Ten Years a Nomad by Matthew Kepnes

Posted 15 August, 2019 by Paige in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

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I received the following book from The Publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ten Years a Nomad by Matthew KepnesTen Years a Nomad by Matthew Kepnes
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group on July 16th 2019
Genres: Travel, Memoir
Pages: 256
Format: eBook
Source: The Publisher via Netgalley
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Goodreads

Part memoir and part philosophical look at why we travel, filled with stories of Matt Kepnes' adventures abroad, an exploration of wanderlust and what it truly means to be a nomad. Ten Years a Nomad is New York Times bestselling author Matt Kepnes’ poignant exploration of wanderlust and what it truly means to be a nomad. Part travel memoir and part philosophical look at why we travel, it is filled with aspirational stories of Kepnes' many adventures.

New York Times bestselling author of How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, Matthew Kepnes knows what it feels like to get the travel bug. After meeting some travelers on a trip to Thailand in 2005, he realized that living life meant more than simply meeting society's traditional milestones, such as buying a car, paying a mortgage, and moving up the career ladder. Inspired by them, he set off for a year-long trip around the world before he started his career. He finally came home after ten years. Over 500,000 miles, 1,000 hostels, and 90 different countries later, Matt has compiled his favorite stories, experiences, and insights into this travel manifesto. Filled with the color and perspective that only hindsight and self-reflection can offer, these stories get to the real questions at the heart of wanderlust. Travel questions that transcend the basic "how-to," and plumb the depths of what drives us to travel — and what extended travel around the world can teach us about life, ourselves, and our place in the world.

Ten Years a Nomad is for travel junkies, the travel-curious, and anyone interested in what you can learn about the world when you don’t have a cable bill for a decade or spend a month not wearing shoes living on the beach in Thailand.

Honestly, I did a mini happy dance upon discovering this book was happening. I have been a huge fan of Matthew Kepnes for quite some time, I know him as Nomadic Matt. I have devoured Matt’s words as my travel gospel for years. As a teen on the brink of adulthood with very serious dreams of teaching English in Southeast Asia and backpacking Europe, I would spend hours each week pouring over page after page of his travel insights, adventures, and tips. Though those plans took quite the seismic detour, and my life has followed a different path than I expected I still know I will see as much of this world as I can, and I still plan on taking time to travel before settling down in one place. So, Nomadic Matt remains a place I turn to when I find myself in dreamland for adventures that I know I will make happen for myself. The website gives clear advice, and pushes aside the shiny, nothing-bad-ever-happens bits and focuses on real life budget travel and his trips around the world, as well as the same from other contributors to the site. So, I knew all of his fantastic travel tips, but I wanted an insight into his philosophy, his very being, and the general outlook of a man that quit his cushy 9-5 job, sold his belongings and decided to travel the world for multiple years.  Ten Years a Nomad: A Traveler’s Journey Home was just that.

I am a nomad. For a decade I have lived a long, peripatetic life on the road. Three thousand nights away from home. Actually, I take that back—I was home. In more than ninety countries. In a thousand different cities. In hundreds of hostels. With countless people. For three thousand days and nights. For half a million miles on airplanes, and half a million more (I’ve added it up) on trains and buses and tuk-tuks and cars and bicycles. That was my home. In all that time, over all those miles, I wandered with no goal. I wasn’t on a trip, vacation, or pilgrimage. I had no list of set destinations or set sights to see. My only purpose was to travel. To be a nomad: Someone who could move from place to place without urgency, without plans. Someone whose destination was the journey itself. Someone who could just wander, as a seeker, a traveler. To pick up and go whenever I pleased.Matthew Kepnes

From the very first line I was entranced. Matt’s words spoke to me. Y’all should see my Kindle copy because it’s covered in highlights. There was just something about the poetic way he delivered my own way of thinking that had me floored. I could not put it down. I read it in two night’s time, and only because I felt I should probably sleep just a little the first night. On Nomadic Matt, I had seen so much of where he had been and the how but what we often miss is the why and his why spoke to me on the deepest of levels. I often find myself feeling lost, so adrift and so not where I thought I would be and just a month shy of my twenty-third birthday this is something that has been weighing heavily on my mind. I am happy, so much so in this last year especially, but at times I can’t help but wonder if my choices have always been the right ones. I’m proud of the business I am building, of the people who I have in my life that I love dearly, but there is sometimes still that nagging thought in the back of my mind that tells me I’m not doing things on the right timeline. Seeing that same thought process from someone else always makes you feel less alone, and the way that Matt not only had that thought process but readily embraced the notion of throwing it all away and realizing there is no timeline but the one you create for yourself truly was something I didn’t know I needed.

Because it is only when you submit to the world you hope to see that you can truly be present for the experiences you’ve so long dreamed about. Plans shouldn’t be a security blanket—they should be a means to an end. And for me, that end has always been adventure.Matthew Kepnes

Aside from the surprisingly deep life philosophy I took from this book, I found that it truly stood apart for me from other travel memoirs. It wasn’t just about a trip, it was about the ideas behind it. It didn’t just focus on the bright moments, it focused on the indecision, the mistakes, the right, the wrong, and the truth about what you give up and what you get when you trade a “normal” life for one of adventure. I’m not the type to want to lose roots. I want a home, but I also feel like a home is not a place but perhaps something like a person or a feeling. That being said, I personally don’t think I’d ever travel endlessly for ten years but I do want to see every state in my own country and as many countries as I can. I  want to truly live and not just exist and Ten Years a Nomad spoke to the very essence of that. If you often find yourself bit by the travel bug and want to live vicariously, or if you, too, sometimes feel lost at sea in terms of the societal expectation of who you should be this is a book you’ll want to read.

There is no old you. There is just the you that you are right now. You are always a work in progress. You are always ever changing. The world moves on, time passes, people come and go, and the future is always uncertain. As they say, that is life.Matthew Kepnes

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