Three Years Blogging

By Nomadic Matt | Published April 1st, 2011

keyboard for bloggingToday marks the third year I’ve been running this site. I can’t believe it. Time goes by so fast. I remember when I first started blogging. I had an ugly HTML site. I didn’t know anything about anything. I had about 2 readers. I didn’t even want to blog. I just wanted to write a guidebook! And my first post read like this! (Yikes!!!)

I’m always looking ahead with this site. How can I make it better? What’s the next step? What can I do to help people more? Where will it be 6 months from now? Those kinds of things. Yet in doing so I often forget how far I’ve come in three years. I’ve been featured in the New York Times. I got quoted on CNN. I’ve been featured in the book, Blogging for Dummies. I get cool trips for free. I’ve been able to support myself with just this site since early 2009. And, most importantly, I’ve met the most amazing people from the interwebs. I’ve met some of my closest friends from blogging. It’s been pretty amazing.

This blog is by far the greatest thing I’ve done with my life. But with my five year travel anniversary coming up in July, I wanted to create a series of posts that talks about why you travel and about your travel experiences. So over the next few months, I’ll be posting reader responses to the following questions:

  • Why did you start traveling?
  • What’s your greatest travel moment/memory?
  • What’s the worst thing that happened to you while traveling?
  • If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be?
  • What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without?
  • What’s your biggest travel regret?

(You can answer as many or as few as you want. Even if you only want to answer one, I still want your story!!!)

These posts will begin at the end of April and go until the end of July. So if you want to share your story, simply email you answers to [email protected] or leave a comment below. This all about you and your thoughts about travel. I’m sick of listening to my own stories. If you read this site, you obviously share a love of travel. I want to hear about it. I want others to hear about it. For once, I want you to be the storyteller. So go on. Share your adventures. We all want to hear about them.

comments 39 Comments

Happy Blog Birthday Matt! I know for sure that your site helped me to decide to travel and taught me a lot about how to travel. Thank you!! and good luck in the future! Cheers!

Congrats! You’ve inspired me to take a shot at blogging about my own passions food & travel!
I’ve only been reading for a couple months but it seems you have accomplished a lot with your
blog and in a relatively short amount of time.
Look forward to reading some of the results from your readers!

Congratulations Matt! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and following your adventures. Keep up the good work! Hopefully someday I can reach the same milestone (I’m about to hit 8 months with my site.) I’ll email you with my responses to your questions from above…

Congratulations on your bloggiversary! I hope you celebrated in appropriate style ;)

Congrats on three years!

NomadicMatt

Thank you!

Great job, Matt. My blog lasted only as long as our trip (one year) but then I started a new blog that combines my passion for travel with long-distance running. You inspire the rest of us to keep at it.
Brief replies to your questions:
Why did you start traveling? To re-evaluate direction in life, make a career break, learn about the world and become better global citizens, bond as a family & “roadschool” the kids, and experience a stripped-down nomadic life to greater appreciate our regular non-traveling lives.
What’s your greatest travel moment/memory? Maybe swimming across a lake in the bush of Australia, overcoming fears of the poisonous creatures that might be swimming with me, to participate in my first-ever triathlon with my husband and two kids as my teammates. The four of us running and cheering together in that crazy event captured the degree to which traveling and spending 24/7 together made us a team.
What’s the worst thing that happened to you while traveling? In Florence, witnessing the mental breakdown of a motel manager crying and screaming at us for leaving; we were checking out early because it was the dirtiest, most depressing excuse for lodging we’d ever been to, and I didn’t want my kids to spend another night there.
If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be? All the stuff you really need can fit into one bag that’s easy to carry, no matter how long your trip.
What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without? My laptop (and a hard-drive backup packed separately, as well as backing up to a cloud–always assume your computer will break or get stolen).
What’s your biggest travel regret? Places we didn’t have time or money to visit (yet), esp. Africa. Someday.

