Jan. 31, 2023

How To Choose Your Next Travel Destination with Matt Bowles of The Maverick Show

How To Choose Your Next Travel Destination with Matt Bowles of The Maverick Show

What kind of traveler are you? How do you choose where to travel next? Travel podcast host, Matt Bowles, joins us from Senegal to talk about his four main strategies for choosing your personal travel "style" or type.

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What kind of traveler are you? How do you choose where to travel next? Travel podcast host, Matt Bowles, joins us from Senegal to talk about his four main strategies for choosing your personal travel "style" or type. He also fills us in on his favorite places to travel in Africa and unique events he recommends from a white truffle festival in Italy's wine region to a digital nomad conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Whether you're in the mood for a spontaneous adventure, a relaxing retreat, a guided group tour, or a solo jaunt around the world, Matt's travel strategies will help you choose a winner.  

Whatever your travel style is, it’s important to prioritize activities and places that fulfill and excite you. Tune in to learn how to choose and plan trips that align with your travel style!

Tune in for Part 2 of this interview next week as the conversation shifts from travel to turnkey real estate.

Matt shares how you can earn passive income from owning investment properties in the USA - even if you live in another city, state, or country! 

Episode 192 Special Offers: 


  • Matt’s experience traveling and filming in Africa.
  • Unique cultural events and festivals around the world, like Afrochella & Alba White Truffle Fair.
  • The evolution of the digital nomad community in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • How governments are promoting remote work and the digital nomad lifestyle.
  • What it’s really like to hike and summit Mount Kilimanjaro & How Matt prepared for the hike.
  • Traveling solo vs. Traveling in a group.
  • Traveling spontaneously vs. Planning ahead.
  • Matt’s top travel destinations and things to do in Africa.
  • Passive real estate investment opportunities for beginners and digital nomads.
  • The benefits of owning a rental property, even during inflation and recessions.


  • How do you plan your travel itineraries?
  • How do you feel about traveling as a digital nomad after the pandemic?
  • Why hike Mount Kilimanjaro? 
  • How did you feel when you reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro? 
  • What are your favorite places you've traveled since the pandemic? 
  • How has Argentina changed in the past 10 years as a travel, tourism, and expat destination? 
  • Where are you going next?
  • How do you afford to travel while working remotely? 
  • How is Maverick Investment Group different from other investment groups?
  • What are the best real estate markets to buy in right now?
  • And more!


Resources for Digital Nomads:

Related Podcasts:

Related Videos:

Matt’s Top Travel Destinations/Recommendations in Africa:

  • Senegal
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Nightlife & Festivals - Accra, Ghana
  • Safari in East Africa - Tanzania & Kenya
  • Cleanest & Safest African City - Kigali, Rwanda
  • Kigali Genocide Memorial - Kigali, Rwanda
  • See the Silverback Gorillas - Kigali, Rwanda
  • “The NYC of Sub Saharan Africa” - Johannesburg, South Africa

Connect with Matt:

Connect with Kristin: 


Support the Badass Digital Nomads Podcast:


A special thank you to Kristin's Patrons!

Become a Patron for $5/month at Patreon.com/travelingwithkristin

Podcast descriptions may contain affiliate links of products and services we use and recommend at no additional cost to you.


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Introduction: Welcome to Badass Digital Nomads, where we're pushing the boundaries of remote work and travel, all while staying grounded with a little bit of old school philosophy, self-development, and business advice from our guests.  


Kristin Wilson,  Host:    00:02:14    Hey there, Kristin, from Traveling with Kristin here and welcome to episode 192 of Badass Digital Nomads. My guest today is none other than Matt Bowles, who is the host of the Maverick Show podcast, which is one of the best podcasts out there for digital nomads and location independent people. And we've got a two-part episode for you here on this show today. So part one of our conversation is all about travel, catching up on the best places that Matt has been in the past few years and his tips for where you can can possibly travel in 2023. We're also honing in on the four strategies that Matt uses to plan his travel with so many places to go in the world. How do you decide having been to nearly 80 countries? Matt tells us how he does just that. And then next week on the podcast, we're getting into more of the business aspect of how Matt makes a living working remotely that allows him to have all these amazing travel experiences and live wherever he wants in the world.  


Kristin:    00:03:36    But more than that, we're going into detail on how you or anyone can earn a passive income by investing in real estate properties remotely. We all know that real estate is a popular way to invest and build wealth, but Matt and his company have a really unique way of helping people do that so that you don't actually have to live in the city or state or country that you are investing in real estate in. It's like turnkey hands off way of investing in real estate in really specific markets and how you can make an extra income that way. And so I always find this very interesting, having a real estate background myself and knowing that there's so many opportunities to invest in the US but just not personally being familiar enough with those markets to know where and what to buy. I know that many of you are interested in ways that you can generate additional online income streams or location independent revenue streams that you can earn money and collect it from anywhere in the world.  


Kristin:    00:04:51    So whether you are currently working or you're retired and you have a nest egg and you want to be able to have an extra income stream, then that episode is for you. But today is all about travel and Matt talks about all places that I've never been before. So I found it really interesting to hear about some of the experiences and destinations that he's uncovered and some of the things that you can do there. So I hope you enjoy this conversation and see you again next week for part two of this interview. Also, welcome to my newest Patreon patron from January, Karen Thompson. Welcome Karen and you can join us on patreon.com/travelingwithkristin to be part of my inner circle. 


Podcast Interview:


Kristin: Matthew Bowles!


Matt:    00:05:45    Kristin Wilson. <laugh>,  


Kristin:    00:05:48    Welcome back to Badass Digital Nomads round three.  


Matt:    00:05:52    I am so excited to be back on Badass Digital Nomads. You know, it's amazing because I listen of course to the podcast and it's just been so fun. Like your podcast got me through so much of the pandemic because I was listening to it and I was hearing your voice and all the amazing people that you brought on and all this kind of the kind of stuff. So it's been a while since I've been on the podcast, but I'm a listener and I'm part of the Badass Digital Nomads community and the traveling with Christian community. And so I feel close to you even though we haven't caught up in a little while.  


Kristin:    00:06:23    <laugh>. Yeah, you're an OG. You've been around from the beginning because you are on episode 15 in 2019, August of 2019 and you are also episode 99, which we recorded during the pandemic that came out in March of 2021. So and now this is episode 192  


Matt:    00:06:45    And we've recorded them all on different continents by the way, because our very first episode we were in Brazil and I remember it well because we were trying to find a place to record and we were like going down some alleyway in Brazil and we were like finding this quiet place and we were sitting near the beach in Brazil recording the first one. And then the second one I was in North America because it was the pandemic and I happened to have been visiting my parents when the whole lockdown and everything happened. And then the third one, now I am on the continent of Africa and I am recording this in Dakkar Senegal today. So I think each time, you know, I'm on a new confidence, we'll just uh, do another episode and we'll eventually get around to all seven  


Kristin:    00:07:22    <laugh>. Yes, definitely. Yeah, I can't believe it's been about over a hundred episodes since you were last on. So as usual, we'll put those in the show notes so people can go back and listen to those about creating location-independent businesses and earning passive income. And then we're gonna talk more about earning passive income today through real estate. But first I wanna get some information on where the heck you've been because what is your country number up to right now? Like do you know how many countries you've been to?  


