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Nomadic Matt

(pic: NomadicMatt)
You go to school, you graduate, you get a job, and you're set for life, right?

For Matt Kepnes, a young world traveler and brilliant travel blog writer, this way of life is not enough. In 2004, he escaped from the cubicle and has traveled to a plethora of places including Thailand, Australia, Belize, Czech Republic, Japan, Norway, Austria, Greece, Cambodia, The Netherlands, and Italy. His website, Nomadic Matt, provides jet setters - old and new - with useful information such as travel tips and inspiring photos and videos. If you haven't already, I suggest you check out his extensive collection of travel blogs. It's a great way for adventure seekers to get a 'heads up' before they wander off into the unknown.
So, what is it like to travel alone? What is the first-time traveler mentality? In the following entry, "The Skills You Need To Travel", from his website, Matt discusses some of the things that are necessary in order to experience (and thoroughly enjoy) the trip of a lifetime.
"I recently received an e-mail I answered in the Ask Me! section that I think deserves more attention than the few lines I gave it. The person had asked me:

“Have you noticed a particular set of skills that come in handy abroad? What should I learn to best prepare myself for living, working, and traveling overseas?”
It’s a great question because travel, especially solo travel, requires a lot of skills. So when I was asked this question, a few traits came to mind but one more than any other: adaptability. It is the most important trait I think a traveler needs to have. You can suck at reading a map, have dietary restrictions that keep you eating only lettuce, and the ability of a dog to learn a language but if you can not adapt to new situations, you won’t make it.

(pic: NomadicMatt)
People are scared to travel sometimes. They might dream of spending their days roaming the world, exploring ancient ruins, and lounging on the beach but they don’t. The world isn’t full of nomads- it is full of worker bees. Why? A lot of the reason why people don’t travel is that they don’t make it a priority. They keep the dream in their head. But another major reason is that they don’t feel they have the traits to do so. They feel they won’t make it. They’ll get lonely, mugged, bored- the list goes on. But one thing they always feel is that they won’t be able to adjust to their new surroundings.

Without the ability to deal with the unexpected, you’ll fail. But you can learn this trait. You can do it. You don’t need to have this ability before you go. You can learn it on the road. In fact, the longer you are gone, the more you learn to deal with unexpected situations. If there is one constant in travel, it is that eventually, something goes wrong. You break down in Australia, get lost in a jungle, lose your camera, miss a flight, get sick, or stuck somewhere where no one speaks English- something will happen to you. It’s Matt’s Law- the longer you are on the road, the more likely it is that something goes wrong. Falling into the ocean with my camera wasn’t on my list of travel goals. Neither was breaking down in Australia. Likewise about my travel companions taking me a different way then I had expected.

But I got over it. Because I learned to adapt. It took me awhile to become totally comfortable with that. When I first set off on the road, I was rigid. I stayed in my box. But the more I traveled, the longer I went, the more unexpected things that happen, the more comfortable I got. I found beauty in the happy accidents of travel.

You need to know thy self though. In my tip for new travelers, I gave a list of things I’d tell a new traveler. If I had to add another, it would be start at your comfort level. Know your self. Maybe jumping head first isn’t the best idea. Maybe you don’t want to see just how adaptable you are. Well, that shouldn’t stop you from traveling. There’s a lot of alternatives so you can dip slowly into the pool of travel. Maybe a tour group is good or maybe travel with friends. But whatever it is, you need to get out on the road first! Adaptability is a skill you can learn and traveling is a great way to learn it.

Many things will happen to you while you travel- some good, some bad, some in between. No matter what though, if you aren’t open to the experience, you will always been longing for home. You’ll have a miserable time and won’t be able to enjoy the cultures you are in. So if there is one thing I think you need when you travel, it’s the ability to adapt. The road is constantly changing, you just need to learn to adapt to it!"
(source: Nomadic Matt)
Matt also runs a website about how to travel the world. You can visit the website here! Also, to get in touch with Matt, or ask him questions about traveling, you can follow him on Twitter.
What are some of the skills YOU think you need to travel? What are some of the skills you picked up while abroad? I'd love to know!... so share away! Leave a comment or two :)

Happy travels,
Katy Lynch
Community ManagerWIB | Twitter | Facebook

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