I just read your first blog post and I think you should be proud of it! Not just because it’s well written, but because I think you touch upon some real basic fears that hold people back from traveling: money and time! Since then, it appears your blog has inspired people to overcome their fears, pack a suitcase and hit the road. So, well done! Congratulations on your three year blogging anniversary! And may you have many more ahead!

3 years?!?!?! wow- it’s STUNNING what you’ve been able to do in 3 years!!! big congratulations to you and cheers to all the future success you are sure to have. hope our paths cross at some point! :)

What a great milestone Matt! And you really have taken this site far in such a short amount of time – certainly something to be proud of. Congrats on three years of blogging :)

Happy Blog Birthday Matt! I have to say, your book and blog inspired me to start mine. I hope to build an archive of great little hidden spots for people to see when they travel places that they might not have known were there…and if I can make their trip a little better…awesome!

You have helped a lot of people figure out that traveling isn’t something just for (as some of my friends back in Florida say) “people who win the lottery”. It’s for everyone and everyone can do it! I love your blog and am happy I found it :) Thanks.

Cheers and kudos to all the hard work. I work full time, and starting school again this spring, but I still make time for two big foreign trips a year plus many weekend adventures in the states. Unforunately my blog always get the needed time because I’m too busy living life to document and organize all my photos. But I try to catch up when I can.

Enjoy reading as always! All the best – James…

Happy Anniversary Matt!!! *crowd cheers!*

1) Why did you start traveling?

It’s not that I *believe* the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, but if you never peak over the top… how do you know? I want to know: Is there grass on the other side, what color is it, what’s the texture like, how does it smell? So I travel.

2) What’s your greatest travel moment/memory?

Making true friends, the kind you keep up with, the kind who keep up with you – regardless of language skill or access to technology.

3) What’s the worst thing that happened to you while traveling?

Having to leave before I am ready to go.

4) If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be?

Accept every invitation because you don’t know the outcome until it arrives.

5) What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without?

Pen and paper. You can’t always get Internet connections, batteries have a finite supply – especially during power outages, but you can always write (or draw) to remind yourself, explain yourself, communicate.

6) What’s your biggest travel regret?

I didn’t begin earlier.

Michelle

Congrats on the 3 years! Your blog is great! :)
I’ve only been blogging for about 3 months, so I still have loooong ways to go, haha.

NomadicMatt

thanks everyone for contributing. I’m reading all of these and will put them all together soon! Keep them coming!

Congrats on the milestone! I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that you’ve been an inspiration for all of us navigating our way through the wonderful maze of travel blogging!

To answer your questions:

•Why did you start traveling?
Primarily, boredom. At the age of 21 I had never left Australia and was desperate to see Europe, so me and a friend set off on a whirlwind tour of the continent for a month. This trip changed my life, and I knew then that I wanted to continue to travel for the rest of my life. 18 months later, I moved to London and have been travelling ever since.

•What’s your greatest travel moment/memory?
There are so many, but if I had to choose it would be my first ever solo trip which was to the Fijian Islands. I was nervous, but ended up meeting so many great people with whom I partied, drank and snorkelled with for 10 days, and after I got home I felt like the world really was my playground, and that I could do anything from there on in and be OK.

•What’s the worst thing that happened to you while traveling?
On my first visit to New York a few years ago I soon found out that the hostel I had booked was not in fact ‘Upper West Side’ as advertised, but in the depths of Harlem. This wouldn’t have been too much of an issue except that I arrived at 2am and there was no one at the hostel to let me in, despite the racket I was making! Let me tell you, I dont want to recommend being a single woman alone in the middle of the night in Harlem to anyone! I thankfully survived til sunrise, but not without hearing multiple gunshots, being harrassed by a gang and having to make a run for it with a giant suitcase…Next time I’ll be staying waaaay downtown, thats for sure!

•If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be?
Enjoy it. Don’t stress, and don’t work yourself into a panic, because once you’re out on the road you’ll be fine. You’re never going to be able to relive those first few magical moments as a newbie traveller, so take it all in and give yourself a big pat on the back for making it happen.

