I Do This For Me

Matt Kepnes, aka Nomadic Matt, sitting at the fool of a volcanoRecently, a commenter remarked on a recent post:

“I do wonder after so many years of travel you don’t seem to have been to that many places, and I would have to say also that many of your destinations are pretty “safe”, well tred places.”

I told him we all go where we most desire to go, and my destinations are based on that. This turned into a debate about giving travel advice, what makes an authentic traveler, and a few other subjects. In one of his last comments, he said:

“I’m not saying you aren’t a traveler, but you are a boring traveler…and I do wonder why you make all this fuss about yourself. And yes, there is more authentic travel, and then there is safe, boring, gap year circuit travel. Do you think Marco Polo would have been as revered a traveler, if instead of crossing the silk route into China, he instead hung out in backpacker hostels for years, hitting on young, impressionable girls and drinking beer in the sun.”

I’ve met a lot of travelers who disparage the route others take, and I can’t stand it. Yes, I’ll give you my suggestions and tips on what to see and do in Berlin. I’ll give you tips about how you can travel cheaply based on my experience. I’ll think out loud about the nature of travel and my personal thoughts on it as a way to help ME hash out my feelings. If you want to read along and comment, all the better.

But I’ll never make accusations about where you decide to go. That’s your own personal choice. I find it extremely condescending when travelers talk down to others because of their destination choices. I see this all the time on the backpacker trail. I don’t believe there’s any such thing as must see or do when you travel.

Because you travel for you and I travel for me.

I go to destinations based on the order in which I want to see them.

I skip towns and countries to stay somewhere because it makes me happy.

I hang out in hostels with other travelers because I enjoy it.

I eat sushi around the world because it brightens my day.

I don’t go to countries because I don’t feel like it.

Travel is a highly personal experience.

I don’t care where you go or what you choose to see or skip.

I don’t care if you went away for a year but never got past your first destination because you simply fell in love with it or someone there.

I couldn’t care less if you boozed it up all through Southeast Asia and the closest you got to seeing a local was the guy serving you beer.

It’s not what I would do, and I may write a post about why I think you shouldn’t either. But if you do so anyway, good for you.


Because the only thing about travel that matters is that it makes YOU happy and brings YOU joy.

As Mark Twain said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Your journey is your own.

Enjoy it however you want.

Even if that just means spending a week drinking at a resort in Cancun.

    • I agree. Travel is a very personal experience. Where you may be into battlefields and museums; someone else might be into eating the cusine, drinking the beer, and talking to the locals in the pubs. There’s no right or wrong, just do whatever-the-bloody-hell-you-like. It’s YOUR life after all.

    • I love this. I often get people questioning when I return to Europe year after year… or return to places I love when there are “so many new places to see.”

      The world isn’t a checklist for me. I go where I love.

      Great post.

  1. I love this post as much as I hate people who use the word “authentic” to describe an experience rather than an object. They seem to define it as “something that enables me to feel much more special and snobby than the crappy things YOU like.”

  2. The insecurity of people can be pretty impressive. Budget travelers who mark their superiority by how little they can spend; workaholics who feel superior by spending more; “travelers” who look down on “tourists” and now, apparently, fulltime travelers measuring wank size according to the nature of the places they’ve been. This compulsion is difficult for someone who’s content with their life and their choices to understand, but the insecure really, really need to construct reasons to feel better about themselves. This is just one manifestation of that affliction. Be glad you’re not in their shoes.

    • Great reply! I guess even in something as personalized as travel there will always be people who feel their opinion is what matters the most. This is the same “my way or the highway” thinking that leads to most problems in the world I am afraid.

  3. Nancy

    To each his own, right? (And who is forcing this guy to read your blog, anyway?)
    Just ignore the negativity, and keep having fun.

  4. Raya

    Well written and I couldn’t agree more! I always find it funny when people leave comments like that on a blog. No one is forcing you to read it, so if you disagree with it, why continue to read? I’ll never understand! Props to you for keeping it positive :)

  5. Zoe

    Good post. Its weird that people will critisize other people because they don’t like the places that the people choose. What has it got to do with them?

  6. Stacie

    This is my favorite post you’ve ever done. I hate hostels. I like hotels, and when I travel, I don’t talk to locals. I watch them, like a creeper. But I observe, and I spend time in nature, and yes, I like room service. And that’s how I like it, and I appreciate you for making the point that there is no one way to travel, just that you DO TRAVEL. Thanks.

  7. The same thing goes for writing. Elitists will try and tell you how it should and shouldn’t be done, but do you know what I think? Rules are for tools.

  8. I sometimes wonder if the people who choose to condescend a person’s traveling has actually done their own fair share of traveling themselves? I mean, it’s easy to sit there and express your opinion on where someone else has traveled to or why someone shouldn’t visit a country, but until THEY do it themselves, I do not believe that other’s should make those kind of comments.

