American Traveler impressed with Georgia
14 March, 2019
American Traveler impressed with Georgia
Nicole Heker is a traveler from the U.S. Nicole has been traveling for 4 years. She has visited Georgia and decided to share her impressions with the readers of Georgian Journal.

My name is Nicole Heker, I am 26 years old and am writing from Batumi, Georgia. I am from Princeton, New Jersey, in the USA. I am the Director of Development at a Nepali NGO called Happy Kids Center.

I have been traveling for almost 4 years now. I decided
to leave the States after university because of a curiosity I had for the world and a thirst for adventure. I traveled in many ways in these years, I’ve taught English in a few countries, backpacked, hitch-hiked, sailed, and motorbiked. All of them have been amazing, but when I heard the stories of two bicycle travelers, I was sold. I knew that it was going to be hard but it had everything that I love about travel, nature, autonomy, interaction with local cultures, freedom of the road, and challenges. In all of my travels, I try to listen to the stories being told to society and see how they compare to the stories told in mine. I want to unlearn all of the stories that have held me back in life, like the story that women shouldn’t travel alone or can’t be physically active like men.
So far, It has been one year since I started on March 8, 2018, the International Day of the Woman. I will continue maybe 6 months more until I reach Spain!
Georgia is my 10th country so far. But in total it will be around 23 countries by bicycle. 10 - Thailand, Laos, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia.

Everyone I met who has been to Georgia told me how amazing it is. “It is the perfect country to stay for a while,” People said. This is because of nature, the people, the food and of course the wine and chacha. It is also on the way, so it was an easy decision and I am SO happy that I stayed here for the winter!
I was staying in Tbilisi, which I really love. It is so artistic and creative and energetic. I also made some really lovely friends there. I have also visited Telavi, Gudauri, Kazbegi, Mtshketa, and Gori. On the bicycle, I went through smaller villages and towns in the countryside that showed me another side to Georgia. On the bike, I went through Kareli, Khashuri, Surami, Kharagauli, Zestaponi, Samtredia, Lanchkuti, Grigoleti, Shekvetili, Kobuleti and now Batumi. It is difficult to choose my favorite because each one has a different flavor. All of them were special!

Next, I will go to Turkey! I will spend about 2 months there, and then go through the Balkan countries, through Western Europe and end in Sevilla, Spain.

Yes! My bike was actually stolen in Tbilisi!! I was so upset when it happened but the Tbilisi police found it very quickly and brought the bike back to me! I was so surprised and very impressed with the Georgian police.
I started this journey on March 8, 2018, with about $3,500 in my bank account. By the time I got to Georgia in November, I had finished all of my money and thought that I would have to end my trip! But I found some jobs writing and am able to continue again. On this kind of a trip, you don’t spend much money. I camp almost every day, which is free. My transportation in my bike, which is free, and I cook all of my food by myself while I am camping which is very very cheap. The only times I really spend money is if my equipment breaks or if I am staying in a city and need to pay for a hostel and some nice cups of coffee haha!

You do not have to go on a big adventure to feel free and relaxed. Every day after work, every day before work and every weekend you have a choice of how to spend your time! Go hiking in the beautiful hills around Tbilisi! Get on a bike and ride to Batumi! Go skiing in Gudauri or camping in Khaketi. In Georgia, you are lucky, because anywhere you go can be a beautiful adventure, even if you have to work!
It was definitely deliberate that I started on that day. I am a woman of rituals and symbols haha. Starting on that day helped me feel strong not just for myself but for all the women overcame challenges before me and all of the women who are facing challenges now. It was a statement of "YES WE CAN!" We can break the stereotypes that women are weak, soft and well-behaved creatures. We can be that sure, but we can also be whatever we want to be. I want to cycle around the Northern Hemisphere, and I will!
The biggest challenge when I'm alone is men! No matter what country, if I see a group of men chatting on the side of the road I get nervous. Some make kissing faces at me, some whistle, some say "baby come here!" They think that I'm weak or that I am "easy" because I am a foreign girl alone. Usually, me yelling at them shuts them up.

