Man and Cat Update: Biking to Thailand, Eventually

Adventure Travel
Dean Nicholson and Nala have spent the last six months in Austria, working e-commerce rather than biking. Photo: @1bike1world

Will Dean Nicholson and Nala’s adventures by bike continue, or will e-commerce success spoil these two unlikely media stars?

Dean Nicholson’s original plan was to bikepack through Europe with his buddies — a lads’ outing. But when Dean came across a stray cat on the side of the road three months in, his adventure took on a unique trajectory.

That was 2018. Since then, Dean Nicholson and Nala, as he named her, have captured hearts worldwide as they biked through Europe together. The pandemic temporarily “pawsed” (pun intended) their escapades. Since then, Nicholson has hatched new plans for their “pawesome” future.

Perched either on Nicholson’s shoulders or in a custom-built front basket, Nala traveled from Montenegro to Greece, Turkey, Georgia, Germany, Azerbaijan, and elsewhere. By the time the pair arrived in Austria, COVID had devastated cross-border excursions.

So Nicholson and Nala swapped the rough-and-tumble of life on the road for a comfortable cottage on the outskirts of Vienna. Here, Nicholson channeled his energy into creating a range of merchandise featuring the big, bearded, tattooed former bro’ and the delicate feline.

Nala may or may not be looking forward to hitting the road again. Photo: @1bike1world

The pair have been tremendously successful. Their book, Nala’s World, reached number five on Germany’s bestseller list and number six in the U.K. An audio version is also available. Nicholson even released a picture puzzle to help locked-down audiences combat boredom. Proceeds from merchandise sales help support animal and environmental charities. And, one supposes, the two of them.

It’s a world away from how they lived before the pandemic: in the elements, along country roads and hills, and sleeping beneath nylon.

But what next?

“We have daily walks around the block so Nala can sniff every bush, tree, plant, and stick in sight,” Nicholson told ExplorersWeb. “We have even been able to get in some longer walks and a little camping in the Austrian hills.”

Nala on a local overnight camping trip. Photo: @1bike1world

Currently, Nicholson is waiting to receive his COVID-19 vaccine in Austria. Then he’ll assess which countries they’re eligible to travel to. According to the World Health Organization, animals like Nala won’t require additional quarantine measures.

Nicholson’s ultimate goal is to bike 8,000km to Thailand. This will mean giving up the relatively cushy existence to which both have become accustomed as media stars.

“We haven’t got a set plan or route yet,” said Nicholson. “As far as traveling goes, it’s still very much go with the flow.”

To reach Thailand from Austria, they’d likely travel through the ‘Stans (Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan), India, Nepal, and Myanmar. Others have cycled a similar route: Dervla Murphy famously traveled from Ireland to India by bike in the 1960s. But with India’s COVID infections currently out of control and Myanmar in a “state of emergency and martial law” in recent years, we will keenly await the pair’s itinerary.

In the meantime, they’ll continue the profitable but not-too-taxing regime they’ve adopted for the past six months, a vacation-style adventure with e-commerce initiatives. Nicholson wants to take on more fundraising projects and one day to publish a children’s book, “something I have wanted to do from the start”, he says.

Nicholson sells a jigsaw puzzle of the pair of them to combat lockdown-related boredom. Photo: @1bike1world

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About the Author

Chasing Dreams Travel

Alex Myall

After 22 years in the exercise industry, offset by long-haul adventures around the world, Alex Myall found a better option a few years ago and has never looked back. She took a diploma in travel journalism, backed it up with travel industry certificates, then launched Chasing Dreams Travel NZ, her own travel agency.

Now she combines her love of writing and world travel with running her business from her home on the spectacular South Coast of Wellington, New Zealand, while simultaneously being mum to a gorgeous baby girl. She maintains a “life’s too short to do things by halves” attitude.

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MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
25 days ago

That is one adorable cat.

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Paula
Paula
23 days ago

Love the story and how you travel with your cat.How can find the puzzle?

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Jerry Kobalenko
Admin
23 days ago
Reply to  Paula

Looks like they’ve sold out of the first but are working on others. https://www.1bike1world.com/forums/topic/nala-in-the-snow-jigsaw/

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Callie Dibenedetto
Callie Dibenedetto
23 days ago

Cats are good travel companions because they are smarter than humans and have better survival skills.

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Matt
Matt
23 days ago

Awsome! … no wife happy life… better be with a cat!!

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MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
22 days ago
Reply to  Matt

Matt: haha might also be true for women. There are studies on this subject!

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Carol Baldwin
Carol Baldwin
19 days ago

What a wonderful adventure for you and Nala. Keep it up.

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Helen Daly
Helen Daly
18 days ago

Beautiful stay safe and happy 😊

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janice
janice
13 days ago

I love Dean and Nala! I subscribed to their YouTube channel. Nala is one very smart cat!

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