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Nicolas and Mathilde (Next Meridian Expedition)

Today's Explorers

Nicolas and Mathilde (Next Meridian Expedition)

November 23, 2021
9
min read
by
Charles Forman
France
Italy

Where are you from?

 Nicolas is a double national, French & Italian, and Mathilde is French. 

When did you start your interest in exploration?

Nicolas was born in Thailand, and lived abroad most of his life, exploring was natural. Mathilde grew up in the Alps and started travelling abroad alone after her studies. 

When we met 5 year ago in Belgium, our first date was organized around a road trip. This feeling has not changed. The World Tour has always been our ultimate goal, and the 4LTrophy rally in 2020 is what propelled us into it. 

What is a brief understanding of your background story up until you started seeking adventure?

Nicolas lived 6 years in Africa and 12 in Asia, and finished his post graduate studies & Masters in International Business back in Europe and now works for a start-up based in Paris. Mathilde studied International Relations in Europe and in the USA and now works for the United Nations in Brussels. We met in the first year of Masters in Brussels and have been seeking every opportunity for adventure since then. 

What special skills do you have to help with your explorations?

For us without a doubt it is our capacity to blend into cultures, organise timelines, map routes, and stay on a budget. 

One thing Nick likes to say: with the right mindset, everything is possible. 

Where have you explored so far?

Combined, we have travelled to 54 countries and counting. Nicolas mostly in Europe, Africa and Asia. Mathilde mostly in Europe and Africa.

Maybe we’ll show you a map instead: 

What is a brief understanding of your adventures so far?

We travelled every other weekend and would organise 1-2 major trips per year. Most recently we have been to Peru, Sri-Lanka, the Balkans, and Morocco. We never want the trips to end. What we’ve also learnt from these trips is that fundamentally, we humans are all alike. We go ahead and meet the locals, try their foods and drinks and create new friendships. 

What are the top three destinations you hope to explore next, and why?

  • Central Asia, for their beautiful off-roads and untouched nature. It’s also a region we both know very little. 
  • Central America, because of the sun, the sand, the music and surfing. 
  • Canada, for its wilderness, we would love to discover British Columbia. 

Where would you recommend others visit?

Jordan, small country, easy to travel, historically & culturally fascinating. Same goes for Ethiopia. There are so many more… Eventually, every country is beautiful. We also love to drive closer to home: the Alps are fantastic! 

How do you primarily travel on your adventures today?

By car. In Europe we travelled around in a station wagon, and abroad we rented 4x4’s and even once a tuk-tuk. 

We recently purchased in 2020, a Land Rover Defender which we call Albatross, heavily modified for the upcoming world tour, it’s our new home on wheels. 

What inspires you to explore more?

The memories! The people we meet along the way, the food, street markets, the cultures, nature… The fact that there is still so much to explore. #explmore 

How do you engage with others?

We’d like to think we're social and open-minded. We enjoy chatting with locals, with curious individuals on social media and actually we end up engaging into discussion with just about anyone open to it. 

Why is it important to embrace global cultures?

There is so much to learn from one another, it opens you up, puts you into different contextual situations and mindsets, and broadens your perspectives. It’s a beautiful moment of exchange and you're reminded that we are all humans after all. 

What are your goals when you explore?

We like to try and see as much as possible. We’ll go visit some touristic spots, but we’ll also look for off track marvels: we’ll only drive on country roads, sleep in remote locations and what usually ends up happening is finding the unexpected and truly special place. 

What are some challenges you have experienced?

Mechanically, so far, we have been very lucky while travelling with our vehicles, we never really faced hard challenges. However, we still have personal fears to overcome. For Mathilde it’s camping in areas that feel unsafe - The reason why we opted for a pop-up roof tent. For Nick it’s accidents, especially when a rider falls during a motorcycle trip. 

What has been your most meaningful moment so far?

Each trip has its multiple meaningful moments. If we had to choose, we both agree it would be our trip to Sri-Lanka where we rode our own tuk-tuk for 15 days across the country. 

How has exploration changed you?

We realised that we don’t need much to be happy and live our lives. You find wealth in different forms, and this is why you #explmore ;) 

What is the number one lesson that you have learnt through your exploration?

Be happy as exploration never ends. 

How do you explore locally?

We mostly drive on local roads, stop in non-touristy places to have a meal and sleep. Wherever we go we tend to find sleeping spots with nice views. If we arrive in a city, we leave the car outside the city and ride bicycles. 

What does the explmore mantra mean to you?

Get out there, nature is available so explore it and if you have a dream or a strong wish, then go for it! 

What advice would you give to others who are seeking life changing adventure?

With the right mindset, anyone can do anything! 

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