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Scientist, educator, survivalist, herbalist, safari guide and caring mother — these are but a few of Nicole Apelian’s titles. But far more important than what she does is what she carries with her deep inside, being a vibrant recipient of all nature has to offer.

From an early age, Nicole has taken a path that few others would even begin to contemplate, let alone follow. She worked as a field biologist in Botswana, as a game warden with the U.S. Peace Corps, tracked lions in Africa and spent years immersed in the lives of the Sans Bushmen, a primitive tribe living in southern Africa.

Nicole also took on, not once, but twice, the most challenging outings of her lifetime, being a contestant on the grueling television survival show “Alone.” There, she spent week after week securing food, purifying water, constructing shelter and many other basic tasks, all the while keeping her mind focused during her entirely solo outdoor adventure.

Now, with a break from her overloaded schedule, Nicole shared with American Survival Guide a deeper look into what keeps her passionate about nature, her time on “Alone,” and what she has planned for her adventuring future.

American Survival Guide: Your skills are numerous, but mostly involve some aspect of life in the outdoors. Has the love of Mother Nature always been a big part of your life since childhood, or was it something that developed later?

Nicole Apelian: I was a kid who was always outdoors, so yes, Mother Nature was always a strong part of my life. As a child I had a lot of collections: shells, insects, stamps, coins; my love of nature and travel has always been a part of me. My stepdad was a great mentor to me and helped fuel my passion for the outdoors. He would come home early from work and we would go canoeing or hiking, bringing our field guides and curiosity with us.

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American Survival Guide January 2020,