Matt:    00:07:55    Probably about 77 total lifetime I would say.  


Kristin:    00:07:58    Mm-hmm <affirmative>. And which country are you in right now?  


Matt:    00:08:02    So I'm in Senegal on the west coast of Africa. I'm in Dakar, which is right on the beach. It's one of my favorite cities. I first came here in 2019, I was here for about a month and then I came back in December and I've just stayed here. I've been based here for the last couple months and it is absolutely a spectacular city for anyone that has not been. People are amazing sunsets right over the ocean. You can just watch it every night if you want surfing and all the waterfront stuff, incredible seafood, super fresh, everything. People are amazing. I mean it's just, it's a really, really special and delightful city. So highly recommend anybody that's not been.  


Kristin:    00:08:44    My brother loves it there. He's a surf photographer. We have episode with him too. And I was loving his photos from there and his videos. It looks stunningly beautiful. And how long have you been there?  


Matt:    00:08:57    Yeah, so I came in December and then I actually left for a little bit because I went to Ghana for New Year's Eve, which was absolutely amazing. They have these afrobeat festivals in Accra and Ghana in the New Year's Eve week. So they had both Afro cell and Afro Nation were that week. And so all of the top Afrobeat stars, Burna Boy, and you know, folks are into Afrobeats, they'll know a lot of these people as sake and fire boy, D M L, and all of these people were there performing and it was just amazing. And Accra also is one of my favorite cities. It's also right on the coast in West Africa and really, really amazing place. I've been there in the, I guess quote unquote off season, right, like June, july, that kind of period when they don't have the festival. And it's an amazing city to just spend time in and the nightlife is always incredible.  


Matt:    00:09:52    But in December people come from all over the world and it's probably, I would say about when you go to these festivals and the New Year's Eve parties and stuff like that, at least the ones that I was at, probably about half Ghanaian folks and half international folks from all over the world. And so it was really amazing because at the New Year's Eve party, which was part of the Afro package that you get, you get to go to this DJ'ed New Year's party, right, which did not have live performances. So they have all these festivals and live performances and the New Year's party was just DJs, but they really knew where their crowd was from. So they would play like a hip hop song from Atlanta and they would shout out at Atlanta or they'd play a hip hop song from New York and shout out New York, or they'd play like an I'ma piano song from South Africa and they'd shout out South Africa or they'd play a Nigerian song and shout out Nigeria and stuff and people would all be like going wild. And so it was really fun to see cause they really knew the crowd and it was this really diverse crowd from all over the world. So it was really, really fun.  

Kristin:    00:10:52    That's so definitely knowing your audience there, <laugh>. And you were in Ghana before the pandemic, right? Because I remember pushing that to the top of my places. I wanna go list because of your experience when you were traveling with Agnes who was also on the podcast, both of our podcasts and you guys were filming a documentary in Africa. Can you bring us back to like what brought you there the first time?  


Matt:    00:11:20    Yeah, so for folks who don't know Agnes Nyamwange, she's amazing. She's a Kenyan digital nomad, born and raised in Kenya, went to college in Uganda and then is now a, you know, full-time digital nomad who travels the world and is a very good friend of mine. And she and I did a three month trip. We had a couple other people meet up with us for parts of that trip too. And we went to Nigeria for a month. We were in Legos, we went to Akron, Ghana for a month. We did a quick swing through the Ivory Coast and then we did Dakar for a month. And so the documentary thing was fun. So that was earlier before we did that, that three month trip, I was based in Cape Town, I was there for about two months with a friend of mine, Jen McGee, who you know.  


Matt:    00:11:59    And while I was in Cape Town, I get this sort of cold email and it's from a film producer and they say, we'd like to feature you in this documentary that we're doing about digital nomads. You know, we found your podcast and we saw the video of you giving the keynote address at the Nomad Summit and some stuff like this and we know who you are and we'd like for you to be one of the featured protagonists in this documentary that we're doing on digital nomads. And I was like, wow, you know, I'm super flattered. I said, can you just gimme a little more information about it though? You know, can you tell me, is this a fully funded film? Is it backed by a studio and who's directing the film and can you share some of their filmography? And they said, yeah, actually it is fully funded, it's produced by Royal Films, which is a German film studio and the director is Lena Lenhart and here's her filmography.


Matt:    00:12:46    So I start clicking and looking at her films and she's like one best picture at the Berlin Film Festival in Germany and like some of this kind of stuff I'm like okay, wow, amazing. And I said I also wanted to just make sure that this is not going to sort of represent the nomad lifestyle as like primarily like a white male thing. Can you share a little bit about who the other protagonists are? And I said also I've got a great idea because my friend Agnes is going to be with me for the next three months. We're gonna be in West Africa, why don't you come and shoot me in West Africa? So we'll get West Africa as a location of the film and if you do that you'll be able to get Agnes in the film also and feature her. So you'll basically get two for one and then you know, you'll have a sub-Saharan African female and nomad voice in the film and trust me, she will add more to your film than I will because she's absolutely amazing.  


Matt:    00:13:36    And they were like, we would love that. We're totally on board with that. And yes, we totally agree about the diversity. We have a Palestinian in the film, we have an Argentine couple in the film, we have all this, you know, I said fantastic, love that. Awesome, let's do it. And so they sure enough flew uh, four person crew and probably a hundred thousand dollars worth of video equipment over to Dakar Senegal. And then they had the producer, the director, the video person and the audio person and they miced us up and followed us around for seven straight days. And then the documentary came out in 2021, it's called Roamers and you can stream it on Amazon.  


Kristin:    00:14:16    Oh my god, I'm gonna watch it. I didn't know I was gonna ask where it came out because sometimes these films that go to film festivals and things like you need like an account to watch it or something. So that's great to hear that it's on Amazon Prime  


Matt:    00:14:30    I believe so yeah. Maybe it might cost like 299 to watch it or something like that, but yeah, you can get it on Amazon.  


Kristin:    00:14:35    Oh yeah, yeah sure. I'll rent it. I have it connected to my TV right now, which is nice. Well when I've been living in Miami for the past few years, I didn't have a TV cuz I like to not have a TV whenever I can. But like some rental properties, they have the smart TVs and stuff and then all of a sudden I'm like watching all these random documentaries and like binge watching shows. So as we were talking before we started recording, I'm in Florida for this month in a furnished rental property and they're like so comfortable. It's like the highest level of American comfort in house, which is already like kind of a culture shock even coming back from Europe. It's like, oh my god, there's every single cooking utensil you can need and just so well equipped and everything's so comfortable and the elevators work and like yeah it's anyway off topic, but I'm glad that that documentary is out and we can watch it and that you loved West Africa so much that it brought you back a couple years later, but you and I haven't really talked that much since I was a hermit writing my book <laugh> last year.  


Kristin:    00:15:44    So I know you were a huge traveler always before the pandemic. Then as we talked about in the last time you were on the podcast, you were staying with your parents in Lockdowns and your little bubble there for a while. How do you feel about travel now that you've been back on the road for more than a year now? How has your perception changed? I mean I know when you first started going you like went out the gates like I'm outta here and you just went abroad. But yeah, now that things have kind of settled in, we're in January of 2023. How are you reflecting on that lately?  


