Close up on Nina Karnikowski's favorite rituals

Nina Karnikowski is an Australian travel writer who focuses on wild, transformative adventures off the beaten trail.

Nina’s travel career has seen her journeying through Mongolia in ex-Russian military vehicles, exploring the Namibian desert in open-sided safari trucks, dodging Antarctic icebergs in an icebreaker, speeding through northern India by rail and beyond, to over 60 countries.

Previously staff travel writer for the Sydney Morning Herald’s Traveller sections, Nina now writes for Traveller on a freelance basis, and for the likes of Sophisticated Traveller and Get Lost.

Her first book, Make a Living Living, will be released with Laurence King Publishing in early 2020.

Read more of her work here

What does sustainability mean to you?

It means walking lightly on the earth. Doing those small things, every day, that can often feel inconsequential but, if we all do them, might end up being the thing that saves our planet. Things like driving less, buying food locally, saying no to plastic packaging, purchasing from sustainable designers, and generally just buying less stuff. If you’re buying quality things, you need much less of it.

How do you spend time with your loved ones?

Mostly in nature. My man and I often switch our phones off on Sundays, going for a bush hike to a waterfall or spending the day at the beach, and finishing off with some stargazing on our deck, watching the fruit bats fly overhead as they head out to feed of an evening. My girlfriends and I are pretty active too – we’ll go for long coastal walks, jump in the ocean, take infrared saunas, or have a cheeky glass of natural wine at my husband’s bar Supernatural Cellars here in Byron Bay.

What is your everyday uniform?

I work from home, so when I’m not travelling it’s pretty simple. Vintage Levis, a tee or loose shirt, and usually a bit of Indian jewellery to liven things up. As much as possible, I wear natural fabrics that are breathable and feel good against my sensitive skin.

First thing on the mind when you wake and last thing before you go to sleep? 

I fall asleep embarrassingly early and always read before bed, usually passing out halfway through a page. I wake up very early too, usually around 5.30am just before the sun rises, and my first thoughts are usually about what kind of tea I’ll sip while writing my morning pages - either a locally blended chai, or a Yunnan red tea from my favourite brand Cloud Hidden. 

What are your skincare rituals?

It’s very simple: organic jojoba oil as cleanser, apple cider vinegar mixed with filtered water as toner, a Weleda biodynamic rose face cream to moisturize, and RMS coconut oil-based concealer and cheek tint. I’m also addicted to ocean swims and Epsom salt baths, the best way to keep your skin refreshed with all those excellent minerals. 

When is your zen time? 

First thing in the morning, pre-dawn. I light a candle, meditate for a bit, then pour myself some tea and do my morning pages, emptying my brain onto the page so I can start my day fresh and inspired. Everything is so quiet and still, even our dog won’t engage with me before the sun rises. There’s real magic in the air.

Your favourite pastime?

Other than travelling, I’d have to say reading - Mary Oliver’s poetry and Pico Iyer’s travel tales are favourites. And taking long walks or runs by the ocean.

Who inspires you?

Anyone who makes a living doing what they love. It’s not easy to live life that way, it takes a lot of bravery and often a fair amount of financial sacrifice, but it is so inspiring to see people lit up by following their dreams. 

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