Updated: 11/13/19 | November 13th, 2019

In December 2009, I saw the tweet that changed my life. It was from Matt Gross, who was then the Frugal Traveler for The New York Times. He tweeted asking if there were any travel bloggers who were earning any money from their blog. I tweeted back the Internet equivalent of “Teacher, pick me, pick me, pick me!”

And pick me for an interview he did.

I remember eating lunch when I got his call and holding up my Kiwi Experience group while he interviewed me on blogging, press trips, and travel (I was backpacking in New Zealand at the time).

A few weeks later my interview went live on the New York Times website and within a few hours, crashed my server (First World blogger problems, right?).

That was my first big break. Everything changed after that day, and that interview led to some amazing opportunities that never seemed to have stopped.

Since that interview, Matt and I have become good friends. We both live in NYC and frequently see each other (he just recently got me to eat some fiery tripe for the first time at a local Szechuan restaurant).

A few months ago, Matt released a new book, The Turk who Loved Apples. This travelogue chronicles (some of) his misadventures around the world since he left to teach English in Vietnam after college.

I had Matt over at my apartment to interview him about his book. Here are two Matts talking travel, (mis)adventure, and whether Vietnam is awesome or not.

I enjoyed Matt’s book tremendously, not least because he’s a better writer than I am, but also because each chapter uses a different story to highlight lessons for beginner travelers — from feeling alone, to wanting to go home, to getting lost, and everything in between. It’s one of the best travel books I’ve read in recent years.

One of my favorite parts of the book was when he writes about the ephemeral nature of travel friendships and the constant good-byes. As Matt says:

While I’d be overjoyed to see them again…I harbor no expectation that will happen. The best and most responsible thing I can do is to remember them, to honor the brief joys of our relationship…and to cross my fingers our paths will cross once more.

If you are looking for a good travel book that provides interesting stories as well as travel advice, pick up The Turk who Loved Apples. If you’re an experienced traveler, you’ll be able to see yourself in many of his stories.

And if you’re a new traveler, you’ll learn to avoid some common travel mistakes!

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. I’ve been using World Nomads for ten years. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)

Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

22.08.2013 / budget travel / travel books
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