    Thank you for writing this post — I certainly agree with what you have said here and I fully support your traveling! Keep doing it and keep writing, Matt! :)

  9. Amen, Matt. I just love the whole myth of authenticity – and giggling at the “judges” and “experts” who live to tell you you are doing YOUR experience “wrong” (or, not as well as they do it). You’re one of our favorite bloggers mainly because you do what YOU want and don’t preach about your utter fabulousness (but you could). You rock.

  10. Good for you for being able to be able to express your response so perfectly! You said it all. That is exactly how it is. Our journeys are tailor made to our own personal desires, curiosity, pleasures, et al. Each to his/her own. I love your postings because of their sincerity. Carry on!!!!

  11. Great post Matt…I’ll try to remember this whenever I think of my adventures as compared to what others are doing….I happen to like where I’ve been:)

  12. I agree with you Matt. To each there own. What one person finds fun another may not. Each person will have there own way to travel whether it be bus tours,cruises, tour groups, or idependent. Some people shouldn’t judge, and if they don’t like your blog they can go elsewhere!

  13. carmo

    Like you say, travel is about how it makes you feel. If that entails “a week drinking in Cancun” because you want to, than so be it. I don’t travel to make others feel good, I travel to make ME feel good, wherever that may happen to be.

  14. Audrey

    Matt, you rock my world. Thank you for doing what you do, you are an inspiration to many more than you know! People talk sh*t because they are jealous…and always try to qualify their choices. You are rocking yours, and I’m sure I am not the only one who’s loving it. Thanks!!

  15. Couldn’t agree with you more Matt. I’ve met quite a few ‘Holier than thou’ travellers during my trip. I don’t care if I’ve travelled a well trodden route, or arrived in a tourist trap. I travel to places I want to go to see, not because someone else dictates to me where to go. After all, there is usually a reason why there is a well trodden route.

    • NomadicMatt

      A well trodden place is well tred for a reason. There’s a reason the masses go to Paris: Because it’s amazing.

  16. Seriously, I find people who feel the need to criticise others either have serious hang ups or their own head so far up their own a***. Off to read the recent post and have a giggle or two!

  17. I live my life by the philosophy “Live and let live”. I think it applies here too. Sure, I’ve encouraged someone a time or two to travel somewhere they may not have wanted to go initially, or do something that’s out of their comfort zone. But there’s a big difference between encouraging and criticizing. Have fun back in southeast Asia!

  18. Well said. We are only travelling in our home country (Australia) because we want to see it well, and we want to know our own country before we travel overseas. In nearly two years, we’ve only travelled about 1/3 of Australia. We love it, and we will continue to travel. I still get travel envy when I read about the amazing and exotic locations, particularly in Europe and Asia, but I am travelling for myself and my family. Not for other people.

  19. Laila

    Great post Matt, and because you’re a “boring traveller, that travels where everybody else might or might not travel” I just love your site. It’s all about interest, and enjoying life. I might not ever understand people that travel every summer to the Mediterranean just to sun bathe on the beach, and do nothing else, but if that makes their life richer, by all means. We are all diffrent (and the same), and if you can’t appreciate and accept that, then I see no purpose in travelling to see “authentic places”, whatever that place has to offer, it’s lost on the narrow mind anyway. Unless it’s to brag then 😉

    Keep travelling where you want to go Matt!

  20. Sarah

    Yes, travel is a highly personal experience. However, there’s some validity to the idea that you experience more out exploring a certain place than spending days within the walls of a hostel’s tv room don’t you think? It’s all part of the experience of life I suppose, but I have certainly met people along that don’t seem to be traveling anymore so much as just being a bum somewhere other than home. (Not suggesting that’s the case here but it happens.) Perhaps this reader is simply excited about other parts of the world and wants you to see them too. Perhaps he/she wants to see you challenge yourself – go somewhere that makes you nervous.

    If there’s one thing to learn from travel it is how to try and understand where other people are coming from, even if you don’t understand the message at first.

    • NomadicMatt

      There is more to the world than a hostel TV room. If the reader wanted me to visit other places, I think they could have said it better the first time, or even the second time.

      • Sarah

        I would encourage you to let it go at this point (I haven’t read the rest of the posts here below my own) – such is life out there on the internet. Anonymity allows people to criticize in ways they probably wouldn’t in person.

  21. Ernie

    Aweosme post NomadMatt, you truly have summed it all up i that post!

    You might tell people you have been to Thailand, Australia, New Zealand etc… only for them to say, ahhh normal route then, but what they don’t know is your actual route: the plan you take, the changes you make, whilst on the road. The random motorbike trip in the jungles of Laos, hanging out with locals in a bar in Hong Kong.

