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Inspiring Biography of Dean Nicholson

Dean Nicholson is a popular traveller, and content creator.

He has become popular for rescuing an abandoned kitten, Nala, and travelling with it around the world.

Dean is also an author.


Dean Nicholson was born on 22 March 1993 and 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 for travelling-

After working as a handyman on a farm followed by working as a welder at a fish-food factory, Dean got fed up with his monotonous nine-to-five lifestyle.

So, he decided to embark on world travel on a bike.

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

Stumbling upon an abandoned kitten-

On 10 December 2018, Dean was cycling up a steep hill in Bosnia while 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, so he pulled his bike over and noticed a scruffy and skinny kitten running towards him.

It took no time for Dean to realise that the kitten was abandoned in that remote place and the kitten was not only starving for food but also for companionship.

So, he fed her Pesto, and the kitten eagerly emptied the whole jar of it but later, he regretted upon knowing that Pesto is not good for cats.

Adopting the kitten & falling in love with it-

Dean’s initial plan was to feed the kitten and leave it on its own but as he felt that abandoning the kitten was not the right thing to do, he adopted it.

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

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

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 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, in his sleeping bag.

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

Nala converts a dog person-

Before meeting Nala, Dean was a dog person and never owned a cat and did not have a soft corner for cats, thanks to the preconceptions such as, cats scratch furniture and would only bond with their owners for food.

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

But thanks to meeting Nala, Dean became a cat person and all his preconceptions got busted.

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, he slowed down his pace of travel 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 started keeping her attached to his bike.

Nala becomes a global celebrity-

As a man travelling with a cat is quite a novelty, they became internet celebrities.

Their story was shared by ‘The Dodo,’ this video became viral and consequently, Dean’s Instagram exploded, and their story got covered by many newspapers and news websites, Daily Mail, The Sunday Times, New York Post, The Washington Post, etc.

As of December 2023, he has 1M followers on Instagram and 200K followers on his Facebook page, ‘1bike1world’.

On 11 June 2019, Dean started a YouTube channel, ‘1bike1world’ to share his and Nala’s travel stories and as of December 2023, it has 282K subscribers.

He earns from advertisements, and ‘Super Thanks’ on his YouTube channel.

He, through his online platforms aims to bring awareness towards animals and the environment.

Dean uses a DJI Mavic drone and a MacBook.

Through his website, he sells Nala’s themed merchandise.

Dean raises donations and thanks to this, he has been able to help more than a hundred charities, plant more than 52 thousand trees and donate more than £200,000.

He hasn’t revealed his net worth.

Currently, Dean doesn’t have a Wikipedia page.

From bike to a van-

Dean cycled Nala to several countries, 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 & birthday-

After travelling to 21 countries with Nala, Dean published his book, ‘Nala’s World: One Man, His Rescue Cat, and a Bike Ride Around the Globe’ on 29 September 2020 to share his story.

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

On 13 October 2022, he published his second book, ‘Nala’s World One Little Cat’s Quest for Love and Adventure.

Dean assumed Nala to be born in 2018.

He celebrates her birthday on 2 October.

Rescuing Balou-

While travelling in Albania, Dean stumbled upon a puppy in an orange field and at the time, it was suffering from severe mange.

After taking it to the vet and treating it, he christened it as Balou and gave the puppy for adoption in London.

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

Share with me in the comment section below.

About Author

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy.
I love writing the inspiring success stories of people so as to inspire you.
Enjoy the well-researched, thorough articles!
Every article takes many days of effort; so, why not pay it forward by sharing them and spreading positivity.

Rachel Bouvrette

Wednesday 3rd of January 2024

Hi! Happy New Year Dean and Nala! I hope we see you soon on YouTube...or you don't use this media anymore?? I appreciate very much the kindness and generosity you provide to animals of all kinds. Thank you!! A special hello from Laval, Québec.

Dan Powell

Thursday 20th of April 2023

An amazing story and a lovely lovely Man. The book Nala's World was a brilliant read inspirational funny and utterly compelling..

Naveen Reddy

Friday 21st of April 2023

Hi Dan, thanks for your kind words, and appreciation!