Meet the Team: The People Behind Nomadic Matt

A group of travelers relaxing in a field after a long hike
Last Updated: 1/25/23 | January 25th, 2023

It takes a village to keep this website going. From tech and coding to design to fixing bugs to getting readers their books when downloads fail to scheduling social media or running the forums, I have a lot of help. I simply couldn’t run the website, write, travel, eat, sleep, or anything in between if I didn’t have the support and help of an amazing group of people.

It’s not just me writing and posting about my travels. I have a big group of full-time staff helping juggle everything.

I’ve realized a lot of you don’t know that so, today, I want to introduce the team to you.

So, without further ado, here they are:

Erica

Nomadic Matt's boss
Erica has been working for me for almost six and a half years and is the events director of The Nomadic Network, our travel community. She keeps this community thriving. In her own words:

I grew up in Connecticut and went to school in Virginia. During a quarter-life crisis at age 21, I chose to finish my last year of college on an adventure in Qatar! From that moment on, my life revolved around traveling cheaply with the money I earned from waitressing. That budget got me to teach English in Isaan, Thailand, and South Korea; farm on St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and Costa Rica; and volunteer in rural Zambia. At age 26, I returned home to Connecticut, determined to get a job in travel. Soon after, I met Nomadic Matt at a travel meet-up in NYC, and the rest is history.

I wholeheartedly believe that traveling makes friends of strangers, and the more friends there are in the world, the more peace there is in the world.

13 Facts about Me

  1. At 15, I helped build a schoolhouse in Nicaragua.
  2. 1. I cooked an American Thanksgiving feast for my Thai co-English teachers in Thailand where barely any of the mashed potatoes, carrots and peas were eaten so my host-grandmother fed in to the monks for the following week unbeknownst to me.
  3. I’ve cut off my hair and donated it to Locks of Love, twice!
  4. I once hunted for possums on the island of St. Vincent with a bunch of Rastafarians. We caught four and made soup. I was a vegetarian at the time.
  5. In Costa Rica, I stayed in a sustainable living community called Rancho Mastatal, where I learned how to farm yuca, make beer out of turmeric, and build a house out of cob.
  6. I spent 11 days on a coconut water only fast at a yoga retreat in Cambodia, twice
  7. I taught English in South Korea for 14 months and was able to easily save enough money for 21 months of non-stop travel. I also taught the students how to use “boo” colloquially.
  8. This music video I made used to be one of the top hits when you searched for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
  9. In Zambia, my friend and I were given a live chicken as a present. We were vegetarians, so we traded it for a pair of second-hand jeans in the town’s market.
  10. I got 19 people (the students and teachers on a FLYTE trip) into an airport lounge in Ecuador for free. I think that’s a points & miles record!
  11. My college education was entirely free. How? I got a ton of tiny scholarships (I applied for everyone I could get my hands on) that added up, being a Residential Assistant in the dorms, and studying in Qatar actually saved me money (in the most expensive country in the world).
  12. In Korea, I dated a guy who spoke no English and we basically communicated through drawing pictures and reciting American rap lyrics.
  13. Last summer, I took a trip to Tunisia with some friends. I wish I could have stayed longer – what a cool country!

 

Chris O.

Nomadic Matt's community manager
Chris joined the team as the part-time manager of the forums back in 2015. Since then, he’s transitioned to full-time and is now the Director of Content for Nomadic Matt, responsible for updating and writing new content to help budget travelers explore the world without breaking the bank. In his own words:

I grew up in a small town in Ontario, Canada, and spent my formative years listening to punk rock, reading Star Wars novels, and generally getting up to no good. After ditching my lifelong plan to be a lawyer, I decided to give travel a try. I headed to Costa Rica on a whim and have never looked back! It wasn’t long after that trip that I took a break from university (where I was studying history and theatre) to move to a monastery in Japan in 2007. I’ve more or less been wandering around ever since. Some notable adventures include taking the Trans-Siberian Railway across Russia and Mongolia, walking the Camino de Santiago twice, and going on a 10-day road trip around Iceland with complete strangers.

When I’m not traveling, I live in Sweden and can be found reading, writing, or hanging out with my rescue dog, blind cat, and newborn son.

13 Facts about Me

  1. I spent nine months living in Buddhist monasteries.
  2. I wrote a novel.
  3. I was once stalked by a jaguar and chased by a crocodile — on the same trip.
  4. I haven’t had alcohol in 20 years.
  5. I’ve broken all my fingers and toes, and my nose three times.
  6. I worked on an organic farm for 11 years.
  7. I co-owned a restaurant in Canada.
  8. I grew up next door to Avril Lavigne.
  9. I’m an amateur prepper.
  10. I played intramural Quidditch in high school and was our team’s Seeker.
  11. I have a Star Wars tattoo.
  12. I’ve been vegan for 19 years.
  13. I have a scar from a fight that broke out over which Norse god was “the best.”