    You are the one that treads the path of the nomad; you are the path, you are the nomad! Enjoy the experience!

    • NomadicMatt

      Exactly. Who says I spent my time at a resort in Phuket? I could have been in Isaan, the northern territory that no one goes too.

  22. I was in the forest with my friend talking about all of this yesterday – she kindly sent me the link to your post. Thank you for summing it all up so much more elouquently than me.

    I love being a tourist – it’s great to get to stand around looking lost, staring at buildings/people while the world whizzes by shaking their heads at you to get out the way. Some kindly soul normally takes pity on you anyway.

    And how on earth can somewhere that YOU have never been be considered ‘boring’ and ‘safe’? And so what if you prefer to travel in a group or by yourself? No one has the right to judge anyone as everyone’s life is their own little personal adventure.

    All those friggin’ ‘travellers’ should take the time to chat to just one of those people in a big tour group as they might just be that person who actually lives in some bizarre place that the ‘traveller’ can only but dream about one day going to.

    I personally have just started saving for the European backpacking trip I have been talking about for years and look forward to hanging out on the Spanish steps talking about how amazing the Gelatos/architecture/italian dress sense/tomatos are with lots of other tourists eating gelatos.

  23. Dani Blanchette

    Travel where YOU want to go. I totally believe in this too. If we went just where others want us to go
    1. we’d never be happy because we’d be too worried about making others happy
    2. we’d be broke as shit jumping around all the time

    Im a slow traveler too. I go where i want. i stay longer in places where i like the people and the culture. I havent traveled a lot, but iim proud of where ive been and what ive done and dont really care if others are happy with me or not. Why? Because i am happy with me.

    Just keep doing what you are doing. If it makes you feel better, i am quite happy with you for how you travel and where you have been (ok, its mostly because you seem to be a sincerely nice person; probably because you are happy with traveling. And i hope one day our paths cross and i get to meet you in person. :)


  24. Matt

    Matt, I’m honoured that you went to all the trouble of writing an article on my comments. I have to say it’s shame that you couldn’t just continue talking to me one to one, also a bit sad that you needed to bring in your teenage fan club to back you up. I am impressed by the way you have tried to spin this, you should consider a career in politics. I also would point out that me calling you a “boring traveler” was after you called me “a dick” for simply suggesting that your destinations were safe and well trodden, which they are.

    I gather you are trying to portray me as a “cooler than thou” traveler, who is more authentic than you, and has better destination choices. I have several points to make, and then I’ll leave you to your blog, as I feel I have the right to respond.

    1: I’ve seen an article in which you criticized gap year students on their destination choices, urging people to go “off the beaten track” which you seem to think is Western Australia…so frankly your statement about never judging peoples destination choices is nonsense. You see some things you write also are also just plain wrong, and they are wrong because of your destination choices, like where you say the truth is it’s nearly impossible to meet locals and be invited back to their houses for example. This is because you mostly go to safe, well travelled countries where mass tourism has existed for a long time, and the locals are totally disinterested in you.

    2: I think the main problem I am having with your writing is that you write for a specific audience, your audience seems to be the young, gap year traveler who like migratory birds all head off to the same destinations such as South east Asia and Australia . There is nothing wrong with going to a backpackers in Australia, having fun, and getting pissed by the way….but for me it’s just not something I want to read about…for people that did that a long time ago, people that like some challenge to their travel, people who want authentic travel…and by authentic I mean seeing/experiencing local culture, local dress that is a world away from Starbucks, Nike and other icons of globalisation, places that haven’t been completely changed already by mass tourism already….your destination choices and thus your writing does not reflect this, which brings me to my last point.

    3: What you still don’t seem to get Matt, is that you are a travel writer, and your writings are very much based on your choice of destinations and your style of travel. So this isn’t at all like the situation you or others are describing, I haven’t met you on the road and been judgmental about your destination choices. I’ve read your travel writing which you published and have given my opinion on it. I really don’t see what the problem with that is. In online newspapers now, there are loads of travel articles that people can comment on, and pass judgment on….or travel writers who publish a book (which you have done/doing)…are you saying it’s unacceptable to have an opinion of them as a writer, of their destination choices, their style of travel? Because that’s ridiculous. You put yourself in the spotlight by choosing to write about your travels, yet seem to get very upset if anyone isn’t in awe of you. By the way, I’m sure you have had a brilliant time, I did pretty much the same as you about 20 years ago, and am still traveling as much as I can nowadays.

    However I believe destination is a key element of travel writing for many people. When I pick up a travel literature book, one of the most important things for me is the destination of the book. Mass tourism destinations where most have already been, and already know a lot about don’t generally make for fascinating travel stories. You would have to be one hell of a writer to pull off an interesting book about years of partying in backpacker hostels in countries where even the most green of gap year students have no difficulty in traveling. Drinking with locals in bar in Hong Kong might sound incredibly adventurous to someone straight out of school…and again I’m sure it was fun…but I would doubt the likes of Paul Theroux or William Dalrymple are having sleepless nights.

