Matt Fudge - Travel Mentor
Matt Fudge is an adventure traveller who owns his own business and is able to dedicate a great deal of time to exploring the world. I have a great deal of respect/envy/love/hate for this man and his dream life. We met in Cape Town and over the next month continued to randomly run into each other in Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia where we were the worst dressed patrons at a fancy hotel bar overlooking Victoria Falls. A great guy and a great interview.
At what age did you start traveling, where did you go, and were you hooked right away?
I grew up being a competitive gymnast and when I was 11, we went on a 3 week European tour. There was 12 kids and 3 adults. We went to 5 different countries and lived out of a passenger van. We were basically a travelling circus, busking for $ along the way. Pretty amazing experience. I did a lot of growing up on that trip and still think about it all the time. I still do a lot of growing up on all my big trips.
How has travel shaped who you are?
I think all your weaknesses are multiplied by 1000 when you’re on a travelling adventure. Especially if you’re backpacking/doing things on the cheap.
For instance, I used to be pretty shy and also not a big fan of planning things. So when I first started travelling, I would find myself somewhat lost, confused and too scared to ask anyone anything. I think you get to know yourself a lot better when you get yourself into a bit of trouble. Your strengths and weaknesses become crystal clear when you’re in a foreign country, alone with no one to help you out. You get smarter, more confident and learn a lot about yourself. Getting into trouble and surviving is the cornerstone of any good trip!
You think you’re going to see a place, but really you’re going to meet people. Travelling is all about the locals and other travellers you meet. People are living very differently than you. It can be a humbling and inspiring experience.
Where would you travel to again and why?
My favourite all time city is Cape Town, South Africa. It’s almost like a mini biodome of everything earth has to offer (except maybe snow) Cape Town has a fascinating history, amazing neighbourhoods of the richest and poorest people, mind blowing views in every direction and there’s so much to do. It’s a bit wild, a bit rough and most likely, very different than anywhere you’ve been to. Every day you can’t wait to get outside and see what’s going on. You can go there with a few dollars and a backpack and have a legendary adventure.
Do you have a dream destination that you haven’t been to yet?
Japan. They name buildings, not streets.
If you could go back in time, what travel advice would you have for teenage you?
I didn’t travel enough between 18-25. I think that’s a goldie Lockes time in your life to travel. I never went to College or University, but I think more people should take at least a year off after high school and travel. School will always be there, but the opportunity to travel won’t. Live abroad for a year. Work shit jobs, meet people and see the world. You’ll be a much more interesting, educated and happy person than if you went to school:)
I worked a little too hard to establish my career during that time period. No regrets really, but if I could go back and do it again, I’d spend a few years travelling the world.
We’re book nuts here at Education Backpack, can you recommend an amazing travel book? Or even just something amazing you’ve read that reminds you of travelling? Why did this book move you?
Vagabonding by Ralph Potts.
It’s a playbook for travelling on the cheap. It’s an inspirational, fun and easy read. If the right person reads this book at the right time, there’s a high chance that in 3 weeks they will have quit their job, sold everything they own and be a plane to anywhere.
Do you have a favourite piece of travel gear?
The 3 key pieces of gear you need for any epic journey:
1 - Noise Cancelling Headphones - Sony WH-1000XM3
2 - A memory foam travel pillow - Cabeau Evolution S3 Pillow
3 - An epic carry on bag - I really like Timbuktu Nevercheck Backpack Duffel
If you can travel light and sleep comfortably on planes, trains, cars and in hostels, you’ll be a much, much happier traveler.