Photo courtesy: Jeremy John Photography

Related stories:

A traveler advises to visit Kakheti for the Georgian wine tasting

“My dream is to visit Georgia one day” - Traveler from NY prepares Georgian dinner with friends

A foreign traveler offers a guide to trekking in Caucasus

Ukrainian traveler opens coffee shop in Svaneti
Other Stories
From Tbilisi Civil War to the Present Day
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia relegated its turbulent days of the civil war to the past.
5	Differences between a country and a state of Georgia
Georgia is internationally recognized as one of the most interesting and popular destinations.
Why is Georgia Land of The Wolves?
Georgia is described as Land of The Wolves on the map published by the Culture Trip.
Mila Kunis appears in David Koma at “Wonder Park” premiere
Mila Kunis appeared in David Koma at “Wonder Park” premiere on the 10th of March.
Dwellers of a village in Afghanistan call themselves Gurjis
The 31st battalion of Georgian armed forces in Afghanistan has brought great news to Georgians.
Sulguni with Lapland Motives
Marika Niklason from Georgia, lives in Asele in the south part of Swedish Lapland, with her husband and children and produces Georgian smoked cheese called “Lapplands Mejeri”.
International Women’s Day – Georgian women conquering the world
Georgian women are recognized on the international stage.
Stunning Snowy Racha in March
Racha is a mountainous region in northwestern Georgia.
Ravishing Colchian Oda Houses on the verge of disappearing and astonishing stories of their rare residents
“Georgia is rich in cultural heritage monuments, which have preserved the valuable history and need to be protected.
The Daily Beast about Tusheti: The Last Wild Place in Europe
The Daily Beast has recently published an article about Tusheti, a historic region in northeast Georgia.
Georgia 360 – Panoramic photos of Georgia
Both Georgians and foreign visitors find Georgia and its nature exciting. Sometimes, even photography is not enough to reflect the beauty.
Georgia among 20 Overlooked Countries Not Enough Americans Visit
Thrillist, a well-known American publication about food, drink, travel and entertainment named Georgia among 20 Overlooked Countries Not Enough Americans Visit.
Mywanderlust about the Chronicle of Georgia or Tbilisi’s “Stonehenge”
The Chronicle of Georgia is a “Stonehenge-like” monument located on a hill near Tbilisi Reservoir.
Beautiful trees in Georgia captured by Giorgi Nikolava
A trip to Georgia always involves observing unique forests spread throughout the country.
T3 names Georgia among 8 of the best adventure travel destinations for 2019
If you are making plans for 2019, T3 offers you a list of the best adventure destinations.
Vladimer Apkhazava: “I promised myself that I would get the Georgian teachers’ message across to the world”
The Georgian teacher Vladimer Apkhazava was listed among the 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2019.
Vladimer Apkhazava among Global Teacher Prize 2019 Top 10 Finalists
The Georgian teacher Vladimer Apkhazava was listed among the 10 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize 2019.
Full Moon captured by Georgian photographer Shermazana
The world met one of the most spectacular events of the year on the 19th of February.
BBC to broadcast “Gentleman Jack” shot in Kutaisi
Contemporary Class, a travel magazine named Georgia among “19 Destinations to visit in 2019”.
Valentine’s Day – Georgian poets about love
Nothing can be as touching as poems inspired by passionate and romantic love.
Honey - 5500-year history and its role in Georgian culinary
Georgia is believed to be the birthplace of wine.
Frozen Lakes to see in the wintertime Javakheti
Samtskhe-Javakheti is a region in southern Georgia which includes the historical Georgian provinces of Meskheti, Javakheti, and Tori.
Abkhazia - occupied, still beautiful (Photos)
Abkhazia is situated in the northwestern region of Georgia.
The beauty of Old Tbilisi captured by Giorgi Nikolava
Georgia, one of the oldest settlements of mankind has been conquered and affected various peoples and cultures.
GEL Exchange Rate