    So you are completely right in that you should travel for yourself, and it’s up to you where you want to go and what you want to do….completely agree…but if you decide to put yourself in the spotlight, and publish your travel writing then people have the right to have an opinion on it. Anyway…I’ll leave you to your blog, and your writing, it’s just obviously not for me…just a shame, when I read some of your complaints/frustrations of travel in your recent articles, I felt that it probably sounded like you needed to get out there and find some more challenging destinations. Anyway, as I said before good luck!

    • NomadicMatt


      Let me respond:

      First, our disagreement aside, please don’t go insulting the people who read this website by calling them a “teenage fan club.” My readers are not empty headed mindless fans nor are even most of them “teenagers.” I take a reader survey every year and most are older than me. And, to my surprise, it turns out, only 14% said they would consider themselves backpackers and 36% only travel for more than for weeks a year. So the demographic you describe is not one who reads my site. And even if they were, there is no reason to bring them into this.

      Secondly, the article you are referring to “Is this really travel?” was written close to two years ago and refers to the ease of travel in Australia. In terms of “getting off the beaten track,” if you go back and read, I clearly only refer to visiting destinations in that country. I was saying it would be nice if they got off the east coast and saw some of the lesser known places in Australia, just like if someone came to England and only saw London, which is on the beaten path, while a place like Lostwithiel is not so on the beaten tourist trail. Moreover, I don’t at all in that article admonish people for going to the east coast, I simply say they should CONSIDER other destinations. You have simply said my destinations are boring not that I should consider going elsewhere.

      To your point that I’m wrong about meeting locals, there are many parts of the world where people have invited me in and do invite other people in. It is far more a cultural attitude than an aspect of tourism. I get invited into places in Thailand which has had mass tourism for years. In say northern Europe, they just aren’t that “warm.” I’ve been in small towns in America that don’t see visitors and still haven’t had the same “hey come hang out with me attitude” I recently had from a guy in Greece, another well tred destination.

      Third, the places I go may not be for you, and that is fair. But if it is not for you, why bother to keep coming back? I see lots of travel blogs that aren’t really relevant to me. Once and awhile I might read an article I find interesting but for the most part, they don’t have anything to do to me and thus I don’t read them.

      Lastly, I would say that out of all your comments, this was the most elegant. You should have started with this instead of calling me a boring traveler or telling me I need to go to better places. I never take issue with people who have issues on my opinion. I’m happy to engage them and discuss. I love a good debate and I always accept constructive criticism. I simply took issue with the idea that my travels are some how “less” than your travels because of the destinations I choose, which is why I said we all choose where we want to go. You don’t have to be in awe of me. (I don’t think anyone is and if they are, I’d tell them not to be. As you rightly pointed out, there is nothing special about my travels. But then again, there is nothing special about yours. It’s not like either of us are discovering the new world or anything.) I simply said in my original comment, you shouldn’t judge the destinations of others. I don’t judge where people go. I may suggest alternatives but I don’t judge.

      I don’t claim to be Paul Theroux or William Dalrymple. We have different ideas of adventure. That’s cool. But I don’t claim mine are better than yours. They are simply different. I’m not sure why you are so concerned with the way other people travel.

      Also, I’m still curious what your idea of adventure and off the beaten track is. You haven’t told me yet.

    • Aussie

      I so disagree with Matt’s comment, and if you dislike Nomadic Matt’s blog so much why are you still reading it? Go find one that suits you better! Do you have a blog that people can read for your seemingly superior travel? I find a lot of relevance in Nomadic Matt’s blog – your comment of being focused on teenage backpackers is laughable. I am an Australian in my late 30s, I am also married and I have been living and travelling in Europe for the past 9 years. I travel for up to 3 months of the year. I have been reading Nomadic Matt for years and I love it! Have you actually taken the time to read extensively what he has written? I have been reading it for years. I especially like the topic of this one – travel is so unique to the individual, and we all take different things from it! I have just spent a month road tripping with my husband in our car around mostly the country areas of Italy. One of our best trips ever! Yet a lot of people would be happier to spend a month in Rome, or take a Contiki bus trip. Each to their own! Life would be boring if we were all the same! Love this posting Nomadic Matt :-)

  25. Great article, Matt. Why does it matter what you do or why you do it, if YOU’RE the one doing it? I might not be the kind of person that joins a 40 person whirl-wind bus tour around Europe, but if that’s how someone wants to see the world, props to them! I think as long as people are exploring, even if it’s in their own country, it’s a good thing. Keep on travelling!

