Skip to Content

About The Expert Vagabond

Matthew Karsten the Expert Vagabond
Matt Karsten – The Expert Vagabond

Hey there! My name is Matthew Karsten (aka Matt). I’m an adventure travel blogger, photographer & digital nomad who’s been exploring the world for over 10-years.

Welcome to my travel blog! This is where I share entertaining stories, budget travel tips, fun YouTube videos, inspiring travel photography, advice on nomadic living, and plenty of outdoor adventures with you from my travels around the world.

It’s a place for people like you who are looking for daily inspiration & motivation to live a life full of adventure.

Or just some helpful travel tips for planning your next vacation.

I want to show you how to travel the world, to seek experiences over possessions, and open your mind to new possibilities.

To visit places that you didn’t even know existed!

Say Hello On Social Media

Instagram | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

What’s A Vagabond?


1. Wandering from place to place without any settled home; nomadic.
2. Leading an unsettled or carefree life.

Since 2010 I’ve been living as a traveling digital nomad & expat — visiting over 50 countries while “vagabonding” around the world from place to place.

Living temporarily in countries like Mexico, Thailand, Italy, Spain, South Africa, and more.

I’m currently based in North Carolina with my wife Anna, our two sons Dylan and Holden, plus our traveling cat Poofy.

The Karsten Family
Meet the Karsten Family

Why Travel For So Long?

Because I’m curious about our planet. I want to take risks, meet interesting people, challenge myself, see amazing things, explore the world, and learn as much as a can.

Not to mention have a bit of fun along the way!

  • Travel doesn’t have to be expensive.
  • Adventure is worthwhile.
  • The world isn’t as dangerous as you think.

Maybe I can show you something you’ve never seen.
Inspire you with new ideas for your next vacation.
Attempt to put a smile on your face.
Help you learn from my mistakes.
Make you think carefully about your actions.

Adventure travel is much more than just participating in extreme activities — it’s about breaking out of your comfort zone, immersing yourself in different cultures and trying new things.

To see the world from someone else’s perspective, and grow in the process.

”Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t
have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”
~ Alan Keightley

Travel Photographer Matthew Karsten
Photographing Penguin Colonies in South Georgia
Traveling to the West Bank
Making Friends in the West Bank

How To Travel The World

I haven’t always been a world traveler though. With a bachelor’s degree in business, I found myself working as a freelance nightlife & event photographer in Miami. It was fun, but something was missing…

I dreamed of more — a life filled with adventure.

One day I just decided to stop dreaming, and start doing.

I spent a year saving money, sold my car, bought a bicycle, stopped going out to clubs/bars, cooked food at home, and spent all my free time building a small online business selling eBooks.

In the fall of 2010 I quit my job, sold most of my stuff, and bought a plane ticket to Guatemala.

I downsized my life — so that basically everything I owned fit into a travel backpack.

My family & friends didn’t understand what I was doing. They thought I was nuts — and I wasn’t sure either. Following my dreams at all costs was my new goal. Becoming wealthy with new experiences was my mission.

Matt Karsten Adventure Travel Blogger
Trekking in the Mountains of Afghanistan

Embracing The Life Of A Nomad

For the first 29 years of my life, I’d never left the United States. Suddenly I was in Guatemala City with no luggage (the airline lost it) and no real plans. I was alone, nervous, and felt a bit in over my head.

It was scary and overwhelming — but exciting at the same time. I soon made new friends and began exploring a fascinating area of the world I knew absolutely nothing about. Eating at local markets, trekking in the jungle, staying at backpacker hostels — I was hooked!

My original plan was to travel for one year. Which turned into ten years.

Long-term travel provides me with unexpected challenges to conquer while I continue to learn about the world, meet interesting people, and have life-changing experiences along the way.

Traveling in Cuba
Horseback Riding in Cuba

Traveling The World Indefinitely

My itinerary? Your guess is as good as mine! The plan is to plan as little as possible, and let fate take me on a roller-coaster ride of discovery & adventure.

I often hang out in a country for as long as it feels right and move on to the next when I’m ready. Exploring the Earth with an open mind, living on a limited budget, meeting new people, and learning what I’m made of.

All the while, attempting to capture and share my travel experiences using photography, video, and articles published on this travel blog.

Hopefully I can inspire you to embark on your own travel adventures.

My logo tells you I’m some sort of travel expert — but while I don’t have all the answers yet, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned after ten long years of adventure travel.

Matthew Karsten in Morocco
Exploring the Desert in Morocco

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How Can You Afford To Do This?

Answer: This Is How I Get Paid To Travel & How I Saved Money To Travel

Also check out my Budget Travel Resources page.

Q: Do You Get Lonely Traveling Alone?

Answer: Sometimes, but not as much as you’d think. Using backpacker hostels or couchsurfing rather than spending a lot of money on a hotel room ensures I meet all kinds of interesting people of all ages, backgrounds, and locations from across the planet who are as excited about travel as I am.

Q: What’s Your Favorite Country?

Answer: I don’t have one. But I do have favorite travel experiences.

Q: How Did You Start Your Travel Blog?

Answer: How To Start A Travel Blog

Q: What Should I Pack On My Trip?

Answer: Everyone packs differently, but after 10-years of regular travel, I like to think I’ve optimized my travel gear & packing skills! Here is my personal list of travel gear, as well as my favorite travel gift ideas for those other travelers in your life.

Q: What Travel Camera Do You Use?

Answer: I hate this question because a camera is just a tool. It’s not the camera that takes epic photos, it’s you! Very similar to asking a painter what brush he uses — as if that matters. Who cares! I could basically shoot the same photos with any camera…

But, if you must know, you can see all my camera gear here.

Now if you REALLY want to take better photos — here are my top travel photography tips.

Q: How Do I Become A Digital Nomad Like You?

Answer: How To Become A Digital Nomad

Want To Learn More?

Inject more adventure into your life! Learn how to travel the world on a budget, improve your photography, become a digital nomad, and get the most out of every experience.

Dig deep into my blog and never be afraid to ask questions, either by commenting on posts, sending me an email, or connecting with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube.

In no time, you’ll be turning your epic travel dreams into reality!

To my readers, this travel blog wouldn’t be what it is today without you. Thank you so much for following along on my journey over the years!

– Matt (The Expert Vagabond)