I grew up on the Jurassic Coast in the seaside town of Weymouth, Dorset. I feel that my wanderlust comes from my father and grandmother who have both travelled extensively. In fact it was my grandmother's pictures of New Zealand that planted a seed that would later take root. When I was 23 I worked as an outdoor instructor at a centre just outside of Weymouth where I met and worked with people from around the world who were in the U.K. on a working holiday visa. I thought why not do the same. It took me a while to save up but in 2006 I took the plunge and off I went.
I started working at Travel Nation in 2016 after returning from another big trip that began in Cuba and ended in Peru - travelling overland through Central and South America.
Studying sports science at Weymouth College.
I joined Travel Nation in 2016. Before that, I worked at Trailfinders in Exeter for 5 years.
Matt has visited:
Last trip: Peru
Next trip: Bolivia
Travelling the world (as long as money was no object)!
Koh Tao, Thailand. I was offered a free ferry to the island to encourage me to sign up for a PADI open water course. 3 months later I left the island a fully qualified divemaster!
I always live out of my bag.
Glenorchy, South Island of New Zealand. One of my favourite places in the world - I’ll let Google images do the talking.
In 2006, with absolutely no idea what I was doing I bought a ticket that took me to Thailand, Australia & New Zealand. I’ll never forget waiting to be taken to the airport, absolutely terrified and wondering what on earth possessed me to do such a thing and spend so much money on a ticket. I was only supposed to go for a year but 2 weeks into Thailand I knew I wouldn’t be going home within in a year. I ended up being away nearly 2 and half years and added Vietnam, Laos & Cambodia to the itinerary on the way home. It was the most rewarding experience of my life (so far)!
I have stayed in some of the best hotels in the world and some of the worst. My hands down favourite, which is a little out the way but well worth the drive, is Rawnsley Park Station in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia.
I really love the beaches of Phang Nha Bay on the west coast of Thailand. The scenery is stunning and there is top notch diving/snorkelling (the sea is 30 degrees!), pristine beaches, amazing food and cheap cocktails. Krabi in particular is great for climbing and deep water solo (no ropes, you fall in the sea when you fall off).
Namibia. Due to a slight mishap at the border, the group I was with nearly wasn’t allowed in. 4 hours of negotiation later we were finally allowed in!
People who spend ages putting stuff in the overhead locker when you’re boarding a plane and just trying to get to your seat.
It’s a long list, but due to my fascination with volcanoes it has to be Mt Nyiragongo in the Demorcratic Republic of Congo. It has the largest active lava lake in the world. It is also a good spot to view mountain gorillas and visit pygmy tribes nearby.
I licked a green ant's bum in Australia because it tastes like lemon/citrus. I didn’t eat him though (I did eat insects in Asia & Africa).
The best thing I have eaten was a simple but extremely tasty bamboo curry when I was staying in a remote hill tribe village near Pai in the north of Thailand. The worst thing I've eaten has to be dog in Vietnam (sorry dog lovers it’s not something I’m proud of). The hottest thing I have eaten was a papaya salad in Thailand.
I did the working holiday visa in Australia and New Zealand. After a couple of months of fruit picking I thought I would put my PADI divemaster qualification to use in the Whitsundays, Cairns and Rottnest Island in Australia. Working on the boats was hard work but a lot less painful and way more fun, than fruit picking.
In New Zealand I ended up running the Glenorchy Hotel kitchen single handed for a few months.
It would have to be Thailand as it was my first long haul destination. Bangkok traffic is simply crazy. I wanted to cross a road but there was no working crossing, a subway or bridge. In the end I paid a tuk-tuk driver to literally take me across the road. It must have been the easiest money he ever made!
I wouldn’t say depressing but shocking. S21 and the killing fields in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. If you go to Cambodia it is worth taking a day out to learn about what happened here. I found it to be an incredibly humbling country and makes you realise how lucky you are. Cambodians are really beautiful people and have the best outlook on life that I have encountered.
Havana. New Years Eve would be a good day!
When I was working on the boats in the Whitsundays we used to have some crazy boat parties. I always found it amusing that they would often happen in Blue Pearl Bay, just off the super exclusive Hayman Island. I remember one in particular which had a lot of people and was pretty loud. People were coming from their smaller yachts to complain or tell us to turn it down. Some got about halfway, took one look and turned around. The ones that made it over were invited on board to join us, which they did and had a great time.
Marmite, tea and toast.