stand Apart
In 2017, Nienke was asked to become an ambassador for the space media & experiences company called ‘Space Nation‘. They have the mission to not only make space discovery, education and wellness available to everyone, but also to build a global community without borders of people interested in connecting to protect our planet, look beyond it and prepare for our next giant leap.
They want people to adopt the ‘space lifestyle‘, which doesn’t mean you wear a space helmet and silver leggings to work and only watch X-Files (although… hey, why not?!), but it’s really about recognizing that you have the power to take the steps towards leading a healthier, more curious life and that you actively educate and equip yourself with the skills and knowledge needed to take care of the world and people around you.
We really believe that with this partnership, our last five years of blogging has come a bit full-circle, and we cannot wait to write more articles on lifestyle design and meaningful (travel) experiences and products that improve the quality of your life and that of others.
Where You Can Join Us
In our weekly newsletter, aptly called ‘The Compass’, we’re directing you towards the best articles from our site and other bloggers on all of the topics we’re passionate about. In a handy shortlist, we’ll pop this into your inbox every Sunday morning, so you have some inspiring reads for the end of your weekend or the beginning of your next week. Make sure to subscribe to get started with the fun!
We hope that all of the content we share with you will enable you to live your own life to the fullest, push your limits when needed and make your dreams come true, while at the same time making the world a better place, one step at the time.
We always love your feedback on what we do, so if you have suggestions on topics we should cover or blogs we should follow, please do let us know!
Bonus: Nienke’s 7 Fun Facts
- Nienke grew up in Diemen-Zuid, a small town next to Amsterdam that is almost two centuries older than the popular capital of The Netherlands!
- Nienke is the granddaughter of a travel writer Hans Krook, with several books on faraway destinations, lightweight travel & wilderness survival on his name.
- With an archaeologist/photographer dad and a cartographer mum, Nienke and her brother have been taken all around the world …camping in a massive trailer tent!
- Nienke is a fond collector of brochures and other travel memorabilia. Nick however, is not.
- While Nienke likes most food, she is really fussy about eggs (only hard boiled), bananas (only as bread) and carrots (only never).
- Nienke and her family lived on the Caribbean island of Saint-Martin when she was 7 and again when she was 9.
- Being a huge fan of The X-Files and many other Sci-Fi series as a teenager, seeing a real (alien?) crop circle in a field in South-England years ago was a highlight not easy to forget!
Bonus: Nick’s 7 Fun Facts
- Nick grew up in Venlo, a city in the Southern Netherlands, right on the German border. Because of that, he is fluent in Dutch, German and his local dialect which Nienke can understand, but probably can never speak properly.
- With his older brother, sister and parents, Nick also travelled in a trailer tent or in hotels around Europe.
- Nick made many trips all around Europe with friends from university (to see architecture) and with his home-town friends (to taste the local beer).
- Nick spent a semester at the University of Sydney in 2008, the year he met Nienke. Originally, he wanted to go to San Francisco, but they didn’t have an exchange program. Nienke thanks them for that. Since being together, Nick has spent more time with her overseas than in his home country!
- Having discovered meat pies while living in Australia, Nick has perfected the recipe and bakes them often on the weekend.
- Nick is very patient. He probably got that from the many hours spend fishing with his dad -and never catching anything.
- Nick only send 1 Tweet in his entire life. It went viral. Not even Chuck Norris can do that.
What are your own 7 fun facts? Leave them in the comments below!