Matt:    00:16:22    I mean it feels really good to be able to travel again for sure. You know, I mean for me, I always view location independence as the primary freedom, right? The primary value, right? And so whatever you're doing with that location, independence might change. So for example, I feel very thankful that I was able to spend the pandemic primarily with my parents and have that quality time with them. That was a super silver lining for me and I made the most of that and all of the things that came along with not being able to travel, I tried to look at what would be the bright side or the silver lining of that and so forth. And so I'm super thankful for the time that I had there with my parents and everything. And now I'm super, super, super thankful for being able to travel again because I'm sort of right back to trying to do really epic things and surround myself with really amazing and aspiring people and go to incredible places and have great experiences and build great relationships with other folks and stuff. So it's been really, really a wonderful feeling to be back in the Nomad game.  

Kristin:    00:17:26    And how did you build your itinerary over the past year? You've done some pretty cool things, maybe you could tell us a few of those highlights, but being such an experienced traveler, how do you approach choosing where you're going to go, how long you're going to stay and who you're going to travel with? 


Matt:    00:17:45    Yeah, those are really good questions. I have a number of different ways that I do that. And my itinerary over the last year is a giant mix of all of them. You'll get em all when I kind of go through it. So coming out of the pandemic, I was basically quarantined not traveling in the United States based primarily at my parents' place for about 18 months. And so I figured that when I emerged from the quarantine, the lockdown, whatever you wanna call it, I really needed to emerge in style, Kristin. And so I hit up our mutual friend Jen McGee, shout out to Magu who is one of my best friends and most wonderful travel companions. And I said, so I've been doing some research and I found out that the international white truffle Festival is taking place in Alba, Italy, in the Piemonte region in the northwest right near the French border.  


Matt:    00:18:44    And the town of Alba is also the base of both the Barlo and the Barbaresco wine region. So we could go to this white truffle festival, we could go wine tasting in Barlo and Barbaresco and just be immersed in one of the most extraordinary culinary centers on the planet want to go for a month. And she's like, yep. And so we did. And actually, her sister, who's also amazing came with us for probably about half of that. And so the three of us were there for about half of that. And then Jen and I stayed for the rest of it, but it was absolutely epic. Amazing, completely insane. They had like Michelin star chefs from all over Italy coming there and preparing dishes like you could pay to go to each of these different events, like you could just cherry pick and pay for the events you wanted to go to at the festival. So they'd have like these Michelin chefs that were coming in like preparing a dish that would like pair perfectly with white truffles and all of that. And then they literally had like in the same way that you might go to like a wine tasting where you have like a master sommelier who's like teaching you about like how to taste the wine and what the flavor notes are and how to appreciate what you're tasting in the same way that you might do something like that here they had truffle sensory appreciation classes.  


Kristin:    00:20:03    Okay  


Matt:    00:20:04    <laugh>. And you could go and this dude comes in to teach the class, right? And he's like, yeah, so I've been smelling truffles every day for the last 25 years. I was like, damn. I was like, wow. And so the way that it works basically is like these white truffles are so astronomically expensive, it's crazy. I didn't even understand how expensive they were. Like white truffles are five times more expensive than black truffles. I mean it was like crazy.   

Kristin:    00:20:28    What Is the difference? I mean first of all, I love truffles truffle anything, but I didn't know yeah, what's the difference between white and black truffles? And also good to know that this festival exists because I'm gonna have to go someday.  


Matt:    00:20:42    I mean I don't know if I have all of the technical information, but a lot of it has to do just with like the rarity of them and all of this kind of stuff, right? In terms of like how prized and prestigious and expensive they are and all of and difficult to find and all this kind of stuff. And so what happens is that you can consume these truffles in any litany of different types of ways, right? So they're in season if you will, right? And so the restaurants there, you can pay to have a shaving of white truffles on top of let's say your pasta dish.  


Kristin:    00:21:10    How much would that  cost?


Matt:    00:21:11    Kristin Okay, so  


Kristin:    00:21:14    <laugh>, you're still loving this meal.  


Matt:    00:21:16    If you go to like a good local Italian restaurant and you order a nice dish of homemade pasta in Alba, let's say right where I was, you could get just pasta dish for about nine euros. Okay. If you wanted to have a shaving of white truffles, let's just say like 10 grams of white truffle shaved onto your top of your pasta, it would go from nine euros to 60 euros, six zero. So it's about 50 euros for a 10 gram shaving of white truffle. So imagine if you break it down, it's about five euros per gram for white truffle. So that's literally how expensive it is. So when you pay to go to these events, it was kind of crazy. You pay to go to these events, so there's an entry-level price and the chef is gonna prepare a dish which will be like a non-meat vegetarian like appetizer dish that'll pair perfectly with the white truffle.


Matt:    00:22:15    But then you have on your table there's maybe there's like 40 seats at each event that are for sale. And you go in and each person sits at their own sort of desk, right? If you want to call it that, right? Like a small table and a chair for 40 people. And then you have like a paddle on your desk, which is like what you'd raise at an auction to bid on something. And what it says on the paddle is, I want truffle. And so <laugh>, what all your entry fee pays for you to do is to have the vegetarian sort of appetizer type dish that the chef has prepared and you watch them prepared and they talk to you about what they're doing. And it's a cool thing to just be in the presence of a Michelin starter chef making this for 40 people. But then if you want to pay for the truffle, you pay the market price for the truffle, which can vary by day, right? Like lobster or whatever else, right? Market price for the truffle. And you have to raise this paddle and it says, I want truffle. And then they come over to your table and they shave the truffle onto your dish and then they come over with the credit card machine and they charge you 50 euros for  


Kristin:    00:23:17    That. Yeah. I'm like, and then they swipe your card. Yeah.  


Matt:    00:23:20    It's crazy.  


Kristin:    00:23:21    How many times did you lift the sign?  


Matt:    00:23:24    I think we did it twice.  


Kristin:    00:23:26    Okay. <laugh>,  

Matt:    00:23:28    I think we paid 50 euros on two separate occasion at that particular event to have that experience. Now you can counteract that in terms of value because what they also have right outside of that is that they have this sort of market, it's a festival, right? So they have a whole like market and affair and everything else. And not only are they selling truffles there, they're also selling wine because remember this is the base of both the bar and the Barbaresco wine region, which are two of certainly I would say probably the top five wines in all of Italy. And so the makers of the wine come down to sell bottles of this wine and most of them will give you a free tasting of the wine and then you'll have the option to either buy a bottle or not. But you can literally take a wine glass and just go around <laugh> every day and just have a taste from all of these different wineries. And these are like unbelievable wine, super expensive wines and all that. And it's all free because you're just getting a taste, right? And they have their bottle open and some people, you know, they sell enough bottles from people tasting and they're like, wow, like I'll buy a bottle that they're fine to just, you know, give out the tasting. And so the amount that we probably tasted in incredible quality wine for free at that festival, I would say certainly made up for or compensated for what we paid for the white truffles.  


Kristin:    00:24:45    And how long is the festival itself? Because you were there for a month?  


Matt:    00:24:48    I think it's like three months or so. It's like a whole season, right?  


Kristin:    00:24:52    Oh, it's a whole season. Oh wow.  


