Forms of identification: Matt Kepnes
Matthew Kepnes at Tongariro Crossing in New Zealand.
Irreverent responses from our favourite travel ninjas.
1) Where would you rather be right now?
Right where I am. I personally don't believe there is any place better than where you are now. After all, you travelled to this location for a reason right? Why not love it? I'm currently in Sweden and while it could be warmer, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else at this moment. I'm content with being here a little longer.
2) Famous person (dead or alive, real or fictional) you'd most like to go on a trip with:
Anthony Bourdain. I bet he would be fun to travel with. He would drag you to every bar and restaurant in a city and make you try everything. It would be a whirlwind, crazy time.
3) Tourist must-see you think is actually a "must skip":
Ko Phi Phi. I don't get why everyone loves that island. It's dirty, the beaches aren't wonderful, the water is polluted, it's overpriced and filled with too many people. It looks nice in a picture but in real life, it's one of the ugliest islands in Thailand.
4) You'd be mortified if people knew you did what when you travelled?
I don't really take photos. When I started travelling, I would take hundreds of photos per day. Now I might take 50 and delete 30. Some days I don't even take my camera with me. For interesting things that happen in that moment, I upload stuff via my iPhone but mostly I hardly ever take photos. I'd rather experience and remember it in my mind than see it from a viewfinder.
5) Your most stranded, "oh-my-[deity]" travel moment:
I got lost in a jungle in Costa Rica once. I was on this tour and a few people and I went to explore Arenal national park late in the afternoon. We read the trail map wrong and got turned around. Before we knew it, it was dark and we had no flashlight, food or phone. We wandered the trails for awhile by using the lights from our cameras. Eventually, we found the road to the science station. When we got there, the guard pointed us back towards town and we hitched a ride. Our one hour sunset adventure turned into a seven hour ordeal.
6) Strangest meal abroad:
Maggots. I got dared while I was in Thailand and since I wasn't going to eat that grasshopper, the maggots were the next choice. They didn't taste too bad. Like salty French fries. I'm not sure I would eat them again but I didn't hate the experience as much as I thought.
7) If someone was visiting your town, what's the one thing you'd show them?
Well, I grew up in Boston so I will use that as "my town". I would show them Quincy Market. It's a huge tourist attraction but it's a great place to eat. There are tons of restaurants there and you can do some serious people watching while you eat. I'd take them during lunch on a weekday when locals from the nearby office buildings flood the area and you can get a feel as to just how popular the place is, even with the locals.
8) Travel-related invention you wish existed:
Teleportation. As much as I love airports, I hate flying. I can't sleep on planes and I have this huge fear that every plane I am on is going to crash, so I'm not the best flier in the world. I wish teleportation existed so I could just get to places quickly. Maybe have teleportation airports so I could get the beauty of the airport experience without the pain of flying.
9) Material thing you miss the most when away from home:
My TV. I like TV. It's relaxing and some days I just want to lay in front of a TV and veg out and watch some shows and do nothing.
10) Travel-related film or book that inspires you to pack your bags:
The Beach and Into the Wild are my two favourite movies. They both inspire me to get out on the road for different reasons but essentially do the same thing: make me want to experience the world and all it has to offer.
11) The travel story you'll never stop bragging about:
I don't think I really have one actually. I've had many, many interesting experiences but I never really tell one story over and over again. I'm really against "travel badges of honour". I don't like hearing about how someone saw this amazing thing and if only I had been cool enough to be there, I might be a better traveller. No, I have lots of cool travel stories but I don't really brag about them often.
12) Lay on us a priceless bit of travel advice or wisdom:
Just do it. The more you talk about it, the less you will probably go travel. Opportunity only knocks once. On your death bed, what will you regret more: the fact that you went or the fact that you didn't go? Once you take the leap, everything falls into place. Thousands of people have done this before. Columbus had a reason to be nervous. Not you.