  26. There is nothing worse than travel snobbery. It exists in all facets of the travel media. I find it easy to let it roll off my back since I used to be one!

    • NomadicMatt

      I find there is so much snobbery in travel. It always amazes people that people who talk about being open minded are so closed minded to different types of travel.

  27. That quote by Mark Twain at the end is my favorite, and I live my life by it! What’s the point of traveling if you don’t go where you want to go, no matter where that takes you?

  28. simon owens

    Wow, a fiery exchange of comments there! Hopefully that’s the end of it. Any more could maybe take place within personal e mails! Only just found your travel site Matt and will read it with interest….and will comment when I’ve had a good look! Travel is personal. You can have the greatest of adventures one mile from your home or on the opposite side of the Planet.

  29. Touche on this post. I don’t know why anyone thinks they have the right to judge another person on their travel choices. People work damn hard for their money and many have limited time off. If what they do and where they go makes them happy, then who cares. People love to judge. We judge people for how they live, what they wear, how they raise their children, etc. etc. So of course we’ll throw travel into the mix.

    There might be a day when practically everywhere on the planet will be considered boring and well trodden. Then what will we do? Go into space I guess, but then we’ll criticize their choice of planet!

  30. Brian

    Uh oh, my travels are really boring then. I just like to strap the mountain bike on the rear of the car and drive away for the weekend to try and discover some new singletrack.

    Maybe the writer of the comment wanted to know why you don’t explore places where you could possibly die, but didn’t know how to say it in an objective manner? That’s kinda what it seems like, and probably would have kept whatever comments you had back and forth to be more courteous.

    For me, I like the exploring bits of your blog. Not really interested in dying myself, so the way your writing focuses more on the feeling of being in a place or in the traveling experience itself suits my needs much better.

  31. The Twain quote definitely resonates with me. Matt, you must get lots of mail of all sorts. I return here to your site again and again because there’s a lot I haven’t seen but even when you hit a spot I’ve been to I’m interested in your opinion of it, your experience with it and I thoroughly enjoy when you talk out loud even if it’s not what I’d say/do, etc…

    Hope those things don’t change anytime soon.

  32. Cole

    Haha I am still cracking up at the comments exchange. I won’t wade in too deep but I don’t understand why some people comment on articles they clearly don’t like. Just don’t read about that subject again. Simple. It sounds just like people that write into the paper every day to complain. Anyway not trying to offend anyone and your post will make sense to 99.9 % of travellers I’m sure. Cheers.

  33. Great article, Matt. I’m one of those non-teenage readers of your blog and like you, travel for me and not someone else’s idea of what travel is. I’m heading out after the first of the year to travel indefinitely. People often ask me if it’s a RTW trip and seem surprised when I tell them no. I want to go somewhere and spend time getting to know the people. I’ll move on when the time seems right and to where seems interesting next. It may not be everyone’s way of traveling, but as you said, I do it for me.

  34. I’m 30 (like you) and have seen a fair share of travel snobbery.

    A quick example:

    A couple weeks ago I was in California drinking in a British pub. A British guy came in and we got to talking about travel. He assumed – and I understand why – that I hadn’t traveled much. But whenever he mentioned a country, I kept replying “Yeah, that country’s cool…”

    And when I said that, he quickly changed the topic to another country. This back-and-forth continued until he landed on a country I hadn’t been to.

    Now here’s the thing: why couldn’t we share our experiences about the same country? It was as if he absolutely HAD to impress me with his travels.

    Of course, it goes both ways. I could have just shut up and let him talk. So maybe my ego got in the way, too.

    But as far as destinations go, I’m just happy to see people (especially those from the US) hit the road.


  35. ‘Because the only thing about travel that matters is that it makes YOU happy and brings YOU joy.’

    I love this and couldn’t agree more. In the end, I think people like this person are simply jealous because they think ‘this guy does ‘boring’ travel and yet he is really successful, and that sucks because I’m not successful’. I do find your travelling style quite mellow, and wish you could provide deeper insights into the places you visit (as opposed to always using ‘nice’), but that’s an observation, not a critique, and no one is forcing me to read your blog after all.

    • NomadicMatt

      I’ve been getting away from the word nice a lot lately. I strike it out of blogs now…that and the word great. Trying to use better phrasing to put you there. You’ll have to let me know how I’m doing and call me out when those words slip through. :)

  36. Kit

    Hey, it’s your life, you don’t need to explain yourself. Is that anonymous commenter
    Anthony Bourdain? LOL I went to Switzerland two Summers in a row which perplexed some
    of my friends. I couldn’t help it, I loved it and wanted to go back and see more. So I do
    understand how a person could be “judged” on their travel choices.
    –The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page–

  37. Great post Matt.

    “Because the only thing about travel that matters is that it makes YOU happy and brings YOU joy.”

