Today on GoAbroad, we're thrilled to bring you a new series of interviews, featuring some of the most adventurous and unique travel bloggers around the world! This is your chance as readers to gain advice from those who have traversed interesting worldwide destinations, and who have "been there, done that." Today we get up close and personal with Matt from Nomadic Matt.
In a nutshell, Matt created Nomadic Matt to help travelers make the most of their adventures. Whether you're nervous about traveling for the first time, taking that "big" trip, or heading somewhere and have absolutely no idea where to start, Nomadic Matt comes to the rescue. See what stories he had to share with GoAbroad....
In your blog, you say your first trip abroad was to Costa Rica at age 23. Why did you travel to Costa Rica and what about the trip got you hooked on traveling?
I don't remember how I ended up in Costa Rica. I wanted to go to Australia but that was too expensive. I started looking on the web and seeing what was out there and I just ended up finding G Adventures and I took their trip to Costa Rica. The trip showed me that travel was awesome, accessible, and fun. I hadn't traveled before and I had so much fun there I knew I wanted to do it as often as possible.
Have you ever spent time volunteering, teaching or working abroad? If so, can you tell us about your experiences?
I taught English in Thailand and Taiwan. I really enjoyed each experience and found they were a great way to learn about a local culture and earn money for travel. It was a intimidating at first because I had no idea what to do or how to find a job but you get the hang of it quite quickly. I even wrote a book on the subject.
You made the decision to quit your job in order to travel. How did you deal with going against the American social norm of working for the future rather than living for the present? Do you ever have regrets?
My parents had concerns and my friends thought it was cool. It was only supposed to be a year before I started finding a career and working 9 to 5 again. For awhile, everyone thought earning a living from blogging was weird. They just didn't get it. But now they think it's awesome and I suspect a wee bit jealous. I have no regrets about what I did. Life worked out perfectly.
Have you gained skills through traveling that can be applied to everyday life? Give some examples.
Tough question. Everyone always asked what have you learned and how you have changed. I don't really think about it because this is my life and changes have happened so slowly. If I had to put my finger on it, I'd have to say it would be the ability to read people better. After having to overcome language barriers so often, you get better at reading non-verbal cues.
What do you think the most rewarding part about traveling is?
Getting to meet new people. That's the best part. It's great to see so many beautiful parts of the world but the people I met is what I take away the most from every place.
What do you think the most challenging part about traveling is?
Having to pretend to be interested in the same boring questions asked by travelers everyday. "Where you from? How long you've been traveling? Where you going next?" Always the same. After 6 years of traveling, I'm over it. I ask people what their favorite movies are or color or food! You need to mix it up.
What advice would you give to students who don't feel they can sacrifice time at their universities for time abroad?
Study abroad. Not doing so is the biggest regret I have about my life. You'll get college credit and still be abroad. Don't miss out on the opportunity.
Many people working full-time feel trapped by student loans and other bills. How did you finance yourself after quitting your job? What advice would you give to others thinking about doing the same thing?
I saved money from my job but after that money ran out, I taught English in Thailand and then started this blog. But there are many ways to earn money overseas even if you don't have an Internet based job. You can teach, work on a cruise ship, bartend, deal blackjack, become a season worker, work on farms, scuba instruction, and more. Where there is a will, there is a way.
What country or city would you love to revisit and why?
I constantly revisit places. I am always going to my favorite places - Thailand, Amsterdam, and Stockholm. If there was one place I loved but haven't been back to yet it would be Prague. I had so much fun there, it was beautiful, and I loved the energetic vibe.
Name one not-so-practical item that you can't travel without.
My heavy and too large tripod.
Thanks for chatting with GoAbroad, Matt! Stay tuned for more GoAbroad interviews with travel bloggers who have all sorts of advice and stories to offer!