Matt:    00:24:54    I think it goes for, I wanna say at least probably two months or maybe even longer. And then each week they'll have truffle tastings, wine tastings too. They do those as well. They do all of this stuff. So it's really this incredible event and you know, the Piedmont region of Italy is really kind of one of the culinary meccas of all of Italy. And so it's just a really cool place to be. So yeah, that's how we started the year out, which I thought was very apropo after not traveling for 18 months to sort of emerge in style at the white truffle festival and do something completely over the top like bonkers nuts because hadn't done anything at all for 18 months on the travel front.  


Kristin:    00:25:35    Yeah, and that's actually a perfect example of probably my favorite travel strategy as a location-independent person, which is to just base yourself in a place where you want to experience something that doesn't have to be like the Weekend Food and Wine Festival in Miami, but the actual truffle festival that goes on for an entire season in Italy. And to just be there living your day-to-day lifestyle that's just elevated to an astronomical level because you're tasting world, world-class wine and having truffle shaved onto your plate a few days a week <laugh>. Exactly. I feel like I need a shirt that says I want truffle <laugh>  


Matt:    00:26:15    <laugh>.  


Kristin:    00:26:15    Can someone make that on Etsy? And then was it worth the 50 euro? Like how were those plates once the majestic white truffle was added?  

Matt:    00:26:24    I mean it was pretty amazing to say was it worth 50 euros? I mean I, that's a fairly subjective thing. I don't know. For me, it was all part of the experience. You know, I have now a story to tell. It's been over a year and I'm telling the story to you and your listeners. and I can tell people that I did this completely over-the-top outrageous, absolutely crazy thing. And that's one of the beauty of doing those types of things, right? Because like as a nomad, I don't spend a lot of money on material things, I will sometimes though splurge on over-the-top extraordinary experiences, right? I mean once in a while I will go to a three Michelin star restaurant once in a while I will go to a truffle festival or something just just completely over the top and wild and then you have this completely unique experience and you have a story to tell and all of that. Yeah. So that is, I would say one piece of sort of my travel selection is like do some really epic over-the-top bucket list thing that you'll just be talking about for years.  


Kristin:    00:27:22    Yeah. But then you save money in a lot of ways. And like how much was your rent living in that area for the month?  


Matt:    00:27:29    Good question. I don't remember exactly cuz it was a while ago now. But basically what we did is we just rented a place on Airbnb and then there was three of us there for most of the time. So we split it three ways and it was not unreasonable, you know what I mean? It was certainly no more expensive than living any place in the US that's for sure. And we had this incredible proximity. We walked everywhere. We took virtually no transportation ever cause we walked everywhere except when we went up into the wine country to do the wine tourists. But other than that, like it was just walking everywhere and it was you know, relatively cheap on the ground. Like I said, if you're so you're not eating truffles and you're just eating regular food. I mean you can have an amazing meal for nine euros, like homemade pasta at a restaurant and then the wines that we're talking about that are some of the best in the world and are very expensive in the US to buy and stuff like that are much cheaper there.  


Matt:    00:28:15    So you can just drink crazy good wines for significantly more affordable prices. So that's how I started off the travel. And then after that I was invited to go to speak at the Nomads BA conference in Buenos Aires Argentina. And that was really cool cause it was sponsored by the city of Buenos Aires and they're trying to sort of make Buenos Aires into a digital nomad hub. And so they wanted to have this nomad conference and invite speakers from all over the world nomads to come there, speak at this conference and then have folks attend the conference and really kind of showcase the city as a nomad destination. And so it was really cool, I mean the city of Buenos Aires put me up for a week and a five-star hotel and you know, covered some of my expenses and all this other kind of stuff.  

Matt:    00:29:01    So I said heck yeah, particularly because I wanna meet some of the other speakers and I wanna hang out with some of the nomads that come to this conference. So as you know, when I go pretty much anywhere, even if it's just this conference is only for a few days, I'm gonna stay for a month. Right. So I went to, I went to Buenos Aires for a month. There's an incredibly vibrant community of nomads there. Had an absolute blast, met some amazing people there at the conference. And then after that I went to speak at the Nomad Base Conference in January, which was in Playa del Carmen. And again stayed there for almost, I stayed in Playa and then I went over to to Puerto Escondido for a part of it as well. But I was in Mexico for about a month Ah, in January.  


Kristin:    00:29:46    And you were in Buenos Aires with Remote Year right? A few years ago.  


Matt:    00:29:51    So I've been to Buenos a number of times my very first time. It's actually interesting cuz Buenos Aires was the very first city that I went to when I started my nomad journey in 2013.  


Kristin:    00:30:04    Oh right.


Matt:    00:30:06    I packed up all my stuff from Los Angeles, got rid of everything and went to Buenos Aires. And so I was in BA for three months, very first location I was in as a nomad and I was 2013. And then I did the remote year program, which started in 2016. I traveled the world across four confidence with the community of remote professionals as part of that program in our last city where we ended the program was in Buenos Aires and that was in 2017. So that was I guess my fourth month being there. And then I went back in December of 2021 for that Nomad's BA conference. That was the fifth month that I spent in BA.  


Kristin:    00:30:45    And did you sense anything different either that the community had grown? Because it was quite established when I was there in 2018 after we were in Brazil. But then I haven't been back since then. I kind of can't believe it's been that many years and the economy has been not on the best trajectory for the locals. I'm kind of on the fence about the government using that as a selling point for foreigners because I kind of feel like it's their responsibility to not be in that situation, but yet they are. And so I don't think it's really fair for the locals for them to be promoting it as a destination because the economy is so dysfunctional, which is their job anyway. That's another thing. But yeah. How did you find it in the past 10 years? Has it changed much for you?  


Matt:    00:31:37    It has been different. I think each time that I've gone, when I went in 2013 and when I went in 2017, then when I went in 2021, I guess I go there every few years. I keep going back. Yeah, I think it does change. I think it does get different, you know, I mean I think things are more or less expensive. I think that the nomad community has congealed in different ways. As you mentioned, like the first time I went I had no idea if there was any nomads there. I didn't really connect with any, I was there with my relationship partner at the time. And so she and I were just exploring the city, hanging out, all that kind of stuff. I didn't really connect with any other travelers, mostly just interacting with local folks or whatever. And then in 2017 I was very focused on, you know, I had the remote year group that I was there with and everything else and it was our last month and so we were really spending time together and I wasn't really connecting with the nomad community.  


Matt:    00:32:25    And then when I went in 2021, then I was there for this nomad conference, right? And so then that's when I really sort of plugged into like the Buenos Airs nomads group and all that and really started meeting the people that were there, either just for the conference or that had been there longer term and were really trying to build a community there and stuff like that. And I got to interact with a lot of them. But yeah, I mean I, I think there's definitely a lot of complexities, political, economic, all the ethical complexities that you described, I think for sure are there. One of the things that I try to do is if I'm able to use US dollars to get more buying power there, then I'm gonna buy more expensive stuff there and try to put more money into the local economy, right? Like when I go to the wine shop, I'm gonna buy the more expensive bottle of wine and try to put more money into the local businesses and use the additional buying power that I have to try to do what I can to support the local businesses and just be a traveler that contributes something positive there.


