Earlier this year, I started posting video Q&As on my Facebook page. But between slow Internet connections in rural Cambodia, a book to finish, and everyday life, I just couldn’t keep up with the videos, and so they stopped. But since I really love answering reader “mail,” I wanted to do something. Knowing I don’t have the time to record, edit, and process a video at the moment, I decided a blog post was just as good.
So a few weeks ago I asked for questions. Here are those questions and my answers:
Paul wants to know why I haven’t been to the Philippines.
I just haven’t been there yet. It’s a big world. It’s on my list though. Then again, everywhere is on my list!
Jim asks a travel question: “I am flying into Ganzhou, China, in February, and am going to be backpacking for 17 days. Any suggestions on where to visit and what to see while I am there?”
For China travel advice, ask Mike or Benny. I haven’t been to China yet.
Cat wants to know if I have any tips or advice for first-time conference attendees.
Introduce yourself to anyone and everyone. You can’t succeed in blogging without help from other bloggers.
Tyler asks another travel question: “What city in Europe is the best hub for cheap air travel within Europe?”
I don’t really think there is one city that is better than all the rest. There are a lot of cheap flights out of London, Barcelona, and Berlin though.
Joel is curious about some of the worst mistakes I’ve made while traveling.
I make mistakes everyday. I can’t think of one monumental mistake that totally changed everything. It’s mostly little things like forgetting to buy a train pass or not planning my route smartly and having to backtrack.
Michelle asks: “What do you like best about Germany?”
Cheap beer, sausages, and German women. They are quite pretty. (The women, not the sausages!)
Dustin asks: “One greeting, fist bump, high five, or handshake? What’s it going to be?”
Duh! Always a high five! *high five*
Becky wants to know if it is worth visiting Estonia in February.
I’ve only been to Tallinn, Estonia, but I thought it was a stunning city. I would highly recommend visiting if you can, but in February, it’s going to be very, very cold.
Steve asks me: “Do you think airlines make coach travel so brutal on purpose in order to give people an ‘incentive’ to purchase a better seat (like business class)?”
No, they do it to save money. For them, it’s a way to cut costs, add fees, and make more money. Passengers don’t look at economy and think “I’ll spend 10x more money for business class.” Economy is where people who want cheap flights sit. If people had the money for business class, they wouldn’t be buying economy tickets. Economy sucks because airlines can get away with it, because people care more about saving money than they do about service.
Joe Murphy asked the best question: “You mention on your site how easy and affordable it is to travel for long periods of time, but short of starting a blog, how is it possible for the everyday person to travel without huge savings behind them?”
Joe, the whole purpose of my blog is to teach people how to do that. It is the glue that binds every post of mine together. Here are just a few posts where I give tips on how to do that:
You can also check out my “getting started” page, which links to all my planning articles.
Mark asks: “What is your favorite city for travel in the United States?”
New York City!
Alberto asks a planning question: “What is the best (cheapest yet convenient) way to go from Belgium (or Netherlands) to London? I’ve never really tried so-called low cost airlines like Ryanair. If there’s a train option I could consider that too.”
You can take the train (but that would be pretty expensive), a cheap Ryanair flight, or a ferry. I don’t know how much the ferry costs. Simply: look up all three and go with what ever one is the cheapest on the date you need.
Becca asks: “How can you determine if a TESOL or other English certification site is legit?”
There are a number of global sites that are good. I like the I-to-I TEFL course because it is cheap, and their courses can be taken online. Look for courses that are accredited, connected to a university, or recommended on teacher forums like Dave’s ESL café.
Kellye wants to know if any family members, such as my parents, have joined me on my travels.
No, no one has joined me on my trips.
Matt asks: “If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who doesn’t have much money saved up (and may even have student loan debt like myself) but wants to begin traveling as soon as possible, what would it be?”
Go somewhere cheap and close.
Saeyoon needs a good conversation starter.
I’m a big fan of “Hello, my name is Matt.” It’s simple and straight to the point. Travelers are friendly — just go up and say hello.
John asks me: “Do you have Instagram?”
Yes, I use it for photos in my Twitter feed. My username is “nomadicmatt.”
Kelsey Kay asks: “My boyfriend and I want to move out of the country. I’m certified to teach English (bachelor’s plus TEFL) and he’s a certified scuba dive instructor. Any advice on a place that would be good for both of us?”
I would go with somewhere in Southeast Asia, where there is a high demand for both professions.
Linda has a question about Thailand: “Can you suggest a beach area to stay at for a week that isn’t totally tourist? We are mid-50s, like a little comfort, but aren’t fussy.”
Good laid-back places in Thailand include Ko Lanta, Ko Samet, Ko Kuk, or Ko Mak.
Carlie asks: “Where would you recommend for a destination wedding?”
I’d love to get married in the Seychelles. If there is a heaven, it probably looks like that, but without knowing more about you, it’s hard to recommend a place for you.
Cali is wondering about my taste in music at the moment.
I listen to all types of music. My current favorites include Neko Case, La Roux, The Head and the Heart, and Susan Tedeschi. There’s also never a big gap between Dave Matthews Band songs on my playlist.
That’s it for this round of questioning. I’m going to try to do these every few months, and if I can get somewhat of a routine going in my life, I do plan on doing some videos. If you have questions, leave them in the comment section. I’ll answer as many as I can.