6 books that Made Me Who I Am: Nomadic Matt

Nomad, vagabond, and NYT best selling author Matt Kepnes on the books that inspire him

Posted by Ben Landau November  06, 2016
 
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“How do I find the money to travel?”

“How do I plan my trip?”

“How do I stay safe and healthy on the road?”

Over the past few years Matt Kepnes (aka Nomadic Matt) has helped millions of people around the world answer those questions and more. With his New York Times best-selling book How to Travel the World on $50 a Day and influential website, Kepnes is one of leading voices in travel media—advising adventurers of every ilk on how travel better, cheaper and longer.
Naturally, when we wanted to know how to maximize reading time on vacation, we asked Nomadic Matt.

With holiday season fast approaching—a time when many of us vacation—we thought we’d talk to a true travel guru about the books that inspire him to get up and go.

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

A must-read for those new to long-term travel. Rolf spent 10 years on the road (he even walked across Israel). This book contains valuable insights, quotes, and a lot of practical information for the first-time vagabond. From saving, to planning, to life on the road, this is a must for newbies. While an experienced traveler might not get much practical information from it, it’s a good affirming read. The practical advice here will really help on your trip.

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book is always on my “top reads” list. A story about following your dreams, this is one of the most widely read stories in history. The book follows a young shepherd boy traveling from Spain to Egypt after he has a dream telling him he needs to get to Egypt. Along the way, he meets interesting people, learns to follow his heart, go with the flow, and discovers love and the meaning of life. The book is filled with wonderful and inspirational quotes—my favourite being, “If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man…Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.” I’ve read this book multiple times and it always inspires me to enjoy life and dream more.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

This is one of my favorite literary books of all time. It’s tale about going after the big catch at all costs beautifully written in simple but powerful prose. It was the book that got him the Nobel Prize and deservingly so!

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The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

When I was living in Thailand, I was handed this book by a friend. I read it and thought to myself "Yeah, I want this life. I want to be my own boss." Tim Ferriss has became very famous since this book came out and is widely known as a "life hacker." He's someone who tries to minimize time spent doing things we don't like and maximize time spent doing what we love. The book contains a lot of great and practical ideas for being more efficient with our time and how to outsource the tasks we don't like.

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

It’s hard to pick just one book by Bill Bryson, because they all are amazing. He’s one of the most prolific and recognized names in travel writing. This book chronicles a journey through Australia. It takes you from east to west, through tiny little mining towns, forgotten coastal cities and off-the-beaten-path forests. Bryson includes lots of trivia and helpful information in as he travels around in awe – and sometimes in fear (box jellyfish, riptides, crocs, spiders, and snakes) – of this enormous country. It’s the book that inspired me to go to Australia.

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How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by me, Matt Kepnes

Okay, sure, it's a little cheeky to include my own book but I really think you’ll enjoy it! It will walk you through all the steps it takes to head out on the road, help you save money, create budgets, and give you detailed regional and country guides to know what to expect when you get there. I think it's awesome (but of course I'm biased).

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