Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bad@ss Travelers - Matt Trinetti of Give, Live, Explore

Alright Viva My Yoginis - it's time for another bad@ss traveler to start your stoke!

As a reminder, bad@ss travelers are journeyers who have inspired many, who live the life they love, who dare to adventure and be bold, who take the reins of their own beings and manifest their own dreams & realities.They're travelers who live life to the fullest, through its ups and downs. They're bad@ss people who make venturing into the unknown happen regularly. They also give back along the way.

I am extremely excited to introduce you to Matt Trinetti of Give, Live, Explore
Matt and I met in France back in 2005 while on a Georgia Tech study abroad together. It was a great group of people, all coming together to work hard and travel harder. Many of us have stayed in touch, some have drifted, but without a doubt we all left that summer changed people- travelers for a lifetime.

Since then Matt has entered (& left) the corporate world, shared his adventures across the globe, started his own book publishing company, and is now creating a highly educational & entertaining travel guidebook series. He is one of the most genuine, inspiring, kind, and wonderful men I know and I am thrilled to share his well-worn advice with you here. 

What does the word travel entail to you?

To me, travel is a mindset, a philosophy. I can't help but think about the obvious parallels between the act of physical travel and our journey through life. Real travel is an active act -- it's a deliberate journey, whether on the road or through the soul. And the opposite to me is tourism.

There's a great quote by Daniel Boorstin that articulates this best: “The traveler was active, he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes 'sight-seeing.'"

How have you created your life around your travel & your travel around your life (and made it sustainable)?

My first job out of college was as a consultant for IBM, where travel was my life. Every Monday morning I'd fly to New York or Philadelphia or Richmond or somewhere else, and then I'd fly home at the end of the week. Or instead of going home, I'd visit friends or family in another city over the weekend. But that kind of travel became exhausting; it became too routine.

I've always lived within my means, so while working at IBM I was able to save a significant amount of money. I also racked up a bunch of hotel and airline points. So when I left IBM to travel long-term over the past 14 months (through Northern and Eastern Europe, within the US, and most recently around Ecuador), I've been able to live off of these savings and points.

I'll be honest, I'm still working on making it fully sustainable. I've done some freelance web work, paid speaking gigs, and some odd jobs for spending money. I've also started a book publishing division under my company GiveLiveExplore which is profitable, but not generating nearly enough to live off. So I'm starting to explore some other options.

In addition to savings, the things that have helped me sustain travel so far are:
  • Choosing smart credit cards & checking accounts: My Chase Sapphire credit card gives me double points when I spend on travel and food, and doesn't charge any foreign transaction fees. My Charles Schwab checking account is free and waives the ATM fee when using any ATMs, foreign or domestic.
  • A minimalistic lifestyle: I don't have a car payment, a mortgage, or many physical possessions. I don't spend money on things I don't need.
  • Making it official: Before traveling and attempting to build a business out of it, I created my company, GiveLiveExplore. So most of my travel now is business travel under GiveLiveExplore. Having a legitimate business and active website has led to paid work or other great opportunities.

What’s one travel memory that had a truly lasting affect, a total life changing or ah-ha moment?

There was one moment I remember very vividly last year. I was traveling around Europe on a 7 month backpacking trip, and I had just arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania, a city and country I knew basically nothing about. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I just started walking around the city. I was alone and didn't know anyone in Lithuania, but I wasn't lonely or scared.

As I walked and felt the sun on my cheek, I experienced something I can only describe as complete joy. Being in this completely foreign place on the cusp of a new adventure was exciting, and I felt this sense of lightness and happiness. I felt completely alive. I realized I was in the exact place, doing the exact thing I should be doing. In that moment, I realized I needed to continue to follow my excitement and to do the things I feel compelled to do. I realized that life is infinitely better when you're living it on your own terms, not on the terms of others. It's better when you actually listen to what your heart's trying to tell you, to pay attention to your dreams and actually go after them.

What’s one thing that you love to do in any new place?

Wander. I like to walk down streets, get lost, and try to make small talk with local people.

What was a travel situation you found very trying & how did you pull through it?

Last year I was traveling through Croatia from Zagreb to Zadar by bus. I decided to stop at Plitvice Lakes National Park, which sits right in between the two cities, and go for a short hike. There was only one more bus to Zadar that evening, so I had to make it back by a certain time or I'd be stuck in the park. I made it back (barely), but I missed the bus anyway because I wasn't standing on the side of the road when it came blazing past.

My only option to get to Zadar that night was to hitchhike. Cars were sparse because we were in the middle of a park, and I hadn't done much hitchhiking yet, so I was a little nervous. An hour or so passed and none of the passing cars stopped. Finally, a Turkish sailor heading that way agreed to take me to Zadar. He turned out to be a great guy and we had a fun drive. It was a great experience and totally changed my perspective on hitchhiking.

How do you feel you inspire others?

I hope I inspire others through my actions. I try to show that even without having all the answers, with simple determination to accomplish something and the willingness to look foolish or fail, you can do more than you think you're capable of.

What’s something that inspires you to keep exploring?

An insatiable curiosity about the world. I love observing people from all walks of life and just watching how people live. I love how novel and different every new encounter feels, but how familiar and connected it all feels too. It's a perplexing paradox that I think will keep me exploring forever.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone who feels stuck in their current life or afraid to take that first step?


If you want to make a change in your life, you need to surround yourself with the right people. This includes like-minded peers and heroes you can emulate.
If you’re constantly surrounded by people who don't have similar ambitions as you, or worse, who want to change their life situation but have given up, then you’ll forever feel crazy in your ambitions, travel or otherwise. And if you don't have heroes, you won't have a solid example to follow. Both are extremely important.

[I also wrote a blog post on this very topic called The First Step is the Hardest where I share 10 pieces of advice to make that first bold step.]

Check it out now!! Click here!
Does the process of writing about & sharing your travels change the experience?

Absolutely. Writing helps me better understand what I'm experiencing. I started writing to communicate my thoughts and perspective — but ironically only through writing could I actually comprehend and articulate my thoughts and perspective.

And in sharing my experiences, I learned others found inspiration in the words, and when readers reach out to me it inspires me to keep writing. I’ve also met (virtually and physically) people from all over the world through my writing and website. Writing changed my life. It opened up a brand new world I never knew existed.

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?

My two favorite places at the moment are Iceland and Serbia. Iceland because it's this incredibly magical, beautiful, and strange place, unlike anywhere else I've been. It was so inspiring that my friend and I decided to publish a funny and educational book together about it called Tales of Iceland -or- Running with the Huldufólk in the Permanent Daylight.

And Serbia, mostly because of the Serbian culture and people. I spent a month in Belgrade last year, and I found Serbs to be some of the most fun and friendly people I've met. Plus the women are incredibly gorgeous.

How can people learn more about your story and connect with you?

The best place to connect with me is through my website, People can also subscribe to receive my weekly/bi-weekly blog posts through my email list which I call Tales from a Deliberate Journeyer.

Thank you Matt! 

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