•What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without?
My iPhone…I can write on it, take pictures with it and it has been known to get me out of some pretty hairy situations in the past!

•What’s your biggest travel regret?
I don’t want to have any regrets, so I’ve made the decision to reach my goal of becoming a digital nomad by June 2012 – and Im well on my way there!

First off congrats on a wonderful achievement that not many can say they have stuck with this long. The site is great with wonderful information and I look forward to the upcoming posts.

Matt…Congrats on the milestone! I’ve been following your site for years and love everything about it. Your site was actually one of my inspirations for my recent redesign of my photography, storytelling and world travel site, Adventures of a GoodMan. I hope to keep reading your tales for years to come!

I’m a little behind the times – but congratulations!

NomadicMatt

Thanks, Rebecca!

Rob

•Why did you start traveling? I had always grown up in a small town/village and never felt a part of it. Without wishing to sound conceited, I just found everyone had a very narrow small minded look on life. And my Mum happening to be an ‘outsider’ as she was from London, had always as kids taken me and my sister away on small trips to Cornwall or elsewhere. From this, I had fallen in love with just seeing parts of the UK, but I always wanted to see more. So after doing a small trip at 15 to Prague, I decided to go off to Indonesia for a month (During school) with no plan whatsoever, and ever since then I have been absolutely hooked and tried to travelled at least two/three times a year.

•What’s your greatest travel moment/memory? I have so many, that it would really be hard to name one. I’ll just say it is all the people and lovely places I have been able to see. Though living in a hostel for five months in NZ was certainly a highlight as it was like living in a flat with other flatmates who were also there for a long time but we were all still travelling per se. The other memorable one was when I met my ex in Cambodia, and ever since that day I have pretty much spoken to her every day, regardless of the relationship not working, so I will always be thankful for Siem Reap for that.

•What’s the worst thing that happened to you while traveling? I’ve had a few, but I have this weird travel addiction that I actually want to see how many fucked up situations I can get into and then somehow get out of. I’ve yet to find the limit. The most memorable one was in Latvia when I had some weird ‘stalker’ who kept touching me up on the bus, and then when I got off the bus early to avoid him, he followed me through the forest for three hours before I eventually lost him. It was a shame I never got to see the Castles I originally went out to see.

•If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be? Be open to everything. Travelling is meant to be a new experience, so don’t close yourself off to things you initially reckon you won’t like, as you will more likely than not be suprised.

•What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without? I’d say either my diary or Music. Even if the latter I find does shut you off from people if listening to it. But I really am not a fan of silence and need some noise. The diary I need, as I always want to take down notes, incase I forget some small detail in the future. Needless to say though, I have forgotten many times to write down things but there is no harm in attempting.

•What’s your biggest travel regret? Sounds like a paradox but sometimes I feel I have tried to do too much while travelling and that I don’t allow myself to immerse myself into the culture or sometimes I become too lazy that I find I don’t really do enough to get a feel of the place. The only other travel regret would be is that I haven’t re-visited places I love, as I constantly want to see new places so keep delaying it, with the exception of Dublin when I was showing a friend around.

Congrats on the blog anniversary! Here’s to many more years doing what you love!

Why did you start traveling?
I started travelling as a way to learn more about the world around me. I grew up small town and really didn’t have an appreciation for the world’s cultures and diversity. Travel opened that up to me. I was also painfully shy and travel forces you to get over it.

What’s your greatest travel moment/memory?
Skydiving in Kaikoura, New Zealand… my early 30th birthday gift to myself. Took every ounce of courage I had and I did it without a tour group or friend! Scariest and coolest thing I’ve ever pushed myself into doing!

If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be?
Clean underwear are a luxury worth having.

What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without?
Frequent flyer miles (j/k)… I would say my greenstone necklace gifted to me in NZ. It reminds me that this life isn’t always about work or play. Balance is essential.

What’s your biggest travel regret?
Missing out on hiking Franz Josef glacier in NZ…. just not enough time. Never enough time… but that’s why you can go back.