Kristin:    00:33:21 Yeah. And I think that's all that we can do. We can't change the world by ourselves. We can't overthrow government. Haha. We're not trying to do that anyway. We can't have a direct impact on how a country runs itself because we aren't citizens of those countries. We're just outsiders who are having an experience there. But we can be empathetic to the plight of the locals there and also listen to them and try to hear like what's going on from their side compared to what's being shown in the media and then what the talking points are that are coming down from the head of state or from the media municipality and things like that. And then we can also talk about things that we feel are unjust. Like looking at the Nomads Bueno website and seeing that the like official local government was using the exchange rate and like the low cost of living in some of those things as promotional marketing to bring people there.  


Kristin:    00:34:22    That to me seemed a bit unethical and like hypocritical. But it is what it is. So then we can have these conversations here and we can make people aware so that when they do go to that country, even if you go to a country like that because you have a better purchasing power, you're traveling on a budget, you wanna be able to have a good quality of life for a low monthly expenses. Like that's all fine and well. But then as you mentioned, to try to do things as individuals to like respect what's going on and to try to inject more money into the economy and just do what we can as individual people, as tourists, as nomads, as expats, and play our part as well as we can. So it's good.  


Matt:    00:35:11    Yeah, absolutely. And I think your point about connecting with local people and listening and trying to do what we can do to support local folks is really important. I mean, for example, there was a lot of local folks that came out to this conference and they came out and said we want and cause a lot of the conference was marketed to Argentinians, right? To come there and learn about this stuff. And so there was local folks there that were like, we wanna learn how, how to be digital nomads. We wanna learn how to earn in other currencies that are not the Argentine peso, right? We wanna learn how to travel the world. Yeah. How to do this stuff and all that. And so we spent a lot of time with Argentine folks talking to them about how we do what we do and how they can do it. And we did workshops and we strategize with them and all that kind of stuff. And so I think a lot of it was also in that sense just thinking about what types of resources, knowledge, skills, information do we have that we can share with local folks that are interested to try to support them in achieving their dreams and goals as well.  


Kristin:    00:36:12    Yeah, I I think that's great. And actually when I was there in 2018, most of the freelancer nomadic community were locals. They were local Argentinians or they were people from Columbia and different countries around South America specifically. I didn't really meet many people from the US or even Europe. I think I met maybe one person from Europe in the co-working areas. So it was mostly people from South America that were there. But that is a really interesting dynamic that you bring up since I was just in Portugal, you see how the Portuguese government is promoting the location, independent lifestyle in a nomadic lifestyle to try to incentivize and lure local Portuguese people back who can work remotely either for companies or by themselves as sole proprietors who are living in other European countries that are within the EU. So it's like they're trying to bring locals back but at the same time training the local workforce on how to do this.  


Kristin:    00:37:20    So I wonder if it's kind of going to cancel each other out because if Buenos Aires race is doing that, which is great that you have people from around the world with this kind of online business experience who are then mentoring locals and the government is also helping and it's increasing the quality of life and the earnings and the income for people. But then those same people might then want to leave the country. I've actually had many Argentine relocation clients who have left for economic reasons and they could work online so they would move to London or Mexico or wherever just to get out. And that was happening well before the internet. And when I was living in Costa Rica, well we still had the internet but people had moved out of Argentina to work in restaurants to teach surf lessons, to work in construction. It's kind of like the situation in Venezuela where people were moving all over the place to find a better life for themselves, which is the plight of humans from the beginning I guess full circle.  


Matt:    00:38:21    Yeah. That I think is a second way that I pick my travel destinations is if I get invited to participate in an event or speak at an event or I just wanna attend an event and I wanna go as a paid participant or whatever, but if there's an event that I'm interested in attending, then I will usually go wherever that event is and stay for a month. Right. So I did that again in the summer. I was invited to speak at the Bansko Nomad Fest in Bulgaria. And so I went to Bansko for a month and hung out in Bulgaria for a month and did that. And those are nomad events and so I know there's gonna be a massive community there. I know that most of those nomads hang around for a while. So staying for a month, there'll be tons of people there.  


Matt:    00:39:04    And then also you get to experience the local place and the local area. And I had been to Bansko before, I had been to Bueno Aires before, but going back, maybe going in a different season, maybe going for longer, maybe going with a different group of people, you know, things like that. You always have different experiences and stuff like that. So I did that again in Bansko and that was a second example of planning travel around an event. So that's the second way I do it. And then the third way that I do it, which I did later that year is I signed up for a remote year program, Remote Year. Initially they're called Remote Year because they initially did 12 month programs only and I did my first one in 2016 and it was a 12 month program and they put together a community of location independent professionals and you traveled the world together for a year and you live in a different city each month and they take care of all the accommodations, all your international airfare, all your co-working space, 24/7 y each location. They also hire a full-time city team on the ground of local people to manage your experience and the operations and all of that. And this is all part of the package. It's kind of like a turnkey digital nomad package if you will. Right. Built in community. Built in everything, all your stuff taken care of for you.  


Kristin:    00:40:20    We've actually had both the co-founders on, so we'll link to those episodes too if people want more info on like the logistics of it. But now they have a lot of different products, right? You were saying, right?  


Matt:    00:40:31    Yeah. So now they have four month programs, they have one month programs, they have all this different stuff. And so I signed up for the very first all Africa itinerary. It was a four month program that remote year was launching and they sort of wanted, I think mostly alumni people that have already done Remote Year programs to go on this just cuz it was gonna be the first, right. And so when you're the first group through a new set of cities, it's always gonna be a little bit, not entirely smooth, 


Kristin:    00:41:02    A little rocky.  


Matt:    00:41:03    So they wanted some veterans to kind of go, which is exactly the type of people that I wanted to travel with. I'm like okay, first of all I love the continent of Africa. I had already been to these four countries but I love them all. The itinerary was South Africa first. So we started in Cape Town for a month, then we went to Tanzania and while it had been to Tanzania before I had never been to the city that we were based in, which is called Arusha. And that city is in pretty close proximity to both the Serengeti and to Mount Kilimanjaro. And I had never been to that city. So that's where we were for the second month of the third month we were in Nairobi, Kenya. And then the fourth month we were in Dakar in Senegal. So that was the four month itinerary.  


Matt:    00:41:48    And I was like, I am all about those places and I am all about the group that's going to choose to self-select to do this and be the first ones and go on this trip. So I said sign me up. I signed up like the day came out, I remember, cause I was in messaging Columbia at the time and it came out and it was like two in the morning when they announced it and it came in my email and I was just like signed up like immediately. I was like, this is, I'm doing it.  


Kristin:    00:42:13    Hey there, Kristin here. Did you know that I have a weekly newsletter? You can stay in touch and receive an email from me every Friday by going to traveling with Kristin.com/subscribe. You'll be the first to know about new projects, videos, and opportunities for attending meetups live streams and more. You'll also get a lot of travel and remote work tips, insights, and thoughts that I don't share anywhere else. Sign up today at travelingwithkristin.com/subscribe. And now back to the show. 

Did you hike Mount Kilimanjaro?  


Matt:    00:42:53    I did, yes.  


Kristin:    00:42:55    Oh, is there a podcast about that? Did I miss that one?  


Matt:    00:42:58    There is a maverick show episode about it actually. Yes, I debriefed it. I interviewed one of the guys that climbed it with me and we debriefed the experience. But I'm happy to share a little bit about it with you and your listener since you haven't heard that one yet. It was really special. It was amazing.  


