Nomadic Matt – His name has travelled about as many miles as he has, and his taste for writing has succeeded in spreading his tips for travelling, dreamy experiences and more….
I had a chat recently with Matthew Kepnes to get all the latest news from his endeavours, some tips for those of you wanting cheap ways to travel more, and how the world of blogging opened up many doors in other areas for him :)
The Adventures of Nomadic Matt – Matthew Kepnes Talks About His Endeavours!
I’m always trying to inspire people with ways to travel for as cheap as possible – how did you first discover all this, and how did it start to grow from there?
Nomadic Matt: The travel bug bit me on a trip to Costa Rica. After that, I was determined to make it to Australia. I researched tour groups that were charging upwards of $3,000 for a 2-week trip to Oz, which didn’t cover flights or most meals. That was just way out of my budget. It made sense to me then why only rich people traveled. So Australia was out and I looked for somewhere cheaper to take my vacation in 2005.
Thailand it was! While there, I met 5 backpackers on the way up to a temple in Chiang Mai. Over conversation about how absurd the two-weeks-per-year vacation system in America is, I realized there was more to life than a 401k and 50-hour workweeks. That small event became one of the most pivotal moments in my life. A week later on the beach in Ko Samui, I turned to my friend and said I was going to backpack the world. The rest is history – all thanks to strangers on a bus.
Since I didn’t have a rich uncle who willed me money, or a huge savings account, I had to learn how to cut my expenses and save money as I traveled. I traveled like I was essentially living at home: cooking (not eating in restaurants), living in homes (not hotels), working (not just lounging around). I shopped in grocery stores, braved hostel dorms, Couch-surfed, and taught abroad. I picked up tips from locals and expats on how to save money and cut costs in each country I ventured into. Teaching others how to do the same became the focus of my blog, which holds true today.
Coming from the US, did you initially start your travels around America and build on that, or how cheap can you actually tackle Europe?
Nomadic Matt: I had to hold off on traveling around Europe for a while. My journey started in Asia, teaching and earning money, then I went to Westernized countries. But while I was beginning, I decided against trying to live in really “expensive countries” since I was trying to make my money last as long as possible and back then there weren’t many resources about how you could make that happen.
Knowing what I know now, I would encourage people to go wherever they want, even starting off. Obviously, it’s a great idea to start in cheaper countries, like in Central America or Southeast Asia, but there is no reason why you can’t make living or traveling around Europe work too! There are lots of college students who choose to do that all the time. Simple choices like investing in a city/museum pass, preparing a picnic, hiking around free parks, booking short flights on budget airlines, booking a free walking tour, getting a Eurorail pass, etc will save you lots of money. It’s things that tourists don’t normally think of, but these simple choices could save you lots of money, which makes staying on the road longer doable!
New York Times ‘Bestseller’, incredible achievement! You’ve become more than a blogger and pretty much a travel expert… what advice could you now give to people either now looking to start blogging about their travels?
Nomadic Matt: My advice to people wanting to start a travel blog would be to start! There are so many resources out there for bloggers, like my travel blogging school that can help! Pick one (any one) to learn from and begin. Building your audience will take a while, so the sooner you start, the better! And be persistent. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your blog be!
Did you feel pressure as your platform and name grew, or did the enjoyment of travel stick around the entire time?
Nomadic Matt: I love travelling, writing, and sharing my travel tales. I travel a lot slower now than when before so I can better balance travelling and working but, as with anything you do constantly, it has its ups and downs but I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.
Seeing as we find interesting holiday ideas for as cheap as possible to help make it easier for people to travel – what would your dream holiday be?
Nomadic Matt: My dream holiday would be to Antarctica! But a really cool vacation would also be spending a few weeks in Peru hiking the Inca Trail, a month living in the Seychelles, seeing the Northern Lights from Norway and staying in an ice hotel, cruising around the Pacific Islands, spending two weeks exploring the historic Petra in Jordan (and maybe sleeping in a cave!), learning about wine in France…there’s a lot I still have on my bucket list!
If you want to keep up to date with Nomadic Matt, his travelling adventures and all his tips and tricks, just click the link below :)