Meet the Explorer: Naki (Venture Ninja)

Adventure. Travel. YouTube.

I connected with Naki after he followed my instagram page. We traded messages and I learned of his interesting hobbies, passion for photography/videography, and his interest in adventure. I am excited to showcase his photography and share what he has to say regarding the wild, exploration, and conservation. Lets get to it, Naki!

Quick Biography

Hello, I am Naki. I go by @VentureNinja on Instagram, born in Niagara Falls, Canada, and I love exploring new places and sharing my views with the world through my Instagram photography. I also have travel vlogs that I share on YouTube by searching for Venture Ninja. Be sure to follow and subscribe!

Instagram: @VentureNinja

YouTube: Venture Ninja

What do you do for a living, how did you end up in that field? 

I work full time as a Graphic Designer for a company in Toronto. I also do Graphic Design, Photography, and Video on the side. My whole family has been in the creative field. My sister, who is an Interior Designer, and a lot of my cousins who are Architects, Artists, Illustrators, and Art Curators. I’ve definitely been inspired by all of them to push myself in this direction.

When did you first start enjoying the outdoors?

Ever since I was little, my parents would take us to Cyprus, which is where my parents were born, and still have family there now on the Greek side. My dad would always take us up to the mountains to go for hikes through the forests, and enjoy a delicious souvlaki and refreshing greek salad at the taverns by the cliffs. Because Cyprus is an island in the Mediterranean, I am surrounded by beautiful water, which is where I fell in love with the coast and palm trees.

What is your favorite place to explore?

Waterfalls! Oddly enough, I am born in Niagara Falls, and I currently live in Hamilton, Canada, which is the waterfall capital of the world, with over 100 waterfalls. I guess the waterfalls have attracted me. And of course the coast. Nothing beats sitting by the water and hearing the waves crash against the rocks and the calm fresh air blowing with my camera in hand.

How many of the 50 United States have you visited? Favorite?

Five states! But many more to come. New York, Florida, Illinois, Texas, and California. California was definitely my favourite. I love the vibe there. Can’t wait to go back some day.

How many countries, where? 

6 countries! Canada (obviously), United States, Cyprus, Greece, England, and Australia.

Best hike you have ever had? 

The best hike I had was in Sydney, Australia at Diamond Bay. The photos of me on the edge of the cliff with the water below explains the view. We were walking along this path on the coast and you can hear the water, but it wasn’t too loud. It then cuts down to these stone stairs where you see these beautiful cliffs, and as you walk further down the stairs, the waves get louder! The scariest part was walking down to where I took the photo. Even though I wasn’t at the edge of the cliff, it felt like I was going to fall if i got any closer. It was eerie in a way where you can’t hear anything except the crashing water and the wind. If you fell, no one would hear you.

Essential items for summer hikes/winter hikes in your opinion.

Capture the moments. Bring a camera whether it be a phone or DSLR. Bring water everywhere you go, you never know if you’ll be stranded. Bring a light snack to keep you going, and maybe some sort of bag or backpack that you can have on you to carry supplies. The backpack I use is the Lowepro Fastpack, which fits literally all the camera gear I need.

Most comical hike/adventure story? 

I’ll never forget this. When I was a little kid going for a hike in the mountains in Cyprus with my family, the streams in the mountains were fresh and cold, so the locals I guess would put their watermelons and beer in the streams to keep cold and then come back for them later in the night. We were high up, mid afternoon and nobody was around, and I don’t know why I did this, but I took a big rock and said “bye bye watermelon” to my sister and parents and as I was throwing the rock down, they yelled “NAKI NO!”, and it ended up smashing the beer bottles instead, making a loud glass smashing sound echoing through the forest. And of course my family was laughing and making me think the people were after me. But now I feel bad I smashed those people’s beers. I wish I could buy them a round one day to make up for it.

Scariest hike/adventure story? 

In The Whitsundays in Australia, we took a boat to this island to Whitehaven Beach and the driver was like “Be careful from the giant lizards!” And we sort of laughed thinking he was joking because his thick Australian accent was just so friendly that it didn’t sound scary at all. And then an American tourist that was on the boat with us asked the driver “haha they don’t bite do they?” and the driver said “No no, they bite hard!” And our smiles quickly turned serious, but still unsure if he was serious. So we got off the boat and walked around on the island and eventually made it to a path through a forest. It was beautiful and a nice walk. But all of a sudden…we see a giant lizard. Yup, he was massive alright. Luckily we didn’t get him mad, so we backed away, and we’re still here today.

Upcoming trips planned?

Definitely on my mind! Probably some smaller trips in the States, but the next big trip will definitely be Japan and Thailand, or Iceland.

Favorite outdoors gear/lifestyle companies? Any local? 

I actually worked with a flip flop/Insole company over the summer called Wiiv, which I love their product. They make custom made adjustable sandals and insoles. They are the most comfortable sandals I’ve ever worn and great for my hikes. You just download the app, take photos of your feet and BOOM! You have yourself a custom made pair specifically for your feet. If interested, you can use my promo code VENTURENINJA at checkout for 20% off. I also take my GoPro and Nikon DSLR everywhere I go. I also take a foldable DJI drone most places which fits right in my backpack. Love all those brands.

What does conservation mean to you? 

Conservation is about keeping nature and wildlife in its natural state and preserving the land by not bringing in waste. Animals and other life need to be comfortable in their own habitat. This damage caused by humans is preventing this from happening.

What can we do to make sure our parks and wild lands stay clean and pure forever? 

A way to keep our parks and wild lands clean is by not damaging it. This means not bringing in waste, preventing forest fires, and regulating the amount of trees being cut.

A Note from Naki: Thank you so much for your time! Glad I was a part of this! Be sure to follow me @VentureNinja on Instagram, and Venture Ninja on YoutubeHappy Travels!

Just remember, no matter city, beach, or mountains, adventure is always around the next corner. Get out there, soak up the sun…or rain, and have a great time! Never stop exploring! Enjoy this bit below, gave me a good laugh.

I truly hope you enjoyed another great explorer. His mix of city and the wild lands is fun, and adds a new perspective on the traditional exploration. Thank you again, Naki!

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