Nomadic Matt is a superstar in the travel world. He has trekked the globe and dedicated his life to the encouragement of others to do the same, regardless of their budget. Having begun his quest to visit every nook and cranny of earth during his 20s, he realized young how valuable travelling is for people of all ages, and especially our youth. My chance encounter with Nomadic Matt occurred because of our shared interest in travelling and ideals. We both agree that experiencing life in other cultures opens your mind and allows you to view the world from a whole new perspective. It causes us to be able to “connect” with others & their lifestyles, and it cultivates acceptance. We also believe strongly in education and making a difference in people’s lives.
So when I found out about Nomadic Matt’s new Foundation for Learning and Youth Travel Education (FLYTE) program, I knew I found a friend for life, and even more, that I want everyone to know about this amazing program! So here goes:
OMG: Nomadic Matt, tell us about your exciting FLYTE program?
NM: “FLYTE’s mission is to provide the resources and funding to help high schools in underserved U.S. communities send kids overseas. Our focus is on students in rural or economically depressed communities.
We are doing this to help students become global citizens, bring life to the subjects they learn in school, and expose them to new ideas and cultures.
There are so many negative stereotypes in the world that are perpetuated by a lack of exposure to different cultures and too much exposure to horrific news stories. Travel breaks down those negative stereotypes and alleviates fears. Remember when you visited a ‘dangerous’ or ‘scary’ place that was completely different from what you imagined it to be? Travel forces us to reevaluate stereotypes, and creates a shift in our typical way of thinking.
That’s why I want to do this. That’s why I want to create an organization that promotes education through travel. The two go hand in hand.”
OMG: I completely agree, travel enhances education and education enhances travel
So, what was it that actually inspired you to create this program?
NM: “During my travels, I’ve encountered quite a few kids, and I’m astounded at how grounded, positive, culturally sensitive, and open-minded they are. It makes me wonder what the world would look like if more kids traveled.
My thoughts often turn to all the kids who don’t have that chance. They don’t have the opportunity to visit foreign countries, discover who they are in a global context, and bring what they’re learning in school to life.”
OMG: You make a great point that real life experiences are important for comprehending what’s being learned in the classroom. I’ve also noticed at impoverished schools I’ve worked at that many students just don’t “see” beyond their neighborhood. Travel can really change those mindsets for the positive and helps students apply their travel experience to concepts in the classroom.
It sounds like you are off to a great start with your current goals of getting this program up and running. What do you envision for the future of the FLYTE program?
NM: “We would love to be able to take every high school student abroad if we could! Right now we are working with schools just in the US, due to our limited resources and being a young and growing organization. But we received many teachers from around the globe interested in the organization and our mission, inquiring as to whether or not we would partner with international schools. We would love to be able to support exchange opportunities or the possibility or working with schools outside of the US.”
OMG: Just curious, do you remember the “ah ha moment” you had when you realized travelling was more than just visiting another place?
NM: “I didn’t learn about the power of travel until I was twenty-three, had a job, and planned my first vacation to Costa Rica. That single two-week vacation opened my eyes to the endless possibilities this world has to offer.
The more I’ve traveled, the more I’ve learned about the world, myself, and how interconnected we all are.”
OMG: As you know, it can be challenging for people to afford to travel, especially young adults. What advice do you have for someone who may not be able to take advantage of the FLYTE program, and struggles to save the money to be able to travel, regardless of age?
NM: “Write down all your discretionary spending. This is what you spend on food, movie nights, drinks, shopping, that daily coffee from Starbucks, cigarettes, sports tickets, your daily midday snack, and other similar things. If you don’t know what you spend money on, go track your expenses for a two-week period, see what you spend. A dollar here and a dollar there adds up.
Cutting your daily expenses, being more frugal, and downgrading to a simpler way of living will allow you to save money for your trip around the world without having to find extra sources of income. I know these tips work because I used them before my first round-the-world trip (and still use them to keep my living expenses low).”
OMG: I know you have a bunch of tips on your website, like cutting out your daily $5 cup of coffee, stop smoking, and getting rid of your cable and stream free tv instead. I was floored when you reminded me that $5 per day is $150 a month, $1800 year…that’s two roundtrip tickets to Chile! I can brew my own for that! My kids used to collect recycling and turn it in for travel money and one of my sons saves all his tips from work to put towards his travel adventures. So for him Tips=Travel. All these things really add up, and I plan to revisit YOUR tips so I can save more too!
A big part of the FLYTE program is providing an opportunity for others to give back in a way that can help underprivileged youth see that there is a bigger world out there than just their neighborhood. Travelling gives them a chance to be inspired to reach new heights, become more global-minded and it flat out broadens their horizons. How can people learn more about sponsoring this program?
NM: “There are several ways to get involved with FLYTE. In order to sustain our programs, we rely heavily on the donations of our supporters-people like YOU who are passionate about travel, global citizenship, and youth education.”
Click here for more information:
Giving Back: How You Can Change the World
OMG: Thanks Nomadic Matt for joining us and sharing your FLYTE program with us! We wish you lots and lots of great success with it!
I encourage everyone to go to Nomadic Matt’s website right now, www.NomadicMatt.com, to read more about how you can help change the world, and maybe pick up a travel tip or two while you’re at it! (One way you can help it to please spread the word! You can help by sharing the link to this story. Thanks)!