    This is so true. Not only about travel but in most if not all aspects of ones life.

  38. Unfortunately I find that unlike many other things, travel has a tendency to attract cliques and snobbery in many forms. Although I usually try and ignore it and distance myself from anything resembling either of these things, it does get my back up. I don’t care where other people travel to or what experiences they have, what matters to me is the memories that I have and the places I long to see. I also don’t agree with the whole “if you put yourself out there then you should expect to get criticised” attitude. People often use it for famous people who get stalked or get harassed by the press. Everyone still has a right to live their life how they want, but unfortunately some people will always feel as though they have a right to make comments about others or say things that are just plain hurtful. It usually tends to be these people who will never put themselves out there because they are too scared to face such criticism themselves.
    To conclude – I am not a teenager, I am not a nomad, I am not an expat and I am not a snob. I like to read interesting, funny and informational travel articles. If I don’t like something, I don’t read it. Maybe more people should do the same and stop stop causing upset for the sake of it.

  39. Matt –

    Well said! Not every traveler has the desire or ability to scale the Himalayas or trek into the heart of the Congo, nor should they! Travel is about discovering destinations and activities that resonate with the individual traveler. As St. Augustine said, “The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” To each his own book.

    You might remind your critics that although your travels may be more mainstream than some, your insights probably help way more people.

    Happy travels!

  40. I agree with you as well. Everyone prefers to travel in different ways and enjoys different things. Heck, even in my own family we all enjoy doing different things on trips… who knows why this guy is so concerned about what you do while traveling.. but as long as you are enjoying yourself that’s all that matters!

  41. I’m 10 years older than you and I still enjoy the blog.

    There is a lot of travel snobbery in blogs, and those piss me off so much I don’t read them. If I thought you were one of those, I wouldn’t be commenting here. I like that you pick your destinations based on what you want to do, especially since you are not ‘on assignment’. If where you are writing about appeals to me, I read and possibly share. If not, I don’t read, but also don’t need to judge you for your choice. I always wonder why people criticize when they can just stop reading. I’ve gotten a few negative comments on my own ‘very small time’ blog and I can’t figure out why someone wasted the effort. Just read something else.

  42. Shannon

    Great post – commenters like that need to STFU, plain and simple. Everyone has their own path, and no one should judge what is important to other people. People follow you and read what you write because you are yourself and doing what makes you happy, so you keep right on doing that:)

  43. I can’t believe someone actually told you that you are a boring traveler, i have been reading your blog for a very long time now, and i have always liked your travel… besides there is no such thing as a “boring traveler” because it is never boring to travel.

    We all travel because we love to, and as you said it, to each to his own, it makes us happy.

    The other day i was reading a blog post on chris guillebeau’s blog, (and yes, after all this time, i still have to copy his name from his blog… ) that a guy traveled throughout the USA on his feet, but my reaction to that was, good for him… because doing something like that will certainly not make me happy, and when i say, “me” am not even counting my feet.

    But yes, will read his blog or anyone else’s and the same goes for any other blog we like, such as yours, but i can’t imagine doing that myself, and would certainly not recommend or suggest this to someone else… and the last thing i wish to do is, to force such an advice by calling their travel methods and destinations as “boring”.

  44. Couldn’t agree more, it is all about personal preferences and travelling for fun, not about what one should do or should go to because others think they should.

  45. Completely my words! Everyone is happy somewhere else and we should just do what we feel like and go where we want to! Who cares about what the others say 😀

  46. Matt,
    Isn’t it funny how people visit a website, look around, and within a few minutes tell you that you are doing it all wrong?

    Just keep doing whatever makes you happy. Go where you want, tell us how it is, stay home when you don’t feel like travelling (even that might happen sometimes).

    Thanks for your website.

  47. Definitely well said! What a great article.
    That really is the point of travel, it’s for yourself. But there will always be elitists – as long as you are enjoying and getting something out of where you go, that’s all that matters!
    Thanks for the post. I’ll keep reading about your “boring” travel – it’s better than my “boring” job!

    *(Kidding! I love my job!)*

  48. Matt,
    Kudos for this amazing post.
    Everything has already been said by everyone and you that needs to be said, so I won’t go on a tirade against the person who decided to entertain himself by attacking you, your choices and your site. All he has to show for his travels is a huge ego, a hateful worldview and what I’m sure is a very lonely and sad existence.
    Keep it up – I love what you do. ESPECIALLY the heavy drinking.

  49. David

    Can we just say what it is: some people are so damn jealous that you are making a living doing what you love and they are trapped in a cubicle (or maybe they are traveling and have a blog but it’s not pulling in money). Jealousy sometimes creates haters. Did you ever read the negative comments the NY Times Frugal Traveler gets? They have this attitude “I could do better if I had this column.” Well, you don’t so shut the h#@ll up.

