Celebrity Travel Addicts: Matthew Karsten from Expert Vagabond

In this Celebrity Travel Addicts Q&A we chat with professional photographer and seasoned world traveler Matthew Karsten from Expert Vagabond. Check out how he began his life of travel, what he recommends you do when visiting Iceland, and where he’s off to next.

How did your passion for travel get started?

Working at a backpacker hostel in Hawaii gave me my first taste of wanderlust, hearing wild stories from other travelers every night. However it wasn’t until a few years later that I finally decided to travel long term. I spent a year saving money and working two jobs to prepare for a one year trip. That was 6 years ago — I’m obviously addicted to travel now.

How many days/weeks are you traveling in any given year? What are the types of places do you like to visit?

For the first 3 years I was pretty much traveling full-time. These days I embark on 1-2 trips per month.

What is it that you want audiences to gain/ learn from your articles and photography?

I try to share my personal experiences with readers, to both inspire and help them plan their own journeys.

Name your top three destinations you’ve traveled? 

Greenland, Afghanistan, and Iceland are my most memorable destinations at the moment.

Give us your ‘Top 5’ list for one of these destinations, like a mini-guide or to-do list of sorts

My top 5 things to do in Iceland would be: Road trip around the country on the Ring Road. Snorkel (or dive) between the tectonic plates at Silfra. Hike a glacier. Camp under the stars watching for the Northern Lights. Take a dip in one of Iceland’s thermal pools (like the Blue Lagoon).

How many countries have you visited so far?


Your top three favorite cuisines?

Mexican, Indian, Thai

Favorite restaurant in the world?

Don Sirloin Tacos

Your favorite travel movie?

The Motorcycle Diaries

Favorite international airport?

Taiwan Taoyuan (Taipei)

City with the friendliest people?

Bozeman, MT

Your favorite traveling companion?

My girlfriend

Best way you kill time while traveling?

Reading or podcasts

What is the most exotic place your career has taken you?


Your best bit of travel advice for someone who is about to embark on a life of travel?

Go slowly. Spend more time in fewer places, you’ll enjoy travel a lot more that way, and won’t burn out as quickly.

What are 4 things you could never travel without?

Earplugs. Camera. Bandana. Sunscreen.

What is your ultimate dream destination?

Papua New Guinea

Your favorite travel quote?

“To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

Where to next?

Switzerland in the winter.


Matthew Karsten is a full-time adventure junkie, travel writer, and photographer who quit his unfulfilling day job in Miami to travel the world indefinitely. He’s exploring unusual & beautiful locations around the planet while learning how to become an Expert Vagabond. Follow along as he shares wild travel stories, budget tips, entertaining videos, and captivating photography from the road on his adventure travel blog.

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