Keep on travelling… experience change everything!

Best travel memory? Hands down, getting engaged while houseboating on Lake Powell.

Long time visitor of this site, but first time contributor, I felt like sharing this.

What’s your greatest travel moment/memory?

I have so many amazing travel memories, but a recent one comes to mind. Last year, I was traveling in the Middle East with one of my best friends. We met two girls from back home (Québec) in Jordan, and the four of us went for a little 2-day desert trek in the Wadi Rum valley.

Around sunset, while our guide and driver was back in his bedouin tent, we walked up a small dune, laid down a blanket, took out a few beers we had previously purchased at a village for a ridiculously expensive price – it was the desert, in a Muslim country, after all – and took out my little speaker and Ipod. All of this made for one of the best evenings of my life. Watching the sun set over the glorious desert landscape, listening to great music, having a few beers, having wonderful conversations, sometimes not speaking at all and just contemplating the horizon with a full moon watching over gigantic rock formations.

It was perfect.

Rod

Great stuff Matt. Well done on 3 years. One of my most memorable times was last year in Paris. After a day sight-seeing all the obligatory monuments, palaces, museums, towers and gardens, we spent the night in a small bar in St Germain. It was World Cup Final night and the atmosphere was electric. The bar was full of travellers including many Spaniards and Dutch. Everyone got into, everyone was talking to everyone, even if we didn’t understand each other. It was such a cosmopolitian mix and such a simple experience. I felt I had experienced more of Europe that night, than all of the monuments put together. I can only imagine what it would have been like in Barcelona or Amsterdam.

One piece of advice I would give is to ride a bicycle. Take your own, hire one or book an organised bike tour. You see SOOOO much more on a bike

My biggest travel regret was my first trip to Europe 12 years ago. I hired a car and did the grand tour of Europe, 6 countries in 20 days. Spent the vast majority of the time on motorways, trying to make the next destination. Saw next to nothing except European motorways. Now my trips are always confined to one or two regions and centrally based (usually on a bicycle).

Awesome, I think I’ll share some of my answers here then!.

Why did you start traveling?
I got bitten by the bug in Thailand and focused my life from there on!

What’s your greatest travel moment/memory?
Traveling overland across Indonesia to see the Komodo Dragons. I met some great people, had an amazing time and felt a great sense of adventure afterwards. The boat even broke on the way back, we had to dive under with our snorkels and help the captain repair the rudder and propeller! A bit scary but another great experience!

What’s the worst thing that happened to you while traveling?
Either getting robbed in Bali, or struggling with getting a ticket for a 12 hour train ride in Thailand. We absolutely had to be in Bangkok and left it until the last minute to buy a ticket for the sleeper train. The only tickets they had were for 3rd class ‘Standing’ – We had to stand up for 12 hours on a cramped train all the way.

If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be?
Take all that useless rubbish out of your backpack! You will never use it!

What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without?
iPod!

What’s your biggest travel regret?
I’ve been around Southeast Asia three times and never been to the Philippines! I’ve also been to Indonesia three times and never visited Sumatra! I’ll be going though!

Amy

Congratulations on getting to five years of travel. We’ve been travelling for one and a half years — and loving it. I thought I’d answer some of your questions:

Why did you start traveling?
We wanted to travel around Australia with our four kids, the eldest of which was 8 when we started out. To hear about the different parts of the country is one thing, but to get out there and experience it is completely different. We wanted our kids to grow up with a perspective of their country as a whole, rather than just one little piece of it.

What’s your greatest travel moment/memory?
We spent ten weeks free camping in our RV near a ski resort. Almost every day that winter the older three kids and Dad strapped on skis and played on the mountains. Mum spent a lot of time drinking coffee and hot chocolate with the baby. That would have to be one of the most special winters, and it was really cheap, too, because we were free camping.

