You Asked so I Answered

nomadic mattWith all the questions people have about travel, I decided that instead of simply telling you a story or writing an article with a few tips, it was time to let you ask the questions. So I put a call out on my Facebook page and Twitter account for questions asking me anything. Travel, life, me, where your socks disappear to (answer: leprechauns) – anything! So without further ado, here’s what people wanted to know:

“Item you wouldn’t be without while traveling? And most useless thing you packed originally?” – Helen from Facebook
Me: I couldn’t live without my iPod. Music is just too important to me. I once had my iPod stolen and it devastated me. I went 6 months with no music. The most useless item? A money belt. I don’t get why people wear them. It’s not a secret invention thieves don’t know about. If you don’t wear one at home, you don’t need one overseas.

“Please explain your Muppet avatar?” – Lax2nrt from Twitter
Me: Pam Mandel of Nerds Eye View suggested it to me one day (the Muppet is Uncle Traveling Matt from the show “Fraggle Rock”). I put it up as a joke but now it has sort of become how people recognize me and it’s different from the normal photos people have up. I’ll never change it. I love it.

“What place will you never, ever visit again, and why?” – Blake from Facebook
Me: Vietnam. I went into detail on why in this article.

“If a turtle doesn’t have a shell, is she homeless or naked?” – SpiffyPilot from Twitter
Me: Both.

“Do you have any experience with Couchsurfing?” – SilentSnake09 from Twitter
Me: I love Couchsurfing. I’ve done it around 8 times and have never had a bad experience. I even hosted people in NYC. That was fun! I highly recommend the program. It’s a great way to meet locals and save money on accommodation.

“Which book have you liked so much and have repeatedly read?” – Ashley from Facebook
Me: I am a huge fan of the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho and have probably read it about 7 times. It never gets old, just more inspiring. I highly recommend it.

“Who funds your escapades?” – Sarah from Facebook
Me: This blog and a few other websites pay my bills. My books, advertising sales, and people buying products through my site funds everything. Sometimes it can be a bit nerve racking because I never know how much money I will make but it’s better than being in an office.

“If you could get a tour of any city with a historical person – which city and who with?” – Coqui2008 from Twitter
Me: I’d love to get a historical tour of New York City with Frank Sinatra. I think that would be pretty interesting.

“Do you like cheese?” – Sandra from Facebook

Me: I love it. Blue cheese and Brie are my favorite.

“How long did it take you to break even on your blog?” – Wanderingtradr from Twitter

Me: It took me about one year before I could earn a living from my blog.

“Which countries should I prioritize and what should I see?” – Runawaybrit from Twitter

Me: With 5 months, you could see most of the continent. I don’t like designing trips for people because everyone has different preferences but if I was going, I wouldn’t miss Machu Picchu, Tierra del Fuego, Buenos Aires, the Bolivian Salt Flats, and the Amazon. Just to name a few things.

“Which destination(s) do you never get tired of going back to?” – Globetrotting Texan from Facebook
Me: Thailand, France, Amsterdam, and New York City are all places I go back often. They never get boring. I love them all and usually visit each once a year.

“How do you find out about the travel shows to attend?” – TakeYourBigTrip from Twitter

Me: The big ones, like the LA Times Show or the NY Times show, are pretty well announced and known. The smaller ones tend to send me an email inviting me. If I can fit them into my schedule, I normally attend.

“Where would be good places to go in Thailand?”- Meanimo from Twitter
Me: My favorite places in Thailand are Bangkok, Ko Chang, Ko Lanta, Chiang Mai, Sukothai, and Khao Sok National Park.

“Tell me bout your childhood dreams” – Bill from Facebook
Me: When I was younger, I wanted to be an astronaut! No, not really. I actually wanted to be Indiana Jones. I wanted to travel, discover hidden civilizations, and overall, just kick ass. I’m still working on two thirds of that.

“What is your all time favorite place?” – HollisCGuerra from Twitter
Me: That’s a hard question to answer. I love so many places but my one paradise is Ko Lipe, Thailand. I lived there for a month when I began traveling and it was perfect. I’ll never go back though. I’d simply be chasing a memory and I’d rather keep the one in my head untainted.

“Do you think you’ll have a corporate job again? Do you plan to visit China?” – Morriswt from Twitter
Me: No, never again. I don’t think I would make it anyways. I’d want to make my own schedule and take long lunches. As for China, one day I will get there. One day, I’ll get everywhere.