 

Chris R.

Nomadic Matt's tech guy
Chris, aka The Aussie Nomad, is a (kinda) former blogger who does all the tech and development work for the website. He keeps it running, fixes any errors you find, and deals with my constantly changing design desires. In his own words:

I’m living the good life in Western Australia by the beach with my amazing family. I got into the world of blogging after quitting my job, backpacking around Europe and, as all Aussies do, undertaking a working holiday in the UK. Like all of us who travel and fall in love with it, nobody wants to go home afterward.

That adventure got me into creating a travel blog many years ago, which is how I first came to know Matt. I have since repurposed my IT skills from my old life and formed my own business to help out other bloggers with their websites.

13 Facts about Me

  1. I love Belgian beer (and I even married a Belgian).
  2. I’ve worked with Matt the longest out of anyone here. (Take that team!)
  3. I took off to backpack Europe when I was 29.
  4. I’m an advocate for Vegemite and believe all visitors to Australia must try this national treasure.
  5. One of my favorite activities is to take a long road trip, especially with family and friends.
  6. I have no idea how four-way stop signals in the U.S.A. don’t all end up as accidents.
  7. I do not drink Fosters. It’s a terrible beer. No one in Australia actually drinks it.
  8. I like to think of myself as an amateur photographer.
  9. I failed kindergarten as I wouldn’t say goodbye to the teacher.
  10. My first job was working in a supermarket.
  11. I can’t sleep on a plane – no matter how long the flight is.
  12. I can name every Thomas the Tank Engine character thanks to my son.
  13. I don’t drink coffee or get people’s love for it. Tea all the way!

 

Sam

Avid traveler Sam posing in the Utah salt flats
Sam joined the team at the end of 2021 as our Content Editor & Researcher. She helps Chris ensure all our content is up to date, fact-checks our travel guides, and helps with every other miscellaneous task and project that pops up!

With a parent from either side of New York State, I grew up going back and forth between NYC and Buffalo. I was also fortunate enough to spend many summers visiting family throughout Europe, which ignited my travel bug (and love of castles) at a young age. After college, I moved to Madrid, Spain, to improve my language skills and “get all the travel out of my system” before starting a PhD program. While I did eventually return home to NYC, I never readjusted and was back on the road again within a year. I ended up traveling without a home base for 4 years, rarely paying for accommodation by house sitting all over the US and Europe.

My home base is now in Buffalo, NY, a place I NEVER thought I would live again. After over a decade away, I’m shocked to be back and loving it. I love to be active, and when I’m not behind a computer or traveling, I can usually be found either cycling or rock climbing.

13 Facts about Me

  1. I studied archaeology and anthropology and worked as an archaeologist in Spain and NYC. The coolest dig I’ve ever been on was a Roman necropolis on the island of Menorca.
  2. Walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago remains one of my most transformative travel experiences (I even got a tattoo to commemorate it).
  3. My grandparents were all born in different places: Hungary, Austria, USA, and Puerto Rico.
  4. I wrote my earliest piece of travel writing at age 11 when visiting my relatives in Budapest, waxing poetic about how much I loved experiencing new cultures and places.
  5. One of my most memorable house sits was for 5 dogs and 17 cats in a solar-powered house on the Caribbean island of St. Croix. Another one was taking a cat on a road trip in southern Utah.
  6. I used to be a competitive, nationally rated fencer. I went to the Junior Olympics at age 16 and was on the fencing team at my university (where I fenced actual Olympians and was destroyed).
  7. I used to be very ambivalent about food before going vegan (in 2015), but now I consider myself a foodie. I love researching the best food spots in each new place I visit.
  8. I aim to read 52 books every year, so I’m always reading a few books at a time – one fiction and several non-fiction. Too many books, too little time!
  9. My dream destinations are Japan and New Zealand (in large part thanks to growing up on Miyazaki and Tolkien).
  10. I am forever torn between my love for lush forests and gritty cities.
  11. I love planning and organizing absolutely everything – lists, spreadsheets, and Google docs are my jam!
  12. My hair has been every color of the rainbow (at different times, not all at once…yet).
  13. I am an unabashed cat whisperer and even the most high-strung cats have been known to chill out around me.

 

Ava

Avid traveler Ava posing near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany
Ava is our part-time Social Media Manager. She helps manage the Nomadic Matt social media channels and collaborates on social media with the TNN and FLYTE teams.