What’s the worst thing that happened to you while traveling?
We had just crossed the state border of Northern Territory and South Australia. It’s the middle of the desert, but it was pouring with rain. Despite trying to find somewhere to pull over and stop for the night we hadn’t been able to find anywhere for a few hours of looking. We hit a large puddle of the road, and it felt like a tyre had blown on the RV. We pulled over to check the tyres, and although it turned out that they were fine, we sank almost to the chassis in the soft mud on the side of the road. My poor husband had to dig the caravan out of that shoulder in the twilight and the rain, while I kept the kids occupied and happy in the car.
We kept driving a little to find somewhere safe for the night, and came to a road house not much further along the highway. We pulled in, but because the roads were so slippery with the rain and the fuel on the ground, the back end of the RV clipped a truck window.

If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be?
Not one of the things that we worried about before leaving have been an issue. Instead, it’s the things we had never even considered that we’ve had to work around. In the end, it is a lifestyle.

What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without?
Our RV. It is our home, and we love it. Our 8 year old likes to tell people we are homeless. This isn’t exactly true — it’s just that our home is on wheels and we rarely stay anywhere for more than a week.

What’s your biggest travel regret?
That we didn’t leave sooner.

Getting of the Train in Ulan Ude (Bumble fuck siberia) looking for a hostel with nasty dogs barking at me in the middle of a dodgy neighbourhood… IN THE SNOW.

My worst travel moment: Jumping off an Indian train and breaking my foot. It was the worst physical pain I’ve ever been in, especially after some random person cracked my foot to “reset” it. This happened half-way through my trip, and I really wanted to see India, so I just kept going — in a cast almost up to my knee. I even camped out in the Thar Desert in a cast.

Congratulations on making it past 3 years of travels!

Why did you start traveling?
My parents were trapped in Missouri nearly their whole lives until my dad joined the Army and my mom followed him to Hawaii to marry him. After they returned to Missouri they made sure I saw as much of the world as they could so just through them I made it to half the United States and even to Canada.

What’s your greatest travel moment/memory?
Right after I finished chemo I decided to take a road trip. I’m not sure what possessed me but I was determined to climb a mountain. I managed to make it to the top of Chimney Rock, NC and felt very accomplished doing it, even if I had to take a few breaks along the way.

What’s the worst thing that happened to you while traveling?
Disney stranded me at a rain-out ball game in pouring rain and flooding grounds for over 2 hours. Next time I’ll hire a cab.

If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be?
Try saying “yes” to new adventures, food, or places.

What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without?
Aloe. No matter what I do I always get a burn somewhere and aloe saves me every time.

What’s your biggest travel regret?
When in Hawaii with my parents, they swore we would return to Matsumoto’s Shaved Ice after watching the sunset. They closed at sunset. I regret missing that ice all the time.

Hi Matt!

I was originally going to respond to the “travel regrets” post but also wanted to give you some props. In September of 2010 you spoke at the Travel Bloggers Show as part of ASTA’s Trade Show in Orlando and something clicked — so our travel blog is about to launch! (Our day jobs still remain, but hopefully will be banished one day.)

In terms of travel regrets, I join with everyone who has said they wished they’d studied abroad in college. I was lucky enough to spend a semester in London during law school but, boy, I wish I had taken advantage of the dizzying array of programs available to me in undergrad. My other regret is that I have not learned, really learned, another language. I realize it is not too late — so maybe I can remedy that regret!

Cheers and happy travels!

NomadicMatt

Glad my talk inspired you to start blogging! Best of luck with it!

The four of these youve already posted make for a really readable series. You didnt’e mention in the “best memory” post what yours was. Ios?

If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be?
Book the flight that starts your trip, and leave the rest to the road. That first one makes sure you don’t put it off forever, and the freedom afterward leaves you open to whatever randomess traveling throws at you.

What’s the one travel thing you can’t live without?
Books. Not even necessarily good books, because the random castoffs from hostel libraries will do in a pinch. There’s not much mundanely worse, though, than boarding an overnight bus/train without an unread book to pass the time.

Katey

4) If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be?