Kristin:    00:43:15    Well we will link to that one cuz we don't have time to go into the whole thing. But I guess give us the nutshell version of it. <laugh>, everyone survived  


Matt:    00:43:23    <laugh>. I mean the nutshell version of it is we had four people in our group. Uh, Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. It's not part of a mountain range, it's a volcano. And the peak is about 19,500 ish feet. So the thing about it is that there is no technical climbing involved. Assuming you'd go to the main easiest route,  


Kristin:    00:43:45    You can just walk like hike, walk,  


Matt:    00:43:47    You can just hike. It's just a hike. Right. Okay. The variables though, and the first four days is about a five night, six day hike. The first four days you're hiking about seven hours a day. You get up seven in the morning, you eat breakfast, you leave at eight or so and you hike for seven hours a day. And the first four days it's not gonna be actually that much more difficult than any other seven hour day hike that you've done if you've done one. Right? So it's not super difficult but you are ascending each day. And the cool thing is that you ascend through five different climactic zones, right? So you start off in a rainforest and then you end up in a glacier. And so you're ascending through all these different climactic zones and seeing all this incredible stuff. And the first four days is like a normal hike.  


Matt:    00:44:32    You're just chatting with people in your group and talking about stuff as you're going up and all this and taking pictures and all this cool stuff. The final push to the summit is the difficult part that day what you do is you do the seven hour day hike. So you get up and you hike and seven in the morning until three in the afternoon or whatever time you get there. And then you eat lunch and then you take a nap and then you get up at 10:00 PM and you prepare to leave for the summit hike at midnight and the summit hike, you hike from midnight until about nine in the morning is when we summited. And it is first of all freezing cold. It goes about 20 below zero. So I had nine layers on top, four layers on the bottom. I had like a Bali clovas ski mask, two hats of hood. This is the kind of gear that you need to rent to go there. And it's that cold, it's pitch dark cuz it's, you're hiking through the whole night and it's about probably about a good 70 degree sort of incline on like a silty sort of not super easy terrain. And you're at incredibly high altitude, you're pushing up into a very dangerous altitude level  


Kristin:    00:45:40    And you've been hiking already for days. So your muscles are probably tired,  

Matt:    00:45:44    Right? And you all you had was a nap after your seven hour hike. And so you're super tired to begin with, right? So what happens is that adrenaline basically kicks in <laugh> and you just realize that you're just gonna be doing some stuff that you're gonna be exhausted, you're gonna be this and you just need to sort of do it anyways. And so the way I calculated it, because other thing is that after you get up to the summit, then you need to hike back down. Oh and you need to hike back down, not just to the base camp but to the place where you started at the beginning of the previous day, which is where you sleep that night and then you hike all the way down the next day. So I calculated it that we were hiking for about 24 hours out of a 34 hour period.  


Kristin:    00:46:28    I don't know if I wanna do that <laugh>.  


Matt:    00:46:30    Yeah. And it was in some pretty intense conditions. And you also don't know, like the other big variable is that regardless of how good of a shape that you're in, like your cardio shape or anything else, altitude can affect people in different ways. Altitude sickness can hit you in different ways. It can debilitate you in different ways, you can have different effects from it and stuff like that. And you don't know what effects it's gonna have on you personally until you get up there, right? So one of the things that we all did, which was super helpful is we took diamox, which is over the counter pill that you can just take every single day to help with the altitude sickness and to mitigate those symptoms. And it was super good that we took it, but yeah, all four of us did. It was amazing.  


Matt:    00:47:14    You go with, by the way folks, you go with an incredible team of professional climbers. It literally took a team of 13 professional climbers to get four of us up to the summit. Wow. So you go with guides and medics and chefs and porters that carry the super majority of your stuff. You're just carrying like your day pack, which is less than 10 pounds. And you have porters which are carrying your stuff plus their stuff, plus the cooking stuff, you know, and all that. You have chefs that are making you all of your meals, waiters, medics, your guides, like it is a team of 13 people that took the four of us up and down that mountain.  


Kristin:    00:47:55    How much was that?  


Matt:    00:47:57    Good question. I don't remember exactly. We got a pretty decent group rate for it. I don't remember exactly what the number was. But the other thing is that you wanna make sure that you tip your porter's and the other people, you know, you tipped your whole team because you're paying through a company. And so however much they get from the company is not always great. And so you wanna tip them directly. So at the end of the thing, you personally give it to 'em, don't give it to the company and be like, oh, just make sure they get this right. Like hand it to each of them and just make sure that they're compensated for that. And that was super important. But they were amazing. I mean the team was incredible. 


Kristin:    00:48:33    Wow. And out of the four people in your group, there were no, not mutinies, but were there people that were just on the edge that didn't think that they could make the entire hike? I mean you don't really have a choice I guess you can't just wait there. Well,  


Matt:    00:48:47    No, I mean there's a lot of people that don't summit. Oh yeah. And so what happens is most people can make the first four days, right? I mean that's what I'm telling you. Like it's like a regular seven hour day hike. The difficult part is the summit. And so what happens is on the summit night you basically go up with three guides, <laugh>. And if anybody can't make it, then one of the guides takes them back down to the base camp.  


Kristin:    00:49:12    Okay. Okay. But you guys, all four got up there.  


Matt:    00:49:16    We did. And there were moments that different people were really struggling with different things and we supported each other and we were there for each other and it was a really incredible bonding experience. And we have an amazing picture of the four of us at the summit of Kilimanjaro.  


Kristin:    00:49:29    Yeah. How did you feel when you got to the top?  


Matt:    00:49:32    It was incredible. Although the thing that people underestimate is that once you get to the top, like that's the hard part is over. You've done it, you've achieved it like your goal, but then you realize you have to go all the way back down. And going down is arguably <laugh> hard enough, more difficult than going up  


Kristin:    00:49:48    How many days to get down.  


Matt:    00:49:51    It's only two days to get down. Okay. And four days to get up I guess you could say. Because the morning that you arrive at the summit, you then hike back down, not to the base camp, but to the camp below that that you started at the previous morning and you sleep there and then you hike all the way back down the next day. So two days of downward hiking, but you're using completely different muscles.  


Kristin:    00:50:12    It's more dangerous  


Matt:    00:50:13    When you're coming down off the summit is the hard part. Going back down through the normal trails and stuff like that is much easier. But coming down off the summit, you need to save some gas in the tank for that one.  


Kristin:    00:50:24    Did you guys train for that at all or did you just go for It?


Matt:    00:50:28    So I trained as much as I could, but like I said, this was the first time Remote Year did this four month itinerary. And so the things that they were presenting to us, cuz one of the things that Remote Year does is they have now this marketplace and they have a whole series of pre-packaged experiences that you can just pay for on the remote year marketplace. Like I wanna hike Kilimanjaro, like boom, you just like put it in your cart and pay for it. And now you're part of the Kilimanjaro hike group, right? or whatever else you wanna do. Right? Go on a safari in the Serengeti, which I also did. But they presented these opportunities to us. Cause we were the first group and we were the first one ever to do any of these things only like three weeks before the hike began.  