Growing up, there were many times I felt like I didn’t belong or that something was missing. It wasn’t until my first solo international trip to Australia in 2008 that I truly found that sense of belonging, while exploring new places and welcoming the unknown, and my passion for traveling was sparked. Since then, my wanderlust led me to live in Italy for 3 months in 2013, South Korea for 4 years from 2016-2020, Germany for 3 months in 2021, and visit more than 20 countries and almost as many US states in between.

What I love most about traveling (aside from eating all the delicious food!) is that with every new place I visit and connection I make, I realize more and more that as different as we are from others, we’re also the same.

When I’m not jet setting, you’ll find me in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I was born and raised, being the cool traveling auntie to my nieces and nephews, or exploring new places to eat.

13 Facts about Me

  1. I have 7 tattoos and 3 of them are travel-related; one of them is a set of 5 coordinates for 5 places that are meaningful to me and I love when people ask me about them!
  2. In 2014, I watched a John Legend concert sitting 10 feet away from him on stage, got to meet him after, then made it on his Instagram post.
  3. I hate when people ask what my favorite country I’ve been to, but I say the Philippines because it’s where my parents and ancestors are from so it holds a special place in my heart.
  4. I’m afraid of deep water but always find myself facing that fear and doing water activities in my travels because I get FOMO.
  5. Being from The Bay Area, “hella” is a part of my normal vocabulary and I will never not “get hyphy” when “Tell Me When To Go” by E-40 plays.
  6. My favorite food in the whole world is sinigang na baboy, a Filipino pork soup and best made by my mom.
  7. I love dancing. Throughout my life, I’ve been part of Hula, Ori Tahiti, and Philippine folk dancing groups.
  8. Growing up in Daly City, where 55% of the population is Asian, my first experience with culture shock was when I moved to San Diego for college and the majority of students weren’t Asian. I joined the Filipino-American student organization because of this, where I learned to be proud of my culture and heritage.
  9. Arts & crafts are my jam. I’m that friend who will make you personalized birthday cards or handmade gifts for holidays.
  10. The playlist/music I listen to most is 90s & 2000s slow jams.
  11. In 2020, I found out I grew an extra bone in my left big toe and had surgery to remove it. For a year, doctors in Korea just thought it was an ingrown toenail that kept getting re-infected. I even hobbled around Europe for two weeks in 2019 during one of those “recurring infections.”
  12. I believe there’s ALWAYS room for dessert.
  13. One of my best memories is skydiving in Hawaii for my 25th birthday. The views were incredible and my instructor did the jump in flip-flops!

 

Nomadic Matt

a photo of Nomadic Matt
And, finally, there’s me. You probably know a lot about me after twelve years of blogging (sometimes I forget how long it’s been), but here’s a quick refresh:

Growing up in Boston, I was never a big traveler. I didn’t take my first trip overseas until 2004. That trip changed my life and opened me up to the possibilities the world had to offer. One year later, I went to Thailand, where I met five backpackers who inspired me to quit my job and travel the world. In 2006, I left for a year-long backpacking trip — and have been “nomadic” ever since.

13 Facts about Me

  1. I love politics as much as I love travel and will debate for the joy of it.
  2. I love to cook.
  3. When I was in high school, I was my state’s champ in “Magic: the Gathering.” I know — super nerdy, right? It got me a free trip to NYC with my friend (who came in number two!).
  4. I always worry about the future and often use my time back home to develop skills needed for the Zombie Apocalypse. Shout-out to my prepper friend Vanessa for teaching me about seeds!
  5. I once met Paul Giamatti on the streets of NYC and he was as grumpy as I imagined.
  6. I am an unabashed Taylor Swift fan.
  7. I don’t drink coffee.
  8. I believe aliens exist. It’s mathematically impossible they don’t.
  9. I’m terrified of flying.
  10. I learned to swing dance so I could throw myself a Gatsby-themed birthday party.
  11. Both sides of my family came through Ellis Island and you can see their names on the wall where they list all the immigrants.
  12. I used to be the head of a program by the Massachusetts Sierra Club that promoted energy efficiency.
  13. I went to college to be a high school history teacher.

***
So there you have it! The Nomadic Matt team! It’s weird to think this blog I started to simply be online résumé for freelance jobs now requires eleven people to run. I always thought the more systems, automation, products, and passive income I set up, the easier it would be. I could just sit on a beach. But it seems the more we do, the more we create, the more projects I tell the team we’re taking on, the more help we require. I guess that is the nature of the beast but I would have it no other way. I love what we do here. We help a lot of people realize their dreams.

And a guy couldn’t ask for better co-workers to help make that happen.

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Need Help Finding Activities for Your Trip?
Get Your Guide is a huge online marketplace where you can find cool walking tours, fun excursions, skip-the-line tickets, private guides, and more.

Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.