Inspiration Stories From the Road

Crazy travel memories, bucket list goals, and budget travel tips with Nomadic Matt

Stories from the road is an interview series with inspiring people all over the world. Meet backpackers, expats, nomads and full-time travellers, and learn how you can do it too.

You live a life most people only dream about, what would you say is the best thing about your lifestyle?

Traveling!  The best part about owning my own travel business is that I can do it from anywhere in the world!  Most desk jobs require you to be in the office for a certain number of hours a day, and a certain number of days each week. As exciting things come up (weddings, vacations, concerts, conferences, etc) people are forced to choose what they can and can’t attend because of work. “Do I really want to use my week-long vacation with go to a destination wedding in Scotland? Or should I save it to go see Laos which I’ve been dying to see for years?” The best part about my life is that I don’t have to choose. I can do both!

Working remotely isn’t all fun and games, but I wouldn’t trade it for a traditional desk job again for as long as I live.

Tell me about your best travel memory so far.

I was left awe-struck by the Galapagos Islands. I knew the Galápagos were beautiful, but everything I had heard about them underestimated their beauty. The land, the sea, the sunsets — words can’t describe them. Pictures can. (Lots of pictures.) My time spent on the islands can be summed up by my last night: the boat was moored while we ate dinner with the spotlight on the back. Fish attracted to light swam in the area and then suddenly, seals began to dart back and forth. Later, as we made our way back to Santa Cruz to leave in the morning, dolphins rode our boat’s wake for over 20 minutes, playing and jumping in the sea. It was breathtaking. Just like the islands.

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Why do you think it’s important to travel?

Travel is a powerful agent for change. It broadens our horizons and helps us find our purpose.  Visiting foreign countries, discovering who you are in a global context, and bringing what you learned in school, read in a book, or saw in a movie to real life is powerful.

There are so many negative stereotypes in the world that are perpetuated by a lack of exposure to different cultures and too much exposure to horrific news stories. Travel breaks down those negative stereotypes and alleviates fears. Remember when you visited a “dangerous” or “scary” place that was completely different from what you imagined it to be? Travel forces us to reevaluate stereotypes and creates a shift in our typical way of thinking.

The more I’ve travelled, the more I’ve learned about the world, myself, and how interconnected we all are.  Just imagine living in a world where everyone feels connected to one another, where fear of the unknown is replaced with first-hand experience.  There would be a whole lot less fighting in the world.  That’s for sure!

Matt with his book "How to Travel the World on $50 a Day"

Matt with his book “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day

Your blog is all about travelling longer and spending less – what’s your number one money saving trick?

Work as you travel.  If you work and then travel, you can only travel as long as your bank account allows you to.  If you work on the road, you’re replenishing your bank account as you go.  You can do all sorts of things on the road.  Aside from taking your current work with you, you can become a travel blogger, an English teacher, work in a hostel, work in the hospitality sector, get a job on a cruise ship, work with a family as an au pair, volunteer, do odd jobs, etc, etc.  The possibility are endless!

Tell me about your weirdest/craziest travel memory!

Learning to dive in Fiji was one of the scariest moments of my life — I almost died doing it. During my third dive, my partner kicked the regulator out of my mouth while we were below the surface looking at coral. I acted quickly and breathed out, grabbing the second regulator in a panic as my dive instructor leapt (or bolted like a fish) towards me. I stayed there, breathing heavily while I tried to calm down and managed to swim for a few more minutes before ascending to the surface.

It was a scary moment (and my dive partner never did say she was sorry!), but it didn’t ruin my love of the ocean. I got to see a whole new side to life on this planet, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

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What do you know now, that you wish you knew before?

Don’t be scared! Fear is a powerful deterrent. Taking the leap into the unknown is scary, but I wasn’t the first person to travel the world. I wasn’t discovering new continents or exploring uncharted territories.  I wish I had known that there’s a well-worn travel trail out there and people to help guide you along the way. If millions of people can make their way around the world each year, so could I.  I may feel scared and nervous but turned out to be just as capable as anyone else.

I have lots of other tips I’d tell my younger self here.

What would you say is the most difficult thing about your lifestyle?

Maintaining strong friendships is hard when you move a lot.  Just ask any kid who grew up with army parents and had to change schools every year. Relationships take time to develop and more time to nurture.  Sometimes my lifestyle hinders me from getting to take the time to connect and really get to know the people that I meet.

As I continue to travel, it’s getting harder and harder to keep the friendships I’ve already made.  It’s something I’m constantly working on.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned after travelling so much?

There is no such thing as a mistake.  No matter what happens on the road, it’s never a mistake. As was once said, “your choices are half chance, and so are everybody else’s.” When you go with the flow and let the road just unfold ahead of you, there’s no reason to have regrets or think you made a mistake. You make the best decisions you can and, in the end, the journey is the adventure.

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You’ve done so much already, what’s still on your bucket list?

There are still tonnes of places still on my bucket list.  I’d love to go to India, explore more of Africa, see the penguins in Antarctica, live in the Seychelles, climb to the Everest base camp, sail along the Amazon, and ride the Trans-Siberian Railway.  My list is extremely long, those are just a few of the highlights!

If you could only give one advice to people dreaming of a travelling lifestyle – what would it be?

Just do it. Dreaming is dreaming. Start creating your dream life now.  There will never be a perfect time to start living the life that you want. So why not start today?

Matt’s blog is filled with great travel guides, inspiration, and tips for how to bring more travel into your life. If you want more from Matt and his crazy adventures, you can find it on his blog. Also follow him on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook

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