  50. I love this. LOVE LOVE LOVE. You’ve hit the nail on the head here, and I wonder why some people care where you travel? Sure, sometimes it’s nice to brag a bit about some obscure thing you’ve seen or done – we all do it. Still, we travel for US. No one else lives our experiences and – pardon my French – it fucks me off when people judge about where you choose to see or go. It’s only because you’re in the “public eye” that people care.

    Well said, man. Well said :)

  51. I really feel like I have to say someting about this post, but I don’t know what. It makes me quiet. In a good way. It’s beautiful, honest and pure. Wow… I totally agree with you and I love the way you describe it. Keep on traveling the way YOU like it. Happy travels!

  52. ais

    Very well said Matt! I totally agree. We travel for ourselves and we can do it whichever way we want.

    I am a new follower of your blog. I actually just discovered it today because I’m planning a trip to Paris. Thanks for all your travel guides and for sharing your experiences.

    Btw, I am from the Philippines. I hope one day you find yourself here in our country ^_^

    ~ ais

  53. So true, and great post. Traveling is a personal experience and I believe we all have different insights to share about a place, no matter how “safe” or “boring” or “well-trodden” it is. I have a far richer conversation with friends about cities like Sydney or Seoul than telling them about some secluded corner of Vietnam no one else has visited (and may never visit).

  54. Well said. We haven’t been everywhere, either. And, I admit, we even stay in (gasp!) nice hotels on occasion. My primary travel motto is “Don’t go somewhere where you’ll have to spend half you day in the bathroom.”

  55. Matt, I have traveled a lot and I absolutely love what you do. You encourage me to keep visiting random places. I have some constructive criticism here though: writing a whole blog post about a disagreeing comment makes you come across defensive and it takes away from your blog. So who cares if people say this or that about you? It is much better to ignore those comments and move on to the next country. From another blogger and avid traveler (and fan) -Priscilla

    • NomadicMatt

      It wasn’t so much about me. I don’t care what people say about where I go but his comments represented a judgmental sprit too often seen on the road. It was more about that kind of traveler that judges other travelers. My message here: don’t judge others for the path they take. It’s all personal.

  56. Gasp… He’s such a judgmental a**. What a loser!!! Matt, ignore him and do not be disturbed by an idiot. What you want to achieve during your travels is your own right and choice. To be honest, I have similar travel goals like yours and I don’t care if friends feel that I’m not making the most out of the trip. How I want to travel is my choice and NO ONE has any right to tell me otherwise. Keep on sharing to loyal subscribers like the rest of us.

  57. Right on NomadicMatt, haters will hate, and don’t feed the trolls.

    I guess for some, you can’t please them. Anyhow, if commercial travel is possible, people live there already, and it is recognizable by name or image; it is on somebodies path. Just not yours yet. That counts!

  58. There is nothing more annoying than backpackers who think they know it all and despise other peoples’ personal travel styles. Having lived in Asia for two years my priorities aren’t temples anymore. Been there done that and I don’t want to be told by a 21 year old gap year student that this particular temple is a must-see and that I haven’t lived if I am not going to see it. As you said everybody has got different preferences and people should respect that.

  59. Love it! Love it! We should all support one another and not put one another down. Each journey is marked by what the person experienced anyways. Unless you were there, you wouldn’t have the same experiences.

  60. deary hoesin

    even coming home for once in a year is travelling to me! though the places are the same, the people are the same, but not the experience :)

  61. Hey Matt, agree with everything you said…except the part about Mark Twain. Someone else said that, but Twain always gets the credit! Cheers to traveling where YOU want to go, and for traveling YOUR way.


      • Ali

        Hey NomadicMatt!

        First, this was a great read. I empathize with the situation. Everyone from wine “connoisseurs” to tech junkies want to tell you what you should or should not like. You get information, say thanks very much, and then do whatever you please. And good for you doing what makes you happy. In the end that’s all that really matters.

        As for the quotation, I had heard it myself, and had seen it attributed to Mark Twain (I’m a junkie of the “quotable” cards, magnets, etc. because some people in this world simply were better with words than I)…

        So I searched, perused, and scoured the interwebs, and this is what I have found!

        the “quotable” site, when the use it in their products, attribute it to “Unknown” so that was really interesting to me (http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/fridgedoor_2266_511974820)

        Next, I found a whole bunch of sites that said it was said by Mark Twain, which makes sense because he was definitely a dude who was good with words, but I also found the quote attributed to H. Jackson Brown Jr. (http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/2340-twenty-years-from-now-you-will-be-more-disappointed-by)

        And then I found out that someone else had already investigated the point, and the quotation was indeed published in a collection of aphorisms attributed to H Jackson Brown’s mother and father (http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/09/29/you-did/)

        So, the point? TL;DR? Technically it’s unknown who said this, but my best guess is that this came from H. Jackson Brown Jr.’s mother.

