I tend to make a lot of new friends during my travels. The human connections are an important part of my journey. Some people leave a lasting impression on me, and my scuba instructor was a perfect example. Nick Parry surprised me with his intelligence. When I found out he speaks fluent Chinese and Thai, I knew there had to be much more to him than just a 27-year-old adrenalin junky teaching scuba at Kon-Tiki Lanta.
Where is he from?
I was surprised to find out that Nick is from my own neck of the woods. He grew up in McMinnville, Oregon, which is about an hour away from my home. McMinnville is a small rural town, probably not well known for turning out adventurous world traveler types. But Nick learned to scuba dive with his father when he was only 14 years old and went to work in China as an interpreter immediately after high school graduation.
What does he do for fun?
He went back to the USA to attend the University of Montana, where he earned a degree in Linguistics and English Literature. He also got certified as a snow board instructor and as a mountaineer. Nick says adrenaline sports are his thing. He has summited Mount Rainier 3 times and has also climbed the peak of the Three Sisters. His dream is to one day tackle the Himalayas.
Why did he choose scuba?
I asked him what made him choose to focus on scuba now. He admitted that he previously had a lot of injuries and that scuba is much easier on his body. He said “the office” is pretty amazing too, meaning the sea and all its glory. Not too long ago he saw 5 large manta rays and 2 whale sharks, all during the same dive. In case you don’t know, a whale shark is about the size of a school bus. They are the largest fish in the sea!
He said that he also loves being a scuba instructor because it feels very rewarding to help a struggling student conquer their fears and become a certified diver. He said he also meets lots of cool people from all over the world. Indeed, in my class we had a guy from China and a couple from Denmark. Even his colleagues from Kon-Tiki Lanta come from far off places like Sweden and Spain.
What does he miss most about America?
I asked him if he ever misses America. He laughed that big contagious laugh of his and then said, “Of Course! I really miss driving and the beautiful mountains of the northwest. It’s so green back home!” He said it with a faraway gleam in his eye, as if he was picturing a particular waterfall or hike back in Oregon. I could relate to the statement and am looking forward to doing some nature excursions myself as soon as I get back.
What impressed me most about Nick is his adventurous spirit. He is a wanderer like me. He sees the world as his own playground and has a natural curiosity about exotic places and cultures. His parents are out traveling the world right now as well. I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If you would like to follow Nick on Facebook, you can find him here and in my list of friends. By the way ladies, Nick is single!