Wednesday, February 13, 2019

32 Random Facts About Me

matt kepnes standing in front of some mountains
Updated: 02/13/2019 | February 13th, 2019

A few weeks ago I mentioned that this year I wanted to make the website more personal.

Back in 2011, I wrote this post featuring some personal facts about my life. It was a window into non-travel me. Well, that was a loooooong time ago. Life changes. People change.

So I thought one way to make this website more personal was to resurrect this long forgotten post and share a window into the current non-travel me.

So let’s kick off 2011 2019 with some random facts about me and my life:

1. I hate flying. I love airports, lounges, and elite status, but the act of flying makes me sick. I don’t like heights and any turbulence makes me think the plane is about to crash. I’m not a good flier. (Ironic considering how often I fly!)

2. When I was younger, I was obsessed with Pinky and the Brain. I even had a T-shirt collection. I also had one of those bowl haircuts, but I prefer to forget about that fact.

3. I never traveled independently until I went to Costa Rica at age 23. My travel experiences up until then were a series of road trips with my parents and a drunken weekend in Montréal when I was 19. (I also never went west of the Mississippi until I was 25.)

4. When I was younger, I wanted to be an archaeologist because of Indiana Jones.

5. I got really bad food poisoning when I was in Costa Rica. It was so bad that I had to be hospitalized for three days and put on a morphine drip.

6. I went to college to be a high school history teacher. I’m still technically certified to teach high school history.

7. I am a really good cook. I don’t cook much on the road because I hate how hostel kitchens aren’t fully stocked and everyone crowds them at the same time, but once in a while, I like to cook a massive meal for my fellow travelers.

8. I used to be a vegetarian. After reading Fast Food Nation, I decided to give up meat and was a vegetarian for four years. It wasn’t eating meat I was against, but rather industrial farming and the chemicals/antibiotics in the meat that I didn’t like. I gave up vegetarianism when I started to travel.

9. I think it’s rude to turn down food in other cultures. If you go to a village in Mongolia and you are given food, it’s insulting to refuse. “Sorry, your traditional and heartfelt cooking doesn’t go with my dietary needs.” It’s culturally insensitive. But that’s a rant for another post.

10. I’m a huge fan of soul, Motown, blues, and jazz. It’s way better than any of the pop music out there.

11. If I could ever pick what time period I could live in, I’d pick 1920s Prohibition America. I think that would be an exciting time to live in. But maybe I’ve just read The Great Gatsby too much.

12. Speaking of Gatsby, I learned to swing dance so I could throw myself a Gatsby-themed birthday party. I did it for three years in a row. They were epic birthday parties.

12. I am intensely political. After travel, politics is my second love. I live and breathe politics, and it is the only news I keep up with while traveling. I am always ready to discuss and debate the world any time of the day and with anyone, no matter how well I know them.

13. I co-own a hostel in Austin, Texas called HK Austin. You should come stay there!

14. I don’t have a burning desire to visit most Middle Eastern countries. There are parts I want to / have visited (Dubai, Jordan, Israel, Qatar, Oman) but, as a whole, the area is low on my list of places to visit.

15. People always ask will I do this forever? My answer: I don’t know. Forever is a long time. I’d like to travel for the next few years, but who can say what the future holds and where it will take us? For now, I’m enjoying the ride and see no reason to hang up my backpack just yet.

16. I’ve been to over 30 Dave Matthews Band concerts. I’m a super fan.

17. I’m a Japanophile. I love everything about the culture: the food, the history, the etiquette, the landscape, the architecture — all of it. I would eat sushi every day if I could.

18. I’m a workaholic. Maybe because I grew up in New England, I have the Puritan work ethic, and if I don’t have work to do, I think something is wrong and create work for myself. Ideal hands are the Devil’s playground!

19. I decided to travel after meeting five backpackers in a shared taxi while on vacation in Thailand. I was so amazed at what they were doing that the next day I decided to quit my job. They were two Australians, a Canadian, and a Belgian couple. They changed the course of my life and have no idea.

20. I’m an unabashed Taylor Swift fan. Not only do I think she’s an incredible businesswoman and marketer, but I also love her cheesy pop songs.

21. I’m also a huge fan of Sia. Incredible songstress and writer.

22. I don’t play any sports nor know anything about them. I couldn’t think of anything more boring than going to a sporting event. In fact, I once fell asleep at a hockey match.

23. I don’t drink coffee. It tastes like shit to me. And I don’t want to put added sugar or milk (or soy milk) in my cup of joe. Drinks should be able to stand on their own! Nothing is going to change my opinion on this. I’ve tried for years to acquire a taste for it. It’s just not going to happen.

24. I drink tea. Lots of it. Especially green tea. That’s my drink of choice!

25. My alcoholic drink of choice is an old fashioned. A few years ago, a few friends turned me onto whiskey and I’ve been obsessed since. I judge a bar by the quality of the old fashioneds they serve.

26. One day, I’d like to learn how to garden. I want to grow my own food. I love cooking and think it’s a logical step!

27. I used to be a professional poker player. I funded a lot of my original trip with poker winnings and lived in Amsterdam for a few months playing “professionally” at the casino in the city.

28. I don’t eat sweets. Maybe once a year I’ll have a cookie or brownie but, for the most part, I don’t do desserts or sweets as I don’t like all the sugar.

29. I have a new book coming out in July (you can pre-order it now!). It’s about my ten years on the road. More details next month!

30. When I’m working, I’ll often play one song on repeat over and over again. It helps me focus because it ends up just being white noise. As I write this post, I’ve been listening to Sweet Annie by Zach Brown Band on repeat for the last two hours.

31. I don’t have a favorite color. I have two. Blue and green!

32. In 2019, I want to take up more hobbies. I want to swing dance more, learn French, take some cooking classes, and try to learn how to play the piano. If I do two of those things, I’ll consider it a successful year.


There you have it! Some fun facts about me. Now, you’re turn. Tell me about yourself in the comments below.

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Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
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