It’s a new year, and I thought a good way to start it off was in a light way. I don’t often talk about me here. Yes, I talk about my travels, but I don’t often go into personal information about my life like many other bloggers do. So I’m kicking off 2011 with some random facts about me and my life:
I hate flying. I love airports, lounges, and elite status, but the act of flying makes me ill. I don’t like heights (I recently went skiing and almost had a panic attack on the chair lift) and any turbulence makes me think the plane is about to crash. Needless to say, I’m not a good flier. (Ironic considering how often I fly!)
When I was younger, I was hugely obsessed with Pinky and the Brain. I even had a T-shirt collection. I also had one of those bowl haircuts, but I prefer to forget that.
I never really traveled independently until I went to Costa Rica at age 23. My travel experiences up until then were a series of road trips with my parents and a drunken weekend in Montréal when I was 19. I also never went west of the Mississippi until I was 25.
I got really bad food poisoning when I was in Costa Rica. It was so bad, in fact, that when I came home I had to be hospitalized for three days and put on a morphine drip. It’s the only time I’ve ever been in a hospital.
I went to school to be a high school history teacher, and I ended up teaching for one whole year. I was supposed to mold the young minds of the future, but I realized it wasn’t really for me, and I ended up changing careers.
I am a really good cook. I don’t get to cook much on the road, because I hate how hostel kitchens aren’t fully stocked and everyone crowds them at the same time, but once in a while, I like to cook a massive meal for my fellow travelers.
I used to be a vegetarian. After reading Fast Food Nation, I decided to give up meat and was a vegetarian for four years. It wasn’t eating meat I was against, but rather the stuff in the meat. I gave up vegetarianism when I started to travel. I started eating meat again partly as a matter of convenience. (And I think it’s rude to turn down food in other cultures. If you go to a village in Mongolia and you are given food, it’s insulting to refuse. “Sorry, your traditional and heartfelt cooking doesn’t go with my dietary needs.” I think it’s culturally insensitive. But that’s a rant for another post.)
That being said, I refuse to eat veal, as I think that is unethical. It’s the only meat I won’t eat. I once got into a huge fight with an ex-girlfriend about it because, as it turns out, her grandfather made veal.
I’m a huge fan of soul, Motown, blues, and jazz. It’s way better than any of the pop music out there. If I hear “G6” or Ke$ha one more time, I might scream. Sometimes it’s good to be overseas and out of the loop of all this bad music out there these days.
If I could ever pick what time period I could live in, I’d pick 1920s Prohibition America. I think that would be an exciting time to live in. It seemed like a carefree time in America. But maybe I’ve just read The Great Gatsby too much.
I am intensely political. After travel, politics is my second love. I live and breathe politics, and it is the only news I keep up with while traveling. I am always ready to discuss and debate the world any time of the day and with anyone, no matter how well I know you.
One day, when I become seminomadic Matt, I would like to open up my own hostel. After staying in so many hostels over the past years, I think I have a really good idea of what works and what doesn’t. I want to make the coolest, most environmentally friendly hostel in the world.
I don’t have a burning desire to visit most Middle Eastern countries. There are parts I want to visit (Dubai, Jordan, Israel, Qatar, Oman) but as a whole, the area simply doesn’t interest me that much. Just one of those things.
People always ask will I do this forever? My answer: I don’t know. Forever is a long time. I’d like to travel for the next few years, but who can say what the future holds and where it will take us? For now, I’m enjoying the ride and see no reason to hang up my backpack just yet.
I watch a lot of movies, even bad chick flicks, simply because I have so much time while traveling. I’m addicted to bootleg movies, as well as downloading them to my iTunes.
While I won’t ever go back to Vietnam, I sort of like Vietnamese pho and rice noodles. I have to say, Vietnamese food is pretty good.
I’ve been to over 30 Dave Matthews Band concerts. I’m a super fan.
I’m a Japanophile. I love everything about the culture: the food, the history, the etiquette, the landscape, the architecture — all of it. I would also eat sushi every day if I could. I’ve even eaten it for breakfast.
I’m a workaholic. Maybe because I grew up in New England, I have the Puritan work ethic, and if I don’t have work, I think something is wrong and create work for myself. My 2011 goal is to relax more and realize that most of my blog runs itself and that it is OK to take a break.
I decided to travel after meeting five backpackers in a shared taxi while on vacation in Thailand. I was so amazed at what they were doing that the next day I decided to quit my job. They were two Australians, a Canadian, and a Belgian couple. They changed the course of my life and have no idea.