Dean Nicholson is a popular traveller.

He became popular for rescuing an abandoned kitten and taking it on his world travels.

Dean is also an author and YouTuber.


Dean Nicholson was born on 22 March 1993.

He hails from Dunbar, Scotland, United Kingdom.

His father, Neil works as a foster carer and his mother, Avril worked as a charge nurse in the NHS.

Dean has an elder sister, Holly Nicholson.

He did his schooling from Dunbar Grammar School in Dunbar, Scotland.

Quitting his job to travel the world-

Initially, Dean worked as a handyman on a farm and then, he started working as a welder at a fish-food factory.

He was fed up with his monotonous nine-to-five lifestyle and decided to embark on world travel on a bike.

On 1 September 2018, Dean started his cycling journey from Dunbar on his brand-new TREK 920 adventure touring bike.

Finding an abandoned kitten-

On 10 December 2018, Dean was cycling up a steep hill in Bosnia and was enjoying the loud music from his speaker tied to the back of his bike.

Soon, he heard a kitten meowing at the top of its lungs and so, he pulled his bike over and noticed a scruffy and skinny kitten running towards him.

Dean quickly realised that someone had abandoned this kitten in that remote place and it was starving both for food and companionship.

So, he fed her Pesto and the kitten eagerly emptied the whole jar.

Only later Dean realised that Pesto isn’t good for cats.

Adopting the kitten-

Initially, after feeding the kitten, Dean thought of leaving it on its own.

But he realised that it wasn’t the right thing to do and so, he adopted it.

As his favourite film while growing up was The Lion King, Dean named the kitten Nala.

In one of his interviews, he said that he would have named the kitten Simba if it was a male.

Falling in love with Nala-

Dean cleared out some space on his bike’s front basket for Nala and resumed cycling.

Ten minutes later, Nala came out of its basket and climbed on his shoulder and fell asleep while he was cycling and at that moment he fell in love with Nala.

A perfect travel companion-

Dean used to bike for about seven hours a day and most of the day, Nala used to sleep in her basket and upon waking she used to sit in the basket with her paws out just enjoying the scenery.

He quickly understood her body language, for example, when she wanted water, she would let him know by licking his lower lip and if she was frightened by dogs, she would climb up on his shoulder.

They used to set up a tent during the nights to sleep in and Nala loved being in the tent and his sleeping bag.

She loved travelling in the bike’s basket and has been a very uncomplaining cat.

Converting a dog person-

Dean never owned a cat before in his life and was always a dog person.

He had many pets like stick insects, chickens, tropical fish and dogs but never had a cat.

Before meeting Nala, Dean didn’t have a soft corner for cats and had preconceptions like cats scratch furniture and they would only bond with their owners for food but Nala busted all his preconceptions.

Nala, the great icebreaker-

Prior to having Nala, as Dean was a big guy with a big beard and tattoos, not many people were bothering to talk to him.

But as he started cycling with Nala, many people started interacting with him and offering him drinks and were showing interest in knowing his story.

Everything for Nala-

Prior to meeting Nala, Dean’s plan was to cycle to as many countries as possible and his dream was to cycle to Thailand and end up on a beach drinking coconut.

But Nala changed his travel plans and he slowed down the pace of his travel so as to take care of Nala and make sure that Nala too enjoyed the trip.

Initially, Dean smuggled her through the first border and then, got her rabies vaccination and a microchip in her neck.

He also got her a pet passport which allowed her to seamlessly travel the world.

Dean uses the Pet Travel website for Nala’s passport.

Long live Nala-

Once while cycling, they got caught in a bad storm and Nala got wet and a few days later, she developed a chest infection.

Dean took her to a veterinarian and got her treated.

And since then, he started being cautious while travelling in rain, he also bought her an umbrella, a waterproof cover and things to keep her warm.

For the safety of Nala on busy roads, Dean used to keep her attached to his bike.

Nala becomes a global celebrity-

Thanks to the cuteness of Nala, Dean and Nala became internet celebrities.

Initially, his story was shared by The Dodo and this video exploded.

Thanks to this, their pictures on Instagram became viral and got covered by many newspapers and news websites like Daily Mail, The Sunday Times, New York Post, The Washington Post, etc.

As of June 2022, Dean has 1M followers on Instagram and 181K followers on their Facebook page.

On 11 June 2019, he started a YouTube channel by the name, 1bike1world and as of June 2022, he has 240K subscribers.

He uses a DJI Mavic drone and MacBook.

Dean also has a website and sells Nala’s themed merchandise through it.

According to his website, as of June 2022, he has donated £ 228866 to more than 111 charities across the world and helped in the planting of 43002 trees.

This has all been possible because Dean developed a brand of Nala and monetised it and raised donations.

From bike to a van-

Dean cycled Nala to several countries like Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Albania, Italy, etc.

Unfortunately, in 2020, he injured his ankle and moved from bike to a van.

Nala’s World-

After travelling to 21 countries with Nala, Dean shared this story through his book titled Nala’s World: One Man, His Rescue Cat, and a Bike Ride Around the Globe.

He published this book on 29 September 2020.

Dean’s aim is to travel to as many countries as with Nala and make her the most travelled cat in the world.

He celebrates Nala’s birthday on 2 October and according to him, Nala would have been born in 2018.  

Future plans-

As of June 2022, Dean and Nala are in Scotland and he shares their live location through a location tracker on his website.

Thanks to COVID-19, his travel plans got awry.

Dean’s future plan is to travel with Nala to Russia, Southeast Asian countries, Australia and then, fly to Canada and the United States and then travel to South America.

His dream through his online platforms is to bring awareness to animals and the environment.

Also, Dean’s future plan is to release children’s books with cartoons to teach them about the importance of the environment and right things.

Rescuing a puppy-

While travelling in Albania, Dean found a puppy suffering severely from mange in an orange field.

He took the puppy to a vet and treated it and named it Balou and gave the puppy to adoption in London.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Dean Nicholson and Nala?

Share with me in the comment section below.

Looking for inspiration to start your travel?
To Shake the Sleeping Self is the best book for travel inspiration.

Please Support This Site

It takes a lot of effort to research and produce content. If you are happy with my work, please support me by donating.

Naveen Reddy

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy. I love writing the inspiring success stories of people so as to inspire you and help you become successful in life. Sometimes, I also write the success stories of brands. Enjoy the well-researched articles!!!


Share your thoughts-