Changing Plans and Getting Personal

going into the sunsetI realize I don’t talk about my personal life a lot. I made a conscious effort years ago that I wouldn’t make this site another travel blog of where I go and what I do. Frankly, I don’t think that my life is interesting enough that people would care that today I ate good food and saw sites x, y, and z. I wanted my site to contain more practical tips on saving money, and stories that could be applicable to any traveler.

I didn’t want to limit this site. I wanted my life to simply be an example of what can be done, and not bother with the mundane details.

Lately, though, I’ve felt that I’ve gone too far. I think the posts have gotten too impersonal. It’s not to say I don’t write personal posts. I do. Here’s an example. But looking through the last 5 months of posts, I feel there hasn’t been enough of a personal story woven through many of them.

That’s going to change! I plan to start writing more personal stories about my travels.

I’ll still keep the same goal of making them applicable to others, though. I am not going to bore you with the whole “today I did this” stuff. But I’ll be including more personal stories about my life on the road from now on.

And what’s been going on lately?

Today, I was going to fly back to New York City for my friend’s wedding. I wrote this long post about this not being the end of my trip but rather the end of Chapter One, and now it’s useless. I’m not flying back to New York today. I’m not flying back at all.

You see, I lost my passport on the way from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. While I have an emergency passport, I’ve been warned against traveling back to the States and then to the UK on one. Anyways, there’s a long blog post about losing my passport coming up. So more on that later.

I had been preparing for New York City since I left for Scandinavia. It was a mental marker that separated the different parts of my trip. There was the little trip before NYC, and then the typical backpacking trip that was to come after it. That’s when I plan to train-hop through European cities and hostels. Chapter One was just cruising around on my own, visiting friends and taking a sponsored trip to Norway.

Now, I’m in Amsterdam and starting the “backpacker” portion of my trip sooner than I had planned. I’ll be going to Greece on Monday. I’m going to start the application process for a real passport, then go spend my birthday on the Greek Islands. Then it is up through the Eastern block to Finland, Oktoberfest at the end of September, and a month in Poland before going to TBEX Europe in Prague.

After that, I might go to Korea. Or Japan. Or right back to Southeast Asia. I don’t know. I can’t plan that far in advance.

Seven years ago, I made the decision to travel the world. Now, I’ve made the decision to stop such a permanent nomadic lifestyle. And as I move one chapter closer to the end, the weight of the huge lifestyle change I’m about to undergo is finally hitting me. I’ve been quite reflective over this major life change.

But for now, I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just going to sort out my passport, go to Greece, and enjoy the non-stop adventure of the next few months.

After all, the universe always unfolds the way it should.

  1. Good for you! Obviously, your more ‘impersonal’ posts are great, and the practical advice you give about travel (and blogging) is one of the reasons your blog is so succesful – but I’ve also always thought that the best of your posts are the more personal ones, as its when you do that you get to know more of the real you, and its also when we get to see that you are a far better writer than most travel bloggers, so the more personal blogging the better as far as i’m concerned!

  2. I totally agree with Geoff, and with what you said at the beginning of your post. I appreciate that where to draw the line between information and personal is very very difficult, but it is your personality which makes them different to the hundreds of other “travel information blogs” out there, which, honestly (?) are getting boring and predictable. I look forward more to your next post than I did before now. Truly, travel advice is all over the web, but personal experiences tell potential travelers or armchair travelers so much more. Travel, after all, isn’t only about the places, it’s about the people too, including the traveler.

  3. Aye

    Hey Matt, I have recently been researching and planning my travels, a lifelong dream, which I can finally (financially!) make happen. Upon that research, I stumbled across your site. Since then I have read your archives and found your journey so inspiring, hopeful, meaningful, it makes me want to get out there, regardless of my fears. Thank you for making me believe I can follow my dreams!
    I can’t even begin to imagine what your life is like, but if you are ever in London, with a proper passport, I would love to have a drink with you, and ask you a gazillion questions! Happy travels, enjoy this chapter, and whatever you write, personal or practical, I think you are totally amazing!

  4. Oscar

    Matt, I am a big fan of your post and appreciate your blogs. I need some advice..This month I am selling my car and packing up and leaving America and moving to Regensburg, Germany to live and work for 6 months to a year. During this time I have selected 9 European countries to travel to. After this I am planning to explore Asia more on China, Japan and S. Korea. The reason is for me to grow and learn about myself and other peoples cultures and the way they live and also to drum up some ideas on how I can start an international business by observing all these different countries. Would you happen to have any advice for me on anything that I should be aware of or just simply any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am almost doing this blindly to see where life will take me and what I will learn. Peace.

    • NomadicMatt

      I’m not sure what the question is. Are you looking for country travel advice or business advice?

  5. Aye

    PS. Is you final quote, from Max Ehrmann’s ‘Desiderata’? I love poem.
    My favourite part is:

    And whether or not it is clear to you,
    no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

    We are all children of the universe!

    • NomadicMatt

      I’m not sure. I know I heard it somewhere…..I always loved it. Someone must have told it to me who read that poem! Glad to know where it came from!

  6. Matt, it´s a bold transition going from a longterm nomad towards having more stability and a home base. Was there any one precipitating factor that´s caused you to decide to do this or have you just had your fill of longterm travel over the year and decided you are now craving more stability? It´s interesting because if I were to decide to ´settle down´ it would not likely be in my home country of Canada. I outgrew the small town I´m from in Vancouver Island when I was 17 and went off to university. My parents have since moved to another city, that I´ve never lived in before, which feels like a place I enjoy visiting but never want to live. On the other hand, where I went to university was a location that I enjoyed at the time but have no pull towards going back to either. If I was forced to make a sudden decision on where to settle it would likely be somewhere in Asia. Thus, I´m wondering after all these years of travel have you figured out where you want to put down roots? Is it a familiar place from before your travels or somewhere that feels like home since you´ve been on the road? Also, have you considered it´s possible you may get itchy feet again in the future after a certain period of time having transitioned away from being nomadic?

  7. I love what you said at the end. There’s no need to plan things out that will happen later when you have plenty going on right now. Enjoy yourself, and the details of upcoming plans will play themselves out.

  8. Jennifer

    Hi Nomadic Matt, I hope you enjoy Amsterdam. I am an expat living in Den Haag. If you need any tourist information or any help with the ins and outs of the American Embassies in NL and the passport process, I’d be happy to help. Feel free to e-mail me. Your blog helped me so much in my RTW trip last year. It is the least I can do to repay the favor.

  9. NomadicMatt

    Craig, there might be a book in the works….no details right now though! I don’t want to get my hopes up!

  10. Greek island birthday sounds like a blast!

    Interested in the story of your lost passport…

    Is an emergency passport like a backup you keep in your luggage, or one you get sent to you after the fact?

  11. Tori

    Hey Matt,

    If you happen to make it to London, i’d actually really love to get coffee with you. I’ve been following your blog for a while now but i’m an American studying in London and currently am writing my maters dissertation on the evolution of travel and how it’s changing today. Thought you would have tons of good insight into the profession. But anyway, good luck with the passport…


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