“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain
Hello and thank you for visiting my blog! My name is Nicole Melancon and I am a freelance journalist, blogger, and social good advocate living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with my husband and two children. A world wanderer at heart, I have been fortunate to have visited over 45 countries and am still wandering.
I began my blog in 2010 after a life-changing trip to Nepal where I hiked the Annapurna Trek with my father. I was blessed by a 95-year old cave monk and officially received my “third eye” – a source of wisdom that opened my mind and heart to the world. My goal is to teach my children and others through my work as a writer, to live compassionately, open-minded, adventurous lives that understand different cultures and the importance of giving back.
My blog focuses on a unique niche of travel (sustainable, adventure, solo and family) combined with social good topics (poverty, global health, education, human rights, women and girls’ empowerment, food security, conservation and the environment). I strongly believe that you cannot visit a new place without learning about its culture and issues at stake which is why I combine travel, culture and social good. I also aim to be a resource for amazing gifts that give back to charity and causes around the world, and on travel organizations, non-profits, and social enterprises making a social impact.
Besides my blog, I am a member and blog coordinator at Impact Travel Alliance Media Network, an alliance of journalists, content creators and social media influencers around the world who are passionate about sustainable tourism. I have worked as a United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow, and as part of ONE.org and Impact Travel Alliance.
My work has taken me to many exciting destinations. In May of 2013 I traveled to India as a member of Mom Bloggers for Social Good where I reported on water, sanitation, newborn health and education. In July 2014, I traveled to Ethiopia to report on newborn and maternal health as a fellow with the International Reporting Project. I was a Social Good Fellow for the UN Foundation Social Good Summit and chosen to attend ONE Women and Girls first AYA Summit in Washington DC in 2015. In July 2015, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with Solar Sister, a non-profit organization that brings solar electrify to Sub-Saharan Africa. I also have been on two separate press trips to Haiti in 2015 and 2017, and reviewed an all-women’s learn to surf camp in Nicaragua in 2016. Finally, I worked on the 2018 Follow the Liters Campaign with LifeStraw where we delivered safe water to the one millionth child.
- Follow the Liters Campaign in Kenya with LifeStraw. In February 2018, I covered the Follow the Liters Campaign in Kenya with LifeStraw. By the end of the campaign, we reached the one millionth child to received safe drinking water in school.
- Haiti Sustainable Tourism trip. In May 2017, I covered a culture and adventure tourism trip to Haiti with Natalie Tancrede of Explore with Nat.
- Ethiopia: New Media Journalist Fellow – International Reporting Project Ethiopia. In June 2014, I was a New Media Journalist Fellow on a two week trip to Ethiopia with The International Reporting Project (IRP), an organization that focused on providing journalists with the opportunity to report internationally on issues not traditionally covered in mainstream media. During the trip, I focused on Ethiopia’s efforts to prevent newborn deaths, as well as provide an overview of maternal and child health, immunizations, nutrition, communicable diseases, and health care provision, among other topics.
- Haiti: Blogging fellow (#Bloggers4Haiti) to Haiti with Macy’s Heart of Haiti In February 2015, I went to Haiti with a small group of bloggers to learn about Macy’s Heart of Haiti program and how they are empowering Haitians through the arts.
- Nicaragua: Press Trip to review Chicabrava -All Women’s Surf camp in San Juan del Sur Nicaragua. In 2016, I spent a week in Nicaragua at Chicabrava to experience and review their women’s surf camp.
- India: Mom Bloggers for Social Good Trip – Reporting trip to India to cover global health issues. May 2014.
- Tanzania: Volunteer media trip with Solar Sister to climb Kilimanjaro. In July 2015, I joined a team of Solar Sister employees to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in honor of Solar Sister’s 5-year anniversary. We also climbed to create awareness of the energy poverty in Africa and raise funds to train new Solar Sister Entrepreneurs.
Social Good Work
I strongly believe in the power of a voice to make change and do social good. Therefore, I have began advocating for a number of non-profit organizations to help people around the world. I am have worked and advocated for advocating for the following non-profit organizations: Save the Children, WaterAid, UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, Solar Sister, the United Nations Foundation, Too Young to Wed and the ONE Campaign to write about such topics as maternal and newborn health, global health, food security, sustainable energy, girls and women’s rights, education, and humanitarian issues.
As a thirdeyemom, I am passionate about giving back and do so through international volunteerism. Here are links to a few of the volunteer experiences abroad I’ve had over the last few years.
La Ceiba, Honduras – January 2013. I spent a week in La Ceiba, Honduras staying with a wonderful Honduran host family, studying Spanish and volunteering with children at a day care center for single mothers. It was a fascinating experience.
Xela, Guatemala – April 2012. I studied intensive Spanish at Casa Xelaju (a Spanish Language School in Quetzaltenango) and volunteered at La Pedrera, an after-school program for underprivileged children.
Rabat, Morocco – April 2011. I spent a week volunteering with Cross-Cultural Solutions at a women’s language school.
Cartago, Costa Rica – April 2010. I spent a week volunteering with Cross-Cultural Solutions at a nursing home.
Awards, recognition and other publications where my work has appeared
Impact Travel Alliance
An alliance of journalists, content creators and social media influencers around the world, Travel+SocialGood’s Media Network is a collective passionate about sustainable tourism in order to promote awareness and positive change within the industry. We believe that the power of the pen and authentic storytelling are far reaching in their scope to both humanize and bring attention to communities around the world whose narratives are often left out of the mainstream media. Member of the Media Network and my posts on sustainable travel regularly appear on the blog.
Travindy: A responsible tourism website
Epicure & Culture: Food, Wine and Culture for the Ethical Traveler
The Holiday Lettings Blog from TripAdvisor
Included in: “Top Journalism Narratives and Travel Blogs of 2016”
Contributor to the ROL Cruise piece ‘Top 10 cruise destinations 2018’ featuring New Zealand.
FlipKey by TripAdvisor
Host and Curator of the Daily Post on WordPress: Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity. To view piece, click here.
Series on ONE.org
Babycenter: Mission Motherhood
ONE Women and Girls
Save the Children: Healthy Newborn Network
United Nations Foundation: Shot@Life Blogust contributor
Mamalode.com: Starter Series
Regular contributor on the following sites:
Click on links to see my work on these sites below.
Other sites where I have posted work:
My photographs have been selected to be on exhibit for the Broken Light Collective
International Reporting Project Ethiopia Fellow – June 2014
United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow – Fall 2014
National Geographic Kids Insider – 2013