Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler's Journey Home

Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler's Journey Home

by Matthew Kepnes

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Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler's Journey Home 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
TUDORQUEEN 6 months ago
I occasionally enjoy reading travel themed biographies because I mostly travel in my mind via books. In fact, I haven't taken a proper trip since twenty years ago when I went to England. I'm about to correct that before summer ends when my family travels to Memphis, Tennessee for a musical historic journey to the home of Elvis- Graceland. Growing up, my family never went on a vacation and never owned a car, so I'm conditioned to be content at home...and I am. However, I do love travelling vicariously through others, which is why I requested to read this book. Matthew was fresh out of college with an MBA and working in a hospital when he decided to chuck it all to go travelling around the world. Of course, his friends and family thought he was daft. But he had an overwhelming passion to travel, and did it anyway. I admire people that follow their passions. When he was working at the hospital and finally had some meager vacation time, he went on a brief vacation. It really whet his appetite and left him hankering for much more. As Matthew explains in his book, there is a big difference in going on a vacation and travelling. My favorite part of his story was when he embarked on his first trip to Costa Rica. He planned it so carefully, but when he landed at his destination, the language barrier and the need to locate his pre-arranged driver thrust him into near panic mode. Multiple taxi drivers were pestering him with offers to take him to his destination where he would settle into a hostel for the night. Luckily, he was patient and eventually noticed his driver standing nonchalantly holding a sign with Matthew's name. The initial stress of adapting to foreign surroundings and finding the correct transportation with fears of getting lost was palpable, and I identified with that insecurity. On that first trip when Matthew managed to navigate all these challenges, save the few times he was tapped for a novice and scammed on some tour invitations, he grew in confidence and it only amplified his hunger to travel more widely. Matthew discusses aspects of travelling like making friends, finding romance (often brief), making lifelong connections, how to make money to finance your trip while you're on it, and deviating from a travel plan on impulse, which is often a good thing. Matthew launched a travel blog which was a very new thing back in the early 2000's when he began it. He became known as "Nomadic Matt", and the blog burgeoned into a job in itself. Suddenly he had to carve out time to serve the needs of his blog by answering emails, posting photos, videos, etc., as well as other writing opportunities and speaking engagements. The job began overtaking the freedom and joy of his nomadic pursuits. A good portion of the book depicted his seemingly never-ending inner struggle to be nomadic vs. settling down somewhere. He suffered from anxiety and stress over this conundrum, but was mostly nomadic for a decade. The book clocks at a fairly modest 240 pages, and I wouldn't have even minded if it was a little shorter. The endless internal struggle about travelling vs. settling down was grating on me after awhile. At the 95% mark there was an unfortunate political dig regarding a driving tour he took around the United States and pre-conceived notions he had about certain people, which I did not appreciate. I find recent biographies inserting these political comments more and more , which are very divisive.
Anonymous 7 months ago
I was intrigued by the title of this book and couldn't resist picking it up. I was expecting a series of travelogue stories with the author describing his cultural and food experiences in the different countries where he traveled over a 10 year period. The book had a few of those stories, but it's purpose wasn't really to share amusing and witty tales about cross-cultural misadventures. I thought that perhaps the book would share tips on traveling on a budget. The author, Matthew Kepnes, previously wrote a popular travel guide called "How to Travel the World on $50 a Day." So I thought this book might impart more wisdom on penny- and dollar-pinching while on the road. But the book did neither of these things. Instead, it was more about the psychological changes and growth that a person experiences when s/he has chosen the life of traveling. Kepnes delves into the deep topics often not covered in travel books -- like overcoming loneliness, gaining the confidence to travel alone, setting realistic expectations about relationships, and dealing with family and friends who keep telling you to "come home and settle down; it's time to become an adult." I think all long-term travelers deal with these issues, but they are seldom discussed. Kepnes shows us that we're not alone if we're a wondering nomad who yearns to see the world. His insights over a 10 year period also help other nomads realize that there are phases of growth and understanding that occur within ourselves as we mature. I would definitely recommend this book to any person who is bitten with the travel bug and wants to travel the world. It will help you gain a deeper understanding of yourself and the changes you will experience as a long-term world traveler.
xxjenadanxx 7 months ago
I went into reading this expecting a typical travel memoir filled with humble-brag type adventure stories. Instead it is much more, an honest, behind the filter peak into the realities of long term travel. Social media shows us all the glamour and romance of traveling but never the difficulties, and that’s what Matt has done with this memoir. From his first intimidating but life changing trip to Costa Rica to the inevitable loneliness that comes from a life without permanency, to feelings of inadequacy and career/responsibility driven anxiety, this book is REAL. The most important part of this was his acknowledgment that it is not only okay and even necessary to come home, but that putting down roots doesn’t have to mean the end of adventure. Life is what you make it. Finishing the book you realize it was a sort of epitaph for his days as Nomadic Matt, and a rebirth of Matt Kepnes. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced copy of this book to review. All opinions are my own and genuine.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Matt gives us such an inspiring and realistic look at what it means to be a "traveler" in Ten Years a Nomad. As someone who has been around the world and back many times, he can give a very personal insight on it means to embark on a long-term journey like this. He talks about the ins and outs, the ups and downs of living out of a backpack for a year on end. Sometimes traveling may not always be full of adventure and romance, Sometimes it's really tough, and he gives many things to think about before someone decides to set off on a experience like this themselves. Having been to many of the locations Matt talks about, I felt a sense of camaraderie; that he also fell in love with Costa Rica, Thailand, and Eastern Europe for some of the same reasons I have. 5/5 highly recommend this book for anyone that loves to travel, vacation, and adventure.
Anonymous 7 months ago
A book for the traveler in all of us!
PanglossMystic 7 months ago
This was a coming of age book, focused on the benefits of travel. The author spent several years traveling on a small budget, staying in youth hostels and getting into the backpacking culture. The book is thoughtful and insightful. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to young adults. I would love to hear what this writer has to say when he's older!
heidifk 7 months ago
This may be an unpopular opinion, but it is mine. I feel like this book could have been a blog series instead of a full-length book and it would have been easier to read. There's a lot of repetition and the transitions between travel stories and reflection were kind of choppy. Three stars is generous. I received an ARC from NetGalley.
diane92345 7 months ago
Budget travel guru Nomadic Matt turns introspective in Ten Years a Nomad. I was expecting more travel and less ruminating on why Matt is compelled to wander the world. I love his website but this book has a more internal focus. He tries, with varying success, to apply what he has learned about himself to others. However, I just wasn’t buying it. Ten Years a Nomad seemed like a self-indulgent trip down memory lane. If I wanted to listen to that for hours, I would have become a therapist and be paid $150 an hour. Okay, you can tell I didn’t like this book much. However, you might enjoy it if you know going in that it is not really a travel book so I’ll give it 3 stars. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.