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Monthly Archives: November 2011

10 Questions For (43): Nomadic Matt

Time for a real Nomad
Nomadic Matt Blog Hopping - or Clogging in The Hague

1) Who Are you?

I’m a 30 year old vagabond who has been on the road regularly since 2005. I’m a native of Boston, Mass but, now, everywhere has been my home. After a trip to Thailand in 2005, I decided to so I finished my MBA, quit my cubicle job, and, in July 2006, I set out on an adventure around the world.

My original trip was supposed to last a year. I didn’t come home until 18 months later. Once back, I knew I couldn’t go back to my old life or a typical job – I wanted to travel. I wanted to make this my life. Three months later, I was on the road again and I haven’t stopped since.

Now, I make a living travel blogging and inspiring other people to travel.

2) What do you like about what you do?

I like being able to travel often, meet amazing people, and get to do amazing activities I probably wouldn’t have a chance to do if I wasn’t a writer.

3) What don’t you like about what you do?

There’s not much I don’t like. The balancing act between work and travel is about the only thing I dislike. It’s often hard to travel and still maintain the site at the same time. There’s just not enough time in the day.

4) Please tell us all about your blog and your aims with it.

My blog, Nomadic Matt, is about my journey around the world on a budget and my goal is to show people that they can travel for a long time too without it costing a lot of money. My motto is to show people they can travel better, longer, and cheaper.

Paris Replica of the Statue of Liberty

5) Your top 3 destination experiences you’ve ever stayed to date and why?

My three favorite destinations are:

Thailand because it is cheap, beautiful, has amazing food, and wonderful beaches. Plus, I like tropical weather.

Paris because it has that special something. I can’t really put my finger on it but its simply magical.

Stockholm due to the fact it has a beautiful medieval historic center, the architecture is amazing, the city is surrounded by nature, and I find the Swedish people to be very nice, friendly, and welcoming.

6) Your top 3 accommodations you’ve ever stayed to date and why?

I would say that my favorite are Kabul (Barcelona), The Flying Pig (Amsterdam), and Nomads (Queens town) for all the same reasons: they are fun, have a great sociable atmosphere, are clean, have good showers, and comfortable beds. They tick all the right boxes.

7) Your top 3 most memorable food / wine experiences to date and why?

Oh I don’t know if I can answer this question. To only be able to pick three? I couldn’t do it. I’ve had so many good food and wine experiences in my life. I would say one of my favorite food experiences was eating sushi at this restaurant in Denver. I don’t remember it’s name but it was mouthwatering delicious. I would say my best wine experience was when I drank a 1981 bottle of Tuscany wine to celebrate my 30th birthday.

8) Your 3 worst destination/ accommodation /food experiences to date and why?

I would say my worst destinations are Phuket in Thailand, Sunny Beach in Bulgaria, Kuta Beach in Bali. All cheesy tourist traps. Worst accommodation is hard because I’ve slept in so many different places that I can’t really remember them all. Worst food experience? Well, let’s just say England won’t win any culinary awards anytime soon.


Zaftigs’ Roast Beef Sandwich (photo by Off Manhattan)

9) Can you offer the readers 3 destination/ food / accommodation / things to do tips about the city you are currently living in?

I don’t live anywhere right now as I am nomadic after all. However, back home in Boston, where I grew up, I would say my top things to do are the freedom trail, see a red sox game, and spend time on Castle Island. For food, I recommend Zaftigs for brunch and Fuygaku for great Japanese.

10) Any Question(s) you’d expected me to ask that you would like to answer?

None

My Take

I’ve met Matt several times. He’s a fun guy.
Since he didn’t provide photos, I simply had to use my own Clog photo of him in the miniature city “Madurodam” here in The Hague. Secondly I thought an American who loves Paris, will also love the Paris Replica of the Statue of Liberty. Really, until now I didn’t know there are hundreds replicas of them around the world.
Thank you Matt for this interview!

How could SOPA affect the Independent Hotelier?

Sopa Infographic
SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act. Currently US Congress and Senate are considering this act together with the The Protect IP Act with hearings and all for enactment.

I’m an independent Hotelier based in Europe. So I only have a slight understanding of all of their implications and ramifications, but I understand Internet giants like Google and Facebook are (among others) heavily lobbying against these two bills. Why would that be? When enacted copyright holders can via very simple measures (a writ to a hosting company) have bad websites cut off from the Internet. Furthermore financial institutions like banks and credit card companies could by the same sort of simple measure to be forced to cut off the bad guys from their income.