Matt:    00:51:09    Ah. So we had only three weeks to start training. So I started, yes, I started binging like podcast, Googling, like training for Kilimanjaro, like this kind of stuff. And I did as much as I could. Like I was running, I'm like, let's see how long it takes me to run five kilometers and then lemme try to run six and then lemme try to run seven and then lemme try to run eight. And I was just trying to improve my cardio every day and then putting the stair stepper or the treadmill on the maximum incline and like just walking like uphill and trying to get used to that. Or doing stairs whenever I could find them. My apartment in Auria was on the seventh floor, so I would just always take the stairs up and down. The workspace was like up on the seventh floor also of a different building.  


Matt:    00:51:55    And so I would take the stairs up and down for that. I was like, no elevators before Kilimanjaro, you know, and just did the best I could for that and just tried to get on a reasonably healthy like eating regiment. Like I just tried the best I could in three weeks. But I would say the other thing is the mental preparation because it's that hiking for 24 outta 34 hours in crazy cold, dark, intense conditions, low oxygen, you're just gonna be pushing yourself to the limit and it's gonna be difficult. And so the mental preparation of just getting ready for that and just preparing, for example, a playlist Hmm, on your Spotify that you can put in because first four days, yeah, you're talking to everybody else, you're hiking with that summit push, it's silence, it's solitude, it's you versus the mountain. You are just one foot in front of the other trying to figure out how to get yourself to the summit. And you just need to sort of like prepare mentally for that in advance. You know, it's gonna be difficult. You're prepared for that and you're just gonna keep going.  


Kristin:    00:52:55    Yeah, that’s like giving me anxiety, just hearing you talk about it. I don't know. I've never had the desire to hike giant mountains, you know, I think we're all born with different things that we wanna do and that we resonate with. And I never wanted to really track Nepal or hike the Himalayas. It's just not my thing. I've done a lot of hiking. I love just recreational hiking. I don't wanna be a mountaineer or summiting these crazy peaks. I'm not saying never say never, but like I'm not in that place right now. But I have been in those situations where you're hiking in the dark to get to places. I climbed this mountain at sunrise in Australia and we started at like two in the morning. So I know what it's like to be dark and cold and I've been kind of on volcanoes and Nicaragua and places where we're like, well we hiked eight hours longer than we planned <laugh> and uh, without professional guides. So I do know that feeling of just complete utter exhaustion and then coming down in the rain and the mud and the dark. Like, that's not fun. But you did it.  


Matt:    00:54:03    I did it. And I feel you by the way, you and I relate and are similar on a lot of levels and I agree with you that I'm not necessarily a mountaineer. Like people were asking me like, oh, now that you hike Kilimanjaro, you know, are you gonna try to do like the, the seven summits are going like, hi, hike Denali next, they're going do this. I'm like, no, no, I, I don't think so. <laugh> my hiking similar to yours, right? Like I would rather hike for crazy beautiful scenery than hike crazy hard things just to say that I hiked a crazy hard thing. You know what I mean? Kilimanjaro I think was really iconic. I also had really good friends that were doing it in this group. And so I felt like doing it with them and I had that opportunity and it'll be a special bonding experience and it's like this incredibly iconic thing to do.  


Matt:    00:54:55    And I was right there in Tanzania and it was just, it seemed like the right move and it seemed like something different. Like to your point, right? Like I don't go around doing a lot of that stuff either for those reasons. But this just seemed like, oh you know what? Let me try this. Let me step outside of my comfort zone. Let me really try to push myself on this particular occasion. Yeah. Because I'm with these people, because I'm here because it's a special confluence of factors that have congealed here and it feels like the right thing to do. You know? And once in a while, I think pushing myself outside my comfort zone in any number of different ways Yeah. I find is good. And then you've achieved something, you've accomplished something and, and that feels good. And so I agree with you though, I'm, I'm typically more of a hiking for a beautiful scenery as opposed to like hiking some crazy hard thing just to say I did it. 


Kristin:    00:55:40    Yeah. I once got into a hiking scenario and Machu Picchu that you see in all of the photos. So I used to think that that was Machu Picchu, but that's actually just a rock behind it. And I didn't know you could climb that. But I was in Peru, this was December of 2012 with my best friend and she signed us up for it. She didn't make it to the top <laugh>, so she signed us up, we got halfway up and she abandoned ship. I was like, I'm going cuz we're here only like 50 people can go up in a day or a hundred people. There's this waiting list, there's a lottery, you gotta sign in on super slow internet and try to get it every day. Anyway, I made it to the top and still when I think about it, like right now that I'm telling you about it, I feel in my hands and feet tingly like pins and needles because I have the feeling of being on top of the mountain and the wind and just being on these spiky pointy boulders and just feeling like I couldn't even grip on there that I was gonna fall off.  


Kristin:    00:56:46    And so that's why my feet tingle when I think about it. Cuz I actually feel how I felt when I was slipping off of this giant rock. And there's 4,000 meters down to a raging river of rapids below me <laugh>. And there's a feeling I don't wanna feel very often, but you know, now I can I guess say that I survived that. But I talked to also Chris Reynolds that you know really well from the Business Method podcast for people who haven't heard of him. I just saw him in Portugal and at dinner we were talking with his friend Simone, who also has a podcast and his wife and she was saying the same thing how she went to some peak to peak thing. Maybe it was in the UK where you hike up one mountain and down and then up another one and then back down and you don't sleep for 48 hours and it's like a race. And she just said never again <laugh>. She's like, why did I do that? It was miserable because you go up and down twice, she's like, it would've been better to just go up one super high mountain than to do two and then when your muscles are cold and you're driving to the next mountain, then to start over it's like insane.  


Matt:    00:57:53    Exactly. So yeah, so we did that in Tanzania and then I did the Safari and the Serengeti after that, which was good cuz I was sort of uh, able to let my muscles relax a bit and just sort of go around and safari Jeep and we did a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti and saw the animals from the air, which was completely incredible. So yeah, it was super special. We went to the Ngorongoro crater, which is actually, I guess technically a Caldera. Not a crater but that's what they call it. And it was formed like millions of years ago and like 25,000 animals live in it and you can go through there and just, it was really, really, really very cool. So Tanzania was an amazing place.  


Kristin:    00:58:31    How many countries have you been to in Africa?  


Matt:    00:58:35    So I've now been to 12  


Kristin:    00:58:37    And clearly you like Senegal because you're there right now. I know you love Ghana. If you were to kind of give us like not even top countries cuz you can't sum up a country, but maybe a couple of experiences or sites that you would recommend to people like a Safari in Tanzania, a sunset in Dakar.  


Matt:    00:58:56    So a lot of it I think depends on what you like to do, right? Like any other type of travel recommendation. So if you like animals and you want to do a safari and you want to be near the animals and all that kind of stuff, then East Africa is really incredible for that. Now with that said, I haven't been to a lot of other places, right? Like I haven't been to Botswana and I haven't been to some of these other legendary places to do different types of safari. So I can't really compare it to that. But in terms of the places that I have been, Tanzania was amazing. The Serengeti, Kenya also, I've done a safari in Masai Mara. And so if you're interested in really getting out with the animals in incredibly close proximity and just seeing some remarkable things, that is amazing. I went also this year to Rwanda and uh, Kigali Rwanda is a super interesting place. It is, I would say the cleanest city and the safest city I've been to anywhere in the world with the possible exception of Singapore. It is just remarkable. I mean it is pristinely manicured. It's a fascinating place. They have on the last Saturday of the month, I believe it is, all the businesses are closed before noon and all the adult residents of the city just go out and clean the city. I mean it's amazing to see this.  


