South East Asia Backpacker began life in 2008 as a free printed magazine that was distributed in hostels, cafés and bars along the Banana Pancake Trail. Today, that humble idea has developed into a small flourishing business supported by a huge community of travellers on the road right now! Meet the people behind the website you see today… Read more about the history of South East Asia Backpacker here.
Founder and Editor of South East Asia Backpacker
Born in the North of England, Nikki left the UK at age 23 and bought a one-way ticket to Kathmandu. She quickly decided that she never wanted to go back to the 9-5 and had the idea to create South East Asia Backpacker Magazine!
Her vision was to create a ‘travel diary for everyone’ – where people could share stories and advice about life on the road. Since opening the business in Thailand in 2008, Nikki has travelled to every country in Southeast Asia (apart from East Timor and Brunei). She’s working on it.
She wrote a very honest book, Backpacker Business, about her experiences as a backpacker turned entrepreneur in Asia. The book is not all palm-fringed beaches and sunsets, Nikki very honestly discusses the challenges of living and working in Thailand and includes chapters on the tragic death of her father who was a huge inspiration to her and the creation of this website. Her story is a must-read for anyone who is interested in Southeast Asian culture and travel.
After living in Thailand for over 5 years, Nikki also backpacked South America, thus creating South America Backpacker Magazine (be sure to check it out!). She is now permanently based in the South of Spain with her boyfriend, Dave (see below) taking annual trips to Southeast Asia (although with a lot less partying these days).
Dave Noakes joined the backpacker scene rather later than most. Having spent 13 years as a musician and a teacher in Barcelona, he set off for Asia for the first time at 34. At this ripe old age, you’ll be more likely to find him in a half-moon pose than at a full-moon party. That’s not to say he doesn’t still enjoy a beer or two…
Whilst travelling through Sri Lanka, India and Nepal, Dave joined Nikki as a partner in crime, writing articles for South East Asia Backpacker Magazine and giving the magazine a fresh new (and rather sarcastic) voice. You can read some of Dave’s articles here.
Dave studied Jazz at Leeds College of Music. He is still a keen musician, making music that could only be described as “not to all tastes” under the guise of Chopper Dave. Dave also has a ‘healthy’ interest in Urban Exploration. You can follow his photo-adventures on Instagram as Urbex Appeal. In Asia, he can mostly be found looking for delicious food, abandoned buildings, nature in all its forms and, of course, spiritual enlightenment.
After studying hard for a degree in Criminology, Sheree logically decided to move to China to teach English. She hadn’t taught before, didn’t like children and had never flown on a plane alone. After an incredible year riding on scooters with three other people, falling into squat toilets and being papped for her red hair, she knew that she wanted to see as much of the world as possible.
Fast forward a few months and Sheree had not only realised this aim but had also found a travel companion in boyfriend Tim. Over the following years, they have not only continued to endure each other’s company but also backpacked around Southeast Asia, hiked across Spain on the Camino de Santiago and explored South America together.
Sheree runs her own travel blog Winging the World, designed to inspire clueless adventurers. As a backpacker herself, she was introduced to Southeast Asia Backpacker after finding an old copy of the magazine on the road and was keen to get involved.
She spent nearly a year reviewing trips and tours for South America Backpacker before officially joining the team as a permanent writer and editor. You can read some of Sheree’s articles here. When she is not travel planning, she’s obsessively self-diagnosing insect bites on WebMD.
The newest arrival to the team, Tim was born in the UK and didn’t start backpacking until 2015 (still a lot younger than Dave…). Having flunked out of college for having too much of a good time and paying too little attention to his actual work, (being the only male in the class was always bound to do that), he spent his early 20’s doing the most quintessentially British job there is, working in a fish and chip shop.
Tim discovered a love for travel after a life-changing motorcycle crash that left him unable to walk for two years. Since then, he has spent time travelling in Southeast Asia and South America, as well as taken many shorter trips through Europe and the USA. In 2018, Tim developed a keen interest in hiking which opened his eyes to the sheer amount of travel gear available on the market and he’s spent the last couple of years learning about as much of it as he can. Read some of Tim’s articles here.
Tim’s travels, along with girlfriend Sheree (see above) mean that he has made friends all over the world, who he is more than happy to utilise as tour guides or hosts whenever he visits a new city. Moral of the story: Only befriend Tim if you don’t mind showing him around or having him crash on your sofa.