“How did you get started with such an amazing job? First steps?” – StudyabroadOISP from Twitter
Me: Start a blog and network with other bloggers and travelers. You just need to get out there and meet as many people as possible. That’s what I did. Seems to be working so far!

“Where are you right now?” – Katherine from Facebook
Me: Home in Boston with parents. I’m visiting for a few days before I go to the Galapagos Islands.

  1. Helen

    Great post! And thanks for answering my question – money belt off the packing list! Ipod is already my favourite item at home, sure it will be vital when I hit the road – 7th October, can’t wait!

  2. What a great question about the city tour and what an even better answer!
    I would have to chose Versailles/Paris with Marie Antoinette, or maybe San Francisco
    with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg!
    Appreciate you answering questions. It is really inspiring and helpful to new Food/Travel
    bloggers such as myself.
    Can’t wait to see the Galapagos Island post!

  3. chris

    I know this question is late, but hopefully you can still answer…How much in $avings did you have prior to leaving your desk job? or did you have any $avings?

  4. Blue cheese lovers unite(or any kind of cheese for that matter)!! I get the worst looks when I say I love it. Whatever, more for me!

    Great meeting you this past weekend at the Tbex party, glad you had a pretty good time in LA:-).

    • NomadicMatt

      There’s nothing better than a good blue cheese….or Gorgonzola!

      I had a blast in LA. It was good seeing you too!

  5. I too will never get tired of recommending Couchsurfing, it’s not just a free place to crash, it’s cultural exchange and you don’t have to be there if you only need or offer couch or both, you can just be there to meet people and do uh.. stuff together. Parties, museums, cooking, hiking, etc. Best thing that happened to me in terms of travel so far.

    • If you like connecting with locals on your travels, you might want to check out I totally agree with you that staying with locals is so much more than a place to crash!

      • okay the questioning part is over, but still.. why haven’t you been to China? is there any specific reason? *just curious*

        I’ll definitely try the couchsurfing one day, either as a host or a guest :)

          • chantelle

            I see you haven’t been to China yet. Well me and my husband wants to go teach English over there is there a specific reason you don’t want to?

  6. Oh, enjoy Galapagos. We’re still debating whether to splurge and get ourselves there or not during our trip. Would be curious to know what you think of it.

      • And now, another: Galapagos … was there in 2003. The wildlife is a given highlight BUT it’s also the scenery – volcanic islands – that are also so stunning there and swimming/snorkeling (amid penguins and seals) … Enjoy :)

        the candy trail … a nomad across the planet, since 1988

  7. Michelle

    “The most useless item? A money belt.” Haha, as proven in Eurotrip.

    And we totally shared the same dream of becoming an astronaut! Astronomer was a close second in case i had motion sickness, but physics was definitely my worst subject in high school!

  8. A tour of NYC w/ Sinatra sounds cool – exhausting but cool. And I always wondered how you ended up with Uncle Traveling Matt as your avatar. Have a great trip! I’ve dreamed of going to the Galapagos since I saw a film about it as a kid. One day…..

  9. Matt, a post like this really connects you with your readers on a personal level. I have a couple of questions for you if you have the time to answer.

    Firstly, it´s a question about Thailand. I know it is your favorite country and you´ve spent a lot of time living and traveling there. I have been four times myself and it is one of my favorite destinations as well. However, a place that I haven´t visited is Sukhothai. I´ve been to Ayutthaya twice to visit the ruins. As former ancient capitals of Thailand, I´m wondering how the two cities compare in your mind and if you´ve visited one, whether or not the other is worth checking out. I will be back in Thailand in June for just 10 days and it is one of the places I´m considering to go right now amongst others.

    Secondly, I´m wondering amongst your travel blogging friends who write specifically on this subject alone, how many of them are able to make a living entirely from their website(s) and other related work in the field. I´ve always had the impression that only a few are able to do this (obvious you being one of them) while others are simply able to extend their trips with the income they earn or as a supplement to a regular job. I´d love to find out the the real deal!

  10. Riley Cline

    This is hilarious, I finished reading the Alchemist last night and dubbed it my favorite book hand down ever. Today, I see Matt has read it 7 times! I also have recently purchased his book How to Travel on 50$ and found it rather helpful with planning my great escape setting me up for major savings. Anyway, if you have not read this book the Alchemist and are a traveler, it is a must, and also try his book the Pilgrim also by Coelho, I started it today and it is fantastic. :)

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