Don’t have a plan and don’t have a timescale!

Congratulations, Matt, on your three-year anniversary. What you’ve built with this blog is incredibly inspiring and I’m thrilled to have found it.

I like your questions and will think about my responses. Thanks for including your readers in such fun ways. :~)

~ Milli

From the deepest chamber of my heart…CONGRATULATIONS Matt on your third year blogging anniversary. I posted my first travel blog post on December 28, 2010 and candidly, your blog is one of my inspirations in the travel blogging path that I am following right now.

One of my regrets is why I went into travel blogging just six months ago. I have had traveled to a far away land that I am really certain that I would find it hard to have a return trip within my life time. Being a member of the 15-man Philippine delegation to the April 18-26, 2009 Study Tour on the Development of Cooperative Integration in Spain sponsored by the Agencia Española de Cooperación Internacional Para el Desarrollo (AECID), I was able to travel to the capital city of Madrid, the cities of Toledo and Albacete and the town of Cuenca in the Autonomous Communities of Castilla-La Mancha as well as the city of Valencia and the rural town of Castielfabib in the Autonomous Communities of Valencia. Had I been into travel blogging during those days, I could have written in detail the attractions, culture and other aspects of the place especially the windmills made popular by Miguel de Cervantes’ “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha” (El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha).

Also, had I been a travel blogger during such travel, I could have brought with me state-of-the-art travel gadgets for obvious reasons. I only trusted then on my obsolete point and shot camera and the battery charger went out of order a day after stepping into Spanish soils. Adding insult to the injury, my Nokia N80 also broke down thereby leaving me no option but to store the views I had seen into my brain.

I really regret, I could have comprehensively documented my travel on that land our forefathers in the Philippine colonial times had fondly called “Madre España.”

E

i started traveling because i wanted to see the world for what it actually is. i’ve fly to Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan etc… I was just going to fly to Taiwan, thinking that I would stay and see what I wanted to do with my life because staying in the “Freedom Country” was making me feel like i’m some kind of small ant watching everyone like a robot and doing the same thing all over again. Everyone was saying I was crazy to go somewhere so far away for so long. I stay in taiwan for 6 months and never regret it. who knew there were actually super nice people out there that go out of their way to help stranger.

I cannot say there is one greatest travel moment/memory since everyone of them impact me greatly. i see new thing all the time, meeting new people, eating weird looking thing and taking that step to go up to a stranger and said “hey, im a traveler, can you help me find the next best food place to eat” to a local.

If you are a newbie to travel or this is your first time out of your comfort zone. Then remember one thing NEVER GOES BY THE BOOK…people tend to make plan but do you really think that you will follow it. Let yourself goes and it will happen. Ask a local what they think of places that they think we would like. Don’t a stranger. Be yourself. It can do wonder.

If you could tell a new traveler only one thing, what would it be? Live your life the way you wanted, don’t listen to what other said. It’s your decision, and if you feel like it then fight for it. “Onebabystepman.” …..

Without my internet + laptop then what is the real reason why i travel. it will always remind me that my decision is what i wanted.

Regret? hm…i guess the only thing that i lost was a friend. a friend that lasted for 6 years. who knew that the people who support me afterward were the people that i barely even talk to all my life. but the person who was my truest friend would just leave me behind and said that “your parents would bother me while you travel and bye.” she didnt even have the courage to tell me this but tell another friend to tell me.
—this is a regret but now i know who is dear to me more. —

Hi Matt! We have been RV traveling for the past 4 years. We travel in a 40′ RV and tow a 26′ trailer, so in total we measure 70′. Traveling to Mexico with this set up brings about a whole plethora of bad experiences, as the roads and towns are not built to accommodate us. My worst experience was taking a wrong turn and ending up on a one-way street in the small town of Matanchen, having to have Mexicans lift up the low-lying telephone wires so we could keep going, only to realize that we could not make a corner turn and having to back up the rig through the entire town. Nerves were frayed!!

NomadicMatt

Thank you very much!

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