Kristin:    01:00:16    Where is this in Rwanda?  


Matt:    01:00:17    Yeah, in Kigali, the capitol city in Rwanda. They also have all kinds of interesting stuff. For example, there are more women elected to parliament in Rwanda than any country in the world. There are 62% women in Rwanda. They have all of these really interesting progressive gender initiatives going on. All of this kind of stuff. It is also remarkably safe. I mean there's all of these women at midnight walking around on their phones, texting, not worried about anything.  

Kristin:    01:00:47   Sounds Incredible.  

Matt:    01:00:48    It's really wild. Yeah. Now Rwanda though, for example, and there's an amazing coffee scene there too. Like some of the coffee shops are incredible. Some of the art galleries in Kigali are incredible. So there's that. There's also the very recent political history of Rwanda. A lot of people are familiar with the genocide that happened there in 1994. And so there's a genocide memorial there, which is really, really important to go to the genocide Memorial is a museum. It is also a mass grave of 250,000 people. And it's really important I think anytime you're in a place where those types of atrocities have occurred to really go and learn about that and sit with that. And so I do that wherever, right? Like Cambodia? Yeah. Or a place in Europe where the Nazi concentration camps, any type of a place where there's that, I wanna learn about that.  

Matt:    01:01:35    I wanna just sit with that and sort of reckon with that. I think that's really important. But one of the things I did not do that you can also do in Rwanda is you can go out and see the Silverback gorillas. Which you can see them. Um, there's three countries in the world where they, cause they border three countries where they are Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. I have not gone to see them yet, but I was only in Kigali for a short period of time. I spent the whole time in the city. But that's another thing you can do there. It's all kinds of stuff to do. Kigali I found, for example, just in contrast with some of these other cities, is much more of a earlier sort of daytime city I would say. It doesn't have the nightlife.  


Kristin:    01:02:12    No Afrochella


Matt:    01:02:14    <laugh>. Yeah, right, exactly. Yeah. It doesn't have that. And so depending on what you're looking for, different places in Africa have different things. Right. And so yeah, nightlife, I mean Accra in Ghana is right up at the tippy top. I mean it is just incredible whether you're going for the festivals or you're just going at any time of year. I mean, it is just absolutely incredible. And the, the beaches and the coastlines of a lot of these places on the coast are just really amazing and beautiful. Nairobi, Kenya, by the way, also is one of my favorite cities. I mean that's another incredible major capital city with all sorts of, you know, an amazing food scene, amazing nightlife, all of that kind of stuff. I also went to Johannesburg for my first time this year. I had been to Cape Town a number of times. I'd spent many months in Cape Town and I'd never been to Johannesburg. And I finally went this year and it was uh, amazing. Absolutely amazing. A lot of people consider it like the New York City of Sub-Saharan Africa.. In terms of the fashion scene, in terms of the nightlife.


Kristin:    01:03:17   Lots of art,  I've heard like lots of tech entrepreneurs, art scene.  


Matt:    01:03:22    Absolutely. Yeah. The entrepreneur scene, the art scene, the street art scene. Absolutely incredible.  


Kristin:    01:03:29    Hmm. You love street art?  


Matt:    01:03:30    Yeah, I mean it is just an, I was completely enamored by Johannesburg, so I definitely plan to go back there. So depending on what you're looking for, right. I mean Cape Town obviously as you know, has the wine country and it has the beaches, penguins, and it has like, I mean, you know, there's all sorts of things that Cape Town has. The food scene there is insane. The restaurant scene and stuff like that in Cape Town. So depending on what you are looking for, this continent just has so much incredible stuff to offer.  


Kristin:    01:03:59    Did you go to Namibia when you were in South Africa?  


Matt:    01:04:02    Not yet, but it's super high on my list. I've had people tell me that it's like the most beautiful country they've ever seen.  


Kristin:    01:04:08    Do you know Grace from Gracefully Expat? I feel like she was there last year. We have a podcast episode with her about taxes. I think she was there. I'm kind of out of the loop. I just see people's Instagram posts, but that looks really beautiful. Amazing. So where to next Matt? It's the beginning of a new year. Uh, do you have your whole year planned out so far as sometimes nomads tend to do  


Matt:    01:04:35    So interestingly, no, I do not. And this might be my, I guess, additional style of travel, right? Sometimes I just plan over the top bucket list, amazing stuff and invite a friend or two to roll and go and do something epic. Sometimes I get invited to stuff where I wanna attend something and I plan around a specific event that's happening at a specific time. Sometimes I join a work travel program and I go where they're going on the dates that they're going. And I know I'll have a built-in community for that as I just did with remote year through Africa. And sometimes I just don't plan at all ahead. So I have no outbound ticket from Dakar Senegal, I have no future plans. I have absolutely nothing booked for this this year. It is an open canvas.  


Kristin:    01:05:19    I feel like this is a first <laugh>. Have you ever been in this situation where you just had nothing  


Matt:   01:05:25    <laugh> <laugh>


Kristin:    01:05:27    I like it though. It does start to feel a little stressful sometimes when you have back to back trips. Like I used to do a lot when I, I just did in the fall where I went to Amsterdam for Amsterdam dance event. And then I went to Portugal, went to Web Summit, went to Nomad Island Fest in Madeira. I did three conferences in one month really? And it was too much. And I was tempted to apply as a speaker at the International Travel Conference in Berlin coming up in March. But when I start to get too many things scheduled too close together, then it just becomes more stressful. So I like having an open schedule and I had to say no to a lot of things this year that sounded fun. But I knew if I put too many things on my calendar last year for this year, then you lose room for that spontaneity and being able to go where the wind takes you. And that's nice too.  


Matt:    01:06:28    Exactly.  


Kristin:    01:06:29    Awesome. Well, do you have some more time and we can talk a bit about real estate? We'll do like a travel episode and a real estate episode.  


Kristin:    01:06:39    I hope you enjoyed today's conversation with Matt. Make sure to tune in next week for part two. And if you are planning on traveling soon, then make sure you bring your wifi with you with a Soli global wifi hotspot. You can try one out by using our link in the show notes or by going to travelingwithkristin.com/wifi to check it out. I've been using Solis Hotspots since the company was called Sky Roam 10 years ago, and I never leave home without it. Give one a try today by using our link in the show notes or at travelingwithkristin.com/wifi. 

Matt BowlesProfile Photo

Matt Bowles

Host of The Maverick Show Podcast and Co-Founder of Maverick Investor Group

Matt Bowles co-founded Maverick Investor Group in 2007 to help individual real estate investors buy over $100 million in high-performing rental properties in the best U.S. real estate markets - regardless of where they live. He has been featured in major national media and was named one of the “Top 50 Real Estate Opinion Makers and Market Leaders”.

As a location-independent business owner, Matt runs his company (and hosts his podcast!) from epic locations around the world and has lived in over 50 different countries since 2013. He is a sought after speaker at events and conferences around the world relating to real estate investing, entrepreneurship, long-term world travel and the digital nomad lifestyle.