Since I cannot travel due to the global pandemic, I reached for a book that I received as a gift awhile ago. I was hoping that by reading a book about traveling, my thirst for travel would be quenched. I read Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler’s Journey Home by Matthew Kepnes, the famous blogger “Nomadic Matt.”
I do not follow his blog religiously, but I do follow his Facebook page. I’ll read his blog posts every once in awhile if a title catches my eye, but I don’t read every post that he shares on his Facebook page. I had seen that he had written this book, and I thought that since it was about traveling, I might enjoy it. Thus, it ended up on either a Christmas wish list or birthday wish list. I had high hopes for this memoir, but it was an overall let-down unfortunately.
Matt has travelled off and on (mostly on) for ten plus years. He started in his early twenties and published this book in 2019. The book chronicles his travels and why he started both his nomadic life and his blog. I liked learning why he started traveling and the challenges he encountered before embarking on his adventure. However, it seemed a lot of his traveling involved drinking. He would stay at hostels, go sightseeing, then go to a bar to drink and meet new people. He would then sleep in late and do it all over again the next day.
In his memoir, he writes about how one of his goals that he hoped to accomplish through traveling would be to increase his confidence. He certainly meets this goal as he writes a lot about making friends on the road. With these new friends, he’d meet them at bars and usually stay until closing time. I was turned off by all of the drinking. I get that he wanted to improve his confidence and make new friends, but it seemed that he just traveled to party and drink. Also, how in the world did he have the money for all of these drinks? I know that drinks in other countries are not as expensive as in the United States, but still, it would cost a lot for all of those drinks. It is surprising since he is also the author of the book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day. I wonder if that $50 includes drinks…
Also, I did not like how he seemed to judge people who did not stay in hostels. I wish I could find a direct quote, but after flipping through a bit and trying a Google search, I could not find it. He seemed to look down on people who did not stay in hostels. It came off as very pretentious and stuck up. I’ve stayed in a hostel once, and I don’t think I’ll ever do it again. You can read more about my time in my post titled, “San Francisco — Post #1.” Matt acts like you’re not a real traveler if you don’t stay in a hostel. I’m sorry, but I like my amenities, and I will stay where I want to stay!
I do like how he summarized the life lessons he learned from traveling in the Appendix, and he does discuss his struggles with mental health. He discusses feeling burned out from travelling, setting priorities, and dealing with anxiety and panic attacks. I felt those passages were the most genuine and relatable.
If you’re looking for a book to inspire you to travel, then this might be the book for you. If you’re looking for a book that discusses mental health challenges while traveling and feeling burned out from traveling, then this is the book for you. If you’re looking for a book that discusses making friends and improving your confidence, then this is the book for you. Overall, I did not feel this book was for me. It was a decent read, but I could have done without the drinking and judgement.
*I was not compensated for this review.