This year, I had a nice push towards launching Wonderment from Nomadic Matt, although he may not even know this. You see, I signed up for a three-day travel conference that was set up by Nomadic Matt called TravelCon. Paid my money to attend, booked the hotel room, as well as the flight. All before Wonderment was officially established. I did this for my own accountability, plus I wanted to meet like-minded travelers and learn more about the business side.
For those who don’t know Nomadic Matt, let me fill you in. Matt Kepnes is the man behind the business and he’s been taking the travel world by storm since he began blogging about his travels a decade ago. Matt is a New York Times best-selling author, blogger, TravelCon grand master, and the creator of online travel blogging courses called Superstar Blogging. Nomadic Matt has over 1,000,000 monthly views to the site. Seems that a lot of people find great value in the travel guidance given out here.
Matt is our guest post for Wonderment today to discuss how he has traveled well across the last 10 years and visited close to 100 countries and territories. His goal is to help you realize your travel dreams. Keep an eye out for Matt’s comments about being fully present while traveling by simply not working. He runs a successful company, yet completely checks out when he travels. Brilliant… and ballsy.
Introduction (as if no one knows about your awesomeness)
My name is Nomadic Matt, and I blog about budget travel at nomadicmatt.com. For the past decade, I’ve been writing about budget travel and helping people all around the world travel cheaper, better, and longer.
I originally started blogging back in 2008 to show off my skills as a writer as I was hoping to one day work for Lonely Planet, traveling the world as a travel writer. Eventually, my site slowly started to become popular so I decided to focus on it instead. Over the years, it’s continued to grow beyond my wildest imagination. While I never ended up writing for Lonely Planet, I did create my own budget travel guides. So I’m happy how things worked out!
My Favorite City
While there are a handful of cities in the world I love, if I had to pick just one it would probably be Bangkok. The city has everything I love: amazing food, a fun nightlife, lots of sites and attractions, and it’s a great hub to travel from. Plus, it’s super cheap! While I didn’t love the city when I first visited, the more time I spent there the more the city grew on me. It can be a bit hectic, but that just means there is never a dull moment! And with so many other great destinations in Thailand nearby, it’s an amazing city to live in as a traveler. But don’t take my word for it. Visit it for yourself and let me know what you think!
Mentally Balanced During Travels
To help keep me balanced, I’ve stopped working during my travels. When I’m traveling, I’ll put all my projects on hold so I can focus on the destination. I’ll still take notes and maybe keep up on my emails here and there, but for the most part I leave the laptop at home so I can really soak in my travels. That has helped me balance work and life, because working on the road really takes away from my ability focus on my travels. Of course, if I’m going somewhere for a long time I’ll make time to work, but if I’m just gone for a few days or weeks, I’ll leave the laptop at home. You can always make time to catch up on work later, so prioritize the things that are important to you.
Keeping Fit on the Road
This can be a little tricky for me, as one of the main reasons I travel is for food. (Eating counts as “research” since I’m a travel writer!). I often end up eating a lot when I travel, because that’s how I like to get a feel for each culture: through their food. One way I try to balance this is by walking everywhere. I never take taxis when I travel, and if I can walk somewhere, I will. Not only does it help me burn those extra calories, but it lets me see the destination slowly, from a more natural perspective. You’ll stumble into all sorts of new experiences that way, adding some depth to your travels. Walking is a great way to explore any city, and while I will often get lost, that only adds to the whole experience because you’ll find so many hidden or off-the-beaten-path restaurants, parks, and attractions that way.
Since I’ve stopped working when I travel, I don’t really have any reason to be stressed on the road. Of course, things will often not go as planned, but that’s just par for the course. Travel is about having experiences. It should go without saying that some of those experiences will be good and some will be bad. You just have to learn to love them all and roll with the punches. Travel is a personal development tool, so there is always something new you can learn from each experience — good or bad — so just relax and don’t let those problems get to you. In hindsight, the worst experiences usually make the best stories. So at least you’ll get some good stories out of your bad experiences!
While it’s hard to pick just one, I think the best travel tip I can share is to visit local tourism offices. Almost every destination will have a local tourist office where you can get maps, ask questions, and find out information. These places are great because you’ll get up-to-date information on everything, including any information on available discounts or deals that you might not have known about. The people here are usually knowledgeable, as it is their job to help you. A lot of travelers usually skip visiting these places, but they are a wealth of information. Definitely stop by on your next trip!
#1 Bucket List Trip
There are a million places out there I still want to visit, so it’s hard to pin down a single place. But, if I had to pick one I’d probably say Bhutan. It’s still a bit challenging to visit (and it’s expensive, too) but it’s becoming more and more tourist friendly. I imagine tourism will continue to grow there, so I’d love to visit it before it really starts to change. It looks like such a beautiful country, so it’s definitely high on my list!
A huge thanks to Nomadic Matt for sharing insight into his travel life. To learn more about Nomadic Matt, check out the website to see what travel resources you can learn from. Who knows? I might even see you at the next TravelCon.