        Cheers! Happy New Year! Safe Travels!


  62. Kevin Kronenfeld

    I agree with this 110%. I grew up watching Anthony Bourdain, reading about what other people did on their travels, and hearing my dad’s backpacking stories when he was in Europe. These stories inspired me to travel like these people. As of right now I took my first travel experience in Maharashtra, India. I had the mindset of getting lost in the culture of India by going where the locals go to eat, talk, and drink. But I never forgot my roots of always having an authentic experience that was my own. So for me, people should be inspired by what they read, hear, or watch but they should also have the mindset to get lost in what they believe is the correct way to travel, because who knows you better than you.

  63. A

    Absolutely! It’s a personal experience and its not a competition. We may travel at the same place at the same time but totally get something different from the experience.

  64. I use to think that way too. We all have different paths. We all walk the same ground. Look at the same sky. We experience our journeys uniquely therefore it is very hard to judge that one journey is better than the other. We just have to appreciate the diversity of our experiences.

  65. Cory

    I don’t think you’re a boring traveler at all. How condescending for people to say that. I used to always stay in hostels, couch surf, etc when I was just out of college and living in Spain, truly ‘roughing it’. Was I ‘true traveler’ than? More than I am now that I much prefer a decent hotel over a hostel? No, I don’t think so. I was just poor. Maybe now I am a boring traveler that I have more money. I enjoy my trips now just like I did when I was a few years younger, but for different reasons. It’s just about getting older and more mature (and have a few more $$ to spend). I also try to go ‘off the beaten’ path also, but when many people suggest a place to me, its probably for a damn good reason! (Pai, in Thailand, for example).

    Matt, just keep doing what you’re doing. Reading, and re-reading, some of your posts kept me going when I decided to go to Thailand for a month by myself this year. I couldn’t tell you how many people gave me weird looks, told me I was crazy, how dangerous it is (being a girl) to go there alone, you name it! It got to the point where I didn’t want to tell people what I was doing anymore and almost canceled my trip since I started to believe maybe I WAS crazy for going by myself! Your blog helped me realize that there are other people like me out there and to just stick to my gut. Well, I did my trip and nothing at all bad happened to me, ever! It was the most amazing trip I’ve ever done, and I’m so glad I went.

    So this is my long winded way in saying, thanks Matt for your blog and your inspiration. It helped me so keep doing what you do.


  66. Hi Matt – (not you NomadicMatt, though hi to you too) – just so you know I’m 64, my husband is 72. We have been intentionally homeless and nomadic for the past three years, and we are regular readers of NomadicMatt’s blog. Perhaps I should be flattered by being called a member of a ‘teenage fan club’ :)

    And I agree with you NomadicMatt – it doesn’t matter how you travel, or where you go just get out and see the world, let yourself be charmed by other ways of doing life, go beyond the both physical and mental confines of home. Do whatever is needed to make the first step. And if the first step is to a safe well travelled place until you get more adventurous so be it. Do it for fun. Do it for YOU!

  67. Well said, Matt. Too often we base our actions around what other people think — I know I do in my own travels. You see all these top ten lists of “must-see” destinations, and feel like you’re making a mistake if you book a trip elsewhere. But travel is extremely personal, as you said, and just because someone thinks one place is a “must-see” doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it. And you shouldn’t be made to feel badly about yourself as a traveler if you opt to do something else — like sit on a beach and drink cocktails at an all-inclusive in Cancun. I’ve been there! Thanks for the reminder that we all travel for the sole purpose of enriching our own lives — and if we inspire other people in the process, that’s the icing on the cake. :-)

  68. Not because anyone said anything, but for a while I felt guilty for the way my partner and I were traveling on our RTW adventure (we’re 4 months in!) because we prefer not to stay in hostels, we’re always looking for Vietnamese food instead of national dishes, etc. Thank you for writing this post and reminding me that travel is a personal experience and that there’s no right or wrong way to do it! Don’t mind the critics, either.

  69. Matt, many of your travels are the places I want to go. Your blog is not only accessible for this reason, it is a resource. We have six children’s books out now featuring travel and culture. Before interviewing a family from Thailand, I took a look at your blog. It helped me get to know the country and form the right questions.

    “Because the only thing about travel that matters is that it makes YOU happy and brings YOU joy.”

    It’s not only true for travel. “Edgy” is overdone, and done as a trendy buzzword, thankfully. Sure, I enjoy a bit of Bear Grylls, but it doesn’t help me plan (or prepare me for an interview). I don’t believe this is what the other Matt means, but it’s down that road.

    So, thanks for sharing. Goodonya, Matt. Happy travels!

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