Now Google is noteworthy for scraping copyrighted material like photos from everybody’s website and regurgitating same for the “better of search results”. FaceBook does it in a slightly different way: It lets its members publish copyrighted material.

Can I now simply force Google to delete any photo material of my hotel I have the copyright to? Can I force their ISP to cut them off? Can I force their banks to cut their financial resources?

Take this one step further: Online Travel Agents do sometimes scrape copyrighted material. Tripadvisor may do it. Groupon like sites may do it.

Can I as an independent Hotelier force all these power houses from the Internet?

I know, I’m just dreaming of a more organic Internet that is not dominated by search giants or OTA’s, but sometimes it is nice to dream off.

My 2 cents. And your’s?

WTM, Travel Bloggers and their Avatars (2) – James Craven

I met James Craven (@CravenTravels) for the first time at TBCamp2011. A very nice guy with whom I tweet already some time and whom I very much liked to meet IRL (In Real Life) while the time was too short to talk shop a bit more.

Does he look like his Avatar? Just Look at this Twilk Wall (and click on the image if it is too small for your old eyes):

Craven on Twilk Small

You probably see what I mean.

  1. James is a very nice bloke, but I like to meet him, not the two kids he is on the photo with.
  2. Also nice is that the avatar shows James is conscious of poppy day…however on the wall the poppy is almost as big as his head.
  3. It seems to me the photo used for his avatar is not very recent.
  4. If you study the Twilk wall, you also see that if you want to use a portrait, make it discernible on such wall, much more a close up.
  5. Now especially James: He is a sales person and should know the first impression can kill any deal….I ask you…

My 2 cents

Update:

As a sequel to TBCamp 11 Darren wondered whether Social Media are killing discussions on blogs. Sure they do, but you can cut and paste the answers in the post….

Last edited by GJE on November 14, 2011 at 11:57 pm

Impressions from TBCamp 2011

Two Spanish Ladies at TBCamp 2011

Darren did it again: He pulled 100+ Travel Bloggers and Travel PR types together for informal networking at Travel Blog Camp 2011. A big Thank You to Darren!

The venue was back where it started in 2008: in a London Pub at the south border of the Thames with a nice view over the city.

The food was excellent and the new two room set up was great where food was served in one room and the venue was in the other room.

I was acting as the “Official Photographer of the event”, hence I was more concentrated on making photos in very difficult (dark) light conditions, than on what actually was going on.

Luckily there were some who summarized the event:

I’ll be updating this if I find more stuff.

One take away from the event for me is: Travel Bloggers have to become more business like. Especially those who want to monetize their blogs. Thus far, I have refused to try and monetize this blog. So there is some work to be done if I want to monetize… and eventually that is what I wish

As an amateur photographer I noticed another aspect: The use of avatars by travel bloggers. One comment you can see in my prior post and further comments on the use of avatars will follow.

Also I wasn’t up to networking as I should have been and due to the light conditions I couldn’t take more or better photos than I did. Sorry for that.

I was making photos on Darren’s first ever TBCamp of 2008. For comparison’s sake you might want to look at the First TBCamp set.

Personally I like the photos of TBcamp10 better.

Last edited by GJE on November 14, 2011 at 11:53 pm

WTM, Travel Bloggers and their Avatars (1) – Debbie Hindle

I saw Debbie (see BGB and @BGBcomms ) in action at WTM and took a shot behind about 200 people in a full social media session from which I cut out this portrait.

Debbie works in Travel PR and is one of still few PR types who is actively engaging with travel bloggers and social media.

I’ve bugged many people online that they should use an avatar that you can recognize from afar and that enables you to identify the person in question if you see the avatar in a stream or on a wall and moreover that you will be able to recognize them when you meet them in real life. An avatar is a marketing tool for your own brand!

This is the portrait Debbie uses for her Twitter account:

A wonderful portrait and from this you would no doubt recognize her if you met her in real life. However avatars are very small and avatars are in people’s mind when they try to discern someone they know in a room full of people they do not know very well.

If you compare the portraits now cropped to avatar size, wouldn’t you agree with me that the color portrait is far better tham the black and white one? You may use this one if you wish, Debbie!

Update
About half a year after this post Debbie took my advice and changed the Black and White Avatar for a Colored one.

Last edited by GJE on July 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm