Ever wanted to leave the rat race behind and travel the world? Well travel blogger Nomadic Matt can tell you how.
Matt hails from Boston, USA, but now spends his life on the road, and blogs about it on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site. After a trip to Thailand in 2005, he decided to quit his job to go backpacking, and hasn’t stopped since then. After starting up a travel blog to keep track of his travels, his blog is now what funds his adventures, and keeps him away from the nine-to-five!
With 40 countries and nearly four years of traveling under his belt, we picked his brains for advice on traveling and blogging around the world.
Why did you decide to spend your life on the road?
My original trip was supposed to last a year. I didn’t come home until 18 months later. Once back, I knew I couldn’t go back to my old life or a typical job – I wanted more. After three months, I was traveling again. I haven’t stopped since then.
What made you quit your job?
Being in a cubicle hurt my soul.
You stay in hostels on your travels – what do you like about them?
I like the ability to meet people from around the world – and the free wifi! I have many funny anecdotes from staying in them too. For example, recently I was talking about my website and someone said “Ohh you’re like that Nomadic Matt guy.” My response was “Actually, I am Nomadic Matt.”
How do you budget for your travels?
What I spend from day to day varies between parts of the world. In Europe, it’s around 75 USD per day. In Asia, 25 USD. In Australia/New Zealand, about 50 USD per day.
How do you prepare for a trip?
I pack my bag, book a flight, and book the first few nights at a hostel. Oh and I’ll buy a Lonely Planet. Mostly I just go. I learned a long time ago that the more you plan, the more you break your plans.
What essentials would you suggest first time backpackers pack?
Flip flops. Seriously. Hostel bathrooms may look clean but they aren’t. Don’t go barefoot!
What destination really surprised you?
Cambodia. I never thought it would be as interesting and amazing as it was.
What advice would you have for solo travellers, and dealing with loneliness on the road?
Well, it’s hard to escape it at some points if you are travelling for a long time. However, eventually, it forces you to be social and meet people because you don’t want to be lonely. I’d say loneliness isn’t a bad thing – it’s how you use it that makes it good or bad
Local food is a good way to explore a culture. What’s the weirdest thing you have eaten on your travels?
I ate fried maggots in Thailand once. It tasted like a french fry! I also like eating Kangaroo. In general though, I love eating food from street stalls, and will eat sushi for breakfast.
Why did you start a travel blog?
I wanted to be a travel writer like Rolf Potts or Bill Bryson but eventually it just morphed into me wanting to find a way to have a job while being able to travel.
How do you keep travelling – is it just the blog that funds your travels?
My blog and a few other websites I run provide my income.
You have written a book about how to Monetize Your Travel Blog – have you ever had to compromize to do this?
I don’t put up ads for companies I don’t like or think are useful. I’d lose my integrity and my readers.
What advice would you give to wannabe travel bloggers?
Be prepared to work and then work some more. It’s very hard to balance work and play and I’m still having trouble doing it. If you want to be successful, you’ll have to devote a lot of time to this and at some points, be prepared to sacrifice sightseeing in some places.
What advice would you have for adults looking for a career break?
Find one thing you want to do and do it. For me, travel is what I always want to do, but it might be gardening for you. At the end of the day, we only live once. Why save everything until the end? You’ll work and earn money your whole life – just have fun doing it.
What are your travel plans for next year?
I’m currently in New Zealand until the end of January, and then I go to Australia for a month, and then Indonesia.